Travel, and road trips in particular for the G.O. and me, serve several purposes and different places feed different aspects of our psyche. Without having an exact itinerary in mind when we set off, recently we returned from a three-week, 2000+ kilometre road trip that answered the call of landscapes further afield.
While the G.O. was born here, his early childhood years around the coastal country area we now reside, and both of us spent a good many years in Sydney at one time or another, I come from country inland, the Upper Hunter Valley around places now fighting encroachment from coal mines. I have no desire to live there again, the past is the past, winters are cold, coal dust triggers my asthma, and the beach is hundreds of kilometres away. But spending time driving familiar roads, strolling well-trodden streets, and exploring new… this road trip catching up with family and friends, sharing places where I grew up with the G.O., exploring other places neither of us have been… is one we’ve been wanting to do for far too long, despite it being almost-but-not-quite our own backyard.
We moved from Sydney at the end of 2015 to live 500 kilometres north in the Nambucca Valley. At the beginning of 2016 we bought a 22-year-old pop-top caravan and did a one-month shakedown trip around Victoria, followed by a four-and-a-half-month road triparound Australia. Since… other than day trips, we’ve spent time away from home with Dad when he was unwell, a two-night long-way-home detour on the way back from visiting Dad for his birthday in 2019, and for me a weekend in Sydney with a friend at the beginning of 2020, until recent holidays on the coast a week here and there in late 2021 and earlier 2022.
After we returned from our 2016 road trip it made sense to sell the pop-top as the G.O. needed several rounds of osteo surgery that would keep us close to home. In early days of Covid restrictions on movement as well as risk of infection meant travel wasn’t doable. In the interim we constantly talked about trips we hope to do.
In mid-2021 with the G.O. recovered as much as he’ll ever be and officially retired, we bought a 2012 full-size semi-offroad caravan with an ensuite to which we added solar power so we could travel independently. Now with fuel prices and accommodation-of-all-kind prices sky-rocketed and ongoing waves of Covid, currently our most viable travel option is within our own state.
The caravan offers us the best of all worlds. We enjoy dog friendly pub meals, takeaways and food shopping we don’t have access to in our village but employ leftovers and ingredients similarly to what we do at home. When we go out for a meal which we can never finish, the remains go into plastic tubs I take with me and into our caravan’s tiny freezer… we really look forward to creating another meal from them. Before we left home, I grabbed as much from the garden as was ready to pick, emptied the contents of the house fridge into the caravan fridge and packed more than enough pantry basics. Along the way we enjoyed shopping for fresh food locally from small country town stores.
Best of all we remembered the knack of campfire cooking and renewed our love of camping in the great outdoors… glamping actually, with convenience of nearby showers, toilets and waterways.
“Reflections Holiday Parks are managed by the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Land Managers. As land managers, NSW Crown Holiday Parks don’t own this land. We are its caretakers on behalf of the people of NSW. It’s our job to maintain and nurture this land; to preserve it for future generations and to create unforgettable experiences for our visitors to access and enjoy these exceptional natural assets. Australia’s native flora and fauna are like nothing else on earth and NSW is no exception. The diversity and beauty of our natural assets are perfectly showcased on these prime pockets of NSW Crown land. Our role is to ensure the economic and environmental sustainability of these precious resources; the holiday parks and recreational reserves enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Whether it’s coastal erosion management, tree replacement, upgrading a playground or installing a boardwalk, our aim is to delight our visitors whilst also caring for these priceless natural treasures.”
Road trips are the equivalent of human wings. Ask me to go on one, anywhere. We’ll stop in every small town and learn the history and the stories, feel the ground and capture the spirit. Then we’ll turn it into our own story that will live inside our history to carry with us, always. Because stories are more important than things. – Victoria Erickson
Our only consideration was to arrive home ahead of the holidays, which we did in plenty of time to tidy the house and garden. We wish you and yours all the best for the festive season and the coming new year, 2023.
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck