Hit the road, not each other

OUR SIX WEEKS OF CAMP­ING WILL BE IN­TENSE

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Mi­randa Mur­phy Mi­randa Mur­phy is a mother of three and a jour­nal­ist at Fol­low her on Twit­ter @mur­phymi­randa

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.

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