The Camping With Style Story
The Accident and the Epiphany
I’m Shell, a full time marketing consultant and the editor of Camping with Style. Despite wanting to start a blog for years, what with working full time, being a mum, my freelance writing, and having an active social life and heaps of hobbies, I never felt like I had time, but a serious accident proved to be a turning point in my life.
Nearing the summit of Mount Snowdon, October 2016
After I broke my back in a snowboarding accident back in 2014, I was determined not to let the resulting chronic pain, depression and disability determine what I could and couldn’t do for the rest of my life. Doing everything I could to rebuild my active outdoorsy lifestyle, I started blogging and found it was a huge help during those difficult first weeks and months after the accident.
Camping and spending time with nature helped me to come to terms with my injury, and put me on the road to mental, if not full physical recovery. I still remind myself how lucky I was; it could have been so much worse.
Despite crippling pain and being unable to turn over in bed or dress myself, I was determined that camping and outdoors activity should remain a big part of my life. I held onto that, and it was the driving force behind me starting this blog.
Walking up Beinn Ghlas in Scotland, something I thought I’d never be able to do again after the accident
In order to continue camping however, I needed to invest in a new tent that was easy for one person to put up alone, that I could stand up in to dress, and I also needed some new camping gear. My disability and the resulting autoimmune joint condition I was now living with (including Ankylosing Spondylitis, lesions on multiple disks and a permanent disk bulge), meant that bending to get into a small tent, sleeping on the floor on a mat and all the things I used to do, now resulted in intolerable pain, making camping a miserable experience.
I needed (and was relieved to find), camping gear aimed at those who needed comfort first and practicality second, and so Camping with Style was born; though I often think I should have called it Camping in Comfort, as style is definitely subjective!
Snowboarding in Whistler, Canada
Promoting an Active, Outdoorsy Lifestyle
The blog isn’t limited to camping though, it focuses on travel and anything that’s active and outdoors. We think that camping is a great way to explore new places and to foster a life that is more connected with nature. So our aim is to encourage people, especially those with chronic pain and/or disabilities, to explore, travel and generally spend more time outdoors. The stereotype of camping being an uncomfortable and dull pass-time, is something we seek to continually challenge, and whilst those of us who identify as ‘glampers’ certainly get a lot of stick; I challenge anyone with the physical disabilities I live with, to enjoy camping any other way!
I want the blog to encourage people, particularly those living with long term disability and chronic pain, to find new ways to explore the outdoors.
I strongly believe that the healing effects of nature, and the impact it has on wellbeing and creativity are routinely under-valued. I want the blog to encourage those living with long term disability, chronic pain and ‘normal’ people to find ways of fitting nature driven micro-adventures into their busy lives.
Learning to climb at Kilnworx 2016
Archery in the South of France with Acorn Family Holidays in August 2016
The Natural World Promotes Happiness
I’m happiest when I’m outdoors and regularly need a nature fix, though fitting it in can still be a challenge. I find camping is the perfect way to spend more time outdoors, and I’ve camped in all weathers, from blistering sunshine and torrential rain that has flooded my tent, and even in gale force winds that have snapped tent poles. And I still love it!
Stuffing my face with a stir fry in the tent
How I Discovered My Love For Camping
I started out camping as a child with my dad in the summer. His friend would take his son, who was a similar age to me, and the four of us would spend just a night or two camping in the countryside. As soon as I could drive, I bought myself a little 3-man Lichfield dome tent. Any time I could afford to, I’d set off in my tiny, rattly Fiat Uno and 4 hours later I’d arrive somewhere in Wales ready to pitch up. When my daughter was born, as soon as she could walk I took her camping and for the next few years, for several weekends each summer, the two of us, along with my sister, would set off on a little adventure.
Relaxing on the beach at Cae Du Farm, practicing mindfulness
Back in those days, and with youth on my side, I didn’t even have an air mattress, just a change of clothes and toiletries, my sleeping bag, torch, pillow and little ghetto blaster. It’s hard to get much more basic, but over the years, whilst my love of camping has continued, I now prefer (somewhat through necessity) to camp in comfort.
One of my hobbies, LARP (you can read more about LARP here) involves camping events which typically last 5 days. I go to a minimum of 4 such events each year, and when you start spending anything more than a day or two living in a tent, you quickly learn how to utilise space and what essentials you need to ensure the experience is a pleasure rather than an ordeal.
Out walking at Tittesworth Reservoir
With my trusty Canon camera at my side, I’ll be sharing our walks, camping trips, adventures and worldwide travels here on the blog, and I hope I’ll inspire others to #GetOutdoors