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Travis Kingdon · CBC News · 

Shannon Pesa spends most weekends during the summer at the campground. But it could be any of the campgrounds across P.E.I. It all started in 2016 when Pesa and a friend were deciding where to go camping the following season.

“We were just at one of the campgrounds and were trying to pick where we wanted to go the next year. And I said, ‘You know what? I’d like to just try them all.'” This has been Pesa’s busiest season. 

She is spending the weekend at Marco Polo Land, marking her eighth camping trip this year. She takes her children, Cohen, 11, and Carter, 4, and husband, Stephen, along with her. 

Shannon Pesa says her kids aren’t tired of camping just yet. (Campgrounds PEI Facebook)

Pesa planned planned to complete her journey in 10 years when she began, but she thinks she can cross them all off her list in about two more years. She thinks there are around 40 campgrounds on the Island. That number comes from some searching online and people reaching out to her. She discovers more as she travels from one site to another. She’s visited 16.  “It’s just been amazing to see how beautiful P.E.I. is … and how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful province.”

Pesa and her family have travelled all over the Island and aren’t sick of sleeping outside. “My four-year-old, he will ask in the middle of the week if we’re going camping.  He’s … always ready to go camping.”

For Pesa, the campground provides an escape. “The reason I guess I love it, too, is because, with children … you’re so scheduled and busy, but when we’re camping, there’s no schedule,” she said. “We’re just kind of relaxed for the weekend. And I find my kids are usually, for the most part, happier and on their best behaviour while we’re camping.”  

Camping in the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t slowed the family. Pesa started reaching out as soon as the campgrounds received permission to open. “I emailed every single campground because I figured that might have been the only thing to do this year,” she said.  With the purchase of a new trailer this year, upgrading from a tent, Pesa said she’s going to try to camp into October. That will allow her to cross a few more locations off her list.

When she’s completed her journey, she will pick a favourite. Then she plans to stay at that campground for a little longer each summer going forward.