I arrived in Darwin, Northern Territories from Denpasar Indonesia (Island of Bali) with $8 dollars and change to my name, on a one way ticket. It was the early ’80’s and I was crazy, fearless and naive. My Australian adventure began without my even knowing that I was in the Outback, or for that matter what the Outback was.
Despite having landed illegally, since you’re suppose to have the means of support to match the 6 month visa I was granted, you’re also supposed to have a departure ticket. My rationale was that Canada and Australia were practically sisters and my country had hosted many a vagrant Ozzie, besides I had a job lined up in Queensland, wherever that was.
A clerk at a counter in the terminal lent me a felt marker so I could go in the restroom and write my destination on the flap I ripped from a discarded cardboard box, in bold black letters I wrote “CAIRNS”, returned the felt marker and carrying one medium sized sports equipment bag with my possessions, sauntered out of the airport building into the blazing afternoon sun. After a month of hard partying across South East Asia I was so glad to have arrived at my destination that once I walked to the edge of the highway I dropped to my knees then leaned over and kissed the red dirt. After years of dreaming and many failed attempts to save the requisite airfare I had arrived.
Holding up my trusty sign it took no-time to catch a lift south, my Australian hitch hiking adventure had begun. In my three+ years of living “down-under” I would find myself back in Darwin on another occasion, to commemorate my first circumnavigation of the massive Island nation, often referred to as a continent. During my odyssey I was to boast of never having stayed in any one place for more than 3 months and mostly only remained in places for short exploratory visits to evaluate the locations for more long-term residence on the next go-round. Indeed I crossed the country from top to bottom, and side to side, in each direction. Looking for the perfect beach, party town. My main mode of transportation was hitching rides by thumb.
to be continued…
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