It was a hot day in Adelaide when I regretted buying a car for the first time.
Now it was getting official: We – me and my boyfriend – wanted to see the west coast and we wanted to do it with our beloved Urschel, a car of my age, so we had to cross that wide, dry and dangerous place known as the Nullarbor.
Once this was clear, we started to take the usual precautions like buying a lot of rice, pasta, two-minute noodles, more rice and more two-minute noodles.
We also realised our budget was tighter than we thought, called mum at home to tell her what we were up to and finally, some 15 hours before departure, desperately put lift offers on the internet, trying to find anybody to share fuel costs with.
To our surprise my mobile rang soon afterwards, and after what felt like hours of explaining and repeating, found out that our potential passenger was sitting in the next room of the hostel where we were staying.
Our new travelmate, a Frenchie called Louis, had had a lift until the drivers gave away his seat due to a misunderstanding. Perfect!
Later that night we were called by some other girls who were planning to do the trip and were searching for travel mates with their own car. So the next day we were off to Perth, a convoy of two bashed-up backpacker vans, travelling at 70km/hr.
The first night at camp we found out that one of our travel mates was very religious and the day ended with a very heated discussion about the Pope and his values (Manuel, if you read this: I didn’t mean that asshole thing!).
I thought things couldn’t get worse but the next day the clutch of the other van refused to work.
So we drove about 100km at a speed of 20km/hr and as we finally arrived in Port Augusta, where we had to wait for another day to get the spare parts.
The three of us decided to wait for the others and have a nice day at Streaky Bay, which we had – a beautiful beach, treating ourselves to fish and chips and breaking into a caravan park
with very nice showers.
Somehow the next day we managed to lose each other. The last sign we got from them was a text message saying they were 100km west of Ceduna… and so the hunt had begun. Even with driving 20km/ph faster than our van liked, we couldn’t catch them again and so we focused on the beautiful landscape. Yes, there was nothing, but it was the best nothingI’ve ever seen.
Sometimes we just parked the car and sat on the road with plain bushland and nothing else around us – in every direction.
Except for roadhouses every 100-200km we only saw those famous kangaroo, wombat and camel signs, heaps of roadkill and even a dingo in the bush.
I suppose this was postcard Australia, except there were no tourist buses for miles.
It may sound corny but you had this feeling of being the only person in the world. I loved it.
The landscape stayed like that for about three days, but it didn’t really bore me, although the daily pasta did.
At night we played card games, learned how to swear in French and looked at a night sky that appeared so much closer than anywhere else I’ve been.
When we finally arrived in Norseman, back to civilisation, I couldn’t help but feel a little proud of myself, and of course of Urschel the Urvan that behaved so well.