There’s something really special about travelling to rural communities and stations.
It’s an honest beauty; sunsets and sunrises take your breath away in all their dusty pink glory.
People aren’t constantly glued to their phones checking in with the world. I always seem to be more present without all those distractions, because frankly, without phone reception you simply have to be.
I was so present in fact that last week on station, a shy 400km past Mount Isa, my sister had a baby and I had no idea.
I love the inquisitive house sheep (yes, house sheep), the working dogs and simple pleasures of a cup of tea and an Anzac bikkie off the back of a work ute.
The travel food, not so much.
When I was a kid, I loved road trips. We would get to stop at Hungry Jacks for lunch, eat bucket loads of fan tails and cool mints in the car and if we were really lucky, we would even get a Maccas hotcake breakfast.
Last year I spent almost 10 per cent of my working year on the road. I’ve eaten far too many chicken salads from McDonald’s that I care to admit, have created motel breakfasts reminiscent of some kind of wizardry and have dodged the scone table like a pro.
After what feels like an eternity explaining that no, I don’t want chips with that steak, I feel that I am at least a little bit qualified to offer a little advice on how to travel for work without coming home a tidy two kilos heavier.
If there will be a fridge and bowls in your room and access to a small supermarket you are off to a great start. I lived off plain oats soaked overnight in coconut water, fruit, Greek yogurt and peanut butter for a good chunk of last year.
Take trail mix with lots of seeds and minimal dried fruit to buff out your meals. I’ve been in a motel where the only breakfast items were cornflakes, weetbix and flavoured low fat yogurt, which would keep me satisfied for all of one hour. Pimp that bowl of refined carbs with a little protein!
Stash some snacks in your bag so your not going to be tempted by the cake table. My favourites are nuts, coconut water and bliss balls.
My last trip saw me on my feet for the good part of the day, but if you are in a conference take your gym gear and walk or run everyday if the hours aren’t too hectic. Check your gear to make sure you have everything, including enough socks before you leave.
I once packed two left runners on a week long trip and spent the entire time dispelling urban myths to stakeholders that I was running around the paddocks in circles.
If all else fails, just take some breathtaking photos.