Camping life a breath of fresh air

Camping always draws mixed opinions. It can be the greatest holiday or the worst, Deanna Copland writes.

As a child, I did Brownies, Girl Guides and then Duke of Edinburgh so, combined with family holidays with water lapping around the camper van door and a family bout of food poisoning due to some funny chicken nibbles one year, I felt I had met my quota of camping.

Recently, my partner suggested a week away to explore the upper South Island in a caravan. I wasn't initially enthused about the idea.

Yes, a few rainy days, sand where it shouldn't be, mosquitoes, a lumpy bed, wet towels, communal showers.

But I'm now reminded that the list of the good things definitely outweighs the bad.

No TV, no mirrors, no alarm clocks, no appointments, time for reading books, sleeping without WiFi, meeting interesting people, plenty of exploring and beach walks, fresh air, finding waterfalls off the beaten track, star-gazing, watching baby seals play and just enjoying being a part of nature and slowing down.

I think communal cooking means you appreciate the food so much more when you are just working with the basics but I did have to try to turn a blind eye to what some other travellers were eating - white bread buttered with mayonnaise and then dipped into a bowl of milk was the breakfast of one man, half a bag of raw carrots was what started another's day - I switched off after that!

There is a blunt saying, ‘‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail''. I believe that when we can prep food on a Sunday afternoon for the working week, it definitely means we eat better and generally save money on food by having a shopping list and a food plan.

When away it is important to make the best choices we can and most cafes and restaurants do offer healthy choices.

Looking after ourselves consistently supports general wellbeing, mood, energy and healthy relationships so just because we are travelling or life has been too busy doesn't mean our health needs to be affected.

Maintaining nutrition

It is important to maintain your nutrition when away from home so you have more energy and less illness.

Here are some great options:

• Boiled eggs
• Mixed nuts and seeds
• Fresh fruit
• Tins of salmon or tuna
• Rice cakes with avocado and tomato
• Deli salads
• Cooked chicken from the supermarket
• Pottles of yoghurt
• Baked beans
• Herbal teas
• Carry stainless steel water bottles with you for day trips in the car/while biking



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