Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Goodbye, WA

The time had come to leave Western Australia, but I was adamant that I wouldn't be getting on an aeroplane to do it. I would go by train, or I was going to find a couple of like-minded travellers and hop in a car with them.

And that's pretty much how I ended up sitting in a coffee shop in front of two girls, Lena and Lena: owners of a campervan. They'd put up a sign in my hostel offering a lift to Adelaide, and I was first to respond. There were just a couple of issues. Number one, they wanted to go via all the places on the south-west coast that I'd already been. Number two, they were both German.

There are a lot of Germans in Australia. In fact, they constitute 90% of the people I've met so far. This wouldn't be a bad thing, I'm a pretty open minded girl and will judge every German (or French Froggie, Dutchy or Sweeees for that matter) on their own merit. If I didn't, I'd be getting pretty lonely by now. But even the Germans seem to be fed up with the Germans. These girls had actually specified on their note that they did not want to travel with their fellow countrymen or women. At first, I saw that as firm shoe-in for little old British me, but then I started to wonder. "Hang on, if they don't want to travel with Germans...why would I?"

When questioned, they told me that it was because they wanted to practice their English. "Oh, ok that's cool" I replied, before it dawned on me that being the resident English teacher could mean two weeks of basic, repetitive conversation, spoken...very...very...slowly. But still, a lift I needed, and a lift they offered. And they actually did seem alright. We sat chatting for about 45 minutes before going our separate ways, then I pitched up at the library to consider my options and Skype to the Boyfriend.

"Alright so I can get a 2 day train, or a campervan with two German girls who have no time limit. I'd need to buy a tent, sleeping bag and I'd be going via all the places I've already been, then crossing the Nullarbor Desert, which I reaaally want to do. Could be fun. What do you think?"

"Well...given that being on a big bus with the same people for a few days pretty much drove you nuts, and the last German girl you travelled with you found quite annoying, and you'd be sleeping in a tent you don't have, and you like to do your own thing but would probably have to go everywhere they wanted to go...and you wouldn't be able to get off once you'd started, I don't know if that option would really suit you. But it's your trip, Jo."

Sometimes even the most independent traveller needs good advice from back home. And sometimes even the most stubborn traveller needs to realise that when a country requires days and weeks of travel through desolate landscapes and open road, you need to pick your companions very wisely indeed. Finally, no matter how much you want to see how empty the Nullarbor Desert really is, you have to admit defeat.

Adelaide, South Australia via Quantas economy, it is.


Robbie said...

It's a shame when you miss certain things when travelling that you were looking forward to seeing.

Whilst walking across England I wanted to walk across some high, thin and dangerous mountain ridge and had been looking forward to it for days (in fact I wrote an entire blog entry on this single one small section of a days walk before setting off on my 2 week walking trip) But due to bad weather I missed out. I was gutted. As we were walking across England we couldnt exactly walk back the next day and do it.
But there is always something else round the corner waiting for you when travelling through new places.

I think you picked the right choice.

(I still do want to cross that ridge though)

not twitter said...

I'm reading that with mixed emotions. Yes, you've probably made the right choice. But think of us and all that blogging gold that we'd have had.

Al said...

a campervan is a very small space to be stuck with limited conversation! I think you made the right decision!

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Robbie - Yeah it's a bit annoying as I wanted to do as much of this trip overland as possible, given that I've got about 11 flights altogether over 10 months. But it's something I'll come back and do. Maybe if they'd been English girls I would have just gone for it, but the cultural barrier I'd faced with my last German travel partner was weighing on my mind. I hope you get to do your walk one day!

not twitter - Mate, seriously. Believe me when I say I had the same dilemma for the exact same reasons. It would have been blogging gold, but probably at the expense of my sanity.

Al - Yeah, I'd begun to kid myself that I could deal with it - but I've had enough of travelling with people I don't totally 'click' with.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Go with the Germans in the campervan and charge them for the English lessons. You could conceivably arrive at your destination with a bit more money in your pocket than when you left. Although such a course of action could drive you to the very brink of madness.

Elaine said...

I think you made the right decision. After all, like you said, it gives you a reason to go back and do it another time...perhaps with the boyfriend/husband in tow!

Good luck!

Elaine said...

PS. I forgot to mention the children.

Alexia said...

Surely it's better to be alone than to be with people that bear the possibility of making you want to bite your own ears off. You're cranky and that's funny! Not in this post; actually, that sentence is based solely on your profile. I lie. On your header too. I'm cranky too but I don't think it's as funny. Oz is awesome. Or oz-some if you will. Cool.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Unbearable - English lessons. Hmmmm. I'm wondering where i've been going wrong with this blogging malarky if I strike you as the patient type ;) Good idea, money wise, but no. No money is worth my sanity.

Elaine - My thoughts exactly. Everything I dont do is just another reason to go back. (minus potential ankle biters though, I think)

Alexia - Thanks for stopping by. I have my moments of crankyness. Big moments in fact. Like the Germans in my new room who talk loudly at 6am. And don't turn the AC on. The Germans follow me everywhere. I'm pretty moody this morning.


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