I was born a city girl, one who grew up in the bush on the edge of the city, on the wrong side of the river my Great Grandparents would say. My Grandfather crossed the Georges River to the wilder south side of Sydney near a century ago, despite the advice of his parents. He built a home for his family amongst oyster leases, fishing huts, native camps and Chinamen who worked in those wonderful Chinese gardens in the cities of yesteryear. It was on the southern edge of Sydney in the 1920’s at Oyster Bay. Things have changed a lot since then … it is now considered millionaires row and the beautiful isolated peninsula is a much sort after suburb.
The fishermen, native huts and Chinamen have since moved on. And so have I … as a young married couple in love, the Man and I moved to a town in another State. I often say it was ‘one horse town’ in country Queensland, the first town to be settled in the state. Now it too has grown up. Even the horse, which belonged to the funeral director has now also left. Ipswich has changed with the times and has become a bustling centre of rural trade and commerce. The cargo boats and ferry’s no longer ply The Brisbane River taking passengers and cargo down the river to Brisbane ports as they did in colonial days. Ipswich is now a hub of rural and city life and occasionally I miss the delights of the city, but this is only occasionally.
Now our life is travel, we have retired … finally! We have taken to the road joining the tail of many Grey Nomads ahead of us as we ‘do the lap’ in a steady flow of caravans and RV’s, touring the country. It is a great life and we have always loved travel, so it is not a new type of life for us. Its constancy in travel and exploring is new though and despite having travelled many of these roads before, it is now with a new appreciation of life and adventure that we plan to enjoy for as long as we can.
You can follow our travels this last year and more in this blog, or download the ebook ‘Discovering Australia and Her Lore’ for the cost of a cuppa’ and read at your leisure, our journey. You see I am an author and writer. I have always been a writer so that is nothing new … but an author? That is a more recent journey these past years.
I woke this morning to the appreciation of just what travelling means to me and to The Man. We had left the cities once more behind us and were camped up in a bush camp. I have no love of caravan parks, though we holiday in them at times for sure, but there is simply nothing like a bush camp. We are free campers largely and it is a state we prefer. Bush camping is a life style as is travelling as a grey nomad and it’s a lifestyle we love.
Some can’t understand how we choose to live without the 240v electrical line close by. They don’t understand the pleasures of a bush creek, or flowing river, the simplicity of fishing for dinner and the isolation of the bush song. Watching the brilliant night skies at times, without the blanket of light towns and cities have, is a special delight. This is the bush camp and it has so much to revel in that it is hard to know where to begin.
I have always loved bush camping, but now I am thinking that after a year constantly touring we truly have become in some way bushies of old. We don’t seek out the manicured lawns, though they too can be wonderful. We don’t need play area’s, gym equipment (maybe we should use it more though) and a peaceful pool is nice but not quite as nice as a clear flowing river or creek. In short we don’t choose to live in caravan parks. We choose instead the recreational camp, or bush camp.
A real bonus is that they are usually free, or are supported by donations from campers as freecamps don’t usually offer the amenities of caravan parks. Some National Parks and Reserves do offer amenities but they are somewhat a different prospect to the caravan park. Nor are they usually as expensive to frequent as they belong to the people and are National gems. They are also somewhat isolated usually and you do need a degree of self-sufficiency. These places are the reason why we can afford to live as we do, travelling the country as a lifestyle.
We love our bush camps. We travel independently and have our own source of power to run our fridge, lighting and other things we may need for our comfort and convenience in our retirement. We carry sufficient water for three weeks if we are frugal with its use, and we can source more of lifes liquid, bringing it back to our camp to top up our supply … we have the means.
Being self sufficient in entertainment as we have learnt to be also is an advantage. The famous ‘5pm Happy Hour’ thrives in the world of the freecamper and we have made many friends, more so than we ever made sitting at home living the life as a worker in the world. Entertainments are easy, even aside from the more normal recreational activities such as fishing, walking and so much more. Yesterday we enjoyed ourselves watching a group of men, fellow freecampers and locals who had enjoyed the freecamps around the district for more than 35 years, play a mobile game of bonce’ as they chased those heavy balls around the camps vehicle tracks having a great time.
I was happily settled at a camp table exploring and researching on the internet while others took a evening dip in the nearby reservoir and still others read and chatted in the dying light. It was a peaceful night absent of street lighting, traffic sounds and city noise. It was a peaceful and delightful camp, a scene repeated in a hundred other camps like it, hidden in the bush throughout the land.
Some nights we will gather around in a group and enjoy the company of musicians … chattering away about a million things. Others we sit quiet in our camp and perhaps enjoy a friendly game of cards with fellow campers, or even on our own. It is a wonderful life and I want no other way to spend my retirement years, as long as I can, while our health is with us.
As my Dad would say … your dead a long time girl!
Some of our friends have made the news btw on the ‘Grey Nomad Times News’ a great little e-news sheet.