Adventures on camp

I’m home again! It was wonderful! And I’ve been swept straight off my feet and back into the rollercoaster of my complicated life. It’s hard to find a moment to think, much less blog. But I’m determined to nail down some passing memories and thoughts and send them off to the vastly deeps of the interwebs before they are lost. Mostly because I’m dissociative and it’s always fun to read later on and see what I’ve been up to. Plus, photos!

It was a short one, three nights, two days. Just a quick run up to my favourite local conservation park in the van. We’re working on getting the van properly and permanently set up so that camping can be an easy last minute – quick I have two days off let’s go kind of thing. It’s an ongoing project. My sister and I went together. Rose stayed home as her ankle is still healing.

I left behind all devices, and turned off my phone for the duration. It was blissful to be disconnected. I love the net, I love being in touch with my friends and online communities. I am even enjoying twitter these days. But I also love that sense of radio silence where I instead start to hear and connect with other aspects of my world.

I took a book on shamanism I’ve borrowed from a friend and did a lot of reading, writing, thinking, poetry, art, cooking, and breathing in the world. I was curious to read about how many cultures have the idea that something connects everything, some kind of force or energy or web. I thought of my own online world and how desperately important it is to me, how irritated I get with the mindless technology bashing that goes on. We have a fractured culture and we use our tech to connect ourselves to people we otherwise would lose, would not be part of our lives so regularly. We are shamans, linking in to our own webs. Of course there are risks. Of course there are problems. But this desire to be connected, that is universal.

I turned off my phone and listened to the wind.

I found a lizard sunning him/herself on the road. I like lizards. I said hello and then found him a nice spot in a paddock to sun instead.


How to tell you’re in the Australian countryside in one easy step:


My camera is still damaged from taking a nose dive to the floor while I was away in Singapore a few years ago. I’d almost forgotten what a macro mode was like! I borrowed my sister’s camera and stalked the wildlife.


It was beautiful.


The world was full of butterflies and tiny flowers.

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These gorgeous wrens frequent one of my favourite camping grounds.


I also took paints and shoes.




When I ran out of light, I painted in the dark with a head light.


I’m really happy with my work.


I was in charge of the food. This resulted in some unfortunate oversights. Such as the sushi, where I forgot to bring the seaweed for wrapping it, and the soy sauce for dipping. Hence, modern deconstructed sushi: I also didn’t bring enough food for three breakfasts.


The salad sandwiches went down well.


I redeemed myself with pancakes, served with tinned peaches and custard.


The sky was beautiful. One night we had a clear sky with no moon and a million zillion stars. There were also beautiful sunsets and (I’m told) dawns.

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We also did a hike. It was challenging. I am still very sore and limping a bit from unhappy calf muscles. It was worth it. 🙂 We trekked and climbed down to a cove.

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At the bottom, we climbed into the water and got smashed around a bit by the incoming waves. It was awesome! It also does mad things to your hair. 😉 Camping with dreadlocks is the easiest thing in the world.



This last photo took some getting, but was utterly worth it. 🙂


And then, we came home. I only cried a little.

Sometimes I think I shouldn’t put up posts like this, that this blog is only useful when I’m writing articles about DID and such. Then I remember that reducing stigma is about humanising, and that it’s valuable to see that someone like me, someone with ‘a severe mental disorder’ can have a life. Can chase butterflies and paint shoes and fry pancakes and play cards.

I was struck also by people’s good wishes before I left, how many people told me they hoped it went well as if something going wrong would ruin the trip. I see camps as an adventure. Things often go wrong, not because I’m inexperienced or unprepared (well, okay, occasionally), being too broke for great supplies and a top notch well maintained vehicle doesn’t help. But also because life is not perfect and doesn’t follow a script. Taking risks, seeing new things, trying new things risks disappointment and things not going well. Treating this all as an adventure means that short of real crises (severe injury and the like), no matter what happens I have a good time. A lot of this is the company I keep. I’ve been on camps where my fellow travellers were inexperienced, easily bored, prone to destructiveness, and difficult to work with. Every little task was a major undertaking, from erecting a tent to cooking breakfast. Everything was frustrating and miserably difficult and many of the outcomes were painfully poor, such as a tent put too close to a large camp fire, resulting in small burns through all the fabric.

Whereas I’ve been on other camps were so many things went wrong – cars bogged, pouring rain and a leaky tent, or other times such as surprise windstorms, or roads flooded, that despite all the calamity were truly wonderful times. There was no fighting or angst, an acceptance that things go wrong and they make good stories, and a good team that pulls together evenly to manage the situations.

How often this is true of life, I think as 2013 draws to a close.

I don’t wish you a life where nothing goes wrong. I wish you a grand adventure! And really good company.