Everyone thought I was barmy when I told them I was making the 2200km drive from Broome to Perth by road train. They thought I was even more crazy when I told them I was going with a stranger I didn’t know, a wee snippet of information I refrained from sharing with mum. But life would be boring if we all took the easy route, right? I’ve been on countless flights so the three hour trip to Perth just didn’t interest me and you all know I love to rustle up a good story, how else could I continue to write this blog? 🙂
A few days previous, a truckie called Garry responded to my Gumtree ad online saying he was making the two day journey and could give me a lift, all I needed to do was to provide my own food. Sounds a bit too good to be true eh? On the morning he was due to pick me up from Beaches of Broome, I started to panic. Why the hell was I getting in a car with a total stranger to travel alone with through the outback in a truck with one single bed?!? It sounds ludicrous but my instinct told me it was going to be ok and through all my travels, it’s never let me down.
The first thing I did was text everyone I know the details of the truck and was lucky enough to have worried girlfriends at Springvale and in Perth who kept in close contact the whole journey. Turns out, Garry is a lovely chap and like me, enjoys sharing stories with new people. Him and his wife of 38 years often have international students to stay and he has a daughter in London which may be one of the reasons why he messaged me, as he had visited the UK before.
He asked me if I ever felt fearful travelling alone, a question I’ve actually been asked numerous times before. Apparently, I come across pretty confident for a solo female. Confident yes, stupid no. I’d be stupid not to feel fear but I do have tendency to ignore it and just continue on with what feels right. You’ll be surprised at how many genuinely nice people there are in this world if given the chance. Don’t let that stop you being careful though!
About 100km in to our journey Garry suggested I drive. Whaaaat?! Me, drive a road train. Pha. Last time I drove anything with a trailer on the back, I took out a whole fence line (which to this day, I may add, has never been discovered by the boss!). Never one to turn down an opportunity, I hopped in the drivers seat and took off. It’s safe to say my truckie days were over before they even began as I struggled to change the 18 gears and failed to reach the pedals even with two pillows propped up behind me. Luckily I managed to last nearly 100km in cruise control.
I’m trying to think of things to tell you about my journey but if I’m honest, nothing much happened. The scenery consisted of red sand, rocky shrubbery and the occasional hill and we only stopped once to take a look down a mine pit.
The boys at Springvale and truckie friends joked about how long I would last before Garry kicked me out because “apparently” my constant need to go the loo and annoying chatter makes me a truckie’s worse nightmare. I’m proud to say I didn’t ask to stop once (ok maybe once!) and we flew on down the West Coast of Australia in good time, 36 hours to be exact. I did see a 2km long train, a wild camel and freight of machinery SO big we had to pull up on the side of the road for it to pass.
After a heavy weekend I felt pretty crook the whole journey and even declined a social beer (this is when you know I’m feeling crook!) but the drive was surprisingly ok despite the uncomfortably high temperature in the truck which seemed to have somewhat limited aircon. It’s safe to say I no longer want to be a truckie (but I would still like a RTA hat if anyone has one!) as it’s hot, long and I have zero self control when it comes to grazing on biccies and sipping iced coffee.
It’s no wonder truckies are stereotypically fat, but not my truckie, no. Shamefully I out-ate my truckie. Non-stop Gazza, as we’ll call him, doesn’t stop at roadhouses but instead ploughs on through with a fridge full of healthy home-made food. Chicken, salad, cheese and salami – it was a feast compared to my six-pack of bread rolls, peanut butter and biccies. We did indulge on the last leg of our journey and heated up a meat pie in his portable oven washed down with oodles of choc milk. Yum!
So my journey to Perth was hot, tiresome and exceptionally long but it was great to experience life as a Truckie and share stories with Garry – a big thank you Garry! It also reminded me to never have too many pre-conceptions of what someone or something may be like and that there are plenty of kind, generous people out there. Most importantly though, it’s reminded me to always trust my instinct and be cautious and careful when travelling alone. Jeez I’m beginning to sound like my mum!