Hit the road, not each other
OUR SIX WEEKS OF CAMPING WILL BE INTENSE
IF YOU are reading this, it means I have been kidnapped.
Which is to say, I have gone on a six-week driving and camping “holiday” through the Outback with my husband and three children, aged four to eight. Like Captain Oates stepping out into the Antarctic blizzard, I may be some time.
Last time I went camping, I was six months’ pregnant and we crammed into a small tent with our toddler’s portacot. The young son of our other campmates became spectacularly ill with gastro. Their daughter got the biggest splinter in recorded history.
Prehistoric lizards stalked the perimeter of our site, raiding our bacon and mur- walk”. Which it could come to if we break down somewhere in the WA outback.
This is generally how people react when they hear our plan:
“Wow, that sounds amazing!” (Translation: “That is so brave!”)
“Wow, that is so brave!” (Translation: “That is the dumbest idea I have ever heard.”)
“Wow, that sounds like the trip of a lifetime!” (Translation: “You could actually die.”)
I’ve recently read of an unexpected aerial hazard: scientists are planning to drop cane-toad-mince sausages, laced with a nausea-inducing chemical, from helicopters over the Kimberley in an attempt to turn quolls off eating poisonous cane toads. Fair to say I didn’t see flying sausages coming.
But the truth is, this trip is a magnificent chance for us all to see the country, dodge some crocs, warm up and spend some quality — if intense — time together.
And thanks to our wide, brown, unconnected land we’re looking forward to some blessed relief from the internet and other devices. If we haven’t read the kids all the Harry Potters, Famous Fives and complete works of Dickens by the end then we’ll have failed as parents.
I’m looking forward to it all immensely. And I promise not to write the print equivalent of a holiday slide night for this column every week.
Let me also take this opportunity to publicly thank our travelling companions for their 20 years of unconditional friendship. Because I’m quite sure that none of us will be speaking to each other by the end of this trip.
Let’s roll ... and hope our road trip won’t be as eventful as the Griswold family’s.