Today, I was scrambling. Tonight is my last night in the hotel that I stayed in for the production that brought me to Australia and I had quite a bit on my plate if I was going to avoid checking into another hotel before I hit the road. No way José.
I allocated 40 days after the production wrapped to spend personal time in Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. I learned, after speaking with many of the exceptionally friendly locals, that 40 days is not nearly enough time to truly experience Australia alone, much less NZ and Thailand. Consequently, I scrapped NZ and will only spend about 5 days in Thailand, driving from Phuket to Bangkok.
After gaining more local wisdom, I decided to spend 35 days camping across Australia. Two to three weeks in the Outback, followed by the Australian east coast. I will drive from Melbourne to South Australia, through Alice Springs, up to Darwin, then across to Cape York, do a quick dip in the Great Barrier Reef, and then drive down the coast to Sydney.
In order to make this drive, I needed to buy a car. It is very common for international backpackers to land in Australia, buy a car, drive it across the country, and sell it to the next backpacker before they leave. This morning I purchased a 2000 Ford Falcon, also known as the ugliest car alive. But it is dark green, which distracts you from the ugly shape of the car- by drawing your attention to the ugly color. It looks morbidly obese, but if you are like me, you’re thinking, “I’m gonna crawl inside the back of you and sleep.” The space in this car is similar to a generously proportioned college dorm room. And if this trip is anything like college, I’ll be done in a month.
The planning and purchasing mostly took place today, as I forced myself to make decisions quickly. I did not want to get another hotel room and I am anxious to get on the road. If I had more time and money, this trip would be entirely different. I would probably spend more time planning, end up staying in hotels, and buying a car more expensive than necessary. I think there is a considerable amount of credit due to time and budget restraints that force travel to be more engaging than you ever could have planned sitting at home on your laptop, reading Trip Advisor for 2 weeks and fretting over every obstacle that might keep you from going. At some point in time, before now, travelers relied on local knowledge and advice to plan and prepare for a trip. I understand that some travelers prefer to plan extensively via websites and travel guides, and that is a perfectly valid and fulfilling form of travel, but if you have the availability and patience to just go, then just go.
I have been thoroughly enjoying your letters that come through the website. Thank you to anyone that wrote.