Cause to pause

The Indian pacific leg of the journey started very smoothly.
I awoke at 6am, final pack and prep and off to the East Perth terminal. I was (un)fortunate to load my gear in the baggage carriage due to being incredibly early and making handling my bike look incredibly easy.

The trip was…languid. I sat in companionable ease with other local and international travellers, sharing adventures and misadventures from the four corners of the world. As I penned this in my notebook, I was sitting in the Matilda cafe carriage, looking out over the expanse of the Nularboor plain.
Seemingly endless openness is what my gaze gently rests on as I chat with others over everything and nothing.
Vast cobalt blue sky, dotted with small melting marshmallow-like clouds, seas of buttery yellow pasture lands becoming sparse and morphing to red soil, daubed with drab khaki green scrub.
These are the colours to the canvas of this experience.
The train is surprisingly quiet and smooth, the gentle sway rocks the carriages side to side with a delicate hand like a mother on a rocking cradle.
With each exhalation I find the knot that has sat behind my solar plexus for what I suspect has been years…loosens.
My thinking over the many tomorrow’s possibly to come, slows down. I’m finding that I’m right here in the train, in “me.”
Calm, present, in the moment and enjoying this new experience.
After all, I’m unable to rush this.

I’m travelling in the “Red service” aka “cheap seats” and yet again I see the “money buys you class” system at work here. The other levels i.e platinum and gold classes have near silver service, by pretty girls with professional bantering, that ensure the wine stays flowing.
In the Matilda cafe it’s meat pies, overpriced beer, chips and salad rolls.
I consider my options for dinner as the dusky shadows lengthen the profiles of gnarled little trees and prickly bushes.
$13.20 for a small dinner plate of braised steak and onions with reheated frozen vegetables or the same price for the same size serve of pasta bake with cheese sauce and reheated frozen vegetables…hmmm tough choice.
I consider myself thankful for the meal, the companionship and the experience of it all.
One day, I won’t eat ever eat again.

What are you having for dinner, my readers?
And when you eat,do you know where and how, that food came to be on your plate?

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Leave a trail so that others may follow

Yes I reaffirm, I am travelling around Australia!
Yes I have sold all my possessions and closed my practice to travel, explore, adventure and write!
Yes I’m leaving my family and friends to be a “hobo on a bike.”
Yes I’m using my remaining years to not conform to living the way we all are and can’t tolerate much longer.
As Ralph Emerson so eloquently stated
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Despite me typing this post on my iPod touch using wifi, I am something of a Luddite.
I am working to release myself of all the ties that bind me and techno goodies are hard to let go.
In my former life I was a mad gamer. Growing up poor, we had the park, I only played Nintendo at my friends house at sleepovers. Once I started earning good money I bought up games like they were cheap crack for a long weekend.
It’s now a lil slice of history repeating itself for me. My closest friend in the world has video games at his house and I will be staying, for a time, with him and his lovely wife soon.
Picture two Irish wolfhounds barking at 2am playing tag with each other…in a Winnebago.
That’s us when we are playing co op games with alcohol in the mix.
I promise now Sam, I will not keep you both up!
I have recovered well enough to get going! I did indeed have concussion, with what felt like a hangover to the power of ten for two days. Mild nerve irritation to both my hands, sprained forearms, some scratches and bumps.
I heal amazingly well and fast. I put it to good genes, nutrition and as I’m a therapist, able to treat myself for most things. I’m ready to go!
I’m off to Adelaide ASAP, it’s summer here in Australia and Adelaide has been roasting due to forty five plus heat, bushfires and thunderstorms.
Perth is starting to warm up as well.
It’s been beautiful here, low thirties and sunny.
The Nullaboor is getting hot. Real hot.
After much thinking and my little skittle that just happened, I had a shift in perspective.
My previous mindset was “I’m riding around Australia on my loaded touring bike”
I’m now “travelling around Australia with my loaded touring bike.”
I missed the travel window I knew I had, due to my setback.
It’s now a highly risky venture to pedal over 1,000km in mid thirty degree heat across dry Western Australia and then go through another 1,300km of close to fifty degree desert with thirty six metre long road train trucks all the way.
The big issue is water.
Australia is credited as one of the driest and harshest continents of the world. South Australia is touted as the driest state within that continent.
It is a long stretch between water stops and I can only pull so much on my bike for drinking, cooking and washing.
In the first week out I went through a minimum of six litres of water (and electrolyte drinks) a day! The average temperature that week was twenty eight.
Can I do that stretch at this time of year? Yes. Will it be fun? No.
Is the chances of heat exhaustion, sunstroke, dehydration, 3rd degree sunburn, windburn and let’s not forget road accidents high? You bet.

So, one ticket to Adelaide on the Great Southern rail.
I was able to get a great deal on my bike, all the gear and of course me, getting to Adelaide in relative comfort in two days. I have never ridden the train, I’d always travelled by plane back and forth, due to the immense distance. Different method but still part of the adventure. My family and friends that have consulted with me are all happy that I’m travelling smarter for this leg due to the conditions.
I will cross that stretch of Australia on my bike!
It has now become my own personal Everest.
It itches at me to do it, simply because, in a Neitszche/Kierkegaard sort of way, this is one of the trials of asceticism, I have set myself, to exercise my will for spiritual purpose.
Existentialism 1-0-1 “I hurt, therefore I am.” 😜

So Adelaide by Tuesday. I will be seeing many, many people there so expect to be there for around a month. It will give me time to plan the next leg of the trip, say hello, get in some monster 200km rides through beautiful countryside. Tie up loose ends from my past and then take my leave. Along the south east coast, down to Tasmania, up around the east coast across the “top end” and then down the west cost and retrace my trail to finally (!) bike along the Nullaboor to finish back in Adelaide. Well that’s the plan right now 😉

I have had tremendous aid and support from people near and far. People emotionally close to me and complete strangers (who have now become friends).
I am so very grateful for all the kind wishes, help, advice and support!
Thank you to everyone involved in my adventure so far.
Thank you to everyone I have met on the road.
Thank you also to all the people reading my blog.
I have had great feedback about my start with writing and it has helped me to continue on with the choices I’ve made and given me confidence that what I wish to share, people will enjoy reading about.
When I get to Adelaide I will recap my initial week on the road, I didn’t this week due to my hands just not cooperating with my will.
Stay tuned for the next instalment
Smoky Ranger