asia / australia / Backpacking / fremantle / friendship / love / roadtrip / travel / wanderlust

When a road trip doesn’t go to plan

And so it began…our plan to buy a crazy 4×4 jeep type car, and camp/hostel our way up the entire west coast, through hours and hours of outback, and eventually reach Darwin. Note to self, do not watch the Wolf Creek film. I repeat, do not watch the Wolf Creek film.

After days of sitting in the hostel, trawling gumtree, backpacker groups and car garage websites, we set out on a 90 minute drive inland to see an old Ford Explorer, which on paper sounded too good to be true…which of course we later found out it was. We pulled into what straight away felt like a dodgy kind of place, imagine what you see in an american trailer park based movie, an overgrown garden with scary looking barking dogs chained up, wire fencing around the front garden, 5 or 6 beat up cars out front, and a group of guys all wearing white string wife-beater vests. In we walked.

After a very brief chat we took it out for a test drive, and what dya know, it drove like a treat. We sped round the neighborhood, slammed the breaks on, revved it, kicked the tyres and did all those important checks you do when you know nothing about cars. Feeling super excited we made a deal, I left the negotiating to the hard-talking Scotsman of course, and before we knew it we were collectively handing over $2,500 to the dodgy looking dirty vest wearing man we had just met.


Ford explorer

It was nighttime now, so the Irish couple Emily and Gareth, and I jumped into the Ford, buzzing and talking about how fun the trip will be as we headed back towards the hostel, Ricky headed off in a separate direction in his own car. This is where the drama started, not even 15 minutes in the drive home and BAM, the engine blew, smoke from the front, power steering gone, battery went straight to flat and water was leaking from somewhere.

All we could do was pull over in the middle of nowhere, jump around a little bit in frustration trying to get signal on our phones and ring Ricky to get him to come find us on the side of the highway. Once he found us we phoned the dodgy guy we had just brought the car off,who of course did not answer, causing us to be gutted, bloody angry and worst of all..stranded on the highway with a broken car.

We all piled into Rickys car, drove to the nearest petrol station and brought some jump leads, the boys took over here…but the gist of the plan was to get Rickys’ car on the grass verge next to the Ford, connect the 2, and fix it. It didn’t work, obvs.

With little signal and draining battery we finally got through to the guy who sold us the car, and managed to get him to come to us. We were shitting ourselves quite frankly, expecting a group of guys to turn up wanting trouble and arguments. The boys were sweet and got Emily and I to sit in the car as they arrived. It soon appeared though the conversation was civil, he gave us a full refund and towed the car back to his place, saying it was still all ours in a few days time if we still wanted it, which of course, we politely declined

Feeling disheartened but relieved to have gotten our money back, we set out again the next day to find another car, this time we tried a proper car garage. After attempting to negotiate the price on a really expensive but luxury jeep we headed over to the cars more in our budget and found a few which looked good. We headed out on another test drive, I couldn’t believe it, this car started smoking and failing on us too! We swiftly returned it, found a McDonalds and started brainstorming on what we could do to save the road trip. We had all sorts of ideas, one which we came close to actually going through with was buying a UTE, a typical Aussie car, which we would build and attach a canopy onto the back, where we could keep all of our stuff. We took measurements, priced up the parts, and considered the impact it would have on the road trip.

We eventually decided the UTE plan would just not work, that we were wasting what little money we had left just hanging around waiting for a car and decided to call it a day on the road trip plan. I was gutted, the West coast looks stunning, but I guess it just means I have to return back to Australia to finish it off in the future!

I had a little think throughout the next morning about what I wanted to do, Ricky had booked a flight up to Darwin where he was going to work, and Gareth and Emily had booked a flight to Broome, a town further up the West Coast also to look for work. For me, I was feeling stuck…I was brand spanking new to Australia, and didn’t need to start work just yet. I had this great plan of travelling the West coast, then hitting Sydney to work and save money ready for the East Coast. Instead I went with my heart, and booked a one way flight back to Asia, which may seem a cop-out, but I did at least choose to go somewhere new. I booked a one way flight to Bali, Indonesia baby!! Which left the very next day!

I was beyond excited, I needed Asia back in my life, Asian food, Asian beaches, the people and the way of life. I did feel a bit disappointed in myself for not sticking it out longer in Perth and Freyo, but I knew I would be back in Australia soon to make up for it.


My final night in Freyo was spent with hostel friends at a local Reggae night, saying goodbye to the others who headed off to catch their flights, then in a hungover haze the next day trying to organise myself for the flight…currency, pack, print flight details and of course, one last trip to the beautiful beach in Freyo, an afternoon packed full of random conversation and jelly-babies with my Cornish friend.

I genuinely felt sad as I said my goodbyes, and left Pirates for the last time, sitting on the train from Freyo back to Perth and watching the town disappear behind me was so upsetting. Its that hard part again isn’t it, saying goodbye to these people you call friends, who have made you laugh everyday, shared their limited food, possessions and time with you, knowing you will probably never see them again.

The only thing that kept me going was knowing I was heading back to Asia.
My happy place.


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