You learn a lot after 5 years on the road. From practical tips to a few reminders about what’s important and how to enjoy it. Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind whether heading out for months or years or even just a weekend.
Blessed are the chiller bags
That’s right, the humble grocery store chiller bag has many uses! They’re cheap as chips, readily available and great for storage for all manner of things. We store our out of season clothes and use them for clothes we need to wash. They’re far better than plastic when shopping or picnicking and they’re great for storing anything, from ropes and cables to lights and spare tent accessories.
Companionship is precious
Like-minded people gather easily, particularly at free camps around the country. Make sure to say hi and share your time and experience. Meeting new people is one of the best things about travelling. We’ve met some interesting characters and made some great friends during our travels, many of which we still keep in contact with thanks to the wonderful world of social media.
There is nothing like a good Aussie pub
One of Australia’s most iconic scenes is a good old fashioned country pub. A different experience to the city pubs, the country pub is second-to-none when it comes to hospitality and is a great spot for a home-cooked meal. They often offer entertainment too, usually in the form of a local cover band or local character who’s more than happy to share the town’s stories. We often treat ourselves to a full lunch and then while the afternoon away chatting with locals before we opt for the dessert menu come dinner time.
TIP: Many also offer free camping on-site for patrons and travellers.
Oh the places you’ll camp
Between the vast lands and great weather on offer in this beautiful country, there are plenty of places to camp all year round! Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you no longer have to brave potentially trespassing to nab a free or cheap spot no matter where you find yourself. Platforms like Wikicamps and Hipcamp have taken all the guess work out of finding great places to set up camp!
All the photo ops
This is for the photographers amongst us. I love the pink hues of the sunset side or west coast and the crimson and golden hues of the sunrise side…it is a truly magical moment in time. I will often wait for those magic moments to get the best shot and it rarely fails me, no matter where I am.
Stop and smell the season
Roses are nice and all but you could turn the scent of each season into a candle and make a pretty fortune. There is nothing like the smell of the forest or grass after rain, or the comforting aroma of a small campfire in the early hours of the morning. The perfume of the wattles as they bloom just spring hits. And of course the salty essence of the sea that sticks around all evening after a long day at the beach.
Live life on the edge… of the season
We’re what you’d call, ‘edge of season’ travellers. We enjoy the turn of the seasons, the change of colour and the birth of life and when we approach the full flush of summer or the dead cold of winter we are outta-there. This helps to thin out the tourist numbers we have to deal with and come holiday season we’ll head inland to those wonderful country towns and outback regions leaving the coastal tourist haunts to the holidaymakers who have fewer choices than we do. This is how to avoid crowds.
A tailwind is a little gift from god
The drivers, and those who tow their mobile homes or navigate big rigs, will understand this idiom. This becomes most evident when you have a good straight set ahead. Our driver has been known to camp up and wait for that tailwind, rather than drive into a headwind when on the Nullarbor and it is amazing the difference it makes. Watching the weather fronts is also something we have learnt to do.
A nice hot shower?
When travelling through the wilderness and remote areas in Australia you’ll quickly learn that water is a very precious resource. If you want a shower, head for a stint in a caravan park or BYO both shower and water!
Tourist or traveller
A tourist has a destination, a traveller is in the present and their rig is their destination. ‘Outside’ for a traveller is the entertainment opportunity and presents the things they enjoy: sitting in the vehicle watching the countryside move by, or sitting around the campfire watching the bush telly in the flicker of the flame. Research the places you wish to see and discover, the areas you pass through, meet the locals and become part of the community… participate! There is no truer, nor more important advice.
Everyone’s experience is different so we’d love to hear the most valuable things you’ve learned from your travels in the comments.