I am sitting underneath the shade of an old oak tree with a wandering dog to my back as I sit and write at an installed table and bench seats in a camping spot by a river.
I am outside, in peace and comfort as I am holidaying. I love the freedom.
I can still keep the wheels turning and functioning. I can still stay in touch and communicate with those people who are important to me or who I need to be in touch with. I am being free with very few limitations and very few cares. Exactly how life should be.
All around me ants are scurrying, doing what ants do, searching for food. Birds of many sizes and colours are perching in branches, swooping in, out and around or are soaring in the sky. Some sing their melodious songs while others are screeching their calls for all around to hear. Acorns randomly plip, plop and shower down all around to leave their little green produce that seem to be wearing rolled up edged beanies on their heads, scattered all over the ground. The water rushing over the rocks in a torrent not far away can be heard, but is not too loud. The friendly black and white Border Collie dog belonging to the people in the pub up on the hill is a frequent visitor to all in the park, as if the welcoming host checking in and to report how everything is faring. Occasionally I hear a plop and see a ring widening in the water where a fish has jumped up and broken the surface of the water. Every now and then the wind blows enough to allow the leaves on the branches to move causing them to make their own unique songs. Life is serene.
There are other people here too. I am not alone.
They are mostly sticking to themselves and going about their tasks as they see fit.
Mornings are usually social and busy. People waking from their sleep in motor homes, caravans, buses, tents, swags and even a hammock. It is a slow progression, everyone waking up, saying “good morning” to others as they pass each other on the way to and from the amenities block, making breakfast and getting ready for their day ahead. For some this means another day of sitting back in their camp chairs to read and nap. For some it is a time to be spent on the river fishing. For some it is a day spent in the car seeing the sights and taking in the offerings of other towns, attractions and places of interest or beauty with this as their base camp. But eventually, one morning for all of these people, ourselves included, it is the day we pack up to leave.
Packing up day can be a challenge for some as they try to work out how to pack everything back up and fit it back in for their next destination, whether that be home, or on to a new place to call home for a night, or a few. For others, packing up day can be simple, straight forward and no fuss.
I have come to notice the different types of people around here using this area too and I wonder if they are the same type of person they were before coming to this camping spot. The type of accommodation they have, the way they interact with others, the way they set up and the way they pack up I think reveals a lot about these people.
The majority of the people here are what are termed ‘grey nomads’. They have worked all of their lives, they have the grey hair, they have left family behind, in some cases even sold their homes and everything they had owned to buy a mobile home and head off for the rest of their able lives to travel around seeing Australia.
Some of these nomads, as I mentioned, now have all of their possessions in their car, bus or van with them. That is the rest of their lives. These people also tend to be the ones who sit at their camp site all day to read a book or to just watch what is going on around them, not doing much at all, disappearing into their homes just after having lunch (presumably for a sleep), reappearing late in the afternoon (5 O’clock / Beer O’clock) in time to have drinks, make a simple tea, have a shower and disappear back into their little house just as the sun goes down. They stick to themselves, don’t really go anywhere and don’t really do anything at all. Have these people always been this secular and dull I wonder?
Other campers here, and that you will find in most places, are the young and carefree in tents. They have minimal supplies, usually heading off early of a morning for a hike or kayak, coming back towards the end of their day of exploring to have their tea and either another early night, or a more rowdy time spent around a camp fire to ponder the true meaning of life, solving life’s mysteries and other conundrums that have been discussed and debated for millennia.
There are the bikers here too. They usually have shorter stays and return to their actual houses when they are done. These people usually travel as a group or as a couple, staying close by each other as they camp. They tend to be the friendliest and most social of all the campers.
Both these types of people seem to be rather carefree, joyful and have a love of life.
The caravaners are a funny group of people though. They tend to segregate and classify themselves according to what they are towing.
Big, flash, new, expensive motor home owners seem to be at the very top of the pecking order and seem to look down upon those that don’t have the biggest, flashiest, most expensive home like they do. A little bit further down the chain are those with the big, flash, expensive caravans and brand new 4 wheel drives. A bit further down you have those with average sizes caravans and vehicles along with the average sized and older motor home owners. This is followed by those with older style caravans and camper trailers and lastly, those living out of vans or old buses that have been converted into homes. The pecking order is very apparent and just as in life before roaming, order and status seems to be very important – that is to the people who care about these things at least.
Caravaners in these places also tend to only socialise with those in similar forms of accommodation to what they have and wouldn’t be seen to be socialising with those with less than their standard.
It makes me wonder sometimes, what these people are like in the real world, in the world they came from or in the world they will return to.
Are they normally that selective and secretive, almost afraid of society as they appear to be now?
Did they have a boring 9-5 job, no social life, no interests in life and have set off to travel because that is now the ‘done’ thing to do?
Do they really have an interest in what they are doing or again, are they just following what the majority are doing?
Are they really the type that goes off exploring and trying new foods and experiences?
Did they do anything like this before?
Is this something they had always dreamed of doing?
Were they always the social butterflies, or is that something they have become now they are away from everyone and everything else they know?
Are these people actually the same people they were before, but just in a new place?
Have they reinvented themselves to become someone they really aren’t or to become someone they always wanted to be?
As for me, well I’m the same when I go away as I am at home. I still enjoy my solitude and my quiet time. I still enjoy exploring and going to new places. I still enjoy learning and seeing new sights, but basically, I am the same. I can sense who to talk to and who to stay away from which suits me just fine. I am happy to be me, no matter where I am. I am more than happy with my own company, but I am equally happy to chat with others I connect with. Give me warm weather, a good book, some sewing, good food, family and friends and I am set. I need nothing more. I am no more outgoing. I am no more reserved. I am just me.
What about you?
Are you perhaps friendlier and more outgoing or are you more withdrawn and reserved when you go away on holidays?
Do you pursue things in the same manner as when you are at home or do you do things differently?
Are you still happy in what you are doing or are you happier?
Do you have a personality change when on holidays?