Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Inspiration from the Road: More than one way to live?
After travelling in many different forms, from backpacking and working overseas, to volunteering and now doing the campervan thing, I can say that it is often the people you meet on the road that enrich and inspire your life and open your eyes to new ways of living. Many of the friends I/we connected with on our travels have stayed in touch and we have even caught up in other parts of the world or they have visited us in Hornsby. We met Sally and Pete on a bus from Istanbul to Gallipoli and we chatted the whole way down there. We had similar views on many issues, from politics to the environment, and thanks to Facebook, we have stayed in touch. So it was lovely to be able to spend a day with them in their beautiful home in the Adelaide Hills and the conversations we had started a few years ago continued into the night.
Travelling in a campervan enables us to meet a different type of traveller. Being self-contained means you can sleep over in free camping sites with no facilities. While there are few people in tents or overseas backpackers in Combie Vans who bush camp here, it is mostly the grey nomads and a few families that seem to patronise these sites. The people in our campsite range from a family from the Hunter Valley (a few hours north of home) travelling in a bus and a car, with 5 kids and 2 dogs, to the couple from South Australia who use their houseboat as a caravan! The kids have been taken out of school for a year and our revelling in the wide-open spaces. Dad, has even installed a bath for his family, and kitted out the bus with bunk beds and a lounge area to suit his large family. The houseboat too has been lovingly built from scratch and meets the right dimensions to be towed behind the car. This couple spends time on both the land and the water and had some great stories to recount.
The other beautiful thing that breaking free of routine offers up is a different rhythm and space to the one you are used to. Time to think. Time to read. Time to reflect on your life if you stop long enough to do so. This is the gift that the campsite at Coober Pedy has offered us because we have no TV or Internet reception here. I just finished reading Tracks by Robyn Davidson. We were first introduced to her epic 1,700-mile journey through the Australian desert with her 4 camels and dog when we saw the movie. We then heard her speak at the Byron Bay Writers Festival and I knew I had to read the book. I find her courage amazing and inspiring. While at my age, I have no desire to trek through the desert, I find in her approach to life, a kindred spirit.
So many passages I wish I could share. Here are two of them that I particularly relate to:
“The question I’m most commonly asked is ‘Why?” A more pertinent question might be, why is it that more people don’t attempt to escape the limitations imposed upon them? If Tracks has a message at all, it is that one can be awake to the demand for obedience that seems natural simply because it is the familiar. Wherever there is pressure to conform (one person’s conformity is often in the interests of another person’s power) there is requirement to resist. Of course I did not mean that people should drop what they were doing and head for the wilder places, certainly not that they should copy what I did. I meant that one can choose adventure in the most ordinary of circumstances. Adventure of the mind, or to use an old-fashioned word, the spirit.” Robyn Davidson
“And now a myth has been created where I would appear different, exceptional. Because society needed it to be so. Because if people started living out their fantasies and refusing to accept the fruitless boredom that is offered them as normality, they would become hard to control.” Robyn Davidson.