Choose Your Own Adventure Mobile

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by Kate Berry

These summer holidays we took a road trip up the East coast of Australia. With the whole Brady Bunch-esque family in tow, each of the ‘grown-ups’ had to drive their own version of adventure mobile.

My fella’s choice for the trip was a sensible, white, air-conditioned, power-steered delivery van with mattresses piled in the back. He and his kids drove to Sydney in cool comfort on the 40˚C days and on the day with torrential rain (and 40˚C) they were nice and dry and managed to see ahead of them with their modern headlights.

Mine, on the other hand, a bright yellow 1981 Volkswagen camper, had no air-conditioning. Instead, I tied the quarter panel window open with rope to let the air in (I had to tie it open, as if I drove too fast it would slam shut). It also blows hot air from the engine into the van. It also has vinyl seats. And one curtain with velcro, next to the drivers seat, likes to get stuck in my hair.

Slowly I putted up the hills of the Hume Highway, sweat dripping from my brow, loud fuzzy music playing through my equally 1981 speakers. I had no choice but to embrace the heat, not fight against it. As I reached the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, the rain began to pour in. Quickly, I wound up my window, but my extremely well tied quarter panel window was too difficult to close. The van filled with water. I got soaking wet. I never felt more alive. This is road tripping. This is experiencing life.

Because I have pretty much exclusively driven pieces of crap on all my road trips, we’ve stayed in towns I’d never thought of stopping in, made friends with people I’d never consider talking to and experienced things only being somewhere by chance brings you.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the way I road trip is pretty much the way I live every moment of my life. Never the easy way. It’s good to feel the bumps and get a few scratches. It makes a better story.

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