In a world that seems to be spinning faster every day, the allure of escaping the concrete jungle and embracing a simpler, more sustainable way of life is becoming increasingly appealing. For some, this means leaving behind the noise and chaos of the city and venturing into the tranquillity of the Australian bush. In this blog, we will explore our journey (the founders of Rugabub) of transitioning from city life to living sustainably in a tent for 4 years amidst the untamed beauty of the Australian wilderness in the Kimberley. After falling pregnant and spending a few more months there, we decided to return to Sydney and give birth there - due to all the previous miscarriages we had, including one at the Torres Strait Islands.
Reconnecting with Nature and Yourself: Living remotely in the Australian bush offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature on a profound level. The vibrant flora and fauna become your neighbours, and the soothing sounds of the bush replace the honking horns and sirens of the city. Surrounded by ancient trees, clear skies, and the chorus of wildlife (in our case it was the crocodiles in the stream right next to us, the birds, the quolls sneaking into our food, and the kangaroos), you can find solace, peace, and a renewed sense of purpose.
This was our backyard... Couldn't be more glorious even if I wanted it to. Lucky at the time I didn't know that there were fresh water crocodiles in this water too (they kept it a secret from me) otherwise I may have not enjoyed it as much as I did.
Sustainable Shelter: When it comes to sustainable living, the first step is to create a shelter that harmonizes with the environment. A tent, carefully selected for durability and low environmental impact, becomes your humble abode. Opt for eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton or recycled materials, and choose a tent that allows ample ventilation and natural light. It's crucial to leave minimal trace on the land, respecting the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Ours had to be waterproof too. We built a deck underneath the tent for a flatter and more protected surface. The birds heralding the morning light was one of the most profound experiences in its simplicity. Waking up to that daily felt like a blessing.
This is our tent that we built over a wooden base. We made sure that inside it was very homey. We had a proper bed and even a carpet on the floor.
Harnessing Renewable Energy: Living remotely does not mean disconnecting from the modern world entirely. Embracing renewable energy sources is key to achieving sustainability in the bush. Solar panels can provide clean, off-grid electricity for charging devices, lighting, and powering essential appliances. Investing in a quality solar system allows you to tap into the abundant sunlight and reduce your carbon footprint. We were very lucky, and these worked perfectly for us.
Water Management: Access to clean water is essential for survival, and responsible water management is crucial when living sustainably in the bush. Install rainwater harvesting systems to collect and store rainwater for daily use. Implementing water-conserving practices, such as short showers and recycling greywater, helps minimize water waste. Respect and protect natural water sources nearby, ensuring their longevity and availability for future generations. We were living off water that we pumped out of a rainwater fed creek. We drank that water as well.
This is the water we drank and the water we showered with. It was the Mertens River flowing right next to our tent.
Growing Your Own Food: This was a hard one for us due to the soil we were living on and it was not allowed (it was a national park). It would have been so rewarding, if we could. By eating what you grow, you significantly reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying the freshest, most nutrient-dense food available.
Creative ways to cook our food
Respecting Wildlife and Biodiversity: Living in the bush means sharing your space with a diverse range of wildlife. That was a huge one for me, as I have a huge fear from snakes, crocodiles, and spiders. I learnt to respect their habitat and coexist harmoniously. We avoided feeding or approaching wild animals, as it disrupts their natural behaviour and can create dependency. Probably my favourite part was learning about the native local flora and fauna (that completely blew my mind away), and actively contributing to conservation efforts. Be mindful of the impact of your presence and strive to leave the ecosystem undisturbed. We once saw a sign that we loved, saying: Take only photos, leave only footprints.
Finding Community: While living remotely in the bush offers solitude, it doesn't mean you have to forgo community. Where we were based, the Mitchell Falls, the population was around 15, excluding us, the rest of the pilots and the rangers. Seek out like-minded individuals who share your passion for sustainable living. Sharing experiences, knowledge, and resources fosters a sense of belonging and a deeper commitment to living sustainably. The indigenous communities shared with us their amazing stories, their way of living off the land while respecting it. We daily went on bush walks and learnt so much from them.
Moving from the city to live sustainably in a tent in the Australian bush is a life-altering decision. It allows you to break free from the chaos of urban living and rediscover the simplicity and beauty of nature. Embrace sustainable practices, build a respectful relationship with the environment, and find your place in the larger.