Written by: Jonathan Manton from 4xExploringAustralia
As most people know I love getting away at any chance possible, especially for a road trip or a perfect camping trip.
Just recently I spent the most amazing two-week holiday with my wife touring around Tasmania in the 4xExploringAustralia Nissan Xtrail.
To get to Tassie I had 3,500km to drive from Perth across the Nullarbor and the same distance back again. Whilst I type this, I have pulled in for the night just east of the West Australia and South Australian border as I return back to Perth. I am parked up on the cliffs overlooking the ocean, with the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach below me.
My lovely wife joined me in Melbourne and around Tassie so I only had to go it alone for the Perth to Melbourne leg in both directions.
On this trip, I have travelled across the Nullarbor, twice now, on my own, and it got me thinking...
I’ve had so many comments like, "trip of a lifetime", "you’re so lucky", "I’m jealous", "you don’t know how lucky you are" and so on.
I have to say; I know I’m extremely lucky to be able to do what I have done; as well as being able to visit and see the places I have.
I’m on top of the world that I even managed to get to Tassie, it was a dream come true, something I had wanted to do ever since I got to Australia 8 years ago (for those of you who don’t know me, I am from Ireland), and to do it in the Xtrail was the icing on the cake.
But like everything what doesn’t get shown on social media is the downside. Yes, I know your probably all tutting or sighing at me… like really?
Yes, I’ve been to amazing locations while I travelled the Nullarbor.
Yes, I’ve camped in honesty some of the most epic campsites Australia has to offer.
And yes, I have captured as much as I could on camera and posted it on Facebook and Instagram.
But what doesn’t get shown is the fact that you can be in the most stunning, beautiful, fantastic and thrilling parts of the world, but being a solo traveller and not being able to share this wonderful experience with anyone, is it worth it?
Just tonight, I rang my wife to check in and let her know I’m safe in the swag and off the road for the night. While I was chatting, I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. As my location is remote there’s no light pollution from any cities. With a clear sky and no clouds, the sun dipped with a delightful sunset as the night sky took over.
I have never seen a sky like this in my life. Do you remember when you were at school and you were taken on a day trip to a planetarium, sitting inside the theatre with the circular roof and being shown the star constellations? How clear it was? You could see planets as well! This sky right above me tonight was that and 10 times sharper! I have never seen a sky like it, even to see what I think was a planet arising was just unbelievable! So, while this was happening above me, I was trying to tell my wife down the phone what was happening, and I couldn’t help but think ‘I wish you were here to see and share this with me’.
Some of my friends really love seeing my travels and the stops I have chosen each night and wished they were here. For me, I couldn’t have wished for anything more to see and share this amazing trip with them. It would have been so much better to sit around a fire and chat about the awesome experiences we were having.
Trip of a lifetime, is it? When no one else can share it with you. On the road for 7 hours a day driving along on your own. No internet to keep in touch with family or friends.
Life on the road can be hard, really hard it’s not all that it seems by the daily photos of amazing views and happiness.
I knew what I was up for when I planned to do this trip. My way of avoiding the loneliness as much as possible is to have a lazy morning, be on the road by 10:30 am drive until just before sunset time. That way I’m keeping busy and thinking all day, a quick bite for dinner and then jump into the swag for the evening. On this trip, I also brought a laptop, so I could watch DVDs in the swag.
Just remember it’s not always what it seems, on social media, TV or DVDs. There’s a lot of extremely challenging times in the background that a lot of people don’t think about.
Being a solo traveller, I have found one thing out on this trip. There aren’t too many people that try to have a conversation with you if you’re in a pub for dinner or even just at a fuel station I was never approached just for a chat. I tried to start conversations with people, but they didn’t seem interested. An Irish guy in the middle of nowhere in Australia with West Australian rego plates, you'd think that would be enough of a starter for any chat.
I remember hearing a saying something along the lines of "if you’re always going to wait for others, you'll die waiting".
Life could be short let’s not work ourselves into the ground, enjoy seeing new places, sharing the experiences with friends and just live life!
Although there are hard times on the road there are a lot of great times that make you smile and be thankful.
Would I take on another trip like this again in the future? Absolutely!