Thursday, 1 September 2011

Travel Series: AUSTRALIA


I do actually live in Australia, though I was born in the U.K., but just 'cause you live somewhere doesn't mean you know everything about the place. I learned a bit more about my country of residence in 1998 when I set out with my father and uncle on the first leg of a 6-month journey with my Dad.
This leg took us across Australia, from Perth to Sydney. We drove that little car you see in the photograph above. It was February, the height of the Australian summer (did I mention I hate summer?). And I was seventeen.

We drove from Perth to Laverton through numerous small towns in the WA outback, including Kalgoorlie. Along the way, I got my driver's licence. From Laverton, we headed into the desert, setting our sights on the opal-mining town of Coober Pedy in South Australia. Dad had calculated to the mililitre how much petrol we would need for that desert trek. We didn't take any extra.

It took us 4-5 days to reach Coober Pedy, and while I burned with teenaged hatred for much of that time (4-odd days without a shower? In February?!), I also had numerous amazing, breathtaking moments. I got caught in desert storms, crossed broad brown-gold-red plains, and learned that deserts can be incredibly lush and green even in
© Lester Farnan, 2009
the burning summer months.

I saw creatures in our headlights that looked like tiny veloceraptors. I still don't know what the heck those things were, but they were cool and...prehistoric-looking! I saw rolling hills and dusty dirt roads and wonderful trees. In short, I saw a side of my country I never knew existed. A side I can never forget.

My Dad is the kind of guy who likes to live on the edge. Prior to our departure from Perth, my mother's side of the family had concerns for my safety. Mum had travelled with Dad before, and she knew better than most what might be in store for me. Basically though, my Dad was notorious (and still is) for his love of living on the edge. Edge of a glacier, edge of a desert, edge of a war-torn region - you name it, he's been there. At seventeen, I'd heard the stories, but I soon learned that it's one thing to hear them and another to experience them yourself.

© Lester Farnan, 1998
The trip across the desert in February 1998 gave me a good taste of what was to come for the next few months. I think back on it now and still get inspired. I could go on all day about it, really. I could try to count the number of times I rolled my eyes or sighed or did any of those teenaged girl things.But instead I'm going to say that it 
was amazing. Especially that shower in Coober Pedy - being clean never felt so good!



© Lester Farnan, 1998

29 comments:

  1. Man, that sounds so amazing!!! Seems like you had quite the adventure going through the Australian outback! ^.^ About the closest I've ever been to that, is visiting Western and Southern Utah. And we don't have all the cool animals here that you guys have in Australia!! :P

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still find it so strange that you talk about February like it's soooo hot. XD

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Griffinclaw - there are many parts of the US that remind me of Australia, for sure. Even L.A. has similar flora to the city I live in, Perth. It's interesting.

    @Brooke - just as I find it strange that some people have cold Christmases. hehe

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds like an amazing experience, Trisha! I love your phrase "burning with teenage hatred" - it reminds me of my smouldering resentment about going camping every summer with my Mum and siblings. We couldn't afford a fancy holiday, so we camped out in all sorts of beautiful places across New Zealand. I look back with such nostalgia at those times, even though my teenage self probably bitched and moaned more than half the time :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. That looks amazing! It's something I can't get my head around, because you can drive to any part of my country in five hours. Drive any further and you're in the sea. Australia, Africa and America are just too big for me to comprehend.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What an amazing experience - also, I LOVE your pics. LOVE.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Charlotte - oh yeah, it was definitely the case all the way through my trip with Dad. I appreciated it far more in hindsight.

    @Christine - for us it's the opposite, thinking it really strange that a country can be so tiny. hehe

    @Jolene - I can't claim that these pics are all mine - some are my uncle Peter's, and others are Dad's. Honestly I'd have to dig back through my photos to remind myself which are which.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this line: just 'cause you live somewhere doesn't mean you know everything about the place. So true often people will ask you a road name and you may not recognise it though you'd know where the road was by which shop was on it! Looks like a great trip. :O)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh my, tiny Velociraptors? I HAVE to take a trip over there!

    Just stopping by from the campaign to say hello. :D
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

    ReplyDelete
  10. You make me want to visit Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great pictures! That sounds like an amazing trip. Australia (and New Zealand) is on my bucket list of places I want to visit :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. It sounds like a great trip!

    I love the pictures. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. oh wow, what an amazing experience! That would have been incredible. I toured Australia through organised tour groups (not quite the same).

    ReplyDelete
  14. @Madeleine - yeah, and I've always found it funny how I'll only ever take a good tour of my town when I have a friend from overseas or interstate visiting, so I have to show them around.

    @Raquel - well, I'm not sure what they were but they looked like those. hehe

    @Michael - I wouldn't recommend the small outback towns, personally, but the desert is pretty amazing. And the cities are great!

    @Raelyn - thank you! Yeah, it was pretty amazing, particularly in hindsight. New Zealand is next on my list of countries to write about, actually.

    @Golden Eagle - thank you! It was great.

    @Lynda - not quite the same, I'll agree, but you still would've seen some good stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  15. So true that living somewhere doesn't mean you know about it. It wasn't until we were looking at possibly having to move for a job that I suddenly realized what I had all around me here and started taking weekend trips with the kids to explore it all and doing research. We didn't end up moving and I'm in love with my city now, so it worked out great.

    Your trip sounds wonderful (despite the burning teenage hatred). My husband got to camp in Central Australia with co-workers (he works out there several times a year), but I've never been, so I have burning 30-something jealousy. Some day.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Trish, this is a kiwi girl here, first time on a writers campaign and slowly making my way around everyones blog. Love your story on Australia, I am doing one on my kiwi country at the moment. Hope to connect more with you as enjoy the next few weeks...months...etc.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Tiss a brave, brave man to subject himself to a teenaged girl's eye-rolling attitude when in inhospitable conditions. I hope he's read this.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Shannon - sounds like it was a good thing, your potentially having to move! It's sad when people don't even know their own neighbourhood. I know that fairly often I take where I live for granted. I want to be able to enjoy it more!

    @dreamer - great to meet another Kiwi as part of the Campaign. No, I'm not Kiwi but my parents are. And I have a good blogging friend, Charlotte, who's in Christchurch. Anyway...thanks for stopping by! Gooooo Oceania! hehe

    @Will - I doubt he has yet, but I'll certainly direct him over here when I next see him (right now he's off hiking through Karijini National Park to the north).

    ReplyDelete
  19. It sounds like you got your father's love for adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Australia is at the top of my list of places I want to visit in the world!

    ReplyDelete
  21. That last picture made my heart pick up speed...love road trips. Funny how our parents influence us even when they think they don't or we don't think they do. Adventure. My parents gave me Music. and Words. Sarah xx

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a great thing it must have been to travel with your dad for so long, and in such a foreign landscape. Very interesting.
    I'm stopping by via the Campaign - Contemporary Fiction/2 group to say hello! I also joined four groups, and I hope I can check out all the great blogs. I haven't sworn off any writing genre either, although I think I'll probably never write true science-fiction. You never know!
    I just released my first novel today! Stop by to grab the free coupon for my weekend promotion kick-off if you have a chance. I'd just be over the moon for my little fledgling to zoom across the globe to a far-away place via Kindle Whispernet....Ha! Happy Campaigning! ~ Nadja

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Trisha, I'm visiting from the Campaign list, and I really enjoyed this post. What a great experience to have had as a teenager. I look forward to reading more of your writing.

    P.S. I tried to Follow, but I don't know if it "took." The Following function has been really screwy at a lot of sites!

    ReplyDelete
  24. @Angela - yes, I sure did! I also got his love of photography and music!

    @foldingfields - I love them too! I got words and music from my parents too - mum is the literary one. Though she claims she could never write a novel. I also got my grammar Nazi ways from her. hehe.

    @Nadja - thanks for stopping by my blog! Congratulations on the release of your novel! Unfortunately I don't have a kindle or any eBook reader, but I'm going to check out your promotion anyway!

    @Katie - I hate it when that happens! Well, at least you tried! Maybe it'll let you do so later on! Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Australia seems so exotic to those who've never visited doesn't it? I've just about been everywhere in this great south land, but not to WA. The last frontier for me. I've been to SA but not Coober Pedy but I plan a trip there as I want to set part of a story there. Now that is exotic, living in the ground, pretty cool, literally and figuratively. Great pics and I love your little essay too.

    Thanks for hooking up again. Yay for the campaign. Forces us to visit our friends again. D

    ReplyDelete
  26. DUDE-(ette)! Those are awesome photos! Makes me want to hop on a plane, head to Australia and have an adventure of my own!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sounds like it was great fun. We never appreciate our teen years until they are over and we're looking back :)

    Tiny prehistoric mystery! Awesome.

    .....dhole

    ReplyDelete
  28. @Denise - Coober Pedy isn't quite as exotic as all that. But it's definitely an interesting place. hehe. I got to know the pub pretty well...

    @Samantha - there's plenty of adventure to be had over here!! And don't believe all those stories about dangerous animals...they haven't killed me yet! hehe

    @Donna - I totally agree. I had some pretty amazing times as a teen, but really only appreciated them later!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Your dad sounds really cool. Australia was one of the countries I used to deal with in tourism, I know how vast and arduous a journey can be - especially in the Red Centre and so I enjoyed this piece. Funny how our perceptions change with age, I could feel your teenage girl annoyance here; but obviously a lasting memory, no less valuable, perhaps more, with the hindsight with which it was written. And obviously a precious memory of a trip with your dad. (Poor mum!) I know you're busy, but I'm waiting for your next travel story - one of my fave things to read.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!