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Camping – 21st Century Utopia?

It’s about 23:00, the sky is full of stars and satellites, and I’m sitting outside my family tent in a campsite in the Loire valley, France.

I just saw a hedgehog scuttle by, my 5 year old daughter loved the Camping Kids talent show tonight and my wife came back from the same event brimming with pride at one of the UK ‘entries’, a Sri Lankan boy of 8 rapping without music, brilliantly.

I can hear an English family making friends with a Dutch couple, their kids all asleep now; I heard two families from Yorkshire discover they have the same local haunts and the French woman with Touretts who is one of a group has stubbed her last cig and gone to bed.

This site, very family-focussed, is expensive at ?35 per night – so most families can do this. Everyone is elbow to elbow regardless of class when they do the washing up, and by virtue of the physical proximity and willingness to rough it to varying degrees, people are keen to be friendly.

So I’m wondering if camping – that I grew up with as a child, reconnected with in a cidery sort of way as a ‘beatnik-punk-hippy’ in the late 70s, and have just returned to as a Dad – is our only remaining modern Utopia?

Definition of Utopia: an ideal community or society possessing a seemingly perfect socio-politico-legal system. (OK, the legal bit’s not relevant here)The word was invented by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean.

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