It’s ten o clock when we pull up on a remote road deep into the woods somewhere in Germany. I have been driving for 6 hours and I’m due for some sleep. Since it’s still raining pretty bad I decide to give the carcamping thing a try. I’ll continue driving first thing in the morning anyway and this will save me the trouble of finding a decent camping and pitching my tent at this hour. I had seen some pretty idyllic carcamping pictures on instagram. And if it’s on instagram it must be true, right?
I had tried carcamping with several cars before but it always turned out to be a disaster. There was never enough space, the chairs wouldn’t completely flatten so I’d always end up wide awake till dawn with frustration building up to flat out rage throughout the night. But this time was going to be different; I have a spacious and comfortable car now with chairs that can create a completely flat surface. Obviously I checked; I tried to lay down in the back and there seemed to be more than enough space for Nova and me. Probably should’ve laid down and get a feel for more than 2.5 seconds.
Look at me go
The road is dark, rainy and completely deserted. Perfect, exactly what I need. When I park the car I think to myself that this very scenario entails everything my parents always told me to avoid. Sorry mum and dad, this one is on me. I pull down the chairs, rearrange my bags 18 times and blow up my air matrass.
Afterwards I admire the set – up; not bad for a first attempt, this looks almost just as professional and idyllic as on instagram. As I settle in I think of all the possibilities this will give me; won’t have to pitch my tent in the pouring rain anymore, won’t have to lose so much time cleaning and drying all my gear every day and will save some money at the same time! Look at me go, I’m such a capable nomad. I very graciously crawl in, hit my head on the ceiling a couple of times and close my eyes for a very much needed good night’s sleep.
Rearrange. Lay down. Repeat
After 2 minutes I realise that the surface isn’t entirely level. At all. My head is significantly higher than my feet, which causes me and my very slippery sleeping bag to slide down against the back of the car. I try to pretend it’s not a big deal for a while but after pushing myself back up my matrass 86 times I’m done pretending.
It’s fine, I’m nothing if not a great troubleshooter. So I get up, hit my head on the ceiling again and force Nova out in the pouring rain. I put on my shoes, rearrange my bags again and decide on some stuff i can use to even the surface with. I push some stuff underneath my matrass and lay down to feel if it’s better now. It’s not. I rearrange it and lay down again. This process repeats itself a couple of times and I can feel my frustration building up. After a while I decide that it’ll have to do. I rearrange my bags again, get rid of my dripping shoes and rain jacket and help a now completely soaked Nova back in the car. Well that was harder than anticipated, I think to myself. Good thing I was able to solve it. I lock the doors and turn off the light.
The rythm of misery
After 2 minutes Nova begins to pant. Even with my mask and earplugs I can tell, because the whole car is shaking rhytmically. I try to ignore it and while I’m waiting for her to stop, I can feel something poking in my back and a sharp pain evolving in my hip. After 30 minutes of rhytmic frustration I realise she is never going to stop. Ever. So at this point I am presented with the choice to lose sleep over a panting dog or over the rain getting in the car.
Even though I kinda hate her right now, I am still an animal lover so I choose the latter. As I’m trying to open up the window I realise that the car is dead. I can’t do anything without having to start the car first. Great. It wouldn’t have been that big of a problem if only I hadn’t stacked the front seats with all my bags. I’m going to have to put on my shoes and jacket, get out into the pouring rain and rearrange my bags just to open up a damn window. Again.
I hit my head several times again trying to put on my rain gear and I can feel my frustration turning into mild rage. I should write a blog about this, I think while crawling around in the back of the car looking for my other shoe. People love to read about other peoples misery right? As I try to open up the backdoors I feel nothing but resistance. Nothing happens I press the key again to make sure the car is unlocked. Still nothing. Childsafety. Shit. For just a second I can feel the fear of not being able to get out get a hold of me. In that second my mind explores all the dark scenario’s of how this could cause my death. Fire. Flood. Suffocation. The only way out is through the front doors. But again, they are stacked seat to ceiling with bags and heavy crates of canned food. Nova is still panting excessively, I’m tired and I’m really beginning to wonder how those idyllic carcamping pics on the internet came about.
I really hate carcamping
I pull on some bags but they don’t give way even one bit. I’m just going to crawl over them and open the door. Bad choice. I am now stuck between both my bags and the ceiling. Both my claustrofobia and my hate for carcamping are growing rapidly. I open up the door and for a second I can feel the fresh air calming my mind. Just for a second, because the very next both me and the bags fall out of the car onto the soaked grass. As I can feel the water soaking in my everything and listening to the sound of Nova panting hysterically I realise I have learned two things tonight; Instagram is not a realiable source of information and I realy hate carcamping.