While I’m eager to start planning the next trip (and have already been looking at the map – corner country looks good, then down the Strzelecki track) it’s important to look back and see what I’ve learned from doing this without Doc.
I do love travelling with Doc, and I love all our adventures, but I think it was a good thing that I did this without him. As he has a lot more experience than me I rely on him to make a lot of decisions and do a lot of the work – more than I should. This trip has forced me to do all that myself, and to learn very quickly (or maybe slowly looking at the list below), what to look out for.
Things we forgot
- Shovel (for digging holes or digging us out of them)
- Washing line & pegs
- Paper towels for wiping up spills and cleaning oily saucepans. Yes I know you can buy them anywhere but I kept forgetting to do that as well
- Small saucepan / billy
- Outdoor mosquito protection – coils / lamps / candles / etc
- The Bushman’s fridge. Well, I didn’t really forget that but it was fixed into the cruiser, so Doc gave me the Engel instead. I love my Bushman’s fridge – it has a basket system so the things on the bottom can stay frozen while lettuce stays crisp (rather than frozen) on the top. Importantly – you can stand a bottle of wine up in it!!
Things we won’t do again
- Set up camp right by an ants nest. They might not be under the tent, but they do climb up your table and chairs – and your feet and legs.
- Set up camp under a precariously swinging limb of a gum tree (fortunately it didn’t drop)
- Set up camp on top of a lot of burrs
- Set up camp and not leave enough room in front of the tent to park the car in case of strong winds
- ssume that because the ground around a billabong appears dry and cracked it is safe to walk on. I lost a thong when I sank into the mud underneath and had to walk back to the car barefoot on hot sand and thorns. And covered in foul smelling mud up to my knees. At least it kept the mozzies away.
- Not check the whole car. It’s not enough just to check under the bonnet daily, everything else has to be checked as well, particularly those things like awnings that are bolted on.
- Real coffee – I took a stove top percolator and milk frother (plastic, looks like a plunger – not the electric variety. But if I had one I’d probably take it with me.)
- Ceramic mugs to drink it out of.
- Glass – I won’t drink good wine out of plastic, and plastic makes the champagne bubbles go flat. We broke four glasses on this trip (2 wine, 2 champagne), but I will still always travel with glass. I will eat off plastic, but I hate drinking out of it.
- Pedicure kit – my travel kit includes just the basics of nail polish and polish remover, cuticle remover & cutter, foot file (2 of different coarseness), foot cream. I know, I know, I’ve heard it all about girls and camping, but my feet get very dry and cracked out in the bush. For trips longer than 2 or 3 weeks I also take a facial kit and hair mask.
So I admit it – I’m a girl. But camping and being a girl are not mutually exclusive. I can still set up a tent with the best of them – at least if it’s not too windy!