In the winter I get serious "Suburban Claustrophobia" and I itch for adventure. When I had my first child, I would bundle her up in a backpack, pull on my boots and stomp through the snow at least a few times a week. Then I had a second daughter and winter hit days after she was born. I froze. I could barely drag myself off the couch, never mind outside where the six months of winter seemed brutal and endless. I stayed inside and died a little.
We bought a used mini van shortly after my third child was born. A gloriously roomy Honda Odyssey we called “Super Motor.” One day as I was fiddling around with the piles of whatevers that always seem to linger in any car that I own, I saw that the bench in the back folded down into the trunk. I checked the captain chairs and saw that they could be removed too. My eyes had suddenly been opened! I saw visions of me and my kids having dance parties in the van, maybe even sleeping in the van, maybe even driving to San Diego and never returning in the van.
That next winter we embarked on our first overnighter. I figured with lots of sleeping bags and blankets and a fully functioning heater, we would be fine. That first night we parked outside my father-in-law's house (my husband is not much of a camper so I knew that without him it would be best to stay close by in a safe neighbourhood). Around one in the morning I awoke to windows covered in frost and I quickly turned on the heater for about 10 minutes until the car was nice and toasty then crawled back into the pile of arms and legs. I did this again around four.
Later that morning as we pulled into our driveway, my kids chattering away excitedly about “Van Camping," I knew we had discovered something precious. We had unearthed a new winter, one that could become something I no longer dreaded, something I could learn to love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Name: Heidi Nybo
Heidi and her three kids now go van camping at least once a month through the fall, winter & spring. She's the kind of person that jumps right into a cold lake, instead of easing herself in. She loves eating food with lots of butter and throwing neighborhood dance parties. She loves pinatas and the final bite of an ice cream cone where the ice cream to cone ratio is perfected. She was born a traveller, never living anywhere longer than three years growing up and she's is passionate about bringing her thirst for the open road to her children. She loves to write about their adventures and whatever else pops into her mind on her blog, Dollopalong.