Thursday, 22 December 2005
Booked it, packed it, fucked off
I met a really interesting bloke the other day.
He was from a small village in the South of England and before he arrived in Sydney he had absolutely no idea where Australia was. He literally could not point it out to you on a map of the world.
Some time last year he broke up with his girlfriend and called his mate who was backpacking round Oz for some consoling. His mate told him the best way to forget about her would be to pack a bag and get on the first plane to Australia. So he did. It wasn't until he got to the airport and realized that he was facing a 24 hour flight that he realized how very far away it is.
The traveler, for that is what he has now become, had led a very spoilt life up until that point. He was an odd combination of typical East Sussex boy-racer/car mechanic and spoilt mummies boy. He had never cooked a meal in his entire life, he could make toast but anything more complicated than 2 slices of bread in a toaster and he was stumped.
His mother brought him breakfast in bed every morning or else he'd never get out of bed in time for work. His mother made him his lunch and dinner was always waiting on the table for him after work. Laundry, was a complete mystery to the traveler. His dirty clothes magically disappeared from the dirty clothes hamper only to appear a day later clean and ironed and hanging in his wardrobe.
His metamorphosis from boy racer to hard core traveler is total and stunning. I doubt anyone from back home would recognize him now. After spending a few weeks in Sydney with his mate he decided to buy a VW camper van and drive round western Australia. So he did.
He used his skills as a mechanic to keep the old girl on the road and make himself a few dollars along the way. By necessity he learnt the basics of cooking and can now fry an egg, boil rice and make a mean packet of instant noodles (among other more daring dishes). He grew out his chav haircut (think bryl cream curtains a la David Beckham before he met posh spice) and got himself a woolen beanie. He ditched the wheelie suitcase for an army surplus kit bag and when the time came to final part with his van he hitch hiked his way across the Northern Territory.
He could never go back to the way he was. He doesn't want to.