One Year On The Road!

Jakkie writes…….

We’ve been on the road for a year.

When we set off we knew nothing! Sometimes we’d scratch our heads and wonder how on earth we’ve managed to still be travelling.

It takes some people years of preparation to take a year out and drive 20,000km around Australia. Especially researching where to go and how long is needed in each area. To know which areas to avoid during the cyclone season and which areas to be at for endless sunny days. What roads are accessible and which roads are not. The other important preparation is deciding the right vehicle to travel in. Even once you’ve chosen the right vehicle, it can take months to learn what all the knobs and switches do and how it all works. There are courses you can go on for motorhome ownership. Then of course there’s the financial planning. If there isn’t a stash of cash in the savings account, then you’ll have to work out a way to make money along the way. It costs a lot to fill the tank full of Diesel, especially one that will need to be filled 40 or more times. A financial plan is vital.

However we did none of these things. We just decided one day to do a road trip around Australia, then before we knew it, we had bought a van and with a few hundred dollars in our pocket, off we went.

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We were so ignorant and after a year of finding stuff out the hard way, we realise we still have an awful lot more to learn!! But haven’t we had fun!? Haven’t we had an adventure with all its ups and downs, twists and turns? We wouldn’t swap this experience for the world.

We only planned to spend a year on the road, but a year later we are still going.

Each morning we wake up to a different view out of the window. Our back garden has been the outback, the beach, the rainforest, the National Parks, the desert, the city……

…….and many mechanics back yards!

Each day we have no idea what the day will bring. Most of the time it’s really good, other times have been not so good.

Each month we have no idea how we’ll financially survive, yet each month we somehow manage to keep going and thrive.

Some people ask us what’s the best place we’ve been to. We could say the stunning Great Ocean Road, Broome with it’s vibrant colours, WA with the stunning sunsets, or the Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks with their abundant waterfalls or The Kimberly  with its stunning gorges and wildlife.

However the best places we’ve been to were not on the tourist route. We wouldn’t even recommend them as places others should visit, because it was never about the place for us, it was always about the experience.

Some of our best experiences were turning up at a free camp somewhere in the middle of nowhere and experiencing simplicity. Lighting a fire and watching the moon rise over the desert as the fruit bats fly overhead towards the pinky horizon. Star gazing at night and watching shooting stars and realising how small and insignificant we were. Staying still in one spot and not moving for days and just ‘being’. Noticing the rhythms of the land and then noticing we were becoming part of the rhythm.

The best places we have been to were the places we least expected to be special. Especially the times when we were feeling exhausted, when we didn’t think we can go on, when we were about to give up and then a miracle would happen to once again put us back on the road through paradise.

The path we have chosen hasn’t been easy, but it’s by far been the most rewarding.

Not having phone or internet was sometimes a blessing, being able to differentiate between what’s real and what’s the nonsense we create in our heads. A big influential part of this experience for me was not being part of any social systems. Not being dictated to by peers, the media, my routine, social habits or work, which has given me a totally new perspective on things. For a year I’ve seen no friends, no family, been no permanent part of a community and therefore have had nothing to relate myself to. And because there was no relationship, only to myself (and of course to Glen) I’d sometimes wonder if I existed at all!

At times it made me question, WHO on earth AM I???

This trip has been an opportunity to get to know myself a whole lot better. I’ve got to understand what I truly want in life, where I want to live, what I want to do with my work, what’s important to me and what’s not. Sometimes I didn’t like myself at all and when I didn’t like myself there was nowhere to hide and nowhere to run to. It was sometimes truly confrontational. However I feel so grateful to have had this opportunity, because from the darkness within myself, I learnt to find the right switch to turn the lights back on.

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We started our journey in Sydney, we went East, North, West, South and we are now currently on the Island of Tasmania. The 10 hour ferry crossing wasn’t as bad as we expected, it was calm and we played 5 rounds of Disco bingo with Dolly the in-house entertainer. Already Tasmania feels like a very special place and I can’t wait for our month of exploration here.

Then it’ll take us about a month to get back to Sydney and to end the journey where we started. Glen and I often say, ‘What’s the point? We’re just going round in circles’, but now we understand what Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ was all about, because it’s not about the destination, but about the journey…… all 20,000 kms of it!

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