Life in a caravan – Chapter 1, housework

Life in a caravan is, unsurprisingly, unlike life at home. The van itself is, for example, about one sixteenth the floor space of our house. On the other hand travelling with the van gives you an endless backyard. For those of you that may be interested we thought we would document a few of our observations and experiences about life in a caravan.

One definite up side of life in a caravan is that the house work only takes a fraction of the time. Unless of course you are me in which case you simply can’t abide a sandy/dirty floor. In that case you spend just as much time cleaning while traveling as at home, except that all of that time is dedicated to sweeping. Always with the sweeping! It’s like my own personal battle with entropy, the tendency of all things in the universe towards chaos. I must confess I begun to worry about myself a little when reflecting on how pleased I was to receive a dust buster for my birthday this year. Perhaps I’m not really qualified to comment appropriately on housekeeping on the road.

Everyone’s favourite caravanning chore is emptying the port-a-potti, a somewhat less than desirable necessity in a caravan. To do so one must detach the devices waste receptacle from the rest of the unit and cart it over to the nearest ‘dump point’. Then simply remove the lid and invert the whole thing while a week or so worth of everyones, you know what, drains away. In three months I’ve not come across a single female undertaking this task! No I’m not suggesting anything. There is a kind of unspoken comradre amongst men at the dump point, an unmistakable bond whereby you know exactly what the other fella is thinking without having to say a word.

Emma here. It does seem in the caravanning world there are ‘pink jobs’ and ‘blue jobs’. Attending to the laundry is most often a ‘pink job’. Depending where you are there may be serious competition between the grey nomads to be first in at the dedicated opening hour of the laundry. In Broome where the laundry opened at 7am, it was like queuing to get concert tickets… People filling the laundry bench reading their magazines from 630am! Then there are those that fail to return to the machine after the washing is complete, creating tension and awkwardness amongst those waiting when the perpetrator returns. But as I was told by the only male I’ve met doing washing – the time the washing machine takes depends on the water pressure, and that is variable throughout the day, after all he said ‘we’re not in the city anymore’. An excuse perhaps, but worth remembering should you be tardy returning for your washing.

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