The camper has been pulled from its home, dusty and cobwebby, but robust enough to stand the neglect of the past 18 months. Red dust has been ingrained in the cover, the wheel arches, the welded seams. Evidence of holidays past, adventures and getaways. Off-road tyres have a slight flat patch, need some air to plump them up. But our home away from home just needs a hose down, some spit and love and she will be ready to take us to our next memory making camping trip.
We head off on Friday, so this week we will pack the Waeco fridge, fill the water tank, load the canoe on the roof-rack, and pack camping clothes and shoes. Important things to make a place for are bottles of gin, dark chocolate, pack of canasta, my kindle plus a stack of books. The dog is going to be sadly let down when he finds out we are leaving him behind, he likes his camping too. But he won’t be sad for long, my Mum and Dad are coming to stay with him, so he will have five days of gardening and being outdoors and having treats and pats.
The destination this trip is south of Perth, about two and a half hours leisurely drive. It will be hot on Friday, but as we head south and by the coast, it should cool. We will be the first of our group to arrive, so we will set-up our camp, put out the camp chairs, cool the drinks in ice and have a cheese platter ready for when the next campers arrive. Slow and slowed down we will all be. Tension and hyper activity will be leaching from us as ice cold drinks and canvas replace deadlines and offices.
A barbecue, laughs, talking long into the darkness. We will have all decompressed by the time our beds call our names. A cool night with gentle breezes, frogs loud, the moon enough light to see by. The morning will be early, rising with the sun, it will be chilly but warming quickly. The billy is filled, water heating on the gas stove. Coffee in hand, we find our chairs and discuss how we fared in the night, what is on the agenda for today. No one moves fast, a second and third cup of coffee. Breakfast of bacon and eggs, mushroom and tomatoes.
As we wash the breakfast dishes in a plastic bowl, we will discuss where we will go for lunch. Or dinner. This camping trip we are close to wineries and restaurants, bars and cafes. Or shall we just hang about at camp, have tuna and tomato sandwiches and read and nap. Tomorrow another of our group will arrive. They have a new camper to show us, to demonstrate the little things that make camping easy and fun. Drinks will begin at noon. Those of us who arrived early and are settled will take front row seats watching the couple with the new camper work out the routine.
Four nights and five days of living the nomad. But with luxury tents and campers and kitchens on tailgates. Laughter and lounging. Reading and reminiscing. All this will make more memories of the time we went away, to find ourselves, to find contentment. This is my idea of a holiday. Not a boarding pass in sight.
There is still the anxiety, that peaks the night before the trip and slowly ebbs away the longer we are away. The farther we are away from home dilutes the anxiety too, which is bizarre when the norm for anxiety is to feel it when we are most out of our normal life.