‘Travelling Oma’ has camping in her blood. Some of her earliest childhood memories are of her parents taking her and her sister away in a tent. And then, in her early adult years, she remembers happily loading her camping gear in a little 4-cylinder car and going away for weeks on end.
It was something she knew would never stop doing.
And then Oma fell in love, got married, had kids … and things changed. “As my husband was in the military, camping was the last thing on his agenda as that was his job,” she said. “Although we did manage one or two trips away with our two children, it was nothing like I would have liked.”
As the decades passed and the children grew up, Oma realised she had never lost her latent passion for camping.
The problem was that, having spent so much time away from home during his long army career, her husband had absolutely no desire to travel.
For Oma, who is now in her early 60s, the solution was obvious. Every now and then she simply packs up her small sedan with her camping gear and heads off on her own into the wide blue yonder.
“In warm weather I camp in my pop-up tent or I can sleep on an airbed in my car if I have to,” she previously told the Grey Nomads. “I only use butane gas cylinders for my cooking and lighting and I can live self sufficiently with everything in my ‘rig’ for weeks at a time.”
Oma carries several tarps of various sizes so she can set up her campsite in a number of different ways to suit the scenario.
“My husband has always been supportive of my solo trips and, to be honest, he probably enjoys his time alone without me getting him to do jobs around the property,” she said. “It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been a military wife, but separation is the norm so this is nothing different.”
Oma’s trips take her far and wide and to multiple states and territories.
“Once you start camping you realise we have so many different characters and lifestyles in Australia, and that’s what makes it interesting,” she said. “And it also reminds you that you don’t really need a lot of materialistic things to be happy.”
Oma has not let the fact that she has had several medical procedures, including a hip replacement prevent her from living her dream.
“The one thing that is a ‘must’ is that I always carry a milk crate on my camping trips,” she said. “As much as I can ‘fall’ onto my airbed in my tent, I am not as flexible as I want to be and I need my milk crate to help me get back up again!”
While Oma’s innovative setup allows her to get out and about, she is keenly aware that it does have its limitations. “I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to get onto the beaten track, and see many of the beautiful attractions that our country has to offer in a more suitable rig,” she said. “My dream is to buy a Ute, with a slide-on camper, suitable for one person.”