It’s become routine now. As the sun drops low, I erect my tent on the flattest bit of ground I can find. I lay out my sleeping mat, sleeping bag and camping pillow on the right and slot my bags in on the left. There’s room for all my stuff and everything has its place.
Tall enough to sit up in, I end up whiling away many hours in here as I take refuge from the elements, the insects or the bothersome humans. Between my phone, my notepad and the books I’ve picked up at op-shops along the way, I’ve got all the entertainment I need.
As I lie on my sleeping mat I look up and watch the multitude of insect life on the inside of my tent fly (but outside the mesh), likely attracted to my torchlight or the smell of food.
The surrounding night is filled with the sounds of crickets chirping, fruit bats squabbling, brush turkeys rustling in the undergrowth and tortoises splashing in the billabong. On another night it might have been the wind in the trees or the trucks and road trains howling along the highway.
I’ll fall asleep after reading for a while, and then at 5am tomorrow, as the dawn chorus announces the new day, I’ll pack it all up and hit the road, ready to do it all again.