A wise storyteller once said: “Not all those who wander are lost.”
I couldn’t agree more with J.R.R Tolkien. There’s something incurable about the wanderlust some of us live with. Over time it waxes and wanes, but it’s always there. Shouting at you while walking past the travel agent window, pulling at your heart strings via your Instagram feed, and whispering sweet promises on those wintery mornings as you rush off for the morning commute.
I may not have the ultimate cure for wanderlust, but I feel like I have something kind of close. And that, my friends, is a caravan. I know, it may not seem life shatteringly obvious, but hear me out. The trips you can take with a home on wheels adds up to a lot of travel time.
Think long weekends spent at the Grampians, Easter on the Murray River, summer holidays in Tassie. Tempting, right? People often ask me why I love caravanning so much, and my first answer is always because it gets me closer to nature. On reflection though, it is so much more soul-nourishing than that.
So here are the reasons why I believe caravanning is good for the soul…
Caravanning gets you ‘out there’
Your caravan is your home on the road, and that means travelling. You even get to mastermind it all by choosing your own adventure. A quiet fishing trip to the Gippsland Lakes or an all-aboard trip around Australia.
Sometimes I think I’m the only one in the world who still loves reading maps. Plotting, planning, kilometre crunching. Hailing from Melbourne, I still love the Melways. You can learn so much about your own city with this cartographic corker. And, what about going down the ‘rabbit hole’ with a bit of internet browsing? I want to see beautiful autumn foliage: Bright, tick; Walhalla, tick! And so it goes…
Caravanning gets you closer to nature
I love sunsets and sunrises, but for some reason when I’m at home I don’t make much effort to experience them. It seems, you’re far more likely to get up early to witness the rising the sun when it’s right outside your caravan door.
I captured this sunset (see below) at BIG4 Great Lakes Forster-Tuncurry in NSW. I loved that I could camp right opposite the lake, and there are plenty of other places that put you within the easiest reach of water. Hello, dreamy photos.
Caravanning brings the family together
We seem to enjoy many more fun-filled-family-activities when caravanning. For one, we always take our bikes and ride everywhere and are a lot more active in general. We are also more likely to engage in adventurous undertakings because our theory is that we may never visit that place again. Anyone relate?
Here’s a good one: Try riding your bikes (or hire electric ones in town) all the tree-lined way from Bright to the ‘Wandy pub’ in Wandiligong. It’s a local favourite with fabulous food, and it’s great for the kids too with table tennis and outside fire pits. Those views of the mountains: Just gorgeous.
Caravanning allows you to appreciate wildlife
Meet your new neighbours – local wildlife. It’s rare to hang out with kangaroos in Melbourne, so I get a kick out of camping with them. South West Rocks in NSW was home to the friendliest mob of kangaroos I’ve ever shared a site with. We never approach them, though. We all just go about our own business with mutual respect.
The wombats at Wilsons Promontory National Park in VIC’s Gippsland region are always good company too – as long as you don’t leave any food out. And I’d prefer waking up to the crescendo of bird chirps, calls, songs, shrieks, etc than an alarm any day.
Caravanning introduces you to new places and experiences
Change really is as good as a holiday. You don’t need a lavish overseas adventure to feel like you’ve had a break. Even just a few nights staying somewhere new is enough to make me feel revitalised. I love moving beyond my comfort zone to stretch my perceptions of the world and my place in it.
Connecting with new people and communities is rewarding – after all it’s an innate human need to find connection with others, right? We’ve met so many wonderful people on the road – each with their own unique perspective on travel and the reasons they do it. I love listening to their stories about why they love caravanning so much.
And that’s another thing, travelling turns us into storytellers, as it creates lasting memories that can be shared with loved ones…and the world if you so care to digitally share.
As you can see, I’m an enthusiastic believer that caravanning is good for the soul. Having a caravan and being able to travel frequently appeases my rampant desire to get away. I don’t just hope to dream anymore; I dare to dream.
This article was commissioned by BIG4 Holiday Parks April 2019.