Rebecca Haydon – Rlhydn_Overland

Name: Rebecca Haydon

City and State you live: Picton, NSW

Favourite Quote: “I’m calmer than you are” (The Big Lobowski 1998)

We’re 32 years old, high school sweethearts working in IT. David and I are addicted to camping and remote travel. Pushing ourselves and our customised LandCruiser 76 Series further afield to explore what this rugged and varied island holds dear, finding that perfect campsite to call home.

We enjoy preparing, equipping and learning about travel, photography, 4wding and remote exploration as much as we enjoy the complete and quiet, unplugged lifestyle of living under canvas. Resetting our circadian rhythm under the stars, eating good food and making the cold, dark walk to gecko hosted pit toilets. We love it all.

What’s the longest trip that you’ve been away from home?

Six weeks, swag on the roof, permits in hand for remote WA but we got seemingly stuck in the Northern Territory and suffered winter under the beautiful Centralian sun, 27 degrees Celsius and beautiful. Impromptu, jaw dropping, sweaty day hikes around Alice Springs, escaped the rain underground at Coober Pedy, frost on the swag at minus 6 in country Victoria. Felt like a chaotic roller coaster of an adventure where the only plan was no plan. I have written 13 part trip report on my blog.

What has been your most favourite destination and why?

The Simpson Desert. We were equal parts excited for the crossing and nervous of fuel consumption, solo travel and more embarrassingly – getting bogged on the dunes. Once we made the hellish track to Purni Bore, the pure serenity and prettiness washed those fears away. We had the privilege of driving for days through an epic, green and gold, beautiful garden, barely seeing a soul. Using hardly any fuel and never getting bogged – we’d return in a heartbeat to explore further. Chasing that silence over the dunes and cataloguing the rainbow of wildflowers.

What’s your favourite travel childhood memory?

Various (but consistently cold) camping in country NSW. My brother and I riding our bikes wherever we could, pushing them the rest of the way. Finding trees to climb, scaring each other with horror stories involving the pit toilet. Drinking hot Milo and condensed milk or fighting over tinned spaghetti. I remember the rubbery smell and unavoidable noise the air beds made inside the tent. We felt like a couple of junior explorers; with all that space for the imagination and without a care in the world.

What have you found (sights or activities) a bit off the beaten track?

Beyond the tourist traps that made you go wow? I could have stayed at Halligan Bay, Lake Eyre for much, much longer. The silence is intoxicating. We had the place to ourselves, it turned cold and windy overnight, and we suffered some of the worst (albeit strangely purple coloured) corrugations to get there, but elsewise, otherworldly. It’s bizarre even now to recount the silence at dusk or at pre-dawn when we rugged up to greet the sun over the salt. It was also our first camp on sand; course, cold and beige. I loved it.

What’s your biggest first world problem that you have while travelling?

The lack of space in our fridge, for sparkling mineral water. Who knew we could pine over bubbly water. There is generally a synchronised scanning of the Roadhouse fridges for some when we’re paying for fuel, food or accommodation.

What’s been the weirdest thing you’ve seen?

Can’t pinpoint anything particularly weird, we’ve certainly met some characters on our travels, but we’re a little bit weird ourselves… The way the tall Brulga stalks around their outback oases is pretty weird, almost alien or prehistoric. I have only seen them at dusk and dawn and haven’t captured them with the camera…. Yet!

Where do you dream of visiting (anywhere in the world)? Worldwide?

I’m going stir crazy over Bolivia, the extremes are simply mesmerising. I’ve always wanted to see the natural wonders of Utah, Nevada, Alaska and Canada too so perhaps there is a PanAmericas Trip in our future. In a suitably American built vehicle. A real Overlanding feather in my Akubra.

What do you get from travelling?

Probably a little bit …blah but I love the surrealism of the natural world. The imagination of ‘firsts’. I find it a real sense of exploration to soak up the natural wonders of our country. Simply being outside or casting our own shadows on a mighty gorge or dune for your first time. Our solitary footsteps at a new campsite, or the mist of a secretive waterfall. I find it simultaneously recharging and intimate to be alone with the Earth in that way.

What’s been your weirdest moment while travelling?

Not weird but probably the most stupid would be on a particularly steep and rocky trail in the Flinders Ranges. I spotted an Echidna, which I have seen on numerous occasions but they never cease to amaze me. I came to a crashing halt, the low range causing the clutch to chatter unhappily, yanked up the unreliable handbrake and jumped out of the LandCruiser. David had no idea what my problem was, apparently I was incoherent and as soon as the door was open the cold gale blew my voice away. Anyway, scrabbling down the hill like Bear Grylls with my camera, but with the finesse of Russell Coight, I tripped and slid dramatically. A patch of prickly something stopping my descent. Needless to say, I managed a couple of rubbish photos of the terrified monotreme, ran back up to the precariously perched LandCruiser, victorious. Removing the prickles took half an hour and the delayed onset of aches and bruises took a couple of weeks to fade.

What has been the most useful item you’ve brought?

If I had to pick one item, it would be my Black Diamond headlamp. Between cooking, setting up camp after a late arrival, wildlife spotting, spider surveillance, navigating treacherous paths to the toilet or reading a book in the tent. I would literally be lost without it. Our style of travel dictates a minimalist inventory so everything has its use, even better – more than one. So if I could pick the least useful item we’ve brought on a trip it would be the Handpresso Auto, pure extravagance – a shot of espresso required by the soul only. We could very well travel without it, but there’s room in our 12v budget for the pressurised black gold.

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