Upon our return, a year and a bit later, back in Western Australia’s Kimberly region meant that the countdown of the Australian part of our trip had started and was now heading towards its completion. An oxymoron really but there are pros and cons on revisiting places in an overlanding trip. On one hand, there is the absence of the thrill for something new and unknown while on the other you know exactly where the places that you loved are.
This was the case with Broome and the Dampier Peninsula that still holds (in our opinion) the status of best free camping spots out of all of Australia.
So after a couple of days in Willy Creek, followed by a couple of more in Kooljaman, we started our final approach south towards Perth. As in the rest of the northern part of Australia, here was the end of the season, so the heat was extreme with the rains soon to follow and with them, the floods and their limitations, making the area out of limits for travel. So in a quick countdown after Broome, we took the coastal road south and stopped pretty much in the places that we knew they were worth spending time in. Exmouth, Coral Bay, Geraldton, Lancelin were some of them before our final approach to Perth. That meant that we were coming closer to the end of our Australian chapter, as it is from here in Perth that we will depart for the Middle East.
At this point, I couldn’t help myself getting nostalgic for what we experienced here in Australia and at the same time philosophical, adding below some “Overlanddiaries words of wisdom”. All and all, our stay in Australia will be a full two years ( by the time we depart) of exploring this vast country and as we know that many of you out there had to either put your trip on hold or even cancel it during the Covid-19 time, we consider ourselves extremely lucky for being here.
But what was our trip through Australia though? Was it a reality check? Was it a trip to the unknown or just a life lesson for the future? It was actually all of the above. Traveling in the Covid era made us realize a number of things about happy travels! Does the ultimate traveling HAPPINESS even exist? Yes, it does but that doesn’t mean that it comes with happy moments only.
“This lifestyle is not any different than a normal life and therefore it comes with all its up and down times.” Living on the road means living on top of each other 24/7. In the long run, just this can cause unrest. In some cases, you and your partner will have different ideas on how long to stay in places, how much you want to see, how much downtime you’ll get, how fast you’ll travel, who’ll be responsible for what. Believe me, this will all work out with time as you proceed through your trip. Patience is the key to success here. Give yourselves time to adjust. Give yourselves a break!
Speaking exclusively for ourselves, staying in a place for more than three nights can get us in a bit of a bored-annoyed mood. We find that in most places three days is enough to have a good look around and get to know what the place has to offer. An exception to this would probably be the many beach stays that days can go by without doing much and still find yourself enjoying your time.
Another thing we found out that is important through our time here is to stay connected. While the most natural thing to do is stay in your camp and disconnect from your surroundings, staying connected is important and can be done with a lot of different ways. You can call friends and family back home or just start chatting with your neighbors. We cannot stress enough how conversation with fellow travelers is our favourite thing to do. The relationships you build on the road with like minded overlanders are gold and they are an important part of the travel living. It is often easy to go on a “I am on holidays, I just want to hang out and watch a movie on my own” kind of mood. Get out and explore, socialize and chat with the locals they might suggest something that your guide book doesn’t mention. No matter where you go, there will be something to see or do and it doesn’t have to cost lots and lots of money in order to be worth doing. You just need to get out there!
Our route from here onwards was pretty much straight forward as we had spent almost four months exploring this region in the beginning of our trip. So with nothing more worth mentioning here travel wise, I decided as an end to light up things with some hints and funny facts about Australians traveling, as seen from a foreigner point of you. So here it goes:
-Australians like to drink. They go camping to drink, they go fishing to drink, they go off roading to drink, they sometimes take their family on vacation in order to drink.
-Australians don’t just travel, they migrate. That means that they will literally take with them 90% of their belongings and comforts from back home, striping them anywhere they can on their vehicles.
-Australian vehicle owners love their gadgets. So far in the two years in this country, we haven’t come across a single car that looks exactly as the manufacturer designed it. They all have added some sort of modification on them (most of the times equipped with all the available mod that their local 4×4 store sells) no matter the age group of the driver.
-Australians love comfort. Even when they are roughing it, there are still items of comfort in their belongings.
-There is almost the same amount of bull bars in Australia as the kangaroos that they protect them from.
-Australians are the only travelers that travel with their caravan but still book a cabin because they “cannot be bothered” setting up camp.
-Australians love over the top things: Vehicles that don’t have a V8 engine are not good enough for Australia. Fuel tank capacity from 80 liters from factory must be increased to 180 liters. Nothing lower is acceptable.
-Australia is the country with the most 4×4 vehicles that never go 4×4. They are mostly used for towing caravans from one Caravan Park to the other.
-4 o’clock in the afternoon is the time of the day that the whole country comes on hold as it is beer time!
-90% of men in Australia don’t know how to cook but they are master chefs in barbecue.
Traveling overland is awesome and we are so grateful that we get to do it even in these difficult times. But just like in normal everyday life, it’s all about finding the right balance. Once you have achieved this, wherever you travel it becomes part of you somehow! It turns out that traveling makes us happier than any material wealth ever does. Hell, yeah!!!