Those of you who aren’t caravanners must probably wonder what on earth we do out there, in the bush. Well, there’s only so much sightseeing that one can do without becoming completely and utterly exhausted (we are seniors you know). There are only so many museums, art galleries and craft shops that one can enjoy. We find that the attraction that we don’t visit, the one we almost visit but say “Oh God no! Enough is enough”. Well that one turns out to be everyone else’s favourite in all of Australia and we bloody well missed it!
As much as we’d love to sit around a campfire every night, we don’t. We sure cherish it when we do though. In the summer months open fires are usually banned and even when they’re not we’d rather not take the risk. After all we live in one of the world’s most bushfire prone places and fire, like snakes and crocs must be respected.
Tech – On the road I quickly tire of technology-based hobbies. Frankly I just got tired of using screens and that’s a bold statement from a retired geek. I find it more relaxing to buy a puzzle book to satisfy my crossword and sudoku fetish. Though our Kindles being softer on the old eyes remain our preference for reading and of course they’re smaller, lighter and the font can be enlarged. On long trips and shooting in Raw I still need to process photos and I keep up the blog from a variety of devices but I try to minimise this wherever possible and schedule a few posts in advance to allow time to settle back into the rhythm of travelling. Woody is an avid newspaper reader and still loves to buy a paper daily but when we’re in remote areas he downloads his news. I try to avoid newspapers when we’re travelling as I find them depressing.
Photography, Walking and Birdwatching – These are all part of the experience of spending time in a new place. Watching the tides, identifying the flora and fauna and rambles along walking trails.
Beachcombing – I reckon I was put on this earth to beachcomb. I cannot walk along sand without peering down looking for something, anything. Even our own bay beach, which is lucky to ever contain a shell, gets the full inspection. I’ve learnt to always give my haul a thorough inspection though before storing them away because I once noticed that a freshly washed shell had sprung legs and was escaping across the kitchen sink! I doubt that Woody would’ve appreciated a crab in the doona.
Macrame – A couple of years back, on a total whim I shocked everyone by racing into a craft shop and buying some macramé twine. At this point I should add that I had been frightened off crafts in Grade 3 when the teacher held up my knitting for the whole class to laugh at if you can picture the teacher and forty kids (in handknits) laughing their socks off. Thus, while staying on the NSW north coast, in an area well known for craft pursuits and smoking (and I don’t mean hams) I was smitten by tying tiny knots and making bookmarks and key fobs. A passion that later morphed into making garlic hangers, but we’ll discuss that another time. The beauty of small macramé work is that it takes up very little space in the van, just a supermarket bag full of threads and beads and I can incorporate a few shells and driftwood that I find along the way, without the hermit crabs.
Genealogy – Caravanning has been the perfect way to explore the places where our ancestors lived and worked. I do the researching and online stuff when at home then while we’re travelling we can visit the towns and cemeteries and historical societies and walk the streets our ancestors walked.
Ukulele – I always carry one uke with us as it is nice to have a strum and keep up the practice, my F chord is appalling, but preferably when neighbours are far enough away from us not to be disturbed. I might get a little passionate about Hotel California but I’m quite sure that the neighbours won’t. That said, if there’s another muso in the park they’ll usually pop by for a jam. It’s surprising how many guitars, ukes and banjos are travelling out there.
TV – There I’ve said it. Woody loves his telly. I could happily live without it for a very long time. Reception is usually pretty good unless we’re out in the sticks. In that case there’s always a movie or a series on board to keep us amused. I did feel the pain of the two young shop assistants when we walked into a video shop in Port Hedland (in Western Australia’s Pilbara) looking for the final series of Downton Abbey. Ok, just picture a sea of red dirt and two oldies sitting by a dark desert highway glued to the lives and loves of the British upper classes. Perhaps we should learn to fish.