Dearth of sombreros and painted mules notwithstanding, in Australia people resident in a more southerly state location are often collectively & somewhat cheekily referred to as “Mexicans”. There’s longstanding rivalries between the states, one of the keenest being between my home state of NSW and the state adjoining its southern border, Victoria, where the elder of my younger sisters now resides.
Planning our year off, the G.O. and I pencilled in a visit to my south of the border sister for March 2016 to give us a break from moving and settling into our home at Taylors Arm.
When the opportunity arose to join a blogger meet up in Melbourne we shuffled schedules and set off in late February. It also let us try out ourselves & our caravan on a shorter trip before embarking on a longer trip scheduled for mid-year.
Having not done so before I accomplished packing the van remarkably efficiently without the G.O.’s belated advice to distribute the contents and thus the weight evenly.
We took away a few lessons from the trip: turn the fridge on early… ours came good about the time we arrived at my sister’s 5 days into the trip; fellow caravanners are great sources of information from where to stay, the mysteries of awnings, optimum tyre pressures, accessories necessary & not, and introduced us to that unique caravan park spectator sport – watching new arrivals reverse into a camping space.
We set off with a route in mind but thanks to many wonderful travel tips, abundant attractions throughout the state of Victoria and learning to balance distance & duration, our itinerary evolved as did our conversance with caravan lifestyle.
My mantra as the trip progressed became “I can do this”. Since our December 2015 move from city to country & employed to unemployed, the complexion of my life had changed from city skyscraper office dweller to… flux. Much of what I had been good at professionally was irrelevant.
About two-thirds the way through our travels, late on a warm night under starry skies camped at Wentworth next to the Darling River I had an epiphany while wandering along the track in the direction of the shower block, carrying my towel & toiletry bag… Life is good.
During the trip I experienced a real sense of accomplishment & enjoyment from adapting and stretching my literal & figurative comfort zones -physical activities to communal amenities- necessary for full participation in Australian travel on the road.
With that first trip and some essential maintenance work on our house behind us we’re now packing and preparing to set off shortly on our next, more challenging travel adventure, caravanning around the northern and western states of Australia.
Our Victoria trip route, 22 February to 22 March 2016 (late summer into unusually warm early autumn):
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’
said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where -‘
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’
said the Cat.
‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE’…”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
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