100 days = 100 adventures and lots of lessons learned (in addition to those we’d noted after the first 40 days of travelling). Here are 10 of them …
- You can’t beat antihistamine tablets for fast relief from insect bite itching. We’ve tried tea tree cream and oil, cream specifically for itch relief, and just trying to ignore the itch, but the tablets definitely work best for both of us.
- Don’t overdo it in the heat. After a couple of hikes around the Katherine area in temperatures of 30°+, despite carrying several litres of water, hats, food, suncream and having a pretty good level of fitness, we’ve learned to take it a bit easy after noticing the effects of dehydration.
- If you’re going to cycle, carry a puncture repair kit. And know how to use it. And have some spare inner tubes close to hand too.
- As we don’t have a car on tow with us we’re really glad we invested in bikes and a bike rack at the outset of our lap. We’ve done just over 400 miles on them so far and love that we can explore and get some exercise at the same time, or even just nip to the shops for supplies without having to take the van.
- Invest in reuseable water bottles and always have at least one with you. We have a water filter tap in our van’s kitchen so there’s absolutely no excuse!
- Make sure you have some contingency money for emergencies. A couple of weeks ago we had to make an unscheduled trip to the dentist which cost $300. If you have a problem with your vehicle, a medical issue or need to get home in a hurry you’ll be glad of having a bit of a buffer.
- Not every day is a good day, and you need to have a rest from time to time. Of our 100 days on the road we can count on one hand the number of days ‘off’ we’ve had. When time is limited and there’s a destination to get to it can be difficult to justify, but with reference back to point 2, sometimes you just have to chill out. We’ve also realised that one of us might feel a bit low on the odd day and that’s also normal.
- It’s fine to take others’ input on board (WikiCamps comments, TripAdvisor reviews, Facebook posts) but you have to make your own judgements on campsites, attractions, restaurants, etc. We’ve been to places with high expectations and been disappointed, and vice versa.
- Check your diary for events back at home. Having lived our lives by our work calendars for so long we’ve enjoyed not having to clock-watch for meetings and appointments. The downside of this is that we’ve missed a couple of birthdays that we’d have preferred not to have. And if you don’t send cards by post we’ve found that an online greeting with a photo of something you’ve seen that day (a sunrise, shells on the beach) is very well received.
- Save your $1 and $2 coins for washing machines! We always try to have about $10 of change in our pot to avoid having to lug the laundry round to find change from reception and invariably leaving the washing powder and/or pegs somewhere.
We’re pretty sure we’ll have more wisdom to share before the end of this trip. Stay tuned!