I woke up and headed down to the river to the puddle of water I had set the Yabbi net up in.
On the first of September I decided to start a movement in my life, I’m calling it minutes of meditation. Every morning when I wake up I go and sit on the ground and take ten conscious breaths as the sun is rising. I then tell myself aloud, I am kind I am brave I am beautiful and I am to my own liking.
Once I was done with my morning ritual I pulled the net from the pool of water discovering 14 yabbys had been captured. I marched off back to the tent to present my catch to my dad. He was beyond impressed “Brando I can’t believe you caught them in a puddle of muddy water” we cooked them over the fire in a pot of salted boiling water, they were delicious but not quite enough to fill the belly so we made a plan to stop in 20km at the Fox trap in Australias smallest town, Cooladdi. We packed our things away and headed off.
The weather was absolutely perfect for riding today, a light tail wind made for easy peddling. We arrived at the Fox trap roadhouse at 10am, we were greeted by Roxanne, one of the 3 residents in Cooladdi. We joked around with the idea that this bike trip was really just the longest pub crawl in history. I had heard from other travelers on the road that this place was famous for having Australia’s biggest burger! I quickly found the one called the Cooladdi King on the menu and ordered it as a mid morning snack! As I waited for the burger I spotted all the names on the walls from people who had visited this tiny town! I wanted to leave my mark so with a felt marker pen I drew a picture of Australia will a dotted line from steep point to Byron bay with a little biker making the trip. I heard the kitchen door swing open and spotted the biggest burger I had ever seen comes towards the table. I didn’t even know where to start. Don’t worry though, Without much trouble i knocked it off. Never mind the fact I could hardly move afterwards.
Roxanne came and gave me a few stickers and a stubby holder as a parting gift as she was very inspired by the journey. As we left we headed up a long hill. It felt like we had already achieved so much today but in reality we had only done 20km and still had 88 to go! Thankfully the wind had picked up from the west and was pushing us along making for easier riding. The landscape was changing rapidly as we rolled over the hills. The flood zones became more green than anywhere I have been here in Australia, the mulga trees are huge and a new plant (prickly pear) has started to show up as the climate has humidity in it now.
We rode together on the now permanently wide road. 20km out of Charleville we passed through a paddock with some friendy horses, they came right up to me for a cuddle, as I rode away they cantered along next to me. The ‘desert look‘ of the outback had completely gone it was just bush, birds and kangaroos!
Sharing this part of the journey with my dad has been the most healing experience of my life, I have finally reached a point where I’m ready to forgive myself. Throughout all of my adventures I have been slowly unraveling my own emotional trauma I created as a child. I realised The way I acted and treated others was wrong, I was the bully, I made life harder than it needed to be for a lot of people. My biggest challenge in life has been forgiving myself and for a very long time I have actually wanted to suffer, subconsciously self sabotaging my life. On the new moon I decided I had internally punished myself enough and I was ready to move forward and let the past be the past. I believe I will look back on this day and tell others that it was the moment I found the courage to let go of what I can’t change, it was the moment I decided I was of my own liking.
The sun was setting as we rode into the township of Charleville. Dad and I found the nearest pub and celebrated the new memories we had created. I told him I was thankful for everything he has done for me over my life and that moving forward I want to continue to build our relationship and go on more adventures together. We stayed at the waltzing Matilda motel that night and watched the local fire bragade do a controlled burnoff.
The next day was dads leaving day we relaxed together for most of the day drinking coffees on the house at Charlevilles best coffee shop ( Charlottes Nest) we also spent some time sorting out the gear and bike dad was taking with him to the Gold Coast on the train that evening. Now that I’m in the land of people I am in the sharing stage of my journey so I visited all the local schools to attempt to share my story, only one took me up on the offer so at 2pm I headed to the distance learning school and went live with a bunch of kids learning via video. It was an interesting experience sharing my adventure through a camera, I had great fun though. Next I had an interview with 4RR fm and shared my story with the local listeners. And finally a great interview with the local paper the western star!
As the time dads train was scheduled for aproached one half of me felt relieved that I wasn’t going to have to deal with the mechanical upkeep of two bikes and the other half of me felt sad. I was about to be alone and my favorite expedition partner was about to leave. As we waited together in the station dad put his arm around me and said thank you for sharing this time with me and thank you for being my son. I held back the tears as he got on the train and waved out from his seat.
My dad gave me the greatest gift anyone ever could, he believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself he loved me even when I hated myself and today he left me a little better than he found me. “Safe passage dad I will see you soon”