The Summer Vacation Ritual

summer camping


As a relative newcomer to North America and a baby boomer, one of the many differences between living in the Southern Hemisphere as I did for most of my life and the Northern, as I do now, is the ritual of summer vacation. (Holidays, for my European and Southern Hemisphere readers)

When the summer solstice is just before Christmas, because daylight hours in the tropics do not change much between summer and winter and most days in winter are still warm, summer does not have the same impact. Quite the opposite in fact, because of the relentless, dry heat in spring and the first half of summer, followed by more humid hot days with occasional downpours and violent electrical storms after Christmas, most strenuous sports are played in winter.

In my time at school, the summer break over Christmas was 5 to 6 weeks, I believe it has now been reduced to 4 weeks. Much shorter than the two month break here.

Because it was possible to travel freely all year round without worrying about getting stuck in deep snow and freezing to death, it was always a good time to travel, go camping or explore the bush. In many of the hotter parts of the region, it was far more enjoyable to travel during the cooler months – especially in the days before air conditioning in cars became common.

It was warm enough in places like Kariba in the Zambezi valley, the lowveld or on the Indian Ocean coast that swimming, water skiing and sailing were all possible during the winter. As long as a careful watch was kept for crocodiles in the first two, sharks in the 3rd.

What that did was to spread out families’ travel plans over all the 3 or 4 school holidays or vacations each year. There would still be a rush of people all going away at the same time for a few of the long weekends but not to the same extent as the summer migration here.

The seasons tended to flow into one another. From cool mornings and warm dry days in winter to warm mornings and hot dry days in spring followed by very hot very dry and very dusty days in early summer – particularly in the so called “suicide month” of October. Finally the hot, sometimes humid and frequently rainy days from December to March. Generally the rain came in intense showers or storms, building up quickly, a heavy downpour and then skies clearing and bright hot sunshine.

Cool, wet, cloudy days with light rain were rare.

The type of farming was completely different. Farms generally were much bigger than in North America, and were far more labour intensive, both because of the huge numbers of people willing and available to work in agriculture and the expense and unavailability of large tractors and implements. With many farms employing hundreds of workers, giving children a long summer break to work on parents farms was neither necessary nor effective.

I was reminded of the differences by yet another good blog.

Carrie Dotson who publishes Summer Nanny Jobs, thought that her post “10 Tips for a Successful Camping Trip with kids” might be of interest to my readers. I do know that not all of you are baby boomers like me,  that many of you do still have kids at home. Because of the great tradition of the summer vacation, it is quite possible that some of you are contemplating a family camping trip with some degree of trepidation right now. I hope you find Carrie’s post helpful.

Last week I listened to a very exciting call about Zeek Rewards, it seems that it is one of the fastest growing companies in the USA right now, new people are joining to get their foot in the door of the Penny Auction industry in unprecedented numbers. I am not permitted to disclose much more than that and I am not really supposed to comment publicly on why I am so happy with the way my investment is growing. Just that before too long I will be able to go camping all year round if I want! In warmer places too.

Wishing you success in all your endeavours and Happy Camping.



Peter Wright






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