When you’re travelling Tasmania you’re constantly aware of your travelling deadline (the date you’ve booked your return trip on the Spirit of Tasmania) and because of this there’s a certain pressure to see and do it all before you make your way back to the mainland.
I’ve had to consciously let that strong sense of obligation go these past few weeks as we’ve watched fires burning forest and simultaneously dealt with our car dramas that are ongoing and steadily getting worse.
You see, the car isn’t really happy towing the van up hills and if you’ve visited Tasmania you’ll know that it’s got some impressive hills. So impressive in that there’s one after another after another.
They make for a picturesque landscape but a treacherous towing experience.
Just yesterday we had to reverse down a hill because the car didn’t want to go forward. Granted, this is bad enough when you’re driving but when you’re towing a 24ft caravan it reaches a whole new level of exciting/horrifying depending on your mindset (Daniel is in the excited category whereas I’m the horrified one).
We managed to park for a while in a someone’s country driveway (thanks to my genius idea of looking in their letterbox I discovered we were at Bonnie Reeve’s place and, when I phoned her after searching the White Pages, I left a message on her answering machine reassuring her that the convoy she could probably see from the top story of her house wasn’t a travelling circus but more a family having car issues).
After making lunch (in Bonnie Revee’s driveway) we made our way to the closest low-cost campsite and literally stumbled across four other travelling families @chaosinatincan @these.wander.days @fieldstowander and @_lost_wandering_ who commiserated with us during happy hour on the grass.
We’ll be here for a few weeks because we’ve surrendered to the fact that the car just isn’t going to get us much further at all (we’ll get the issue seen to when we return to Melbourne mid-March). The bright side of this scenario is that we’ve found ourselves at a $10/night site with water nearby for a gold coin donation. We don’t have power but we’re cooking with gas and we’ll make the most of the laundromat around the corner and the city library for days when it’s wet and we need to charge our laptops and portable batteries.
We haven’t stayed at many unpowered sites since we started travelling but the silver lining to less convenience is that we all have to be aware of the amount of power and water that we use. This was one of the reasons we wanted to travel this way in the first place; to teach the kids just how precious these resources are (and, subsequently, the enormous amount that we use without thought or consideration). I realised just today how this way of living is affecting them when Percy checked the monitor on the fridge and announced: “Mum, the fridge is still connected!”
This entire experience – selling most of our belongings to travel indefinitely in a caravan – has been a huge personal learning journey for me. And it’s interesting that one of the things I feared most is actually happening to us on a regular basis. Before we left home I was haunted by visions of us breaking down and sitting forlornly on the side of the road, waiting out the problems.
Turns out it’s not so bad after all.