There are all sorts of reasons why some people just hate the idea of camping. The thought of being more than ten minutes from a coffee shop or being without a phone signal are high on the list. Throw in a deadly insect or reptile and you have another reason why people prefer hotels to tents and campers.
Having to forego certain creature comforts can also be a barrier. For some of us creatures, there is no greater comfort than a clean, well equipped, and conveniently located bathroom.
When you have to go…
For me, when nature calls, so long as there is somewhere to go other than in the middle of nature itself, I’m happy. The possibility of having to squat over bare earth and use a trowel makes me rather less happy.
We packed a bag containing a trowel and a roll of toilet paper for our trip around Australia. It was for appearance only though. Neither Nat or I was ever going to use them for their intended purpose. The thought of a bull ant attaching itself to me or cramping mid-squat and collapsing into a pile of your own waste? No thanks!
For our family, long drop toilets are the most basic form of acceptable amenity. They generally have walls and a door, a seat and someone else has already dug the hole for you. There is little scope for disappointment when you use a long drop. You expect it to be a smelly hole in the ground and, by and large, that’s exactly what you get.
Obey the long drop toilet rules
When it comes to using a long drop toilet, there are two rules. Rule one has to do with timing. Whenever possible, use it early in the day. This is especially the case in warmer climates. The hotter the day and the more uses the long drop has had, the more ‘nasally challenging’, it becomes. You can double the ‘challenge’ if there is insufficient breeze and ventilation to keep the air circulating.
Rule number two is so important we’ll call it a Golden Rule – never, ever look down. You might think this is obvious, but I bet the next time you go to the toilet at home you look down before getting started. That might work okay in your ensuite – but it is not okay when using a long drop toilet.
I have only broken this rule once. It was at Johanna Beach in Eastern Victoria. The toilet’s spaciousness and excellent air flow must have distracted me. Whatever the excuse, as I approached the seat I broke the rule and lowered my eyes.
My punishment for this lack of discipline was seeing the unthinkable. I thought I saw something down there move. The idea that anything would call the bottom of a long drop toilet home was too horrible to contemplate. After a moment’s shock I had no choice but to put the experience down to an illusion – a trick of the shadow and light. What else could I do? I still had to go! I resumed by business and as I did so I recited the golden rule -never look down, never look down, never look down.