Over the years, we’ve had our fair share of crazy moments on the road. From being chased by a water buffalo in Sumatra to getting lost in the winding souks of Marrakesh we have a few interesting tales of our travels around the world.
Luckily, we’ve always emerged unscathed however these moments have taught us a few lessons about ourselves, the world in general and of things to watch out for while on the road. At a minimum, I hope they make for an entertaining story.
Without further ado, here’s our first officially crazy moment on the road and the lesson we took from it.
That crazy Outback
While on our first year long RTW in 2003, Micki and I had the opportunity to spend nearly five months touring Australia. On that trip we bought a van and crossed through the center of the Outback twice. First vertically from Adelaide to Darwin and then horizontally from Darwin to Cairns.
It was a great drive and we had the opportunity to meet tons of awesome, unique and interesting locals and visitors alike.
While near the center just outside Alice Springs, we made friends with a young couple from the UK. They also had a van they were traveling in and after a long day checking out the sites together we cracked open a bottle at our campsite and settled into a long night of drinking and story swapping.
At some point during the evening, our new friends invited another fellow (a Queenslander in his early 30s) to join us in our conversations. The fact he was camped right next to us and had a wife and two young kids (who were all already asleep) seemed proof enough that he was a decent fellow to our new friends, but something about him made Micki and I distrust him from the get go.
A long evening
As the night wore on, we listened to this newcomer continuously trash the local Aboriginals, rattle off false facts about Australia (we actually had a guidebook on the table in front of us) and pretty much every other word he said was rude and bigoted. Perhaps it was the JD and cola we were drinking, but we argued with him a little more than we probably should have.
Disgusted with us clueless idiots, he finally had enough of us and bid us goodnight in a not so pleasant fashion. Happy to be rid of him, we let him leave and good naturedly wished him a pleasant journey on the morrow.
To our amazement, a short while later, we noticed that he was returning. As he entered our camp, we quickly noticed the unusually large knife he was now carrying. To make a long story short, we spent a few minutes in an awkward holding pattern. That is, he was holding the knife while the scene from Crocodile Dundee continuously replayed in my head.
You know, the one where he pulls out this huge knife and says “That’s not a knife. That’s a knife.”
All joking aside, we finally talked the guy down (it seemed he hated me most of all), however to say he put a damper on the evening would be an understatement.
Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.Virginia Wolfe
A long night
As he returned to his campsite, we all called it a night and we made sure that our new friends (who were severely inebriated by this point) were safe in their locked van before we headed to ours.
Seeing that we were in the middle of the sparse Outback, we had a clear view into his camping spot and we watched him clutching his knife and eyeing our van for over an hour before he finally went to bed.
I won’t lie, it was one of the longest nights of my life.
The good news is, by the time we got out of the van in the morning, they were already striking up camp and preparing to leave. We half expected a slashed tire or worse however all was good.
Wait, there’s more!
I wish that was the end of story however, almost comically, a few nights later we pulled into another camping spot up at Tenant Creek and wouldn’t you know it, we were parked right next to the Crocodile Dundee knife wielder once again.
Not willing to go another sleepless night, we quietly backed out (before he noticed us) and took another spot on the other side of the campground. We saw him a few times that night, however we’re not sure he recognized us. Needless to say, we didn’t go over and re-introduce ourselves.
Lessons learned: Trust your instincts and never get into a heated discussion with a Queenslander.
If you learn nothing else from this story, remember this: The wilder the situation, the better the story will be so get out there and learn your own lessons. Just remember to get a picture of it or it never happened. 😉
If you’ve have any crazy on the road stories we’d love to hear it! Leave us a comment below and we can trade badges. I’m sure no one can beat our threatened with big ass knife badge. That one was definitely hard earned.