A day in the life of a nomad

It’s easy for us to show you the highlights – the stunning landscapes and quirky things we’ve discovered on our journey, but while we continue to experience the wonder, we must remind you that with magic, comes the mundane.

We still do the dishes, we still do the laundry, we still clean up our ‘home’ just as you would – but how?

Here’s a day in the life of two young nomads. This day is particularly mundane, a travel day – passing from Broken Hill to Bourke – but there’s still work to be done!

Boiling the Kettle

Did you know the old metal billy is one of the most handy tools when you’re living on the road? It’s a kettle, a boiling pot, a shower (you’ll see later)… Any hot water we need, Mr Billy delivers. Ben’s chucking on the billy for our essential morning coffees here. Without a campfire, we’d use our portable gas stove to heat. This billy has seen a lot, old cobber.

Washing up

Because Mr Billy has delivered on the hot water, we can now also wash up our breakfast plates etc. The camper trailer comes with a cold water tap and sink so that part’s easy – it’s just a matter of tipping the hot water into the sink, adding your detergent and bob’s your uncle.

Ben likes washing, I like wiping. Works perfectly. Most of the time 😉

Packing up

This is the part I dread the most… Moving everything from inside the trailer and around camp back into the ute. Even though it’s not, it always looks like a lot of stuff so getting started is hard… especially when we’ve settled in around the fire and we’re enjoying the morning sunshine.

Ben does most of the heavy lifting – we call this bag ‘the big bitch’. She carries ALL of my clothing. She’s also heavy as hell. ‘Make way for the big bitch!’

Winding in the trailer

Once the Ute is packed, we can wind in the trailer. This is Ben’s job. He just loves it so much so I let him enjoy it all to himself 😉

Quite straightforward, wind wind wind, fold fold fold.

Latching the trailer shut

Once the trailer is wound up, we can latch it shut!

I’m a gal who values her sleep more than most things so I was not settling for the thin mattress that came with the trailer. After much cramming and forcing, we managed to get a proper mattress in the trailer and therefore we have a proper bed, but this also means there’s extra pressure to close the trailer shut each day.

This is when Oak and I come in – we jump up on the trailer and weigh it down so Ben can latch it shut.

(We did pop a latch one day, but thankfully Ben is a resourceful man so he fixed brand new, stronger latches, and it’s like it’s brand new)

This is Oak’s favourite part of the morning routine. He gets so excited to get up on top of the trailer. Sahhh cute!

Tying down

Now the trailer is shut, we need to secure our larger items that fit nowhere else. This is just our two swags and we throw the camp sofa on too because we can. Oh, and the milk crate which, fun fact – was used on our wedding day to help us girls get into the cars haha. As you can see, Oak doesn’t like getting back down off the trailer. Bloody dingo.

Organising the doggos

After much coaxing, Oak jumps down and we’re ready to buckle them in. Sammy knows when our pack up process starts so he’s been in there waiting patiently for ages. Talk about paranoid! Oak however, stays out until the last minute. We’re also teaching Oak to jump up into the dog box on his own, but he’s still too little, so he gets some help.

Fastening the hounds

Thanks to Ben’s resourcefulness, the boys have a nice shady, cool place to ride. There’s plenty of space for them both to lay down and relax and we also leave them with a nice soft bed and some chew toys to satisfy the baby. They’re fastened with chain and we’re ready to go! Almost!

Water fill up

We make it our mission to drink as much water as we can – even when we’re in the car all day, so each morning we fill our empty bottles right before we leave. One for the cab with us, one for the fridge. We also make sure the dogs’ bucket is nice and full.

We have two water tanks – one 90L tank in the Ute and one 90L tank in the trailer. We use our tanks every day – unless we have easy access to water at a caravan park, for instance.

We always top up when we’ve stayed at a van park or keep an eye out for filling stations when we pass through towns. They’re usually at the local rest area/ recreation area/ men’s shed or visitor centre.

Being campfire-safe

We love a good campfire but in order to enjoy them, you have to be bloody careful.

We won’t make one if the conditions don’t allow and we never leave it unattended or let it get out of control.

Campfire safety 101 – pour water over your fire to ensure it’s properly extinguished. NEVER cover it – we still see campfires on our travels which have been covered. Ugh.

Ensuring the fire is properly out and won’t reignite – our last step before hopping in the Ute.

Where to?

Once Ben has checked over the Ute including checking oil and water levels, plus also making sure we have morning snacks in the cab, we’re good to go. But where to?

We always refer to our Hema navigator ‘Lee’ to suss out the best route and we usually just wing it from there. Driving without a plan is always more exciting and we tend to stumble upon more interesting things when we don’t plan our day too much.

Looking at stuff

My husband has this incredible talent of being able to spot a lizard on the road 200m away but manage to miss huge road signs that tell us the speed limit or where to go! Nonetheless, every day we see something new and exciting – like these guys! We also saw a bajillion goats, roos, and even a couple of pigs today. Usually, we’d stop and check out local landmarks, shops, sights etc and always stop at the visitor centre for a bumper sticker and more info. Today however, was not one of those days. Just lots of road!

Driving breaks

Not gonna lie, I do zero driving. I navigate and choose our stops and our camps but I don’t drive at all. While Ben is behind the wheel, I usually read, play candy crush, sing at the top of my voice and sleep. Those are my road trip activities. Despite all of this doing nothing, my back still gets bloody sore. Ben also needs some breaks because ya know, he’s carrying the team and all.

We usually hop out, go to the loo, take the dogs to the loo, give them a little run and restock on water and snacks. Today’s stop was a little rest area with a couple of grey nomads and a bajillion flies.

Lunch time

Time for some lunch!

We try to be good most of the time and make our own lunches. Sometimes we get slack, sometimes we have a big breakfast and snack instead… today we were good.

Ben’s fixing himself a ham, cheese tomato sanga.

I’m making a chicken and salad wrap.

We worked quickly today because the flies were just crazy nuts. You had to eat with one hand covering your bites to keep them away. I tried to swat before taking a bite – that was a terrible mistake. These flies are BRAZEN and more crunchy than you’d expect.

… and of course the puppies get a bite too because we’re those kind of dog parents. Don’t worry, they have to sit and be cute first.

Doggo play time

And after a long day driving, we have found our camp. This one is a gorgeous river camp at Bourke.

We always try to camp away from everyone else. This is for several reasons: We like a bit of privacy, we like the dogs to have a bit of freedom, and well, sometimes we don’t feel like talking to people. You feel me?

When we pull up, the first thing we do is get the boys out of the Ute and find somewhere for them to stretch their legs. Sammy is ball obsessed so it doesn’t take us long to wear him out, Oak is a little harder to tire. He’s super lazy and only pounces on his brother when he’s returned with the ball. That’s his exercise.

Trailer set up

While I’m busy tiring the dogs, Ben is setting up the trailer for our next night on the road. It takes no time at all for him to prop it up. He just loves doing it so much, it’s his favourite thing to do. Note the enthusiasm on his face.

Rest time

When we’re all done settling into our camp, it’s time to rest. Ben and I both relax in different ways. He likes to collect firewood, build the fire, read and have a beer.

I like to read, drink wine, talk without many breaths because I’ve spent the whole day playing candy crush or sleeping, or thinking of something cool to post on our travel blog (here!) Either way, we take this time to chill out before dinner.

Dinner time!

Ben and I actually cook and eat quite well on the road. Well, most of the time. We have more time to prepare meals so while we don’t have a kitchen, we do have the time to come up with dishes and enjoy making them. Plus, we haven’t had a stressful day at work so we can’t use ‘too tired’ as an excuse. Today, I’m making chicken parmies with veggies. Staple.

Because Ben prepared a fire, we don’t need the gas stove – just some hot, delicious gidgee coals for the carrot, sweet potato, mushroom medley.

You may be thinking, they can’t possibly have an oven for the parmi! Wrong! The good old ‘fry pan-covered-by-a-wok’ oven does the trick to get that cheese melted and toasty. Note the steel bucket, that’s our hot water system. We’ll use this soon.

Bath time

Remember how I mentioned the shower and the billy? This is how we do. The steel bucket warming on the fire is our hot water. The billy is the shower head. We have a foam mat to keep our feet clean, soap/ any other normal shower items and a good old crocheted face washer from my grandma to do the scrubbing.

We normally have a 12v shower which makes things much easier, but it broke. In the meantime, we have Mr Billy and I ain’t complaining. Showering in the nutter outside under the stars is surprisingly therapeutic.

Bed time

Alas, we are clean, fed and ready for bed! Once we’ve washed up and locked up, it’s time to get tucked in!

When the weather is cool, we love a sneaky cuppa tea in bed while we read or watch Netflix, then it’s shut eye.

Oak and Sam usually start the night down on the floor on their bed, but always end up creeping up and snuggling with us. Then off to noddyland we go!

….and that is a typical day on the road. While we normally do heaps more fun stuff, these mundane tasks are the bare foundations of our daily routine. It does vary from time to time, but we have a routine which makes up a good chunk of our day.

Not bad for our most boring days, right?

General Travel tips

enlightenmeemily View All →

A lover of the written word.

Journalist by trade, writer by hobby. Writing fuels my soul and I promised myself I’d string words together more often, so here I am.

A collection of pieces that describe the inner workings of my mind.

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