You want MY chair?... No Way José !!

I was brought up to offer my bus seat to my elders so I experience inner conflict whenever I’m sprawled out all over the only banana chair at the caravan park pool and someone senior to me turns up.

Am I supposed to offer the seat to my elders?... Because I have to say, when you travel with grey nomads, everyone is your elder. I’ll never get to have it to myself and some days, that's not just a banana chair - it's my only refuge from what is another hot, dry day in the middle of nowhere.

When I was a kid, I was expected to play outside for the day and I was only allowed to come in for lunch. For some, this freedom to be outside away from the adults was what they loved most about their childhood.

Not me. As a fair-skinned redhead who wasn’t particularly active, having to spend the day outside felt like torture. It was either hot or cold and a day is really long when you’re seven and you’re not yet allowed to leave the yard.

One hot Australian Christmas, Santa delivered a metal swing-set to our backyard and from that day on, it was my mother’s answer if I complained about being bored outside all day by myself.

“Go and play on the swings,” she’d say from the air-conditioned lounge room.

It didn’t matter that the slippery dip was hot enough to brand a cow and that the rusty swing sounded like the screeching shower scene from Psycho as I swung back and forth. I'm sure my imagination developed as a result of having to self entertain but all I remember was callouses on my hands from hours swinging on the monkey bars wondering when I could go back inside.

Van life can make me feel this way. The sun is up and I have to play outside all day.

It’s not that I don’t like some time outside but it's hard not being able to go home when I’ve had enough. With no air-conditioning and no living area to sit in, the van is not our pseudo apartment. It's a Bikram studio, especially in the top end where the temperature doesn’t drop below 33 degrees.

(c) Jo DysonAll these hours on the road have not done my fitness any favours and so I huff and puff my way to the waterholes which are always a hike away and not just laterally, but vertically. I'm constantly sweating like Rolf Harris in a courtroom and the heat makes me lethargic. But, just like seven-year-old Jo, I have to stay outside all day.

When we pull up at a caravan park, and I spot a banana chair by the pool, I feel like there is a god and she loves me.

I get there early so I can find a spot in the shade and I set up camp for the day. I write, I read and I hold onto my bladder for fear of losing that glorious seat. For that day, the banana chair is my Hilton, my Hyatt, my home. I'm no longer 7 year old Jo with my bum burning on the swing-set, I’m the Queen of comfort Jo sitting in the lap of luxury.

And so to my elders who turn up at the pool with nowhere to sit, I promise I will give you my seat on the bus, but give up this banana chair?....  My Arse!

(c) 2021 - Jo Dyson
Check out Jo's Facebook page here: Van life, my arsè 

Image: Swimming Pool & feet - (c) Jo Dyson


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