Homecamp had the pleasure of catching up with Melissa Connell, Australian travel writer of far and wide, and online at Life in the Slow Lane.
The writer returned recently to her roots in the Kimberley in Western Australia, capturing the experience from above and below, with an all-embracing perspective on life – slow living, life on the road, the lessons so far – to match.
Homecamp: So, who is Melissa Connell?
Melissa Connell: I’m almost 33 and still working that one out!
Can you tell us more about this recent trip to the Kimberley? Had you ever explored the land by air before?
I always love returning to the Kimberley. I went to high school there, my family lives there and I really love how the lifestyle revolves around the landscape and the seasons. I’ve worked in Kimberley tourism for many years so, yep, I’ve explored the region by air a lot.
Slow living is definitely gaining traction as a lifestyle – or rather a change of lifestyle. Can you tell me what it means to you and how you go about it practically?
Slow living is about connecting – whether it be through travel, medicine, socialising, our choices of food etc. The modern popular lifestyle of the western world seems to be about doing everything as quickly as possible. But at what expense? “Everything in its own time” is an expression I like because it sums up slow living perfectly. Some things can be done quickly, others need more time and dedication.
We know you’re originally from the Kimberley region – has the natural environment always been an important connection in your life?
Definitely. Spending time in nature uplifts the soul and puts things into perspective.
What attracts you to travel and freedom of movement – I’m thinking of course of your living in a camper van?
I hate feeling stagnant. I love learning more about the world and that’s what drove me to move into my little caravan. Just after I turned 30 I decided to buy and live in a caravan. I’m about to turn 33 and I’ve just sold her, but I’m currently hunting for another camper.
What are your tips for life on the road?
My main tip is to travel light. There are very few things that you actually need and anything else just weighs you down.
You make contact with people and communities along the way, and you also have a community of readers who follow you work. What’s been your experience of meeting like-minded, or even totally oppositely opinions, along the way?
I’ve never been a big fan of social media, but I started using Instagram and have found a great community of like-minded travellers who inspire me to no end. I’ve also had some ‘haters’, which is bound to happen on the internet and can really get you down. I try to focus more on the positive than the negative.
Favourite tune, meal, and travel pal for the journey?
I love listening to any songs that are recorded with a ukulele – it always reminds me of tropical holidays. Favourite meal is Barramundi, locally caught, not the stuff that you buy in the supermarket from overseas. And my dog is my favourite travel pal – thanks Dad for giving her to me!
What do you think of ‘glamping’ and how does it fit in with the slow lifestyle? If you have a review of the Homecamp bell tent – please tell all!
Anything that encourages more time spent outdoors and amongst nature is a good thing! The bell tent is easy to erect, spacious and is lovely and light-filled, it is really nice to camp in.