Sleep In The Dirt

Outside Our Own Front Door

Essays From the Field
Photo by: Aedan O’Donnell.  Krystle Wright prepares dinner at the back of her SUV.

As an adventure photographer, I’ve spent the majority of the past 10 years constantly on the road which meant that when I was home, rarely did I allow myself time to explore nearby. I’ve been moving at such a furious pace that at the end of last year, I began feeling a personal burnout. Little did I know that it would take a pandemic to force me, and the rest of the world, to reset. A friend’s timely advice in December continues to echo in my ears, “never do we give ourselves enough actual time off”.

Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, Australia, I was surrounded by phenomenal beach camping and hinterland hiking adventures and yet, I hadn’t camped at the beach in roughly 10 years or more. Perhaps one of the biggest lessons I am taking away is to never take these places for granted. Exploring my home through the lens as an adult, paints quite a different picture, and truly allows more possibility for adventure. 

Photo by: Aedan O’Donnell. Parked next to two giant Baobab Trees, taking in the views.

A window of ideal weather presented itself and I decided to create an epic local road trip where I would return to my favorite place from childhood, Fraser Island. I would venture out to Carnarvon Gorge that has always been on my wish list and then wrap it up in the desert hot springs on the outskirts of Cunnamulla. Even though these travels weren’t in far-flung destinations, I was still rewarded with incredible encounters that are reminiscent of any traveler’s journey. From the volunteer on Fraser Island who showed me native orchids hiding in plain sight, the old fella stopping us to spin yarn ( long story) after a steep hike in Carnarvon Gorge or Doug and Fiona at the Cunnamulla pub who cooked us up a mean pork belly.  

Photo by: Aedan O’Donnell. Setting up camp for the evening.

I am doing my best to navigate this strange year as it continues to challenge me emotionally and mentally since my work disappeared all but overnight. It’s been difficult to balance appreciating the freedom of time whilst seeing bills continue to make their way into my inbox. The life of a freelancer has always carried spontaneity and never a guarantee of routine, although this year has truly challenged my stamina as a freelance creative. On the down days where I start to fall into a negative spiral, close friends remind me that the answer is often “less screen time and more exercise” a simple mantra that has saved me. At the end of the day, the silver lining of it all is realizing that chance encounters with other awesome humans are at our fingertips, if we simply venture outside our own front door.

About the Author: Originally from Australia, Krystle Wright is a Big Agnes Ambassador, pursuing adventures and expeditions around the world with a camera in hand. One of her biggest motivations is to see how far she can drop off the beaten trail and seek out the far flung corners of this planet with her classic Aussie sarcastic wit and a fine taste for tequila. Follow Krystle Wright and her latest adventures on Instagram at @krystlejwright

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