Looks what is sitting in our driveway tonight…all ready and waiting for us to (not so silently) steal away at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Yes, after many, many days of packing and “stuff” we are finally ready to head off on our big adventure. Now I know half of you will be thinking “yuk” and the other half will be wishing you were coming with us…when I tell you that we are off for a five week camping trip. Exploring a part of Australia – the Queensland coast, up as far as Cairns perhaps, is our relatively last-minute plan. A holiday I was planning in Paris and Barcelona suddenly morphed into this camping trip. I was about to hit the ‘pay now’ button on the apartment in Paris when I half-heartedly offered to Andrew that we could go on the camping trip he has been wanting to do for a long time instead, seeing how he was not that enthusiastic about Paris. I did say that it probably wasn’t possible since we could not go in his old car that was falling apart and he kept finding excuses to not replace. So he came home from work the next evening and proudly announced that he had bought a new car. Keen to lock me in on that offer to go camping eh? Luckily I do like camping. It is one of the most relaxing holidays – eventually batteries on laptops and phones run out (except this time – more later), and we are forced to slow down, spend time with the kids and just relax. Andrew does most of the work involved in the camping experience which certainly helps! If I had to do more set up and cleaning up, I think I would probably feel less inclined to go. So yes, I would pick camping over a holiday in a five-star hotel. Possibly because the ‘glamour’ of five-star hotels wore out pretty quickly when I had to live in one for six months. And we do have a fair amount of luxuries in our version of camping – we eat well, have comfortable accommodation, good coffee, a hot shower….
We have tons of camping stuff and for this big trip Andrew has gone a tad crazy and added more to it. I can’t complain too much as some of it has been designed to help me take that much time away from the office…by taking the office with me. A mega aerial to boost phone and internet signal, a new (not quite yet officially released) gadget that can get super high-speed mobile broadband, a dual battery system wired in to the car with a thingy for me to plug-in my laptop and mobile phone…..etc. So in theory at least I should still be able to keep an eye on my business, respond to client calls for help, and all that usual stuff. I just hope I don’t get so relaxed that I don’t bother to use any of this whizz-bang gadgetry that he has set up for me!
We have no plans other than to head north, hugging the coast. We stay in National Parks (not caravan parks) since we are pretty self-contained. Sam would like to go snorkeling somewhere in the Great Barrier Reef and we have vaguely discussed doing a few days sailing at the Whitsundays. Apart from that no other plans. The tinny (small aluminum boat) is strapped to the roof so a fair amount of fishing is sure to feature in those weeks. The kids and I baked about 100 Anzac biscuits, tons of gingerbread people and ducks that they had great fun decorating and a fruit cake (perfect after dinner, sitting around the camp fire). I am taking some sourdough starter and a few kilos of flour with me to try my hand at baking bread over the camp fire in a camp over (big cast iron cooking pot). I can’t imagine it working, but I am keen to give it a try! Worst case we have wasted a bit of space on a container of flour! I have vacuum packed chunks of roast beef for lunches, packets of bacon for big breakfasts some days, some steak and other meats. I have made and frozen a lamb curry and a couple of containers of a bolognese sauce for those nights when we arrive late and have to set up camp and no time or energy to cook. We have a big esky and a fridge-freezer esky (which has been unreliable due to battery issues in the past, so I not feeling a great deal of confidence in it). Packing food for a five week trip is quite different to packing for a weekend or even a two week trip which we have sometimes done. Ofcourse we will stop along the way to top up supplies of vegetables, milk and meat…and I am hoping for lots of mud crabs and tropical fruit! Packing clothes for 5 weeks was even more interesting. We each have a small drawer (yes, about the size of a standard kitchen drawer) that we have to fit all our clothes in – yes, ALL! I decided that if I had to wear the same few items of clothing for five weeks it could not be my crappy and ancient old, old clothes that I use for camping. I “splashed out” and bought some new shorts and tshirts…from Target!
So come and join me in a virtual camping trip. You know I have the technology now to post a few updates along the way….in between checking work emails ofcourse! 🙂