Here we are, another year nearly knocked over, and it’s been an absolutely huge one for this here mag… and we still have the Chrissy break to get through.
Which is what I want to talk to you about. Hopefully you’ll be heading away at some point over the coming summer, along with most of Australia; and I want to share a couple of experiences I’ve had on trips over the last 12 months.
The first involved camping on a beach up on the mid-north coast. Me, my dog and my swag by the fire – perfection. Just before midnight I was woken up by a rusted-out, no-exhaust ready-for-the-wreckers 75 Series ute with about eight 20-somethings in and on it. Apparently they had decided to set up about 15 metres away from me, despite the kilometre-long beach being otherwise empty. But whatever, hey we’re all here to enjoy camping. No big deal.
And then the yelling started as they used an old jerry of petrol to get their bonfire going. And then the techno music got turned right up…
I walked over and politely (no seriously, I was polite) asked them to keep it down a little and was answered with words that rhyme with ‘truck scoff’. I admit I initially got to thinking about how many shotgun rounds I had with me and how long it would take to dig eight holes… but it would have been a waste of ammo. I folded up my swag and headed up the other end of the beach where it was a bit quieter.
The second trip was out in Farina, SA, where we were camping among the ruins (beaut spot if you’re ever in the area – the underground bakery makes some fantastic grub). Another couple were set up nearby (not too close). I had the bonnet up as I was doing the end-of-day health check on the Troopy. The bloke wandered over with a spare beer – which he handed over – and politely asked if there was anything he could do. We got to chatting and it turned out he and his wife were travelling around Australia with their camper trailer. Lovely folks who were friendly and chatty, but respected that many of us go camping for the solitude. They didn’t encroach on our personal space.
Why am I telling you this? These two experiences sum up what most campers are like – the minority who want to act as mouth-breathingly bogan as they can, to hell with anyone whose experience they ruin; and the majority who are out to enjoy themselves without raining on anyone’s parade.
So when you’re out and about this summer and your campsite is teeming with other people, some of who will most likely be like those rude clowns in their crappy old ute, try and be like my mate from Farina. Be courteous to the people you meet and always stick to the bush etiquette of lending a hand if needed. And respect everyone else’s privacy, too.
It’s not hard, so don’t make it hard.
Stay safe and have fun out there over the Christmas period, guys. Come up and say g’day if you see me out on the tracks. If not, I’ll catch you all in the New Year. Dex