1) When the roof tents a-rockin’ don’t come a-knockin’.
Ok, So this first one is kind of obvious, but it is certainly useful to remember. In fairness, it would perhaps be more accurately phrased as; If the Roof tent has been rocking, just pretend that you haven’t heard the next morning. Unfortunately for the “travel beasts”, their 20-year-old leaf springs make a squeaky racket that give away the exact speed and duration of their intimacies, meaning we know exactly whether Reece qualifies as a “beast”, in any department other than Instagram! We will have to leave that one to your imagination, which leads me nicely onto point two;
2) You know literally everything about everyone else.
Sexual forays are not the only thing you end up knowing about everyone else; toilet habits, Illness, when a shower was last taken or when your underwear was last washed all make the long list of personal details that are no longer private. This is fine, and you have to be quite an open person anyway to travel in this way, but it is the small details that end up dominating. You know so much about your extended travel companions, that there is seldom a rock left unturned; I could tell you useless bit of information that there is to know, from their positions on 16th-century Russian monarchs to their favorite brand of sun-dried tomato.
3) Headphones are your most valuable possession
Alright, so sometimes, SOMETIMES, you may not want to engage. Everyone needs their personal space from time to time, but unfortunately when living from the back of a 4×4, it is no easy task to find a bit of solitude. Headphones allow you to block out a little bit of the often inane background noise of the rest of the group, and recede into a selfish bubble where you can, at least for a short time pretend it is just you and your laptop.
4) Having back up is the overlanders best asset.
5) You can only manage if you can take a joke.
This one should maybe have been number one and realistically, is likely the most important to allow us to get on as well as we do, for as long as we have. In essence, Reece and I have a game that basically revolves around ‘little inconveniences’, this can involve anything from hidden keys, squirting with a hose, scaring the life out of each other in the night when camping or just about anything that doesn’t result in too much irreparable damage to property or health (usually). The key is to try to keep a straight face, and pretend you have no idea what the other person is talking about.
Personal favorite moments include pulling in on the hard shoulder, and waiting for Reece to pull in behind me, then springing out and peppering his car with rotten eggs. There was also the time I locked Reece’s car with a bunch of padlocks, then hid the keys and wrote a series of elaborate clues that eventually led him to their destination. I also like to use a ratchet strap to ‘lock’ Reece in his car when he jumps in to get something. It certainly goes both ways, and Reece has gotten me with some of the best ones of the trip to date. Once, I had gone to extreme lengths to string my hammock across and forest stream, no sooner had I got in it, then Reece ‘adjusted’ the knot, so it slowly drooped and before I knew it, I was waking up soaking wet and semi-submerged! The best are the simple ones though, like being smashed with a rotten Mango when you have just put on your last clean shirt, or having bread crushed into your 12v sockets to render them useless unless removed and cleaned out. Either way, you have to be able to laugh, take the joke, and appreciate that it is as funny as it is annoying, and just start planning your revenge.