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Monday, June 29, 2009


This is a poem I wrote, regarding the past week. It started just after leaving the Aboriginal Laura Dance Festival on Sunday (the 21st). We arrived in Cooktown, on Sunday evening and spent Sunday night sleeping on the grass in a park in the middle of Cooktown, under the palms trees and stars with kangaroos hopping around.. What a great experience. Cooktown was the most northerly place we have access to on this roadtrip. So it was the hottest too.. We had an amazing week, and this poem sums it all up..

Arriving at a beach, going by the name of Quarantine Bay
Early on Monday morning; the start of another amazing day
In Cooktown it was, this bay we found so great
A little tropical paradise, for us it did await
We didn't have any plans, nor had we a clue
Of how long we'd stay or what we would do
Camping was prohibited but we didn't really care
All these signs were pissing us off and it seemed so unfair
So we decided to take a chance and stay for just one night
And take as much as possible from this beautiful sight
We camped within meters of that tropical beach
With a view so surreal but never out of reach
One day of baking in the sun wasn't really enough
We were having great times and they never got too tough
Doing nothing and finding the ease in living in isolation
Because there weren't many visitors and there was no civilization
One night turned into two and soon in to three
The days just kept on rolling and we were feeling so free
What were we doing and how did we fill our days?
It was mainly with relaxation and soaking up the rays
Another couple set up camp, after our first night
Tarnie and Kieran they were, and they shared in our delight
Gazing at the stars at night and listening for crocs
Apparently a 4-metered one had been spotted on our rocks
This happened weeks ago, so the danger was still there
That an encounter with this monster could cause a big scare
So swimming wasn't advisable but we did it anyhow
We weren't very sensible, when I look back on it now
The thrill of the croc being around, was definitely the case
It kept us on our toes all day and Jason longed to see it's face
We never did get a sighting of that 4 metered beast
However we did manage to hunt for food and cook up a feast
Jason is the bushman or the hunter from back then
And so a wild turkey soon would become a fried hen
He saw this turkey hanging around and simply couldn't resist
So to catch it with a snare, showed that his determination would persist
We killed and gutted it and threw it under the heat of the fire
It was going to be our dinner and our belief couldn't have been higher
Belief that this turkey would be delicious without a doubt
Belief that we were self sufficient and would never go without
But when it came to dinnertime, things weren't as they seemed
The turkey that was meant to be so nice would never be redeemed
It turned out back and not so tasty, or disgusting would be the word
It was the most overcooked and underfed turkey existing in the world
We did feel bad for taking his life and not eating his meat
But there was nothing we could do, except chill out in the heat
Then we came across palm trees with coconuts galore
Jason was climbing it, as he was ready and eager to explore
Coconut milk and the fruit itself, were soon coming out of our ears
And that's so much more tropical than having a few beers
Then came the afternoon of acting as Tom Hanks
After Jason made a spear to fish, and not on the rivers banks
Fishing as in Castaway, with the hunters eye and strength
And it actually worked to both our shocks, as a stingray caught a dent
It's a fish native to Oz and the type that's made to kill
But for us it was a yummy meal and for Jason another thrill

A sunrise each and every morning, above the deep blue sea
5 nights and 5 days of bliss, was all that mattered to me
That week has now ended and it belongs in the past
But the effect it had on both of us, was precious enough to always last..

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A crazy place called Laura

Friday the 19th of June. We left the tropics and were bound for Cooktown. This would be the furthest north we would get on this roadtrip. Seeing as though a 4-wheel-drive is needed to get up anywhere near the top of Cape York (most northerly point of Queensland). Little old Myvan wouldn't be capable of driving on unsealed roads, well not for a great distance anyhow.

But back to Friday, the craziest day by far. We had planned to reach Cooktown, but the coarse of action changed, as we stopped randomly at a scenic look-out on the top of a hill, and got chatting to a French couple. They were heading to the Laura Dance Festival. We didn't know what it was about, but it seemed like an amazing event, in an extremely deserted place called Laura, that's only accessible with a 4-wheel-drive. We thought that it would be far too risky to try driving the van to such a remote place on extremely bad and unsealed roads. But it was only 60 km's off the track from where we were heading.. It was a once in a lifetime chance, mainly due to the fact that this festival is only held once every 2 years and it's extremely popular and it was starting on that very same day! Oh god.. we were so torn. We didn't know what was best to do.. To take a risk of having some problems with the van, be stuck somewhere remote without any coverage on our phones and spend quite a lot money getting there, with fuel and the tickets too? Or just be sensible and head to Cooktown, knowing we'd get there in one piece and still have money in the end?
Well, we aren't ones to shy away from a challenge, and thought it was far too much of a coincidence for us to be so close to such an event and not go. So we took a big risk, and took the turn-off to Laura.. We were just going with the fancy of the moment..!

And what a moment it was.. or momentsssss I mean. The road was unsealed for most of the way, the van was rattling like crazy, the dust was hurrendous, the sun was setting, we had to speed along to make it before sunset because the fuses in the van kept on going, which meant we wouldn't have had any lights, and the kangaroos were about the make their appearance too.. We were flung from one end of the van to the other.. and were totally strung out.. BUT WE MADE IT!!! And you never guess what.. when we got there, we couldn't get in because we didn't have any cash.. There was nowhere for another 15 km's, for us to get money from an ATM. Oh my god. I really thought, whilst driving along more dirtroads and being thrown about just a little bit more, that that was the time we were either going to breakdown or run over a kangaroo and get thrown off the road ourselves. But it wasn't. Halleluja!! Instead we seen the most remote little place, we had ever been. We were in search of the gasstation for this atm machine, and before we knew what was happening, the road got dark and seemed to vanish and we were driving along a creekbed, just hoping we were heading in the right direction. It freaked me out massively. But around the corner, there actually was a gas station and an ATM.. Thank the lord once more... It was the weirdest drive I've had in all my life. And one of the craziest. But we managed to get money out, and made it back to the festival and we couldn't have been happier..

The festival was amazing. It was something I've never experienced before. It was an indigenous festival, with dance competitions. The competitors were Aboriginal tribes from all over Queensland. It was like ceremonies from way back when. They performed these acts, and actually looked like the aborignal people everybody thinks of, when thinking of Australia. It was so special. And the idea behind it was so inspiring. It basically was an event to support these tribes and for them to show others what it means to be apart of a tribe. They are so proud and are proper bush people and they aim to keep their traditions alive, just like any culture does. The moral behind it was beautiful. And I couldn't quite believe I was there, seeing how these Aboriginal people keep their culture going, from one generation to the next. Here in Australia so many people have a certain opinion of them, but seeing them and hearing them speak over the microphone about their culture and what it means to them, and how they seek support and how proud they are, even when so often being treated like foreigners in their own land, really struck a cord. Not only to see these performances and these people and to hear their words, but also the vibe of the festival. It was drug and alcohol free, which was so great. There were around 4000 people camping and there was so much togetherness there. I'd never been apart of something like that before. And it opened my eyes in so many ways.

It lasted 3 days, Sunday afternoon it was all over. It went by so fast, we met some great and inspiring people and the whole experience just overwhelmed us both. So much so, that at one stage I could hardly take it anymore. I was so effected by where we were and by what was going on that it all got a bit too much. As well as the heat, there were so many mixed emotions. But nothing that a jump in the river and a time-out wouldn't fix. What a trip.. that's all I can say..
We left on Sunday afternoon (21st) on a massive high, and pretty drained.. But so grateful for having met that French couple at the scenice look-out who gave us the idea of going.. So so grateful..

Cape Tribulation - Beach heaven

From Palm Cove, the place just north of Cairns where we settled so easily, we headed up further north. We made a few stops along the way, in touristy places such as Port Douglas, which was really overrated and far too expensive, after stopping at nearly every beach we found that was deserted and white.. It was all so beautiful and the scenery got greener and the weather got warmer the further up we headed.

That first night, after leaving Palm Cove, we parked in a dirt road to camp for the night as we were trying to hide from any rangers (or as we call them at home, the police) that would be lurking about, on the proul for tourists breaking the law when it comes to setting up camp illegally (which is nearly everywhere up here in North Queensland). They never got us though! We camped near Newell beach. But didn't realize just how close we were to the beach, until we woke up the next morning to find the sand only 20 meters down the track. It was the most amazing thing! It was so unexpected, but absolutely brilliant. We ended up hanging out for hours, doing yoga on the beach, Jason was swimming with the chance of encountering a croc.. All very exciting. Well, he thought so, I was just acting like a concerned nanny, nagging and being worried..

We had to head onwards and upwards still, and entered the rainforest. It was the Daintree National Park, that leads up to Cape Tribulation. We had to take a ferry across the Daintree river. Well, when I say ferry, I actually mean that it was more aof a plank on water, that holds 21 vehicles and takes all of about 2 minutes and costs 20 dollars! I was appalled.. (there was the nagging me coming out again..) But as soon as we drove off the ferry it was like entering a whole different world. A small, green, tropical world, or community even, of which we were took part. It was one road with lots of walking tracks and beaches and rivers and creeks, all in this wonderful rainforest. We didn't manage to camp for free, seeing as though we were in a national park, so we had to book a night on a campsite. It was right next to the beach again, so we, once again, had found another spot where we so easily could have stayed for ages. We hadn't really planned to stay for 3 days, but that's how it turned out. We realized as soon as we were due to leave the rainforest on day 2, that we weren't done with this special place just yet. We were actually sad at the thoughts of having to move on. But then we thought: hang on.. who says we have to leave??. We were on no tight schedule and if we wanted to stay, we could and we did.. Then that song of Phil Collins came to mind and we continued to sing it for the rest of the day.. "Oh, think twice, it's just another day for you and me in paradise.." Which it was. I have to add that everyday in this life is really a paradise, if that's what you want anyhow. Just being alive can be classed as paradise, no matter how hard things get. It's all a blessing..(sorry, getting slightly sidetracked).

Anyhow, they were amazing days (Can't even remember the dates, I think it was around the 17th to the 19th of June). We got up each morning, 3 days in a row, and stepping on to the beach, going for walks, doing yoga and sitting by the shore in the eveings, stargazing and keeping a look out for crocs. This brought us up to last Friday (the 19th). It was time for us to leave the forest and the rain behind. These short days we spent there were so great. We didn't think that after having the best camping experience in Palm Cove that we find such a place again, but we did. And it was equally beautiful.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cairns City and Palm Cove

Wednesday - 10th of June. This was the day we had been waiting for. Cairns! It was probably going to be one of the furthest points on this trip. North East Queensland. The tropics. And it really did feel tropical. The green palms and the gorgeous weather..

We had a drive of around an hour or 2 through the mountains. Winding roads, bends, green palms and more and more people and tourists. We got to the city at around lunchtime and we were so excited. How cool! We couldn't quite believe that we had made it to this point. For 2 whole weeks of driving and being on the road, we had made it to paradise. Again. There was so much to see and do. So many backpackers all of a sudden and quite a lot of hustle and bustle. Especially considering that we were isolated for a few weeks. We were prepared for the commercial side of tourism and roadtripping, so it didn't disappoint us which it could have easily done, seeing as though we both want to steer as clear as possible from the main tourist attractions and sights.

We spent the day exploring the city, driving up and down the beaches and getting our bearings. We wanted to get somewhere, where we could stay for a few days and not have to think about driving or where we're heading. We just wanted to "be" in the moment. It wasn't until Friday before we finally found another little piece of paradise. Wednesday and Thursday we met some French girls and a German guy, and hung out with them. We watched the moonrise over the sea (just like the sunrise, but instead it's the fullmoon.. it was breathtaking..), we sat around, Jason played the didgeridoo, we drank and chatted and ended up camping at a truckstop with the 3 vans, in between planes, trains and automobiles, just outside of the city. We were literally in between the airport, a railway track, and 2 motorways.. The next day we did more or less the same. Checked out some more beaches, ran some errands, went for walks around the botanical gardens and hung out again with the French girls. It was so relaxing. We thought we'd be okay to camp in the same spot as the night before. There weren't any signs that "camping was prohibited". So we set up our camp and sat around doing the same as the night before. Then more and more vans started following our lead. Before we knew what was happening there were 10 vans parked around us.. And waking up the next morning we all discovered a formal warning from the police that we were violating the law and that our vehicles were going to be confiscated if we were caught camping on the side of the road again.. oops.. We got out of there as soon as poss.. Didn't want to push our luck!

This was a good thing though, because it meant we had to find a campsite, in order to park legally. That's what led us to Palm Cove. This is literally paradise. We got here on Friday afternoon, and instantly felt at home. We were so happy! The campsite was so cheap, small, friendly, with both young and old people and by the beach. We both said that this was our spot for the next while and already knew it would be hard to leave this place. Especially when we met a Canadian guy, who we hung out with for days and looked after, seeing as though he had no money and was traveling alone, and then meeting the German guy who we met on our first night in Cairns, so randomly. We even met our "saviours" who helped us when we broke down in Kurumba a week ago! How small this world is.

Each morning we were up watching the sunrise above the sea and in the evening we were stargazing through the palms leaves lieing in the grass on our backs. We even found a secluded beach on Saturday that was deserted and had our names on it ;) and hung out there just about everyday, soaking up the rays - or in my case, letting the rays bounce off my factor 50 sunscreen. We met some great people and had a blast the whole time.

Palm Cove is where I'm sitting right now. It's Tuesday morning and we'll be leaving this peace of paradise in a few hours. It's been the best. We've been on the campsite for 5 days and 4 nights. It's a place I could so easily stay. I was even tempted to go jobhunting at one stage.. But that's not what this trip is about. Not this roadtrip anyhow. That idea is for later on. For now though, we have to leave paradise behind again, but I'm pretty sure there's more to come. We'll be heading up the coast, to Port Douglas this afternoon, or to put in our terms: we're heading into the abyss, the unknown awaits again!

High on Cowdung and waterfalls

Monday the 8th of June - As we were heading away from Normanton last week Monday, we thought we would be heading towards civilisation. How wrong we were. We spent that whole day driving and driving and driving, after having had a few days of relaxing due to our minor break-down in Kurumba and the rodeo experience in Normanton. We were both deflated and tired. The towns we passed through weren't to be called towns. I'm the "navigator", or the map-reader, and looking at the map and the way the font that was used to indicate where the towns were, I expected them to be big. But they weren't. I suppose when the towns that were supposed to be major, are compared to what was in those surroundings for miles and miles, which was nothing, then these towns were probably quite big. But all they had were petrol stations and police stations (a bit of a worry to think that there were hardly any people, but that police stations were still needed..hummm.. one does wonder..). They were like towns that could have been used as a setting for an early 1900s movie. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Not at all exciting, but just mindblowing to think that people actually can live in places like that. The only "towns" we passed through were Croyden and Georgetown. And we kept on driving and driving and driving.

The roads we were driving along, fitted the picture perfectly. Red, dusty, bumpy and deserted. All the way. They were still classed as highways though, according to the map, but in reality they were dirtroads that were leading us into the abyss. The "abyss" has become the word of this trip. We weren't too sure what it meant, but as every road would go on for miles and miles, for as far as the eye could see, we started using this word to determine our destination, which was the abyss, or to put it differently; the "unknown". And just to be sure we were using this term correctly, we said we would ask the next person we came across the exact meaning. It turned out to be a man who worked in one of the service stations, and he must have thought we were off our heads, coming out with such a random question. But we were right. The "abyss" is the unknown. A place we constantly find ourselves.

Anyhow, back to last week Monday. We were driving along these dirtroads, which had no truckstops, no places to pull over for the night and no sideroads to park. It was getting dark and we really needed to stop driving and set up camp. So we ended up stopping at a gate which led into a field that seemed to be empty. We opened the gate and drove for about a kilometre, just to be away from the road, and we suddenly realized we were trespassing. It was a cattle farm, but there weren't any cows at that point. We decided to chance it and stay there for the night. It stunk of cow dung but it was so quiet and so warm and peaceful, that having shit on our feet and thongs wasn't really a problem. Not until I was cooking dinner in the pitch black darkness and Jason said he heard something moving further off in the field.. Something was coming towards us.. Oh my god! I could hear the footsteps and the vibrations on the ground and had visions of a bull charging at us because of the smell of food and because we were on their ground.. We were somewhere we really didn't belong. I just wanted to jump in the van and hide. Jason thought it was hilarious and went off the check what it was. It turned out to be a cow. Just one thirsty cow, looking for some water. We scared it off but I couldn't help feeling so bad for being on their ground. The next morning, we woke and before we knew what was happening we were surrounded by a herd of them. They came to suss us out. The cow that we scared off the night before probably got all his mates together and wanted to gang up on us. They tried, but our van, Myvan, was far more fierce that the bunch of cows that were giving us dirty looks. We got out of the field without any problems.. Which was such a relief to me.. The poor cows..

We set on our way and Tuesday was to be one of the most gorgeous days of all. We hadn't planned a thing. We were still just going with the flow. But because we getting nearer and nearer to Cairns and more North at the same time, there was more and more to see and do. We started off with a walk around Undara National park, with old volcano's and stuff like that. Then we went on to these thermal springs. HOT thermal springs I might add. Oh my holy moly.. They were on the side of the road and we spontaneously pulled over thinking it would be nice and refreshing to have a swim, seeing as though the weather was getting hotter and hotter. There were a few different springs and the steam was coming off one or two of them. We didn't think they would be hot, so Jason just walked right in and started going ape. He burned his feet! He told me not to get in, but me being as stubborn as I am, thought he was exaggerating and walked in too. Well, I had more or less the same reaction. We had to sit in the colder springs for ages trying to ease the burning and for days afterwards our feet weren't in the best of shapes.. Not to worry though, no blisters.. thank god. We then set off towards Little Millstream falls, a waterfall on-route. And this was probably one of the highlights so far. It was like a lagoon, tucked away, with nobody around (maybe some crocs in the water, but we didn't get to meet them), with waterfalls and pathways leading down into the lagoon. It was heaven on earth. The water was freezing though, but our feet were so happy!! Absolutely beautiful it was. We were climbing around rocks, swimming, lazing around and just so impressed with this little piece of paradise that seemed so untouched. We didn't see a soul for hours and could have easily been the only ones on the planet..

On a huge high, we set off towards Mount Hypipanee. We did a walk that led us to a crater, which was a huge whole in the earth. What a freaky sight that was. The drive from there onwards was a beautiful one. We had seen scenery that had made so many changes throughout the course of the day. It was at this point that I felt like I was in Ireland. The countryside was green, we were in the hills, the roads were narrow, the sky was a little cloudy and there was sheep all over the place. I've seen so much of Australia, but I had never had the feeling that I was back in Ireland before that day. So strange. We camped that night just outside of a town called Atherton, near to somebodies lawn. We weren't trespassing though.. We were only 90 kilometers outside of Cairns. So we were massively excited.. And so eager to get some sleep and start another amazing day. But we could never have topped the day we just had. It was so so great. The only thing that was pretty shameful, was the fact that the battery in my camera was flat, so I don't have any pictures of our piece of paradise. My photographic memory was called upon and all the images are well-stored upstairs.. For a long as possible..

Next stop.. Cairns!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stepping back in time

Friday morning. More unknown territory. The date? The 5th of June. We left our amazing camping spot behind and headed towards the ocean. We both had no idea what to expect when it came to the beach, the town, the people, the roads. (We don't have a guidebook and we are still on unknown territory. We have a map and that's all we need for now.) So Friday getting to the first town, off the beaten track, was like nothing we had ever seen before. It was a town called Normanton. Oh my god. That should sum up just how I felt about it. But there's so much to say..

It was like stepping out of normal life, back in time to the 1900's. There was one shop, 2 pubs, and lots of Aboriginal people hanging around the street. The town was just one street, with a few side streets, that were all dead-ends and had a few shacks or huts that were houses.. It was only noon when we got there, but we were so excited, that we couldn't resist going to the main pub, where all the locals were hanging around. Most of them were already drunk. It was my idea to pop in to the pub (I was starting to miss the vibe and smell of a bar..how bad is that!!!), just for one. I wanted to meet some of the local Aboriginals, and just chill out. We didn't really have a plan anyhow. So what could go wrong??

Well, nothing really. But this town was so time-warped, that it was the most insane experience to walk into a pub (called the Purple Pub, which was painted purple), and have the most funkiest tunes, such as the Pussy Cat dolls, being played at high volume.. How crazy!! Me and Jason were so high from being in Normanton, that one beer turned into two, and we were both half drunk. The adrenaline was huge! We met some locals, even a guy called Shane, who wanted to hang out with us for a few days. He was nice enough, Aboriginal, and said the most touching things. So much so, that Jason even gave him the shirt off his back. We were both off in fairyland I reckon. What a buzz!

That same day, it was a Rodeo in Normanton which was s total coincidence. It was a big event so we decided to stay. We camped on the grounds, where the rodeo was held. It was like something out of a movie. Cowboys everywhere, horses gallore, bulls being ridden.. It was crazy, but the vibe there was the best ever. We camped beside an elderly couple, made friends and I wanted to party all night long of course, as soon as the hangover I was feeling from around 2 o'clock in the afternoon till 6 in the evening, had finally worn off. Then it was time to start again.. Hard work to say the least. But what a day it was and what a crazy place this Normanton was..

The next day, we wanted to go to Karumba for a few hours and head back to the rodeo again. Karumba was the town we were planning on getting to, the day before. We just wanted to get to a beach for a few hours and chill-out.. Well, we got to the beach in Karumba alright. We found croc infested waters, we swam (oops..not very wise, but very exciting..) and then..WE GOT BOGGED.. In the sand.. Oh god. yeah, just as we thought, things were going far too perfect and still were, until we got Myvan out of the sand and the engine started doing crazy things. We just about made it to the mechanic, not that he could do anything for us, seeing as though he was on his way home.. This brought both of us back to reality pretty quickly, as we realized that we were so far from civilization and it was Saturday afternoon and the mechanic wasn't able to help us until Tuesday and we had no way of getting anywhere. O no..

Then, just as we thought we were doomed.. We stopped on the side of the road, deflated and not knowing what to do, 3 campervans pulled-up. Jason told them what the story was, and one of the men, who goes by the name Henry, knew exactly what to do. He helped us, or Jason, to fix Myvan! It was the carburetor. I'm not too sure what the problem was exactly, but I do know that we sat on the side of the road, with these 6 people from Tasmania who were also traveling around, while Jason and Henry fixed poor old tired Myvan. The whole group gave up their afternoon, to help us get out of that town called Karumba.. And it worked. By 4 o'clock we were on the road again and couldn't believe how lucky we were that we were to have come across such helpful people. If we would have pulled-up 5 minutes later, we would have missed those people and probably would have had to stay in Karumba for 3 or 4 days..and it would have cost us a bomb too. But it worked out brilliantly. We decided to camp with this gang, by a river, which was between Karumba and Normanton. We went fishing with them, (my first time by the way) and went swimming in croc-infested waters again..(oops).. But it was all so great.. It was still all too perfect, no matter how badly that incident could have turned out.

The next day, the two of us were exhausted, so decided to stay at the river and do nothing all day long. No driving, no drama, no adrenaline. Just chilling and swimming.. It was so great to have a day like that. A typical Sunday. Monday morning, it was finally time to say goodbye to Normanton. We had been in the region for 3 full days. It was totally unexpected and unplanned but we wouldn't have missed it for the world!

All these great, whacky and insanely random things we were getting up to made us nearly wary of starting each day, as we still haven't a clue what to expect. But the unknown is what this trip is all about..

Trippy experiences

Alice Springs, a place I had heard about. But I had to see the place to believe the stories I'd heard. I was told about the Aboriginal people that would be hanging around the streets day in day out, and the dangers that went with it. I didn't believe it, until we rocked up in town, at around 8 o clock at night, stopped at a service station and asked the cashier working there, if it was safe for us to park there for the night. He was shocked that we would even consider staying there.. "You'd better be careful for break-ins, by the aboriginals.., it's far too dangerous". This came from a local man, of around 50 years old. So that's saying something. Having heard this, obviously got us totally paranoid. But we didn't have a choice, couldn't keep on driving because of the kangaroos on the roads so had to stay overnight in this crazy town. We found a truckstop, which was our safest bet. The minute we got there, there was a guy named Geoff wanting to park beside us. I had visions of him being a serial killer and Jason was convinced he was gay.. Humm.. He turned out to be just an older man, who felt it would be safer to park near other travelers, seeing as though we were in such a crazy and dangerous town. Poor Geoff, we both felt bad for having thought he was up to no-good.

The next day (I think it was Tuesday) we were doing our shopping and stuff around town, and I've never felt so intimidated in my life, by the gangs of Aboriginals just hanging around. All they do is sit and look and sit and look, with evil eyes. It was the strangest feeling. It didn't bother Jason at all, but it did bother me. At one stage I felt so uneasy with just being in that town centre that I was willing to walk off, and leave. It was the weirdest feeling. My reaction to this primitive race of people, kind of threw me. Mainly because I wanted to be open to their culture and I didn't want to judge them. I wanted to feel comfortable but I just couldn't. I think it was just unexpected and I could have been slightly overwhelmed. It was the first time for me to see how they live their everyday lives, so that might have played a role too.

But we did leave Alice Springs on a high, and were ready for whatever was to happen next. The more north we headed, the warmer it started to get. Our spirits were high, but that night I couldn't help still feeling slightly paranoid of our vulnerability as we slept on the side of the road, north of Alice Springs. And sure enough, after falling asleep listening to the dingoes howling off in the distance, I woke up blinded by the lights of a car of some sort that had stopped. The headlights seemed to be shining into the van. I woke Jason up, not knowing what the hell was happening or what the time was. He just said that they are doing the exact same as us.. Just looking for a place to park for the night to get some sleep. But later he told me that he was petrified too..but hid it well just to keep me at ease.. It could have been anybody. I personally had visions of Aboriginal gangs breaking in to the van and taking us, for whatever reason there may be. I think Jason thought the same. Just as well I didn't know that at the time. The lights faded after a few minutes and we reckon they drove off again. Thankfully..

Wednesday and Thursday were big driving days. We just kept on going, heading more and more north, towards the warmer weather. Each day we could notice the difference in the temperature. Especially at night. We went from not being able to cook outside, to being able to cook, sit, drink and stargaze until bedtime. The scenery was ever changing and still managed to take my breath away, no matter how much nothingness there was. It was still beautiful.

Wednesday could have been another day to freak me out. But I didn't realize until afterwards. In the morning we stopped at a town, it was actually just a roadhouse, called Barrow Creek. We stopped for a shower and to fuel up, we chatted to the owners and went on our way again, pretty excited and happy. Little did I know that we were passing through the region of Australia that is known for the murder of a backpacker some years ago (I think it was in the nineties). The backpacker Peter Falconio (British) was traveling through Barrow Creek with his girlfriend in a van and were stopped by a guy. Peter got out, and walked to the back of the van and was shot dead. His girlfriend was kidnapped. She was able to escape but Peters body was never found. This story is one of the most familiar amongst the backpackers. When I was here 2 years ago, I remember reading the book and remember not being able to fathom why anybody would consider going anywhere near Barrow Creek. We passed through there without even being aware what that region was famous for. That was a freaky thought. Especially when I realized that the owners we had been talking to, were the ones to help Peters girlfriend once she escaped the kidnappers.. What a small small and oh so scary world this can be.

That Wednesday was an amazing day though. We seen so many different things, from poisioness snakes on the side of the road, to touristy sights, to dead straight roads unfolding before our eyes for hours on end. We camped just before the Northern Territory - Queensland boarder. We had a campfire at night and in the morning. From this night onwards I was finally feeling safer sleeping anywhere and everywhere. I had to put any paranoid feelings I had of what could happen, behind me. Because the first full week, I never slept.. I don't know how I was living. It was more than likely on adrenaline, because it wasn't on my normal energy levels. And it's only normal for this to start taking it's toll on me. But not anymore!!

The next day was one to be just as awesome as the one before. We crossed the boarder and it was Jasons first time to be in Queensland. We were so excited by everything. We made a few stops in different towns, just to refuel and stock up again on food. Mount Isa was one of them, the Cloncurry. From there we decided to be a little bit more adventurous and turn off the highway, taking a minor detour, heading up towards the Gulf of Carpentaria. Unknown territory for both of us. Isolation and remoteness were what we wanted. And that's exactly what we got..

That night, we had the best camping spot ever. It was just by the side of the road. But it was the tranquility and silence of it all, that made it so appealing. We wouldn't have been able to lie on a mainroad, in the dark gazing up at the stars and the full moon for as long as we wanted, without fearing a car would come past anywhere else, but there. It was so quiet that any cars or roadtrains that would pass, we'd hear coming for miles. It was such a trippy thing, but absolutely out of this world.. Another day and experience that won't be soon forgotten.

So many experiences in such a short space of time.. Amazing!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's almost too perfect

An update from the centre of Oz. At the moment I'm in Alice Springs. So much has happened. I've lost track of days, I've lost track of time, and only the Australian way of life and the redness of the countryside and the remoteness of this route reminds me constantly of where I am. Other than that, everything is just flowing from day to night.. The sun rises and the day starts, the sun sets and the day is over. That's all we need right now. No watches, no calendars, no deadlines..just us and great open road.

I reckon it's a Tuesday morning and I've been roadtripping with Jason for 6 or 7 days now. It seems like far longer, but it's flying at the same time. My trip started on Wednesday evening. The flight from Brisbane to Adelaide. Jason came to pick me up from the airport. It was so surreal and the first meeting was like something out of movie.. It was the best. Even the security guards could see how happy we both were. I had convinced myself that I might not even recognize him, as it had been so long. But of course I did.. Nothing has changed, and as we chatted started the driving straight away, it was like we had only seen each other yesterday.

We're traveling in a little white van. It's like a working van, but it's got everything we need. It's small, but we have the great outdoors, which gives us all the space in the world. We've called the van "Myvan", as in it is "my van", but is pronounced as Ivan would be pronounced. Myvan is the best, so far he's been reliable, he's been warm, he's been our home. (the weather by the way hasn't been great, it's cloudy, it's chilly, it's even raining now and then..but our spirits are too high right now for the weather to have an effect on us..)

As we started the roadtrip on Wednesday night, we headed up from Adelaide to Port Augusta (which is a 3 hour drive). We stopped in a truckstop for the night. From there we decided to head to Ayers Rock first, instead of heading towards Cairns. To me it didn't matter what route we took, just being on the road was all I wanted. So the next day, we made our way to Coober Pedy, the town that lives underground, out in the desert. Red dirt was all we seen. We camped in the most random spot that night. It probably was the freakiest place to park. On the side of the highway, just as it turned dark. For miles and miles there was nothing. Not a sound, not a light, not a soul. Only possibly the mad bushmen, who can go a little loopy from time to time and find themselves some good fortune whenever they come across a white van, with 2 people in it, that they could use for whatever purpose they wish. Nothing happened, but I was paranoid and freaked by the isolation of where we were parked. But when I look at it from a different perspective, then being in a city with thousands of people should probably be classed as far more dangerous than being out in the desert, with not a soul in sight. The chances of something happening in a city are far more likely, than in the Australian bush.. Hummm.. With that in mind, I had eased my fear..

The next morning we were well on our way to getting closer to the Rock. We didn't push the driving too much. We camped in a safer spot, where there were other tourists too. Safety in numbers seems to be the best thing for me.. Jason on the other hand would rather it be as isolated as possible. Proper bushman I suppose. That day we seen so many beautiful sights. What were they exactly? Nothing much really, because there's nothing to see. For miles and miles it was flat and red. There was vegetation, but not alot. It took my breath away on several occasions. A lot of people say that it's so boring, because there's nothing to see. But that's just it.. The fact that there's nothing there and that places like this exist, so relatively close to cities and populated parts of the country, I find so amazing..

I think it was Saturday when we made it to Ayers Rock, or Uluru as it's also called. Well, I don't think I'll ever be able to put into words just how amazing that was. O my god. I've never ever seen such a sight that moved me the way that beautiful red rock, in the heart of Oz, moved me. I wanted to actually cry, as we drove closer and closer and saw the rock in the distance. "She" got closer and closer. I was speechless, I was inspired, I was overwhelmed and I felt like the luckiest person on the planet to be there, seeing that freak of nature. I felt privileged to be there and experience what the rock had to offer, really I did. Especially being there with a true blue Ozzie friend and with Myvan. This feeling lasted for 3 days. It really was amazing. We stayed on a campsite for 2 nights. During the days we did a few 10 kilometer walks, and soaked up every ounce of culture and inspiration we could whilst we were there. We didn't want to miss a beat. Mostly, when the weather is good, you can climb the Rock. But it was closed, for safety reasons, which was a little bit of a bummer, but not to worry, just seeing it was awe inspiring.

I never ever expected Uluru, or Ayers Rock to have such an impact on me. I had heard how beautiful it was, but never in a million years would I have known just how much. It's has only opened my eyes even more, as to how lucky I am to be here in Australia. What a beautiful country, what beautiful people and what an amazing culture. Yesterday we left, and we didn't really want to. But time was pushing on. It was the hardest day so far, because the excitement of the days before had worn us out. But we managed to get to Alice Springs, which is still in Central Australia, just 500 kilometers north east of the Rock.

From here we will continue to head north. We aren't going to Darwin anymore, but will be heading for Cairns instead. We've both already been to Darwin, so we'd rather see more of northern Queensland. The journey ahead is still a long long way. We don't always have music, but we keep each other busy. I see it was my "job" to keep Jason from getting tired or fatigued from the driving. We'll be hoping to do around 500 kilometers a day, until the trip is finished (which is another 6000). For now though, this is all I want. Being on the road is the most amazing feeling in the world. It's the feeling I've missed the most. I savour every moment, be it day or night. I'm not wishing for the driving to end, I'm not hoping that the kilometers will tick away and that the end will get nearer. None of that. For now, this is all I have, and it's so so great.

We're both as free spirited as each other and have said on several occasions just how well this trip has worked out. It's almost too perfect, even with the cold.. There are more adventures to come, and I'm excited. So I'll be moving from behind this computer right now and heading into the unknown again. Bring it on..