The weeks leading up to my departure from Aus, I had been pretty casual with my preparations. Well that’s the nice way to write it, in truth I had been fucking hopeless. Six weeks I had to prepare everything and just like my days at university I left everything to the last possible moment.
For my last week in Darwin, mother Kathy flew up to say her finally goodbyes. I’m not sure if her presence gave me the kick up the ass I needed to get my shit together or just stressed me out by bringing to light how unorganised I was. Probably both.
It didn’t help that in my last week, blinded by the thought of earning a couple of last minute $$$, I foolishly accepted a temporary job as a mechanics TA through a recruitment agency. On Monday morning just five days from D-Day instead of making final (beginning?) preparations for an indefinite time overseas, I was rocking up to start a new job. Thrown into an army barracks, given a job card (whatever that is), my own tool box and set to work repairing an old army truck. People who know me would know how ridiculous this was, despite being a country boy, I’m not a mechanics arse-hole. Safe to say I was well out of my depth (but shit I must be able to write a good resume).
After a day and a half of just banging a lot of things together, making loud noises occasionally swearing in frustration, bluffing everyone around me I knew what I was doing; I found myself in the lunch room with the other mechanics making small talk when the conversation somehow turned to Asia.
It was at this point the voice in my head popped up “Tyral, what are you doing? Enjoying your new job? Making new friends? You leave the country for Asia in four days you bloody idiot. Get your shit together boy”.
I didn’t go back Wednesday.
Ringing up Tuesday afternoon and spinning some bullshit about finding full time work elsewhere. Man I felt guilty, I’ve never done that before, bailed on a job like that but I figured it was not only the right thing to do for me but for the country. I wouldn’t trust someone like me to repair a vehicle used by the Australian army to protect our countries borders, what a joke.
With nothing left to distract me from the enormity of the situation quickly approaching me, I really started to stress out. Spending my last couple of days before rejoining the boat madly racing around Darwin trying to prepare. Trying to find a money exchange that hadn’t already been cleared out of Rupiah by one of the more organised people from the rally.
Finding a doctor to give me a script for malaria then sourcing a chemist with enough tablets for 4-6months. Clearing customs. Sitting through a long drawn out rally information seminar made even longer by a room full of old retires from all different nationalities all with hearing impairments.
“Huh? What was that??” … “Can you go back to the last slide?”
Even the bloke up the front had had enough by the end.
“Nope. No more. It’s all in the book, read the book!“
Organising bulk photocopies of all the paperwork for the boat for Andre. Kathy talking in my ear trying to take over, stubbornly not letting her, arguing about it instead of explaining myself properly to the officeworks chick. Then ending up with 90 COLOUR copies of our passports and a $140 bill. FUCK (Thanks for footing the bill on the one mum). Spending a few hours on the phone activating my new bank account and debit card so I would actually have access to money overseas. Combing the internet in a last ditch effort to find a decent 12 month travel insurance. Getting more confused than anything else.
Then to top it all off on my last night of internet before joining the boat I managed to download a virus onto my computer trying to set up this stupid blog. Costing me a nights sleep and half a day trying to search the net, teaching myself how to remove the damn thing. Absolutely completely hopeless and I stupidly thought I might be able to achieve all this while completing a weeks work. Idiot.
Friday night, after another overly dramatic and emotional goodbye from Kathy, I returned to the boat and the nudists. Unnecessarily feeling a little bit guilty for not being there earlier to help with some of their final preparations, I was overly apologetic.
“That’s ok Ty… the deck is bloody dirty, we left it for you to scrub…”
Saturday morning, on my last day in Australia for who knows how long, while my travel companions were ashore gorging themselves on one last Aussie buffet breakfast. I was left on board scrubbing and washing the deck. Welcome back.
With all the stress of the hectic last three days finally behind me, the excitement of the dream becoming a reality could finally start to sink in. I was on cloud nine even the shit job scrubbing couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. It was all about to begin.