by MESHEL LAURIE
I’m not afraid of much. Maybe it’s a confidence, maybe it’s naivety but there is just not much that keeps me awake at night. For the last two weeks or so though, I’ve tossed and turned over the news that in order to attend an event I dearly wanted to be part of – I would have to camp.
There is so much that troubles me about camping but chief amongst my concerns is the question of the toilet.
I cannot deal with a port-a-loo. Can’t do it. No matter how exciting the event is, if there’s a port-a-loo involved – then I am not.
Dark, hot, mystery liquids pooling in the bottom. No way.
I spent a night at a Buddhist retreat a couple of years ago. I had a hut to myself but there was a communal toilet outside. I was so stressed about the torch-lit pit-stops that I spent the entire night listening to the sounds of critters roaming around the grounds and checking for the slightest nudge from my bladder.
I’ve never been able to squat either. There were many childhood attempts by the sides of highways with mum issuing instructions but it never worked. In desperation, I experimented with an Asian squat toilet not too long ago, only to have my worst fears realised. I still can’t do it.
I should probably divulge at this point that the ‘trip’ was actually one night.
BUT HOLD ON! There were more circumstances that made this trip nerve wracking.
Firstly, I was traveling with strangers. I was tagging along with a crew from the Fred Hollows Foundation who were supplying everything from the tent and sleeping bag to those cool tin mugs you drink tea out of when camping (not that I’d be drinking any tea, obviously).
Secondly, we weren’t camping at a camp ground per se but within the grounds of an Aboriginal community about 100km outside Katherine, called Barunga. I Googled hard but was unable to find any info about the ‘facilities’.