Tomorrow is the start of a 2,500 mile trip across this big, beautiful, and sometimes desolate country, from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Moruya to Adelaide and across the Nullarbor Plains (giant desert) to Perth, if I don’t melt on the way.
To stretch my legs before the trip, I took a jaunt down The Bingi Dreaming Track, a stellar 13.5km hike through Australia’s New South Wales, South Coast, boasting bushland, beaches, meadows, hundreds of Bluebottles, dozens of kangaroos and three echidnas. Welcome to Oz, mates!
Mission QUOKKA, begin! More videos and posts to come.
Friends, it’s been a long time since I’ve last written. I blame my absence on wanting to dedicate my time to working on my book (1/3 written, woohoo!), but in all honesty, I’ve been a little lazy. I’ll summarize the last year, briefly. Many of these things deserve their own posting!
- I had the chance to live off the grid in a lovely, albeit dilapidated, cozy cottage in the Australian bush, with my little flock of chickens and guinea fowl. The nights were cold and long, spent huddled by the wood burning stove, slow cooking everything from hearty vegetable soups to fresh naan, on wood split by Tom and his step-dad, Pete. These may be some of my most unforgettable memories. Paradise on earth, with a glass of Shiraz and good company.
- I experienced the entire eastern seaboard of Australia during a 5,000 mile road trip to northeastern Queensland and back, in a little 2001 Hyundai Accent that cost only $1,500USD. A lovely little machine that didn’t let me down once! I looked at renting a car, but it was much too expensive. I was accompanied by the most wonderful new friend, Trang Nguyen, a 26 year old high school science teacher from Vietnam. We met on Couchsurfing, and I can’t believe my luck in travel companions. Trang had the brightest personality and the most mind-boggling first time experiences on this trip. Everything from sitting in the front seat of a car for the first time, to camping, seeing shooting stars, swimming in the ocean, cooking alfresco, eating a real hamburger… She showed such incredible tenacity and spirit of adventure. We had an absolute blast. I won’t continue, as I really should write up something dedicated solely to the Adventures with Trang! What an amazing person.
- Visiting home for two months for the birth of my newest niece, Livia Athena. Moments of total peace and love were found with her sleeping in my arms.
- I was fortunate enough to be able to share my Latin American motorcycle adventures to students and community members at Chico State University in California, the Horizons Unlimited event in Mariposa, California near Yosemite, at the Triumph of Seattle shop, and at Assumption-St. Bridget school, where I used to teach. The support and interest people showed was so uplifting.
- My trusty steed and I (the CGL 125 I rode up from Chile last year), rode down to Yosemite and back to Seattle, 2,000 miles, with my dear friend Ashley joining me for a good chunk of that trip (on the same bike!) Riding through the Yosemite valley and sleeping on a bluff overlooking Half Dome during a lunar eclipse was icing on the cake.
- I was recently sponsored by Garmont as one of their Garmont Adventurers, which means they sent me free (awesome!) approach shoes and backpacking boots to try out and review. I’m pretty excited to have some good footwear! Yesterday I did an 8.5 mile hike in the HOT Australian sun to break in the approach shoes. Knowing me and my very sensitive feet, I was really surprised my feet were still happy and blister free at the end! I think these are going to be my every day all around shoe from now on.
- Motonaut also sent me some new straps and bags for my motorcycle here in Australia, which I’ll be testing out on this upcoming trip! The version I had last year were great, so I’m looking forward to seeing what changes they’ve made to their designs.
Now I find myself back in Australia, facing my next (shortish) adventure. In the next few days I’ll pack up my motorcycle and head south to Melbourne. From there, depending on weather and mood, I’ll either head to Tasmania or follow the coast up to Adelaide, across the Nullarbor Plains (big giant desert), and onward to Perth (2,500 miles). Some here tell me not to do it, as it’s remote and very hot. Others say it’s the experience of a lifetime. I’ll make an executive decision once I’m on the road.
More importantly, I’ve begun making short videos of my adventures. Here’s the first, hopefully of many.
Your thoughts are highly valued, so please give me your input! What would you like to see? Does my camera work suck? Should I talk?! Other movie ideas?
This month, a short narrative I wrote on budget travel features in Bike Magazine (UK), with photos by Justin Herx. Read the story and see the pictures, below!