As a first step, I’m going to practice being on my own, out in the middle of nowhere.
You might think that’s the easy part, but for women travelling alone safety and security are the biggest issues.
My last trip out to Uluru I spoke to a lot of women – women who worked outback, women travelling with their partners and women travelling in pairs, and they all said the same thing. Being alone with no help around if something happens scares the bejesus out of them. And being alone at night amplifies the fear. At night every creak turns into a footstep, every hiss is a snake, and every snake is dangerous. Actually, in Australia, just about every snake IS dangerous.
The first time I went bush camping without Doc I was terrified, and there were two of us there. When I was woken up in the middle of the night by a blood curdling scream I just lay there, petrified, arms straight by my sides and eyes wide open trying to look around without moving my head.
Admittedly, this time I’m doing it the easy way and staying on the farm rather than camping. That means I have proper shelter in case of rain or strong wind rather than just a tent or swag, and I have 2,000 litres of water in tanks rather than just 40 litres in jerry cans. But everything else is pretty much what it would be if I was camping.
Oh, all right, the stove and fridge at the farm are also better than my camping stove and car fridge, and the solar lights are probably better than my camping lights too. And I have a flush toilet (yes, it’s finished), but other than that it’s the same as camping.
It’s a 45 minute drive to the nearest town so I can’t just pop out to the shops if I run out of milk. I’m going to be out here for a week, so that means I’m on camping rations –fresh fruit & vegetables for a few days, then on to pasta, rice and beans. But I do have plenty of wine!
And I’m alone, with lots of nightly creaks and groans to keep me awake and a history of dangerous snakes in the house.
Doc’s big fear for me is not the creaks and groans, but that he thinks I’m clumsy and will have an accident while I’m alone and not be able to get help.
I have no idea why he thinks that. Just because last time we were here I closed a gate on my heel and took all (and I do mean all) the skin off it, or because every time I cook at home I bang my head on the range hood. Perhaps it’s because one night I lit the grill here and burnt the all hair around my face and my eyelashes, or maybe because I set myself on fire while lighting the sparklers on his birthday cake. Now I come to think of it, he might have a point.
So wish me luck. I’ll keep you updated on my escapades, and if I start sounding confused towards the end of the week you’ll know it’s because those creaks and groans have kept me awake. If I stop blogging completely send help, I might have had an accident …