Celebrating two years in the wild!
October 2021: Today we clock up two years travelling in the bus!
When we took the leap four years ago, we didn’t quite know how we’d make it work. Our actual blood, sweat and tears went into building Bronte, our full time home for almost three years now.
The bus has given us an anywhere/everywhere home, enabling us to spend time in the most spectacular wild places, going at our own pace, fully
powered. We’ve been rained in at Birdsville, done a slow crawl along the Oodnadatta, and made 589 point turns to extract ourselves from tiny carparks. We’ve spent nights amongst the red pindan dunes, on the edge of the great salt lake Kati Thanda, and atop windswept jump-ups on gibber plains. We’ve even woken to find the incoming tide has crept under the bus!
Kakadu, Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Ningaloo, Purnululu, Karijini, Nitmiluk and Litchfield, Ikara-Flinders Ranges, Carnarvon Gorge, Port Campbell, the Coorong, the Daintree: it’s impossible to convey the significance of all this. We’ve witnessed rock art, petroglyphs, burial crypts, massacre sites, middens, wells, grinding stones, complex cultural systems, astounding land and seascapes, dinosaur footprints, ancient coral reef and inland seabed, crocodiles, sharks and turtles and reef fish, emu chicks and cassowaries, spinifex hopping mice and rock wallabies. And the dark emu, a beacon of other lives beyond the campfire. If all this wasn’t a constellation of life in our very hands, the bus meant we could live at my (Sam’s) parents place for three months before my Dad died.
Of course, we’ve also witnessed all the ways in which Country has, and continues to be destroyed. I’m not sure which is more confronting: gas and coal fired power plants on top of Aboriginal heritage sites, the destruction wrought by industrial agriculture, or the disrespect of white colonisation and the way we generally treat Country.
We’ve had our share of showstoppers, setting off at the first flush of pandemic. We rented an outback homestead for a stint, re-routed our path several times, and had countless delays, including a wheel flying off our trailer on the highway just this week.
We’ve picked up a missing bushwalker, given lifts, and helped at several bushfires. We’ve fixed a broken clutch in the bus ourselves, though I won’t mention how many times we’ve crashed the drone.
We’ve had a broken bone, and completed our own tour of regional hospitals and dentists. Also, I just realised that we completely missed our one year anniversary of life on the road because I was in hotel quarantine at the time.
No, I didn’t do all the things I’d hoped, because full time travel and home-schooling is, unsurprisingly, a full time job. But when I think of the bigger-than the-sum-of-its-parts accruals of travel, I’m humbled. Mostly, I’m humbled by Country, and ridiculously grateful, and aware of our white privilege.
I’m super proud of us for achieving something so out of the box – there’s no instruction manual to hack your off-grid dream life, but therin lies the possibility. At the crossroads of leaving our island life, we literally chose the road less travelled. It has not been easy and we’ve let go of much in exchange. But the riches we carry inside are more than I ever thought possible.