Rules of engagement

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Greynomads break rules in national parks
Rules! Hah, we laugh in the face of rules!

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
I’ve been on the road for 10 months and am constantly amazed by the cavalier attitude some grey nomads have to obeying rules and regulations. I’ve met travellers who use chainsaws in national parks, or sneak dogs into places they shouldn’t, and even boast about keeping a rifle in their rig to keep crocs and crooks at bay. I know there are a lot of law-abiding grey nomads who pick up other people’s rubbish and always put their money in the campsite’s ‘honesty box’ … but there is also a sizeable minority that doesn’t. I’ve been trying to look the other way for the sake of an easy life, but I’m getting increasingly antsy about it all. Don’t they say bad things hap­pen when good people do noth­ing? Should I start jotting down number plates and reporting what I see?

Gosh, Eleanor. First of all, hats off to you for caring so much and for being one of the ones ready to take a stand. Of course it is easier just to pretend not to notice some of these offences taking place but, ultimately, we all pay a price … whether it be through a damaged environ­ment or higher camping fees. Really, this is a matter for your individual conscience and your convenience. Be aware though that once you start having a policy of reporting wrongdo­ers, you will be changing the nature of your trip and setting yourself up for some pretty negative emotions. But right is right and, in the long term, you will help to change the poor behaviour of some travellers. I think it is fair to say though that taking out your notebook and pen when a fellow travel­ler forgets to put money in the honesty box isn’t going to win you many friends.

You seem fond of sayings Eleanor, so try this one … let he who is without sin cast the first stone! When nomads start reporting each other for having under-inflated tyres, or for having an outdated national parks pass, then the grey nomad ‘civilisation’ truly will be about to crumble. When the camaraderie of the road is replaced by suspicion, then we can all say goodbye to living the dream. I’m not for a minute saying you should ig­nore the dismembered corpse in the annexe of your neigh­bour’s caravan, but perspec­tive is needed. By all means remonstrate with campers doing the wrong thing. No one wants to see people de­stroying national park habitat but, ultimately, you’re a grey nomad not a policewoman. Enjoy what you do, and within reason, let others do the same.



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