Right now, I am sitting on the verandah (balcony) of an old Queenslander (the typical style of house in this part of the world) in a small Australian country town called Gympie, catching up on work things. Which in this very instance is my undying need to share my adventures with you.
And well…. The past week has been quite an adventure. Very much of the unexpected kind.
I’ll start at the beginning. Those of you who have been keeping a close eye on my gypset adventures would know that a little over 2 weeks ago, I bought myself a van in Sydney, to spend the summer traveling around the East Coast of Australia.
I was so excited. It was the first time I’ve owned a vehicle in 10 years, and actually done a road trip sans lovers or others. It was going to be my time, to do what I want, how I want, where I want. With my beautiful coaching business in tow. You know, gypset style!
I drove that van up to Brisbane, where I spent the weekend working at a festival, and then the rest of the week decking out my van. The seats were pulled out; a double bed was built-in, and pretty cane boxes put in as storage. The fairy lights went up, measurements were taken for curtains and all the materials purchased. It was so fun, turning Ruby Tuesday into my home.
I was planning to continue on further north, before it gets too hot and rainy – into the tropics of Cairns the following week. Which is a hell of a long journey, so I placed an ad for a ride-share to copilot with me and share fuel costs. Besides the endless amount of random texts I got asking if I was single (!), a lovely person I did find to join me on the drive to the tropics.
Last Monday, I got up at 5.45, quickly packed up and drove the 20 minutes to where I was to pick up my new copilot. Cue Julien, a Canadian adventurer whose love for this country brought him back a second time to explore the vast lands of Australia. A hello and a hug later, and we were on the road.
Up to this point right here, life was sailing so very smoothly. I could have never imagined what happened next.
Entering Gympie 2 hours later – a town that has a reputation for being full of crime, alcoholism and general badness – suddenly the van starts making a strange whirring sound. I looked at Julien. He looked back. Then the van started loosing speed. I pressed on the gas pedal. Nothing. Within 30 seconds of driving along perfectly, my van had suddenly died. I pulled over onto the exiting lane until she rolled to a stop, and got out. There was smoke and the smell of burnt water everywhere.
Julien (who to my greatest relief knows a fair bit about mechanics) checked under the hood, and noticed that the hose coming from the coolant to the engine had come off. Upon further inspection, it was clear that whoever had checked the engine before the sale, hadn’t put the hose clamp on, resulting in the engine not getting any water and essential breaking the entire motor. The whole car engine was blown.
To say I was devastated, in that moment, would be an understatement. But most of all, I was in shock. And couldn’t do or respond to anything. All I knew was that the van, my home, that I’d only had for 10 days, was gone. A mechanic seeing the hazards on, stopped by confirming what had happened. Then another local came to see what was going on, and very kindly called his friend who owned a towing company to come and pick the van up and take us off the road.
This is where the miracles began.
I was totally lost. I didn’t know whether to cry with powerlessness and sorrow: or scream with anger at the mechanic who hadn’t put that damn hose clamp on properly. In that moment, everything was fucked. But the universe took over.
- The tow truck driver, Rob, and his family kindly took us in, backing the van into the shade of their front lawn, so we could stay in it while we figured out what to do next.
- My co-pilot Julien, whom I’d literally met 3 hours earlier, took over the gears with everything, as I was in no state of mind to comprehend what to do next. He organised contacting the sales person who had sold me the van, and gave him a good verbal beating.
- When it became clear that replacing the engine would cost as much as the entire van had itself, he took it upon himself to recoup the money I had spent buying it, as much as possible, by parting it out online.
- And instead of saying “see ya!” and continuing on, on his merry way (which is probably what I would have done, had I caught a lift with someone and their car died) Julien decided to do something incredibly unexpected. He decided to buy another vehicle, so we could continue on.
- The tow truck driver and his wife (who have been incredible every single step of the way, offering us everything they could to make things easier) then started searching the area for suitable vans and SUV’s that would fit my bed and everything, to keep this road trip going up north.
- It was Wednesday afternoon, when we came across an ad on Facebook from someone whose father had died last year, and was selling everything quickly and cheaply. It was there that Julien discovered his 4×4. And bought it on the spot.
- A week later, we are still the process of getting his car on the road, because this is a slow country town, and getting the car registered takes 10x longer than anywhere else. But everything happens for a reason. So here we are. Here I am. Typing this. In Gympie, on the tow-truck driver’s verandah.
There are times in life when you just have to let everything go and let the universe do all the work. I call this, the ‘fuck it’ phase.
After all, life always falls into place once you’ve let go of expectations of how you thought it should go.
Surrender. Let it go. It’s time for the fuck it phase.
I had spent $3,000 plus a whole lot of love, time and planning on this vehicle. It broke my heart to discover that the universe had other plans for me. That this wasn’t meant to be. But I am totally trusting of the process. And in the midst of all this, have been surrounded by angels who have made every part of this experience as kind, loving and gentle as possible.
While she took something away in one quick swipe, she gave me so much more at the same time. The confirmation that no matter what happens, I am always taken care of. The heart-warming, overwhelming generosity and compassion of complete strangers who could have, quite simply, just walked away. A singular message: ‘life is always good to you’.