Living in Australia and doing a camper van road trip is a right of passage. I have done two now, the first for 7 months ( from Perth to Brisbane around the bottom) and the second for 5 months (The WA coast). Living and road tripping in our car taught us a few things. Nothing too revolutionary, but some tips that we took away from it that might help for planning that road trip adventure you are dreaming of.
Aim for self sufficiency: We took everything we needed, Lots of water, a solar shower, cooking utensils, gas stove, bedding etc. We had our home on wheels, which meant less spending on the road. We didn’t need a hotel or backpackers because our Troopie was so comfy to live in. We could go weeks at a time with out heading back for a supplies, which meant we could head more remote and see places with no one else around. Being Self sufficient and minimal at the same time is key. Take what you need, but not overdo it with too much stuff. We did that a bit and it made the eternal shit shuffle endless.
Everything needs a place: Small confined space means that you need to stow away things in their designated space. If you have a space for it, it needs to go back there once you are done using it. Keeping your home/car tidy means sanity. A mess and not being able to find things can drive you up the way and cause unnecessary friction.
Bugs and such: We used mozzie coils and nets some of the time to deal with those pesky biters, but besides that we had a mozzie ritual. After we get into bed, we shine a light around the van and kill each and every mozzie that found it’s way inside. Slightly satisfying, but the one that found there way buzzing around you head in the middle of the night was a killer.
Keeping the Peace: Getting on each others nerves is inevitable, but practicing certain communication methods can help. When angry ( and on land) you have the luxury of going for a walk, swim, surfing or drive to cool down. Set a time to sit down and talk to each other about what is bothering you. Listening to the other person and both making a conscious effort to listen and compromise is what can help keep the peace. Part of what worked for us, is that both of us were craving being outdoors and doing what we love, camping, fishing, surfing. Happy souls, made little things a bit easier to handle.
The Trip Itself:
Take the road less traveled:
Not to much to say on this one, but we avoided crowded campsites as much as possible. Stealth camping was our forte, and heading down windy tracks where not many others would go (especially big motor homes with noisy generators!) Seek out wild places where the air is fresh, nudie swims are appropriate, you can clearly think under the stars, and enjoy nature.
Be Bush Ready: Basics of car maintenance, first aid, bush survival, how to use a compass basic skills but essential for going
Don’t set a schedule: When you find a place that makes your heart sing and your soul tingle, don’t spend only 3 days there because the schedule says so. Be flexible. Let the place decide how long you stay. Give yourself time. When the surf was good we weren’t going anywhere, when the salmon were running that was where we stayed, empty national parks were too good to leave. When the time to leave comes, be grateful for the good times you had and then head on your way awaiting the next part of your adventure. remote. A spare tire and belts and knowing what to do with them is the key. We had a good first aid kit, so that we could deal with any issues with out feeling like we needed to run to a pharmacy or doctor for the basics. Having a bush going geologist with me meant the bush survival skills, like not getting lost, knowing what to do if you get bogged, and knowing the constellations at night… all useful skills. These are all skills that can be learned. So get some books, do a basic first aid and mechanic’s course. get skilled up.
Final Tip: Rustic travelling can push your boundaries, it can make you do things you never thought possible. Put yourself in those situations. You grow and change your perspective on things. Either way, no matter how you travel. Embrace each and every day to the fullest. As soon as that adventure comes to a close you will be wishing for it back again.