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Central Australia!

Hello! G’Day! Howzitgarn? Please accept my many apologies for such a long absence between blog entries! I am sitting at a cafe called Red Dog cafe in the Todd Street Mall in Alice Springs. The weather has been really weird the past few days with drizzle, a few thunderstorms and rain! But let’s start back to when we were in Darwin!

We arrived in Darwin on the 10th October. My graduation ceremony for my Bachelor of Nursing was held on 12th October at the Darwin Convention Centre. I have to say, Charles Darwin University really made it a very special event for everyone and I felt so proud to be amongst a group of students who had made so many sacrifices and worked so hard to be there in their gowns and mortarboards.

I wore my beads made by a lady in the remote Aboriginal community of Canteen Creek. It was a reminder and a symbol of where I had come from, where I want to be and the people I want to serve and care for as a nurse.

The two parts I felt teary were when the doctors were given their degrees and called ‘Dr’ for the first time and when the people were receiving their Certificates; the tradesmen who had taken time off work, still dressed in their work boots, shorts and hi-vis shirts wrapped in a black gown and looking so proud of themselves. The people who had worked hard to learn English as their second, or third, or fourth language. The one and only recipient, a female, who had gained her certificate in metal fabricating!

Everyone receiving their qualifications on that day were from different socio-economic backgrounds, different families, different abilities but everyone had achieved what they set out to achieve regardless of whether it was a Certificate 1 or a doctorate. We were all in the same big room shaking the hand of the university Chancellor and feeling really damn proud of ourselves and each other.

My Mum came all the way up to Darwin from Albany and along with Tim, my brother Simon (who lives in Darwin) rearranged his work to be there to see me accept my degree; even though that meant he had to work longer to make up the time. I was so thrilled and proud to have them there with me on that day and very thankful they were able to come. I looked up at them after I accepted my degree and saw all three looking down at me with pride; an amazing feeling.

It was a long arduous journey to get my Bachelor of Nursing degree. There were many sleepless nights full of anxiety and self-deprecation. Mornings of clinical placements where I was in tears and wishing I had never started studying! But I had immense support from family and friends and I am now at the beginning of my next journey.

Last year, when I was up in Darwin for my clinical training block, I stayed with my brother and his family and made a promise to my sister-in-law that once Tim and I got to Darwin for my graduation ceremony (what seemed like a looooong way away!) we would sip champagne and laugh about how stressed out I was! So Katie, Tim, Mum and I floated around in their swimming pool, sipping champagne and I couldn’t believe I was finished!!

I wish I could say the rest of our stay in Darwin was as fabulous, however over the course of a few days I developed a tickling cough and on the Sunday, put myself to bed just after lunch where the cough quickly escalated into a raging fever, headaches and general malaise. I was as sick as a dog for days and couldn’t leave the granny flat bedroom where we were staying. Tim caught it off me and a few days later developed the same miserable symptoms. We both were in quarantine for just under a week until we felt slightly better to emerge and plan our trip down to Alice Springs! It was the worst flu-type illness I remember having and we were both feeling extremely worse for wear!

I bought a car in Darwin so on Friday 19th October, Tim and I planned to drive to Mataranka then Tennant Creek then Alice Springs. And that we did. Dosing up on Sudafed and cough mixture, we made the long journey to these destinations, stayed one night to rest then back on the road. We didn’t visit any attractions, focussing our energy on keeping alert while driving to each stop-over!

We arrived in Alice Springs on the Sunday and checked into the best caravan park in the town. ‘G’Day Mate’ Caravan Park is lovely and we had a grassy area with an en-suite bathroom – luxury! The swimming pool was large and clean so we floated around in it to escape the heat. Before long we were joined by a few people who live at the caravan park, 2 of them nurses! One was even a mental health nurse! So we had a lot to chat about and in true territorian fashion, they were quick to invite Tim and I on their social occasions and welcomed us to Central Australia. We are keeping in touch with them and hope to attend lawn bowls this Thursday!

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Unfortunately the heat was too much to bear living out of a camper trailer so Tim and I bit the bullet and checked into a furnished apartment until we can move into our little rental house early November.

I have full time work which I start this Thursday until my graduate program starts in late March. Tim is taking it easy and looking at his options for the time being!

I met a fellow graduate student last week and we chatted for hours which was lovely. Other than that, we’ve been getting paperwork ready, viewed potential rentals, a little bit of sight-seeing and generally settling into a new city!

I’m looking forward to making new friends here in Alice and really miss my friends back home. I guess we can sometimes take having friends around for granted and I’m really feeling it being away from everyone. But this is what happens with change and I know both Tim and I will make wonderful new friends here!

So that’s about it for where Tim and I are at! We survived travelling around WA and have made it safely to our destination of Alice Springs!

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Stay tuned and I’ll update as much as I can.

Lots of love to everyone xoxoxo

 

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Gettin’ stax from Outbax!

Hey! Look who’s doing the whole collaborating thing! Moi!

Outbaxcamping.com.au and yours truly have sussed each other out and they have written a cool article for you about new and tried camping equipment that can, will, may, hopefully, make your next travels or ‘just for the weekend’ getaway a lot more glamp than camp. More royal than ragged. You get what I mean.

Now we use a few of these such as the portable toilet and the solar panels. NOTHING is better out in the bush than a portable camping toilet compared with a deep hole and a toilet seat made-up of bitey ants. And for the Dale Kerrigan serenity, we charge our batteries with the solar panels and don’t have a generator piercing the sunset calmness.

So have a gander at what they have to offer and I’ll see you around!

Enjoy!

The 10 Coolest Camping Innovations Today

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With the advancement in technology, camping becomes easier. Gone are the days when you need to pitch a tent for an hour, take a dip in the cold stream, or build a fire using available logs.

Data show that in 2017, there was a huge increase in the sales of camping equipment across the world. In the United States of America alone, some $51.4 million was spent on camping equipment. Among the bare essentials in camping are tents, sleeping bags, water purifiers, and backpacks.

For a complete list, here are some of the coolest innovations that you might want to consider on your next camping trip:

1. Instant Tent

There are a lot of camping innovations today which include instant tent which allows you to set it up in seconds. Aside from tents, hammocks and portaledges are now being improved to provide options for different people in various camp conditions. If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping on the ground, you may consider tying a hammock on trees or protruding stones. Portaledges are the best equipment for rock or tree climbers who would want to elevate their camping experience.

2. Solar Camp Stove and Grill

Solar ovens, stoves, and grills allow you to enjoy home-cooked meals while camping. A solar oven is a like a microwave that can heat and cook food in minutes. Because it is solar, you won’t need gas.  It is thus safer for the environment and the kids. You just need to prepare the food, place it inside the solar oven, and let it bake under the sun. A solar grill, on the other hand, allows you to cook food in less than 20 minutes by using reflectors.

3. Portable Camping Toilet

After a day in the wild, you are feeling the need to go but you don’t feel comfortable digging a pit in the ground. A camping toilet allows you the comfort of doing your business like you are at home. A 20L portable toilet in Outbax Camping is only $99.80 and it comes with free shipping.

4. Solar Portable Shower

Because you will be outdoors most of the time and sweat is your companion during the day, you will badly need a shower before you go to sleep. Fill your camping shower with water and let it stay under the sun for a day while you go about your activities. In the evening, you already have hot shower that will soothe your tired muscles. For privacy, you may pair this with a portable change room. Both are available at Outbax Camping for less than $100.

5. Water Purifier

Staying hydrated when you are outside is very important. This adds burden on the back of campers, as water is not light to carry. Instead of adding ten gallons of water on your load for your two-day trip, why not take advantage of a nearby stream. Water purifiers are now very portable, allowing you to drink water anywhere. It does not only remove visible dirt and impurities, but it also filters bacteria and viruses.

6. Solar Toothbrush

This is an environment- friendly innovation. The solar toothbrush allows you to remove food bits and even plaque in your teeth without the use of toothpaste. Best of all, you do not have to exert effort in moving your arms up and down. It will brush your whites on its own.  As this is solar- powered, all you need is to stick it out in the sun to power it up for your next use.

7. Airbeds and Portable beds

Do you complain about back pains and sore muscles after a night in the tent? With airbeds, you will no longer sleep on hard soil nor will you have to bring a bulky cot or mattress from home. Airbeds are your new best friend in sleeping. If you want a bed that you can convert into a sofa, you may also look for bunk beds that are convertible.

8. Solar Back Pack

Instead of bringing your power banks and countless cords to camp, why not bring a solar backpack. It will take care of all your recharging needs including for your phone, speakers, and music players. As solar panels are lightweight and are already attached to your bag, you will not feel burdened.

9. Portable Washing Machine

A scrubbais a portable washing bag that does not need electricity. You can clean clothes in 30 seconds with just water and liquid soap. You can put it inside your pocket because it is foldable and weighs less than 5 oz.

10. Solar Panels and Solar Lanterns

Solar panels are the craze nowadays. They are used for various purposes. Aside from charging your gadgets, you may connect them to a mini-fridge or to your camp lights. This will make sure you have cold drinks and a bright campsite.

There are a lot of great innovations for camping out there. Some of them will surely make your camping life easy. Some, however, are just nice to have. If you are a beginner, select the basic necessities and choose the things you cannot absolutely live without. While these are the coolest inventions, some are a little pricey. You also need to be wary of the quality of the products.

As these are mostly innovations, product reviews are still few. For the best camping supplies that are affordable, durable, and good options to choose from, visit OutbaxCamping now. You are assured of the quality of the products you are buying because all of them come with a warranty.

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An itch to scratch

Tim is on a couch. This may seem unremarkable but it’s the first time he has been on a couch for 5 weeks and for Tim, that is a lifetime…and a half. Thanks to a person very dear to me, we are spending the night in a really nice apartment suite in Broome WA before we leave for Cape Leveque tomorrow. One of the prerequisites of booking a hotel/motel/apartment was that it HAD to have a couch, lounge, settee, sofa, a rose by any other name. For me, a microwave. Not that I’ll probably use it but it’s the things you just don’t have when camping.

Moonlight Bay Suites
Moonlight Bay Suites – A beautiful place to stay.

ANYWAY, we are in Broome WA and Broome WA has impressed us hugely. We have spent every evening swimming at Cable Beach in calm inviting turquoise water, floating around, chatting, diving under the water and constantly appreciating being here swimming when 5 weeks ago we would be working, or studying, or just still entwined with the daily grind. I’ll get back to Broome.

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We spent two nights at Cape Keraudren, a coastal reserve north of Port Hedland in East Pilbara. We camped overlooking oyster reefs where the tide came in and out twice a day. We saw a little octopus with a few missing limbs who seemed really friendly. We also loved watching the hermit crabs scuttle slowly around.

We would like to have more fond memories of Cape Keraudren but every time I look at my arms and lower thighs, I see sandfly sores, multitudes of them. We got eaten alive at Cape Keraudren! Yes, we did have Bushmans spray on but they got through the mosquito mesh of the camper trailer and attacked us as we slept. They are nasty nasty nasty little buggers! They are the itchiest itchy’s we’ve ever ever had!!

We did walk around the beach and had a beautiful swim in the water and also listened to our neighbour gently sing along with his ukulele as the sunset which was a real bonus. The view when waking up was just beautiful! So maybe Cape Keraudren wasn’t all that bad!

We aimed to get into Broome on Tuesday 18th September and were making good time until we came to Sandfire roadhouse where the rest of the highway was closed due to a bushfire. We joined truckies and other tourists who were all waiting around and hoping they could get on their way sometime soon. We sat around for a few hours but had enough so went back 40 km’s and stayed at 80 Mile Beach for the night.

Eventually we arrived in Broome and checked into Cable Beach caravan park. We’d recommend this caravan park because of the beautiful shady trees and decent size camping sites. Upon request, we were given a site directly across from the amenities. After lunching at Zander’s on Cable Beach, we went for a drive and swim at Cable Beach then back to camp.

We got our car fully checked-over and serviced as we are doing the Gibb River Road in a week so we know it’s all schmicko to go!

The weather here has been just divine, ranging around 30-33 degrees. The past couple of days Tim and I visited Malcom Douglas’ Crocodile Farm, had a game of mini golf (which I WASN’T thrashed in, like SO WASN’T beaten by over 20 points!) then wandered around Chinatown and each had a neck/head/shoulders massage. We then had a swim again at Cable Beach and went off to the Town Beach Markets yesterday evening.

This morning I was booked in for a deep tissue massage and was slightly nervous as I’ve never had a proper body massage before. The lady led me into the room, asked me to take my shoes off then pointed to the mattress on the floor. She then left me there. I took my shoes off then stood awkwardly waiting for her to come back. I felt like Mr Bean, wondering if I should take my clothes off or wait until she tells me to. The masseuse returned, looked at the mattress then at me and laughed ‘please, take off your clothes and lie down’ and scuttled out laughing and talking in Thai about the idiot client she has to massage. The massage was amazing and I felt as loose as a goose when I left, although it hurt like fuck at some points! I think I walked like Mr Bean once it was done!

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Broome has one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever encountered. It is just so chilled out and is a really nice place just to slow down and enjoy. There is so much to do during the day and in the evening. We are sad to leave but we are travellers now so must move on! Plus, I’ll apply for nursing posts here so we can enjoy it more one day!

Tomorrow we are off to Cape Leveque then will get ready to do the Gibb River Road so I’ll have some adventures to write about then!

Lots of love to you all! – Rachel xoxoxo