In my favourite café Benese in my hometown, it’s cold and windy outside but I have my coffee to keep me company and warm inside.
I wrote this blog:
Everyone handles situations differently, it’s not bad or good. It’s simply different.
My 21st birthday was coming up and the last thing I wanted to do was have a massive house party. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fiesta and dance, but I want to do something new, different.
Why not go away for a bit, go on another adventure, get away from the work stress and stimulate a different side of myself. But flying out of Perth is expensive, and I am trying to save money.
How can I go on an adventure to celebrate my 21st and spend as little money as possible?
One of my best friends from Italy now lives in Melbourne. That could be fun. Melbourne! Yes! But flying there is expensive. Return/round trips are sometimes $500!
I could drive across!
But I’ve heard driving across is almost just as expensive because fuel prices get ridiculously expensive in the outback.
Damn, I can’t win.
I did it in Europe, why not try it in Australia? I’ll pay for a flight from Melbourne to Perth but I’ll hitch hike across my country! It’s cheap, adventurous and definitely different from how I’ve seen other people spend their 21st birthdays.
Adventurous experiences are more special when shared, I need to find someone to do it with.
After asking many of my friends, they weren’t interested or couldn’t really take the time off work. Then I met up with a friend named Brady who I haven’t spoken to in years. His younger brother and I used to be close but this was ten years ago.
I met up with Brady and we bonded over how we loved to make content for YouTube and we talked about the possibility of collaborating.
I messaged him on Facebook my idea expecting him to politely say no. But he responded with ‘Hahahaha. Keen’.
I was genuinely shocked.
Then in disbelief.
And as we booked our one-way flights going from Melbourne back to where we live, we were now in it.
There was no backing out now.
That’s what I love about when you’re wanting to do something crazy and it’s shared with someone, because there is accountability. You have to make it happen, if you back out you’re letting yourself down as well as someone else.
On the day as we were packing our bags, Brady confessed that there were times where he almost messaged me saying he couldn’t do it. I was the same, but when we made our way just outside of our little hometown Bunbury. Feeling ready for whatever the road will have for us, we were prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. We smiled and joked with each other continuously saying; ‘are we actually doing this?!’. Then we stuck out our thumbs! We were in it, we were ready! And the first car, the very first car that drove by us, the driver pulled down his window! …. he laughed, pulled the finger and kept on driving.
Our hearts dropped.
But we kept on trying and somehow, it worked.
It was a fun dynamic going on this journey with someone who I didn’t actually properly know. As drivers picked us up, asked us about our lives, I got to learn more about Brady. We were very different, but we got on and we balanced each other out in different ways.
When I travelled in other countries, I would often spend a lot of the time being out of the main cities and enjoying time with the locals in the countryside. I found that the conversations were a lot more wholesome, genuine and honest without having the distraction of the city.
As we were hitch hiking more and more into the outback. We met some of the most Australian guys I’ve ever met. Many of them were truck drivers. One of them named Steve, we got along really well, he told us stories of his truck driving adventures whilst we were playing pool with him.
In the last 18 months, Steve travelled around Australia 14 times. 14 times! That’s tens of thousands of kilometres! He told us how he would walk into any pub in the outback and put down $50 and he would beat anyone in pool, he said he never lost. I’m still wondering whether or not too believe him, because I beat him in pool, and I’m not that good.
The next day we found ourselves in the heat of the outback and on the side of the road, we had been standing there for over 4 and a half hours. We were getting more and more desperate. Then to our rescue we see a very familiar truck.
Brady and I stared in disbelief. The truck did a victorious horn call as it sounded like the heavens had opened up.
We saw him, it was him! It was Steve!
Brady and I waved at him ecstatically. Steve waved back and smiled, but the truck wasn’t slowing down. My eyes began to water. Steve drove by us and continued on travelling across Australia for the 15th time.
His horn sounded again as he bid us farewell in truck driver fashion, I couldn’t have felt more defeated.
Never get attached, always on the move... the life of a typical truck driver.