If you’re living in Australia on a working holiday visa, you might plan on spending the year in hostels or a private flat. But they’re not the only option for long term Australian accomodation; living in a tent in Australia is very possible – and here’s why I love it!
I came to Byron on the 13th September, and on the 17th I moved into a tent for three months. After a month passed, I loved my new way of life so much that I decided to stay in Byron and my tent until February. I’m leaving very soon – I fear that I may be dragged away kicking and screaming though – and I’m going to miss tent life SO MUCH. Seriously, living in a tent in Australia has changed my life.
People at home think I’ve lost the plot. But living in a tent is one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I don’t think I’ll ever look at life in the same way again.
What is it about living in a tent that has enthralled me so much? Here’s the best things about sleeping with just a sheet of material over my head…
Outdoor Time is All the Time
This might sound like some people’s idea of hell, but living in a tent means that you can really relish outdoor living. I can count on one hand the number of TV programmes that I intentionally watched when I was home in England, but instead of spending evenings hunched over my computer I’m sitting outside enjoying the stars, and instead of wolfing down my breakfast at my desk I’m relishing it in a hammock with birds around me (edit: sometimes I’m waving my hands desperately at birds because they like the look of my banana pancakes just as much as me, but the first scenario sounds more poetic). I’ve always appreciated the outdoors, but I never realised how much I love it until I came to this place. Now I crave the outdoors and get freaked out if I’m in a room with walls and a door for too long. Living in a tent has made me feel free.
Sleep Problems Are A Thing of the Past
I used to have severe insomnia, to the point where I would dread going to bed, knowing that hours of staring at my ceiling and anguishing about why I couldn’t sleep, followed by a tough day at work trying to keep my eyes open, lay before me. As soon as I started sleeping in my tent, these issues have vanished. It’s definitely something to do with being outside all of the time; I spend hardly any of my life in a closed room now and rely a lot more on natural light. I go to bed and I fall asleep. It’s absolutely amazing. Living in a tent is doing wonders for my health.
There’s a Fantastic Sense of Community
Unless you’re pitched up in a tent in the middle of an abandoned field, there’s going to be people around you with who you have things in common. Everyone who lives on my campsite has a similar mentality; that material things are less important and quite simply, houses are overrated! Due to this, a beautiful community has built up. There’s a huge amount of sharing, there’s always someone to hug sand smiles are given in abundance. It’s a fantastic place to meet new people and make deep connections with those around you.
You’re Within Nature All the Time
Waking up at 5am to an orchestra of birds does take some getting used to, I admit. But after a while, it’s the most soothing and relaxing thing to listen to. It’s like one of those sleep hypnosis tapes that you might listen to to help sleep, but in real life. And maybe this is another reason why my insomnia is cured!
It’s a Constant Digital Detox
Just to clarify; I do have access to electricity and not all of my cooking is done on a portable gas stove. There’s a kitchen on-site as well as a huge connecting hostel with hundreds of plugs. There’s just obviously none in my tent itself. But I don’t miss that at all – living in a tent has taught me that there’s way more important things than making sure that my phone is 100% charged all the time and keeping up with my favourite Instagram accounts (although I do still love you guys, promise!) Tent life has brought me back to my roots, reminding me how valuable real human interaction and friendship is.
You Realise How Little You Really Need
Tent life has shown me how I really need such a tiny amount of ‘stuff’. Living with just a tarp over my head has proven that I don’t need electricity, or more than three pairs of shoes, or make-up. I go without these items first because they are inaccessible or impractical, but after so long without them, the thought of putting mascara on on a day to day basis or having a light on all the time just feels weird. Without them I’m so much happier.
It’s an Upgrade to Living in a Hostel (in my opinion)
I think of my tent as my own personal space that I can decorate however I want – something that I can’t do in hostel rooms! I share a tent with a friend and we have a double mattress and single mattress, shelves and a sofa and storage crates for our things, and the interior is adorned with prayer flags and dream catchers, with the Byron Bay sign ‘Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out’ at one end. The tent has become my little haven and I love being in it!
Bunking Up With Nature Proves that the Outside World isn’t as Scary as you May Think
When I stepped off of the plane in Australia, I had several warnings flashing like beacons inside my skull. SNAKES and SPIDERS were two big beacons. Since I’ve been living in a tent in Australia, I’ve seen countless spiders and nine snakes (not all in my tent!). A baby python once found its way into the inner lining of my tent, and I walked in to find it curled up on the mesh above me. I’m not going to lie, this completely terrified me, but I then did so much research into poisonous snakes in Australia (which, btw, a python is not one) and now I’m more in the know I feel so less afraid of them. They say you need to face your fears to conquer them, and living amongst these animals has given me a new appreciation for them that I never would have got if I hadn’t lived in a tent.
Living in a Tent in Australia is So Much Fun
Maybe it’s because of the people around me all of the time, or perhaps it’s the ‘holiday’ feeling that the campsite provides, but tent life is really really fun. Nobody takes their life too seriously, there’s always somebody to have a laugh with and so much to learn from those around you.
I really strongly believe that everyone should try living in a tent, in Australia or elsewhere, at least once in their life. It can be wet, messy, sweltering hot and kind of scary sometimes, but the experience of living in a tent on the edge of the jungle really has changed my outlook on life. I’m so happy that I made the decision to live in a tent for five months and even though I’ll be leaving very soon, I’m sure that my tent days are not completely over. Watch this space!
Do you think you’d ever live in a tent? Or have you had any funny or memorable experiences camping? Let me know in the comments below!
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