As a self-professed travel addict, the last few months of lockdown have left my feet itchy to explore something new. While flights out of the state aren’t an option, we are incredibly lucky here in WA to have thousands of kilometers of beautiful scenery within the safety of our borders. So, for the sake of our sanity, we recently packed up the camper and hit the road for some much-needed R&R!
Now, you are probably wondering why I am telling you about my holiday - this isn’t a travel blog, it’s about sleep, right? The moral of my road-trip story is the importance of maintaining your home routine while traveling ... and how a few terrible nights without quality sleep turned our relaxing week away into a holiday from hell.
After our first day on the road we pulled into the secluded and picture-perfect camp site at Baladjie rocks. This was the maiden voyage for our new camping kit, so we spent some extra time perfecting our site set-up, and then hit the trail for some well-earned hiking before sunset.
We were rewarded by some amazing panoramic views over the lake, then made our descent to our lakeside campsite by the light of the full moon.
I have had a lot of my patients say to me over the years that they were worried they would get dependent on their CPAP. What you actually get dependent on is not feeling like rubbish every morning, and not seeing the homicidal look in your partner’s eyes after a night of staring at the roof and listening to you snore! That first night with no CPAP after 5 years of peace was a strong reminder that CPAP saved our marriage! My campfire cooking was on point, so we enjoyed a delicious dinner and then settled into bed for a blissful sleep in the pristine silence of the outback. We had learned long ago to never leave home without my partner’s CPAP: the AirMini even lived in our boot, pre-COVID, in case we found someplace interesting to camp for the night. But the one thing we had neglected to do this time was to check if the plugs in the new camper would power his AirMini. What we didn’t count on was that the converter had a UK plug adapter rather than an Aussie one, so we had no way to plug it in... the horror!
At first light, groggy and grumpy, we packed up our tent and made a beeline for Kalgoorlie to rustle up a power-adapter to rescue us for the following night. We planned to also grab an AirMini DC converter while we were there just to be safe but, as is the case in many small towns, they didn’t have the parts on hand. Word to the wise: pack your spare parts - even small towns with outlets won’t always have the bits you need.
Believing we were saved, we took the first dirt road out of town, passing emus and rainbows, and made our way to another ‘off the beaten track’ spot - Rowles Lagoon.
What a reward, another beautiful piece of the world all to ourselves.
A winter shower and sheer exhaustion sent us scurrying into our tent a little earlier tonight, eager to erase the nightmare of the previous night and catch some restorative ZZZs. Spoiler alert - it didn’t. The plug was not the answer.
The image you probably have in your head is the one you always see on TV, of the angry wife elbowing the husband while he happily snores away, but as anyone who has been in that situation can tell you, there was nothing happy about this snoring. A few good snores and he would wake himself up, struggle to fall back to sleep, and then repeat the whole process again every 10 minutes until daybreak.
Another day of cranky exchanges loomed as we hit the road, knowing that the only answer tonight was limiting ourselves to powered camp-sites until we could find a clinic with the parts we needed to power his CPAP. With the clock running, we took in the amazing vistas of the Granite Woodlands trail from Norseman to Hyden and stopped to hike some great trails at McDermid and Disappointment rocks (the only disappointment being that we had to leave to get to power by sundown).
We pulled into Wave rock just as the sun began to set and the roos took to the streets. Never has a campsite between the bins and the toilet block seemed so like heaven. With the CPAP plugged in and the snoring eliminated we both barely flipped the pages on our books before we found the land of nod.
I awoke 9 hours later feeling like a Disney princess - with birds chirping at my shoulder, the kind of pleasant disposition that makes small animals want to do your bidding, and an excitement for the adventures the day would hold.
I have been helping people discover a good night’s sleep for over 15 years now and I’m still always amazed by the difference a good night of sleep can make to your day and your life.
With our sleeping issues resolved, we again had the energy to have the holiday we had dreamed. We spent the next week, hiking, inadvertently 4W driving (story for another day), flower spotting, climbing and exploring the beautiful Southwest of WA.
When we got back, I immediately added a battery, DC converter and extra charger to our camping gear. Never again will we have to decide between an amazing campsite in the bush and a good night’s sleep!