It is September and the tourist season in Italy is coming to its end. The days are getting shorter and the exorbitant amounts of Euros that the campsites asked in high season, are often reduced to only a quarter of price. It is getting quieter every day on the campgrounds. The school holidays in Europe are over, which means that there are no families anymore with school-going children. Also younger couples are becoming a rarity. Only those who were able to get a holiday in the shoulder season are the ones we see around. In other words, no well-proportioned bodies in colourful bikinis and boxer shorts anymore, but only grandfathers with huge beer bellies in very tight swimsuits, and grannies in bikinis, whose appearance is not something you really like to see. Why do older people not change to a boxer shorts and a bathing suit at a certain age, is what we often ask ourselves? It would be very pleasant for the other campers.
Nowadays, the traditional car with caravan is passé. As a modern camper, you really need a campervan (RV), whose luxury level is often presented by the number of stars on the back of the vehicle. Four stars and more is really what counts. Brands like Hymer, Dethleffs and Carthago will give you the most status among other campervan drivers. Nowadays, most elderly campers prefer a lot of luxury. A camper without electric satellite dish on the roof, a vacuum cleaner on board, an airconditioning system, and a garage with a couple of electric bikes or a scooter in it, is pretty outdated. What happened with the real camping activity? Indeed, with a tent and an old car, the elderly campervan residents often look at us with suspicion, as they pass by on their way to the shower in their bathrobes and colourful Crocs.
But one thing make the old aged campervan resident still look weird: the so-called shit trolley. The shit trolley is the reservoir of the chemical toilet, equipped in most campervans nowadays. Most campervan residents do not like the sanitary facilities on most camping grounds, and prefer to do their business in the familiar environment of the campervan. But the waste has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is called the shit trolley. A mix of chemicals prevents that the whole campervan, and the rest of the camping, will be terrorised by a shitty smell. But there is one big disadvantage of the shit trolley; it has to be emptied from time to time. And that’s why it is very common to see the campervan residents walking over the camping ground, wearing pink cleaning gloves, and dragging the shit-trolley behind them, on the way to the chemical-toilet disposal facility. And that is something they usually do in the morning, just before they leave, and while the tent dwellers (like us) are still sitting in front of their tents to enjoy a breakfast. Bon appetite! So if you can invent something which makes it not necessary anymore to stroll over the campground with the shit trolley, you probably found yourself a money machine.
Camping with a campervan is precision work nowadays. The campers have become very large, or the campgrounds very small, but a camera system and some people are needed to navigate the campervan to the right spot. But not every place is good enough. A clear view from the roof of the camper is necessary to make it possible for the electronically controlled satellite dish antenna system to find the right satellite. Because missing an episode of your favourite daily soap on TV may just lead to a marriage crisis; even at that age. Also, each campervan is equipped with several drive-on-blocks so that the vehicle can be put exactly horizontal. We previously thought that this had something to do with the fact that people did not like to sleep on a slightly sloping bed, but the main reason is that many refrigerators are not working when they are not levelled. And that means no cold beer, and that it something the modern campervan resident can’t handle. Eventually, when the campervan is well positioned, the power is connected, the sun screen has been installed, the rug is positioned in front of the camper and the chairs are installed, it is time for the male campervan resident to proudly walk around his campervan to enjoy his stuff. Dust and dead flies are removed from the campervan with the greatest care, while his wife is trying to get her iPad working, to be able to Whats-app with her children and especially grandchildren. Because the reality is, that mainly the men are enjoying the camping. It is not rare to see that the women spent large parts of the day in the campervan while the men in their ultra-tight swimwear stroll over the camping, looking for other campers to chat with. And the most favourite subjects to talk about? Campervans and the route they drove.