I am a big advocate of caravan parks. This is mainly because I am a big advocate of toilets. I am also a big advocate of computers being easily charged at all times so our children can watch movies while we drink beer.
Don’t get me wrong, I also adore bush camping, but in small bursts. Personally, if I had my way, we’d take our caravan Audrey all around Australia, stopping occasionally to sleep under the stars in remote hideaways and then also parking the caravan in a car park, so we could stay at five star hotels just because five star hotels are the best. None of this is our reality at present, so we are going to find ourselves spending a lot more time in caravan parks.
I am slowly learning about the absurdities of these microcosms of society. Here’s some observations I’ve made:
1) Never set up outside your designated area. We found that out the hard way, when we were passively aggressively “welcomed” by our site neighbours – a crotchety couple in their twilight years. They waited until we had set-up to politely point out the faded line on the curb we had crossed. We then dismantled everything and moved one inch to the right. When we left, we gave them the bird.
Oh, and never brush your teeth in the dish washing sink. You will get crucified.
2) Not all people in their twilight years are assholes. We’ve met some of the loveliest, funny, kind people in our travels. They agreed the site boundary police we encountered were knobs. The grey nomads have hilarious tales to tell of bypassing caravan parks or leaving early when they spy other grey nomads of the crotchety variety. Finally, they can choose their neighbours.
3 ) Caravans can be so freeing. Judging by the cache of Johnnie Walker Red bottles, the people who own this caravan were obviously very drunk free.
4) There are people who go to caravan parks so they can let other people parent their children. You see them at the playgrounds – the kids who spend all day hovering around waiting for someone, anyone, to give them attention. Their parents are nowhere to be seen. We have three kids of our own – we do not want to watch your children too. I’m pretty sure free-range parenting is also code for lazy.
5) The night time dash to the toilet block is crappy, particularly when it’s raining and running makes your boobs bounce awkwardly. And you will always find someone in the bathroom brushing their teeth – even if it’s two in the morning.
6) Don’t feel shamed into cleaning your caravan or annex. There are many people at caravan parks who quite seriously have nothing else to do, but clean. You will see them – they have a compulsive need to sweep and wash everything, all of the time. And when they are not cleaning they’re walking around making sure everyone is sticking to the rules. They quite often notice other caravaners flee caravan parks when they approach.
7) But also be careful not to let your car or caravan get too dirty, because teenagers.
8) You can meet some cool people while caravanning, but you can also meet some loons. Use eye contact sparingly. If you find yourself not liking your neighbours, zip up your annex, or you can always leave – that’s the beauty of having a home on wheels.
Once you get your groove on with caravan parks, they can be really fun, particularly when you have kids. And let’s face it – you don’t have to do the washing or cook dinner. Winning.