15 questions with…the Fasosin family
Despite worldwide explorations being thwarted by Covid this year, Michael and family have carried on their passion for camping @home and staycations around the UK. They are still keeping their wanderlust very much alive with bucket lists and plans for adventures. We caught up with them in their VW california camper van to ask our 15 questions.
Q: Where do you live?
A: Nether Wallop, Hampshire, UK
Q: What’s your age bracket?
A: 30 to 52 with kids ages ranging from toddler to older teenagers.
Q: Have you always been a camper?
A: Off and on, depending on our holiday plans and what each family member is thinking about that year.
Q: What kind of camping holidays do you go on?
A: Before children, we’d done a few mountain hiking holidays in China, South and Central America. In Europe, we’ve done mountain treks and camped in France. In 2015, we bought a VW California Camper Van which we’ve used for camping across the UK. We’ve also recently used it to camp in our local meadow for social distance open door sleepovers for families and children from our school bubble and some friends subsequently. We’re very lucky as this means we’re all able to enjoy meeting up at an easy social distance outdoors together.
Q: Why do you love camping? Do any specific moments spring to mind?
A: We definitely enjoy the freedom of camping and the opportunity to be at one with nature. I think our favourite camping experience was in Peru. We opted to trek and camp the Lares/Weaver Trail. This was a four day scenic hike and camp that gives you the experience of the local communities that live in the Andes. This is a high altitude trek (up to 4,420m) so it was tough hiking but fully assisted with a knowledgeable guide to lead the way. We also did have a team to set up camp and a hot meal was waiting by the time we arrived at camp. We have some special moments from that trip. I was offered a child bride by one of the andes farmers. Presumably, he’d not met anyone with my skin colour before!
My incredulous fiancee Katie, looked on and I kept saying to the farmer, we’re together in sign language he wasn’t having any of it. Needless to say, Katie was offered a boy of 9 in the next village. So that made it a draw!
Q: Where are your preferred places to go camping?
A: We’re both obsessed with mountains or anywhere close to the seaside. In the UK, we don’t like to drive too far from home, particularly as we have young children. Well, every parent doesn’t like dealing with the “Are we there yet tantrums” This suits us at the moment. We can still have staycation adventures during Covid and so have opted for Devon, Cornwall and the Peak District. Otherwise, we would definitely be back camping at longer haul destinations.
Q: What do you look for in a campsite?
A: Definitely amenities. For example, Osmington in Dorset has facilities for washing, close to the beach and you can get to town and they have activities onsite for the whole family.
The campsite sits at the top of a cliff and you can take steps to get down to the beach. It is uneven in places but works well for everyone and plenty of kids games etc. The views from the top of the campsite or at the sea side are breathtaking views of the Dorset coastline and surrounding villages. The surrounding views include George III on his horse and local shops serving up beverages and snacks.
There are some lovely towns and villages close by including Lulworth Cove, Weymouth Beach and the village of Osmington itself. Last year, we went there in August. It was busy this Summer but we felt there were enough facilities and pitch space for everyone. The village pub is called Smugglers Arms. It’s a short route march away from the campsite and well worth it!
Q: What have been your favourite camping holidays in the past?
A:I would have to say camping along the Lares Trek really stands out.
Q: What potential camping trips are you most looking forward to? How do you plan your trips?
A:We would love to camp further afield again; Chile at some point, New Zealand and Kilimanjaro are on our list. Hopefully, we can get planning when we’ve got over Covid-19.
Q: Do you have any camping trips booked this year? If so, what and where?
A: We’ve actually been hosting camp@Home. We’re lucky to have a local meadow and a camper van with an awning. We’ve had fun doing camp overs with friends as lockdown has been easing. We’ve put on social distance games to entertain the children such as rounders, go-karting and cricket. Going further afield, we’re planning to camp out in Kent with family and then a trip back to Devon later in September for a long weekend.
Q: How do you feel about camping this year, given the Covid-19 situation?
A: We’re lucky that we can pitch up anywhere with basic facilities and a field. So, we’re pretty relaxed about it. The same if we are camping at a larger site. As long as social distance, appropriate hygiene and facilities are available on site. We are also carrying all the relevant gear we need ourselves such as hand wash soap and face masks etc.
Q: Would you choose camping over a hotel or apartment this year in light of Covid-19? Why?
A: Yes absolutely. We just love the freedom to be at one with the outdoors, kids can go feral and are free to explore nature and the environment within reason and safety. You’re also more likely to be socially distanced from others than hotels at the moment.
Q: What reassurances have you seen from campsites regarding improved health and safety this year?
A: Quite a few campsites and websites such as CampInn.com have published guidance on how they’re supporting their hosts to look after guests and the safety procedures on site. I’ve seen a lot of information on pitch distance and facilities as well as hygiene and wearing masks on sites – here in the UK but also across Europe.
Q: What are your top pieces of advice to those that might be new to camping?
A: I think for camper aficionados, serendipity is a motto. Have an open mind and spirit. The more you love nature and everything that being close to it brings, the more likely you’re going to enjoy your camping experience. It helps to have good gear that is not too complicated to set up and use otherwise, you’ll be frustrated. If you are totally new to camping, I would definitely do a dry run by pitching up on a local spot or someone’s garden overnight so you get a feel for what all the essential things are.
Q: What are your favourite bits of camping kit and why?
A: We absolutely love our VW California Camper Van and the Lichfield California Drive-Away Air Awning. It’s super easy to set up the awning, you can literally set up your within 20mins. Basic hand pump, solid rock pegs with rubber heads to hold them to the ground are also essential for us. One trick is to ensure the beams and structure are already embedded in the tent so you just unfurl and pump away. My family likes a bit of glamping so we also have two blow up beds we use in the awning tent. Essential to have a torch and sleeping bags which the kids can tuck into on the blow up mattress. You can then use the beds in the camper van as overflow or store more gear in it.
Q: Any last tips?
A: Be curious, make new friends, enjoy taking it slow and relax.
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