A time to explore our own. It is the year of turning to our own landscape in search of inspiration, and how abundant it can be when the vastness of Australia is travelled well. It can be found in the desert, where red dirt contrasts against deep blue skies; or North, where white sand hits turquoise water bright enough to make you squint. It can be found South, all the way, where rugged plains and moss-clad boulders meet crystal, blue ocean. For Matilda Dods, it was found in her recent trip to the latter. On an expedition to Tasmania with very little but a van and a camera, Dods and Alex Wall document their latest bout of inspiration, while trying to travel as sustainably as possible. Below, she shares the details.
What does sustainable travel look like to you?
Traveling sustainably to me looks like being able to leave a destination in the same or better condition than you arrived in.
Was it easy to implement sustainable practices while traveling/sleeping in a van?
I had my period the entire that we were traveling in a van, often sleeping where there were no public toilets or bins. I have been using reusable period products exclusively for over a year now, but on this trip, I was especially grateful for them. I'm sure that I am not alone in my fear and revulsion of trying to change a tampon squatting in a bush on a camping trip. Using period underwear meant that I never had to even consider it and knew that I wasn't contributing to the tonnes of menstruation-related waste created each year.
Did you think about this ahead of time or was it fairly intuitive?
I have been trying to implement more and more daily sustainable practices into my lifestyle for a while now, so I think that carrying these routines over into life on the road felt pretty intuitive.
What was your favorite destination in Tasmania?
My favorite destination was the Bay of Fires, the water was so blue and clear, it made the water in Italy seem murky. We jumped off rocks and swam naked in the sea with no one else around for miles, it was magic.
How did it feel to travel again after so many months of stagnation?
It felt so liberating to be traveling again after being in one place for so long. It actually felt so surreal. It also felt very special to be able to explore a new part of Australia which I had never visited before, had we not been living through this pandemic the last year I doubt we would have made that decision, but it has really inspired me to explore more of my home country.
Was there a highlight of the trip?
Our first night we slept in a big open field next to a lake in the mountains, we arrived after dark so hadn't really seen where we were, but waking up and watching the sunrise reveal the most breathtaking landscape was phenomenal.
You're traveling for a week or so in a van, what are you packing?
LAYERS. I lived in jeans, track pants, fleecy jackets and vests, comfy jumpers, and a thermal nightie hits the spot. Also; pack way more socks than you think you will need, you will need them. And of course my Scarlet period underwear.