In our annual holiday debate – Me vs. my Other – in which we agree on where and when to spend a few glorious weeks of the year, I put forward the case for an Exotic, Possibly Life Changing Health and Yoga Retreat. Arguments for: Feeling Amazing. Delicious foodstuffs. Relaxation. Personal growth. He put forward arguments for an Awesome Fishing Vacation in which we would: 1) Get up at the crack of dawn; 2) Catch impressively large fish (best case); and 3) Eat impressively large fish (or worst case, starve). Not stated was the possibility of mounting one such specimen and displaying in our lounge room, an on-going aspiration or threat, depending on your point of view.
Horrified at the thought of sitting in a tinny for long periods of time (me), and fearing chanting and vegetarian food (him), we came up with a compromise solution: A DIY Yoga Retreat Near Good Fishing Spots With To Be Determined Food Options.
And so, that is how I found myself spending four ‘glorious weeks’ in an enormous Britz campervan, with inbuilt shower, toilet, oven, and even a microwave. The idea was we’d drive around and stop as the urge took us, when one or the other declared ‘This looks like a good spot’. We’d build campfires and be enterprising with sticks. I’d return home with the body of a lithe ballerina/hiking type. People would comment and I would tell them that meditation had changed my life. Hell, I might even try this ‘meditation’ thing.
The campervan, ‘nature’ and the country at large conspired against my attempt to become Miranda Kerr (SIDE NOTE: genetics, I might add, have also been working against me for some time).
Lest you be lured by the idealised simplicity of the same, behold:
A Guide to Navigating ‘the Country’ and Attempting Stage Your Own Health Retreat Among Places Better Known for Fishing. You’re welcome.
1) Use any other toilet preferentially to the one in your campervan. Sure, the convenience is appealing. Sure it is. It’s 2am you need to pee. What better place, you ask, than the toilet mere inches from your bed?
There are better places, all of which exist outside said campervan.
2) Torches that attach to your head, cleverly mocked in the fluorescent lights of Ray’s Tent City, will become your most prized possession. Buy several and guard them with your life. Do not worry about looking foolish; everyone will covet your headlamp. Look at them with their hand held devices! So primitive!
3) You will not happen upon a purpose-built, 31 classes-a-day yoga studio in the country. Instructors will not advertise on the interweb. Probably, you will find yourself draped over a pillow in somebody’s living room, coffee table pushed to the wall, TV facing the corner. You will not jump rigorously from posture to posture, sweating it out in a special, heated room. Rather, you will breathe into parts of your body, hug yourself, sway and sing about peace. The City-dweller within may wonder if this is aerobically effective; ignore her and, as implored by the instructor-come-home owner, attempt to ‘Silence the miiinnnndddd’.
4) It is likely your preferred dietary regime will be alienating and/or the subject of ridicule. Cafés will not stock sufficient milk products to accommodate your sugar free / fat free / vegan lifestyle; indeed, almond milk penetration will be less than total. In addition, your Other will be unsupportive of your efforts in this respect. Stevia – if you must – should be discretely hidden on your person for surreptitious addition to beverages as required.
5) Fancy exercise clothing is frowned upon in the country. Nothing says ‘Out of Towner’ quite like a spiffy new pair of Lululemon hotpants and a crop top promising to stop wicking/something else you didn’t know you were doing. Even if you are an out-of-towner, you don’t want to look like one; best to don painting clothes or in a pinch, fashion something from pyjamas.
Oh, did I say Miranda Kerr’s body still eludes me? Well, Miranda Kerr’s body still eludes me. Something about honey not being the amazing dietary loophole I’d assumed when purchasing a 28-kilo barrel of the sweet stuff from a local farmer. In my defence, it was organic. No matter; I am certain – quite certain – that if I die my hair red I could look like Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls-era) and that is infinitely more achievable.