Wasn’t it just yesterday that we turned onto that dirt road and arrived at the Centre for Rainforest Studies? Now, here we are, done with finals, and about to start our Directed Research projects.
Last week, we got a break from all the papers and studying to embark on a five-day adventure with our friends. Here’s a little window into our trip, with some rules and things to keep in mind if ever you should want to repeat it.
Rule # 1: Don’t let it faze you
No matter what happens, you’re going to make it back alive. Maybe the car is a little hesitant to start. Don’t panic. So what if you’re not sure where you’re sleeping tonight? You’ll find a place eventually. It might be a no camping zone, a busy hostel, or a quiet place on the beach. Waking up to the sunrise on the beach totally outweighs that $14 you had to shell out for a parking space. Bottom line: live in the moment and remember that you’re only young once. Keep in mind: It is likely that you will feel an oddly strong bond with all other people driving a vehicle from the same rental company as you. Just go with it. We waved to every other Jucy van on the road and several of them flashed their lights to us.
Rule # 2: Embrace all odors
If you are living in a van with three other people for five days (or for any length of time) you are not guaranteed the luxury of a laundry fresh scent. Public bathrooms don’t have showers and even dry shoes are pretty rank after a day in a hot car. Remember to pay attention to expiration dates and fridge temperatures, and empty your trash often. And another thing, our blankets smelled like crayons and feet; there’s no way to be sure yours won’t too. Important: Cooking out of the back of your van (despite the weather) is possibly the most ridiculous, hilarious and fun part of the camper experience. Enjoy it! Don’t forget: You are road-tripping in Australia! You are so lucky! Stop at every weird attraction you can find (The Big Mango? Murdering Point Winery?). Take pictures of everything, even of your terrified faces as you pull out of the parking lot for the first time. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or directions. And be prepared for an unforgettable, unparalleled experience.
Rule # 3: Love being scared and excited at the same time.
This applies to life at the Centre and just life in general. Every day is a mystery and an adventure. You might get some leeches when you walk to class in the morning, but you might see a pademelon! Something that makes you nervous could turn out to be an amazing experience. It’s okay to unplug from technology. It’s okay to play hide and seek instead of studying. It’s okay to have the time of your life every day. Enjoy it.