The Trip as it became ‘affectionately’ known in the Miller household was a plan hatched some 3 or 4 years prior to us setting off in April of 2015. Everything was geared toward The Trip as we planned, saved and created space in our lives to take 6 months off to travel around this vast and wonderful country.
It was to be an adventure filled, life-changing, family bonding experience. A chance for Jane and I to reflect on where we’re at in our lives and begin to make plans the future, free of the day-to-day grind of work, school, sport and social commitments. For our children it was the chance for an experiential education, to get real-world knowledge of places, names and events they may encounter as they make their way through their schooling. We also wanted to show them there’s a big world of opportunities out beyond the Adelaide Hills where we live.
How was it, did it live up to your expectations?
Leaving with such high hopes we could have easily been let down, thankfully we weren’t, The Trip gave us everything we expected and more. It was simply brilliant, mind expanding and as Jane so beautify puts it “heart opening”. Expectations met and then some!
We travelled 22,000kms across wide-open roads, heavily corrugated dirt roads and bush tracks to visit 52 destinations across 169days. From Mylor to Broken Hill, along the Darling River to Bourke, Lightning Ridge then up the Queensland coast to Cairns. We then followed the Savannah Way to Broome, via places including Undara Volcanic National Park, Normanton, Boodjamulla National Park, Seven Emu Station, Kakadu, Darwin, Keep River National Park, Lake Argyle and 3 weeks on the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley. Then down the west coast of Australia to Karijini National Park, Dampier, Ningaloo Reef, Shark Bay, Geraldton, Perth Walpole, Albany, Esperance and many stops in between. Finally, home across the Nullarbor.
Experiencing breath-taking country, walking through lush tropical rainforests and across arid deserts, hiking rugged gorges and old forests, and witnessing some stunning coastline. We canoed, snorkeled and swam in emerald green gorges, natural springs and incredible coral reefs on both the east and west coasts. Most mornings we woke to magnificent sunrises over looking muddy rivers, red dirt, mulga country, windswept dunes and sparkling forests.
We met many interesting people and experienced numerous historical places, but most profound of all was the time spent gaining a first-hand perspective of the culture and contribution of our nations first people. Leaving with an overwhelming sense of admiration of their connection to country, their practical knowledge and ability to keep surviving and in parts, thriving against some incredible odds.
When you strip your life back to the essentials you’re able to exist with a lightness and freedom, allowing space and time to just be and be totally focused on that moment. In fact, it’s the first time in my life a day felt like 24 hours and a week a full 7 days, time slowed as each minute was experienced. Sleeping in a tent you’re completely immersed in the natural world, your senses tingle, arriving at your next destination without much idea of what to expect builds anticipation and excitement. You feel alive!
Of course there were ups and downs, it wasn’t all easy sailing, at times it was really hard going. When the wind is blowing a gale and you’re hoping the pegs will hold, or the rain is relentless and starting to seep through the canvas. All you want is some warmth and a solid structure around you, especially after the second or third night of no sleep!
Fortunately though, those days and nights were few and far between, and when things got a little tough we were soon rewarded by the places we were in. It was almost like the more difficult the journey, the more stunningly beautiful the destination. For example, the 6 hours to travel 200kms across a crazily corrugated dirt road to reach the Mitchell River campground in the Kimberley tested both man and machine, but once you start the 8km return hike to Mitchell Falls and arrive at the falls themselves you’re lost for words. It’s awe inspiring.
I could happily go on for pages, but generally in normal conversation people are starting to look for the toilets or changing the subject by now – so I’ll wrap it up.
The six months have created life-long memories for the four of us, the effects of which will continue to emanate for many years to come. Our intentions have been reset, plans for our future made – part of which is displayed on this and the other Insync Collective websites, and we look forward with great anticipation of the adventures ahead.