I genuinely believe this – had I not agreed to a van trip along Australia’s East Coast with 2 guys I didn’t know, I’d still be living in Perth. My high school friend, Gary, sent me a message that went something like this – ‘my friend, Rob, is living in Melbourne, doing what you are doing. Not sure how far that is from you, but you guys would be boys.’ Melbourne to Perth is about the same as Philly to LA. I hadn’t any plans to travel over to the East Coast. It felt far and far felt expensive. Only out of curiosity, I sent Rob a message. I was interested to see how his experience in Melbourne was similar or different to mine in Perth. After some back and forth, Rob mentioned that he was planning a van trip with his friend, Joe, who quit his job at General Electric to fly over for the trip. They had been trying to find a third passenger to help divvy up the rental and other expenses along the way. It’s still hard for me to say what compelled me to pick up and leave my adored life in Perth, but I said sure, I’m in. I flew to Melbourne on October 22nd to meet Rob and Joe. We picked up the van on the 23rd. Gary was right – we quickly became boys. Good thing because ‘tight quarters’ would not justly describe our new home.
We had 32 days to get from Melbourne to Cairns, roughly 3000 miles. That was the only certainty. Everything in between was a possibility. Though crammed in a van, it was the ultimate freedom. We stopped at places that sounded cool, and we stayed until we were ready to go. We had a few ‘must see’ stops, but for everything else, we would find it or it would find us. We stumbled upon magic: beaches, lakes, caves, and waterfalls that wouldn’t come up in a “best places to see in Australia” Google search. If I have any advice for someone getting ready for a van trip, it’d be simple: don’t make an itinerary, just drive, bopp around, see what you see, but do consider the following: