This has been my life’s motto for many years now. When my best friend selfishly decided to fall in love with an Aussie and he forced her to return to Sydney with him* I was distraught. How could I visit? I would surely step off the plane and into the jaws of a waiting anaconda (do they even have anacondas? I don’t know and I’m sure as hell not going to google it). Okay, so I’ve never actually heard of a tourist being mauled to death by a giant spider, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen!
We joked about room-sealing and about fashioning a transparent bubble for me to live in. I concocted elaborate theories about what floor of a hotel it would be best to stay in (the very middle, in case you’re interested). But all the while, in the back of my mind, I knew I would never see her home. I knew I would never walk her (future) kids to school, the cool visiting aunty that they would make colourful but illegible crayon drawings for. I was too afraid of everything. I might die. But even worse than that, I might be SCARED by something and PANIC!
Now, I find myself with a travel itinerary that says Sydney on it, with a gap of six whole weeks in between arrival and departure. And a plan to go to rural NSW for Christmas, to a place where I will have absolutely no control over anti-scary-things arrangements. This is BIG.
After I booked my ticket I could frequently be heard saying “I’d not even be going to Australia if my friend wasn’t there” or “nope, no travelling around for me, I’ll probably just bum around Sydney for six weeks”.
And then everything changed.
My friend emailed me and said “hey, we’re heading to Adelaide for Christmas and flights are $300”. I thought that sounded a little expensive so I went to my trusty travel advisor, Ms. Google, and checked out the trains. That’s the day I found Great Southern Rail and the Indian Pacific rail journey. How could I possibly go to Australia and not experience one of the world’s longest and most scenic rail journeys? [This great six-part piece on The Professional Hobo also helped to convince me]
The next day, my friend emailed me again and said “hey, change of plans; turns out we’re going to be staying NSW for Christmas”. The churn of disappointment in my stomach floored me. Wait a second; I actually wanted to take a train across the outback….the outback, that place where scary-things actually LIVE.
So today, I find myself with a new plan. The week before Christmas I hope to drive both the Great Alpine Road and the Great Ocean Road, stopping in Melbourne & Adelaide for a quick look-see, and returning to Sydney by rail. [I have Sydney Melbourne Touring to thank for the driving part]. And even more surprising, my inability to fit in the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin has become a source of some disappointment to me.
So there you have it – transformation from scaredy-cat to hesitant-but-excited-adventurer in just two websites. My excitement comes with just one disclaimer; if I do get eaten or mauled by scary-things, please don’t read this at my funeral!
(*depiction may not accurately reflect real-life events)