This bloody state we live in, boy have I gained some new appreciation for the adventures it facilitates. NSW is just spectacular.
I think all aussies are probably a little complacent about their homeland, but it really is The Lucky Country. Having explored my home state now a little better with Boz, a proud New South Welshman has definitely surfaced in me from within.
I had a reality check last year when I visited Treachery on a solo exploratory mission during a gap between working days. There were tourists everywhere. I arrived on a Saturday and didn’t hear many local accents at all, despite it being near capacity owing to the warm weekend weather. It hit home quite how iconic the East Coast Road Trip is for travellers visiting Australia, and I enjoyed the opportunity to see how visitors experience NSW.
The novelty of vanlife rose to a new level from that trip and that realisation. It persists to this day, over a year later - I often still feel like a tourist in my own home country. It’s bloody awesome.
I’ve always persisted that Australia (and New Zealand) is the ultimate destination for our far-flung friends in Europe and North America. It’s a fair stretch for them to travel, but aside from being pretty expensive, I reckon it’s as close to a guaranteed trip of a lifetime for them as is possible. We've got the most interesting shit to do here, we sound funny to them, and we've got flora and fauna of such diversity they rival the world's most exotic ecosystems. We're roughly the same geographical size as America, but with just 25 million humans compared to 320. The mind boggles at such a spatial comparison.
My most recent NSW voyage was one of the best yet. My working week was Monday and Tuesday mornings, after which I had lunch with a mate in the city before promptly hitting the road. I drove south to Ulladulla - my usual south coast launchpad that I really enjoy as a base to then drive to various spots within an hour north or south. If I’m waiting for swell, Ulladulla has good surf breaks of its own, and unoccupied holiday homes are easy to spot and set up camp out the front of.
This particular week I surfed around Bawley point Wednesday and Thursday, then headed further south, through Bega and up into the Great Dividing Range. I had never taken the alternate route to the snowy mountains from Sydney before, and I was blown away by how scenic the drive is. It's fucking breathtaking. Woe betide me for not being as acquainted with my camera back then as I am now. Absence of photographic proof notwithstanding, take my word for it and bloody go do it if you get the chance. It's magical.
I got to Jindabyne around 6 on Thursday night and parked the van in a pretty public alleyway behind Nugget’s Crossing, packed a bag and turned in for the night.
Shortly after dawn on Friday morning my brother and all his mates picked me up from said alleyway. Leaving the van where it was, I bundled all my gear into their car and headed to Perisher for the weekend.
We had an epic three days on the snow staying at a huge chalet my brother found online for a steal. Its funny how much my appreciation for permanent accommodation has skyrocketed on the rare occasions I find myself in a building overnight. Sore and stoked they dropped me off back at the van mid-afternoon on Sunday, where it had been left untouched and probably unnoticed over the weekend. I unpacked all my stuff straight away, jumped behind the wheel and was back in Sydney early Sunday night ready for work on Monday.
I’m not sure I would have accomplished that same trip with such ease and low cost without a van. It didn’t require any significant planning, I didn’t pay for accommodation, and I ticked off a long-standing goal of a hybrid surf/snow holiday. And all during a week of “full-time employment”.
If you’re thinking of what you did at the office whilst I was at leisure in the wonderful state of NSW - and then thinking fuck you mate, fuck you - you’re pretty justified. But I haven't called this website Lucky Roland for nothing. I know I’ve got it ridiculously good.
So rest assured, I’m making the most of every opportunity on behalf of those stuck in the mainstream alternative, in cubicles and behind screens. Who knows when I’ll have to join the them but thankfully it’s not quite yet.
Gotta make that hay while the sun shines.