Heading Out ‘Bush’

Five glorious days driving along the western coast of Australia with wind in our hair, sand in our toes and the sun on our backs. It was my first roadtrip and I loved it but now, it was time to head into the unknown. The wilderness of The Outback was calling. Teary eyed and fearful, I hugged my friends goodbye, certain that this was the end of my life as I knew it and I boarded the six hour bus to the middle of nowhere.
It was about 2am when the driver announced I was here, at my desired destination. Whatdoyoumeanhere?? I exclaimed as I squinted out the window but was met by nothing but the darkness of the night. I tentatively exited the bus with my large pink suitcase in tow and waited for my eyes to adjust to the dark. Suddenly, two bright lights loomed in the distance and were headed straight for me. As the bus drove off I realised there was no one around if I had to scream for help and the nearest house was a two hour drive away. Luckily, it was just the farmers wife, who had come to pick me up. Did I mention I was going to live on a cattle station on half a million acres of land, that was miles from civilisation? Worse again, it was six hours drive to the nearest Mc Donald’s!! It didn’t bear thinking about. My panic subsided and I became aware that the truck/yute was now coming to a stop beside me.

It was a two mile bumpy ride along their stony driveway to the old farmhouse. I was given a torch and shown to my room in a smaller house that lay in complete darkness beside the main house. I was told the bathroom was located in a separate building outside if I went out the back door. Ok great, thanks, bye. Now alone, I went back to inspect my new room but as soon as I turned on the light, out of nowhere, this black thing was flying violently around the tiny space. I raced out of the room in sheer panic but when normal brain functioning returned I concluded that it was a bat and that I must remain calm and entice it to leave my room. Ignoring the fact it was blind, I was confident that by leaving the door open and turning the light on in the corridor it would be attracted to the light and graciously leave my room. I don’t actually know do they have moth tendencies or was I just lucky but when I came back to check a few minutes later the bat had disappeared. Phew! Crisis averted… Or was it. I had laid my case on the bed and was searching for my pyjamas when I spotted movement out of the corner of my eye. I suspiciously eyed the old air conditioning unit mounted on the wall but found nothing. So I returned to my unpacking, trying to forget the bat scare, when again I saw something move. This time I spotted a large lizard type creature blending into the wall unit, obviously come to have a look at me. Aaaggghhhh! How many creatures was my room hosting!! I decided it was something I could deal with however given that it was about 3am and I needed some sleep.
There was one more treat in store for me before my sweet dreams (lucky me!). Using my torch, I bravely ventured out into the warm night to the small prefab that was seemingly the bathroom. Ok, nothing too scary here, I thought to myself as I surveyed the interior, so I brushed my teeth and continued my nightly routine. I went over to the toilet and unsuspectingly lifted up the lid only to be greeted by at least five green little frogs sitting in the toilet. Jumping back in shock, I immediately let go of the lid and heard them splashing around inside. It was all I could do to not go screaming, running after the bus that was well gone, to take me away from this crazy, wild place. That was an adventurous night of sorts and the first in this new place I would call home from the next three months.




My first steps in the direction of the world

I never wanted to travel. My mum, an avid traveller, tried convincing me to go to Germany for the summer when I was 16 ( we have relatives there) but I said no, much to my fathers relief. During my teenage years I visited many European countries with my family but this still wasn’t enough to inspire and instill a longing for new surroundings and a sense of adventure in me. Summer holidays were taken in Spain, Greece, Portugal, generally a package holiday for a week or two where the only priority was to enjoy the well needed sunshine. Girlie nights out, parading ourselves down the strip ( doesn’t matter which one, different countries but they’re all intrinsically the same) getting lured into the bars and clubs with promises of free shots and 2 for 1 drinks, followed by sleeping at the hotel pool the next day, turning periodically, ensuring that important all over tan. Lather, rinse, repeat. Return home, happy to show off your colour, blissfully unaware of the beautiful towns, villages and beaches that may have been only a short walk or a bus ride away.
When I qualified as a primary teacher and had the added bonus of being paid for my summer holidays, the annual sun vacation was complemented with a trip to the States for a few weeks each summer. Sightseeing, sunshine and shopping, what more could a girl want. That was until one year, three weeks before the summer holidays, I googled ‘girls travelling alone’ and came across forums where women were discussing their experience in this subject. I was shocked at first, curious and finally emboldened. Reading that these girls could traverse the world alone I decided I could do it as well. Less than 24 hours later, I took the plunge and booked a return flight to Bangkok to depart in 3 weeks for the duration of the entire summer.

That summer taught me so much about myself and stirred in me a yearning for more. I realised how much there is in the world to see, to learn, to do and that living in Ireland teaching for the rest of my life would inhibit my ability to experience all these wonderful things. Within 6 months I applied for a career break and 3 months later I embarked on, what was to be,the greatest adventure of all time… MY LIFE.
My advice to anyone who wants to travel is book a flight and just do it. Over thinking just allows time for your mind to come up with excuses, some valid, some not, but nothing should stop you following your dreams. Action speaks volumes. Take that first action in the direction of your dreams and you’ll soon find things fall into place. You only get one life, fill it with passion and adventure. Make it a journey that will live on after you’re gone, by inspiring others.