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Free camping ban

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,

I have been travelling full-time for a couple of years … generally free camping as I go. I love the lifestyle but I’m now facing something of a moral dilemma. I have been made so angry by towns that have stopped allowing free camping near them that I promised myself I would never spend another cent in them again. However, I have to say that it’s making my trip a bit trickier to plan, and I feel I am missing out on some places where I would like to spend time. Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face? Also, am I ‘punishing’ decent country businesses for what I consider to be the mistakes of other decision makers?


It’s an unfortunate fact that the world is not always as we would like it to be, Denis. Politicians make poor decisions, local councils make silly rules, van parks charge too much, other road users drive too fast or too slow. Gee, it can be frustrating … but what about that cheery chap who waved appreciatively when you let him out into traffic? Or the bloke who had you in stitches with his campfire stories? Or the stranger who stopped to help you change your tyre? Be positive, look for the good, understand all points of view … and enjoy your trip of a lifetime. By all means, complain if you are not happy about something but don’t dwell on it … and don’t let it spoil your adventure. Move on and keep smiling.


Don’t desert the cause now, Denis! Standing up for what you believe in is not always easy … which is why everybody doesn’t do it and why bad policies remain in place. If you don’t complain about a poor meal, or bad service, or the shocking state of the amenities block, nothing will change … and the next poor sap will suffer the same fate as you did. Sometimes the only protest people listen to is the one that hits them, or their community, in the hip pocket. What do you think the jolly swagman would make of all this? Free camping is part of the Australian way of life. We owe it to our children and grandchildren not to stand meekly by as it is taken away.


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