We decide to rent a Juicy Campervan for 3 weeks and drive from the Daintree Rainforest to Brisbane. I have camped exactly once before this. That was a disaster in a rented ant-infested rusty trailer that led my entire family to swear off camping. But still Jane and I decide to do this.

So on my first real night camping, we end up in a field somewhere between Cairns and the Daintree. There are 2 or 3 other groups there, far enough away that we don’t see them unless we have to walk to the bathroom. The bathroom is far. Towards nightfall a creepy man pulls into the campground and tries to make conversation before driving off. Setting the creepy scene for my creepy night.

For about 15 minutes camping is great, eating homemade chili and looking up at the sky. The stars are beautiful. Then we realize we don’t have flashlights. And our phone batteries are dying.

Enter me lying in the dark van, terrified of going to the bathroom. I haven’t seen Deliverance, but I imagine it’s something like this.

Eventually I break down and leave the van. I decide to use my camera’s flash as a flashlight. I don’t know why I don’t put it on video, but I don’t. Instead I have a few seconds of strobe, followed by darkness.

I walk up the hill, convincing myself the creeper (who is probably actually a nice guy) is following me. Suddenly in the jittery strobe there’s a terrifying creature, not the cute Australian possum I saw in Darwin. Beady eyes and teeth. Maybe a bandicoot, I learn later. The bathroom is more like an outhouse. It’s it’s own kind of scary in the dark.

After getting lost in a field I finally make it back to the camper. Somehow, I sleep. Our camping adventure has begun.