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Travelling Solo around Austalia
The idea of travelling around Australia - to see the country of my birth, and the country I love, has been brewing in my mind for many years. At one stage I considered doing it with my (then) husband, but I learned that travelling with him the way he liked to drop dine with wine in the middle of the day, snooze in the afternoon, and head back to the hotel for another drink or two did not appeal. I enjoyed sight seeing, exploring the local history, walking, taking photos. In the end I chose to live my life solo, and later the idea of doing my Australian trip on my own started to develop.
When I told friends and acquaintances of my plans I received mixed reactions. With my female friends, I found that they were either impressed with my plans, in awe, saying that they could not do anything like that, or expressing concern about my safety and that I was risking my life! (I usually said at that time, that living in China on my own as an English teacher was more dangerous than driving around my own country - though not without risks.)
The blokes were less than encouraging. I was reminded on more than one occasion of some rather horrible events in the outback, and many blokes wanted to give me inforamtion about car repairs (could I change a tyre?) and so on, and anyway, they said many things to discourage me. I did try and assure them that I was not stupid, would not take risks, and anyway if I didn't do it now - it would never happen. Age would be against me next!
In any case for a long time it was just a dream, until some time early in 2012, when I worked out that there was a window of opportunity - I had time. I also worked out how much it would cost me, and I thought I could do it.
Then my plans really started to evolve. I knew my old car would not be good enough so in March I bought a new car (Mitsubishi Lancer) - and then started purchasing items that I though would need. I also received a number of gifts that added to my collection. I do have a tent (a four man tent, because I am tall and senior and thought it would be more comfortable.) I tell everyone I have a four man tent so there is room for me and three blokes, which causes a laugh, but I really only need them to help me erect the tent, and then they can leave me be!!
I have a folding chair, folding table, fishing rod and fishing grear, sleeping bag, fire extinguisher, storage boxes and lots more, which mostly fits well into the back of my Lancer.
Researching my destinations, and places to stay was a time consuming but wonderful experience and eventually I chose a departure date.
Setting the departure date was challenging. I wanted to go in summer, but an Aussie summer is not the time most Aussies travel, though it is Christmas holiday time when many travel, but as I have learned they avoid the red centre - where the hot dry weather can be rather daunting. Still, I enjoy the heat, and I figured I would be driving in an air conditioned car, and visiting many air conditioned places, and staying in air conditioned accommodation. Should be fine, I thought.
Without any fanfare, other than a rather low key gathering of my close family members, I set off from Brisbane on Sunday November 25th. I packed the car and with great excitement, headed west, or somewhat north-west from Brisbane, Queensland, on my way to Miles.
I had chosen to go west first, then south, to Adelaide, where I am as I write this, and afterwards head west, north, east and back to Brisbane in a few months time. Not much in the way of deadlines, just go with the flow.
My first stop was some 250 kms west of Brisbane, where I stayed in a unit created from an old ammunition dump, for three days and explored the local town of Miles which is full of history. Ludwig Leichardt explored in 1844! Wonderful experience exploring the town, and meeting the locals.
My next stop was the little town of Mitchell.