The sound of nerves

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Jaclyn and Heidi and nervous campers

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
After three months on the road, I thought I would be get­ting used to the sights, sounds and senses you expect when free camping. But I’m still as jumpy as a kangaroo, espe­cially when the sun goes down. I think every creak in the rig is a snake slithering towards me, I think every rustle of the trees is a demented saltie on its way to attack our motorhome and, worst of all, I think the distant rumble of the ocean is probably a gang of psycho bikers roaring into our camp. I know it’s irra­tional but I can’t stop thinking that way. My husband, Jock, just snores through the whole thing while I lie awake all night allowing my imagination to run riot. Don’t get me wrong, I love the lifestyle and free camp­ing …. but I’m getting very tired now. Any ideas?

There are many people who take a while to get to know that the Australian Outback really is a safe place to be as long as you follow basic precautions, Samantha. Don’t feel bad about feeling uneasy. Just try to work through it and minimise the things that make you anxious. I know things change when it gets dark but try to listen quietly to the sounds around you while it is still light. Listen to the distant ocean and acknowledge what it is and what it sounds like, take note of the wind and the rustle of the trees, and jump in and out of the motorhome a few times and listen to how it groans occasionally. It might be reassuring to perhaps camp near where there are others camping, too. Don’t be afraid to lean on Jock emotionally, Samantha. And please ask him to wait until you drop off before starting to snore.

The mind can certainly play tricks when you are out in the stillness and the emptiness of the bush, Samantha. And whatever they may say, even the most fearless of Australian adventurers will have had the odd moment of knee-shaking uncertainty when travelling in remote areas. But Wolf Creek was a movie, snakes are afraid of people, and crocodiles don’t eat motorhomes! And you’re a lot more likely to win the lottery three times in a row than you are to be attacked by a gang of grey nomad-hating bikies. Pour yourself an extra glass of wine, Samantha, sit back in you campchair and enjoy the vastness and loneli­ness of the Australian Out­back, Hang on … what was that? A dingo howling! Relax, Samantha. I’m just joking. Like all the other things you think you hear at night, they really aren’t a problem.



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