Life without walls – taking anti-establishment quite literally

I was all for selling the house, packing it all in and hitting the road. Nay to bricks and mortar and being shackled to the Sydney property market. Yay to the freedom of having a shelter on wheels that becomes home wherever we park it. Taking anti-establishment quite literally. But the thing about walls, and a roof, is that they are quite good at keeping little kids warm at night. And the thing about the outback in May – it’s freakin freezing. No walls also means it is easier for the great outdoors to get up close and personal. And I am not always ok with that – particularly when the great outdoors is of the rodent variety.

But before veering off the highlights reel and showcasing the nitty gritty reality of life in a camper trailer, first – The Rock.

My second favourite The Rock in fact

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WTF? You’ve found a new Rock?

Don’t worry Dwayne Johnson  – you are still my favourite The Rock.

But Uluru is coming in a close second. I can’t get enough of it. I take the long way everywhere just to catch glimpses of it. We drive out there all the time for a stroll – just to be near it.

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School run

I can’t put my finger on what makes it so captivating – so mesmerising. Is it the symmetry, the incredible photogenic-ness (photogenic-ity? Is that a word? You know what I mean – the noun form of whatever it is that means even a boofhead amateur like me can’t take a bad photo of the thing) the contours, how different it is from every angle, the changing colours? All the cliches are true – pictures can’t capture the scale and magnificence. You get an incredible sense of peace and serenity wandering around the base, and an incredible sense of being a champion photographer snapping it from a distance.

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Playing behind our campsite

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Whatever it is – my limited list of adjectives can’t quite do it justice. Being here is a true connection to our country. I am glad that we don’t have to leave this place after a few days to go back to our “real life”, and that our real life will revolve around this rock for a while longer.

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And then there are those other amazing rocks – Kata Tjuta (the Olgas)

And speaking of real life – not having actual walls can be a little sucky at times

Our anti-stuff, minimalist life efforts took a bit of a hit when we realised that we would be living in the desert coming into winter, with nothing between us and the freezing cold but some canvas. When we bought our Complete Campsite camper trailer, they made a big deal talking up the heater. We laughed. A lot. Heater?? As if. We are chasing the sun around the country dudes – it’s sweet of you to include it, but we won’t be using that.

My god we love that heater. And the extra heater we had to buy for the annex. And the ugg boots and flannel pjs and trackies and hoodies and thermals we had to stock up on.

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Brrrrrr……We have yet to find a temperature low enough to make Gemma wear shoes

I am also glad the sales folk talked us into getting all the add-ons for a fully enclosed annex. We can pretend we have walls and it turns our camper trailer into two rooms – though the sleeping area, living, dining and kitchen area together are still far smaller than the master bedroom in our old house. Oh well, all the better for huddling for warmth. And we have managed to amass enough layers to keep us pretty cosy for those chilly nights.

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Pretend walls – but not a bad backyard

The “walls” however are not entirely effective for keeping the great outdoors out. I won’t go into details because it is so mentally disturbing to me – but let’s just say we have a small problem, of the small rodent variety. And am I dealing with this situation calmly and rationally? No. No I am not. I dealing with this like a deranged madwoman and it is causing me much sleep deprivation and manic, obsessive cleaning. No mouse has actually infiltrated the sleeping part – which I have now fortified with duct tape – so much duct tape. But it is the fear of this that keeps me awake at night, jumping at Every. Single. Sound.

Fortunately this is partially off-set by currently being a lady of leisure (see below) and being able to take midmorning hammock naps in the sun to wash away nightly panics, and having loads of time to devote to obsessive cleaning and research into rodent repellents. Peppermint oil, moth balls, duct tape, steel wool have all been employed. If anyone has other suggestions I would be glad to hear them – anyone? ANYONE?? What I want to know is why aren’t the 18 types of venomous snakes that live in our campground dealing with this situation for me. Get your acts together snakes – chow time.

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Saw this one as I was picking the kids up from school. Stop bothering the kids and go get some mice!

A corporate lawyer continuing to be of little use in the real world

The kids are going to the local school (and loving it), the hubby is riding Harleys around the rock.

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Yep – he’s being paid for this

What am I doing? Bugger all. It’s coming into peak tourist season and I had visions of swanning in and picking up some work no problems. “Hello – I am super friendly, am great with bar banter, and (if I do say so myself) I am spec-TAC-ular and highly experienced at pouring many, many glasses of wine. Can you give me a job at your most fun pub, and a staff discount on all of the wine and beer. All of it. Please”.

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My resume

No such luck. The whole town is almost entirely operated by one company*. Working at this place is highly regulated and they are really not set up for random travellers to swan in and work casually for short periods (the hubby seems to have picked up the one casual gig in town). And even when I checked out the jobs website to go through the official employment channels, it seems I have no qualifications or meet the minimum criteria to do anything.

Experience in cleaning? Ah no. Driving a manual? Ah, no. Sales? Yes, I am very good at self-promotion. What about sales of things we want to sell – ie, not you. Ah, no.

Laundry? Yes! That I can do, I do it all the time!
Do you have any evidence of being able to keep whites white since having children generally, and in the outback specifically?
Ah, no. But that is a trick question right? Because that is, of course, impossible.

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How my one and only white item fared after laundry in the outback

Admin? I have loads of experience sitting in front of a computer.
But is it not true that upon becoming a partner in a law firm that you delegated every single administrative task, you shudder at the word spreadsheet, and cannot in fact open or save a document without the assistance of a junior lawyer?
Damn, got me there.

Any useful skills at all? Does your company want to buy another company in the next month or so? I know a bit about that.
*We are not a company. We are a statutory body established under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005. Get your corporate structures straight lady.

Sigh. I suppose that I will have to be a lady of leisure, and hang out with my second favourite The Rock for the next month or so. Oh well – if I must.

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Hanging out with the Rock

Veering off the highlights reel

I am possibly painting a less than idyllic picture of life at the moment. But I can’t only play the highlights reel – there are some parts of life on the road that aren’t that easy. It’s not all sitting in the sun and drinking coffee and lying by the pool drinking wine.

But most of it is. Better get back to it.

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I am (was?) a corporate lawyer who has packed it all in and hit the road. With my hubby, three young kids, Bonnie (our 4WD) and "The Shack" (our camper trailer), we are taking a year (or so) to forget about work and city life, enjoy our amazing country – beaches, mountains, outback, desert, food, wine and adventure – and figure out what we want to do next.

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