Always on vacation with a camper


An old camper trailer on a campsite, among the trees: a place to switch into vacation mode as soon as you take in the forest air. Journalist Caroline Buijs writes about washing dishes outdoors, life without a phone and hours spent lazing in a hammock.

It always takes me by surprise, the peacefulness that I feel as soon as I walk down the little path where our camper trailer stands on a campsite in the forest. It’s a dirt path with some grass here and there, bordered by oak trees and hawthorn bushes. Now and then, you can see another camper trailer through the greenery. They are all old and a bit worn around the edges — they were made in the 1960’s and 1970’s — but they are still beauties.

The first thing I always do when I arrive, after opening the camper trailer’s windows wide and taking a few deep breaths of forest air, is to fill the kettle for a cup of tea. I walk to the water tap a little way down the path, accompanied by the chirping of birds. On my way, I notice how the leaves of the oak and hawthorn have managed to become just that little bit greener since the last time I was there. Or, in the fall, just that little bit yellower.

Actually, it’s not strange at all that I feel so peaceful here. According to American philosopher and psychologist William James, there is nowhere better to relax your focus than in nature; you simply let yourself be carried away by whatever appears before you. For me, that usually means I lie in my hammock under the trees and watch the little robin hiding behind the wheels of the camper trailer, and sometimes carefully hopping out. When there’s a sea breeze, I listen to the rustling of the tree leaves and watch the swaying treetops.

A weekend in and around the camper trailer always gives me a moment of peace from my busy week, where my brain and mind can relax. I sleep better here, worry less and live without a schedule. In the mornings, I practically never know what I’ll be doing that day. Will it be going for a bike ride, walking to the sea, or just lying in the hammock with a good book?

  • Read the full story ‘Easy escapes’ in issue 32.

Text Caroline Buijs  Photography Vu Thu Giang/

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