I’ve been on holiday for most of the last week. One of my brothers in Adelaide was getting married in a beach-front ceremony in the small town of Port Rickaby, a few hours drive west of Adelaide. I took some extra time off work, because I wanted a holiday, and wound up spending a couple of days in Coober Pedy. Coober Pedy is a very very strange place, and well worth a visit. The opal industry is fascinating. I might write some more about Coober Pedy, not just because I like saying Coober Pedy. But the point of this post is a very brief rant about spontaneous traveling.
I flew out of Sydney on Tuesday evening. On Tuesday morning I realised I should probably think of something to do with my hire car and my three blissful days of nothing before I had to be at Rickaby, so spent some time with google maps. Eventually picked Coober Pedy because:
- I’d never really been to central Australia before. Seen some bits of desert while tooling around in WA, but not true outback.
- My vague recollection was that it was a pretty interesting place.
- I like saying Coober Pedy.
- It was about as far away from anywhere I’ve been before, that I could reasonably get to in the time I had.
I tried explaining this to a bloke I met in the pub in Coober Pedy. He was absolutely amazed, and couldn’t quite comprehend that somebody would just, on the spur of the moment, get in a car and spend ten hours driving to Coober Pedy, just because.
Last year I went to Cowra because on a Friday morning I thought “hrmn, I want to go somewhere this weekend, where should I go?”, and picking Cowra because I hadn’t traveled West of Sydney much, and Cowra seemed about as far as I could reasonably drive on a Friday night. I got there and had a conversation with a bloke in a pub that went something like:
“So if you’re from Sydney, what are you doing out here? Work?“
”*shrug* Just having a look around. Wanted to get out of town for a weekend, and wound up here.“
Incidentally, the Japanese garden at Cowra is the largest in the southern hemisphere, and absolutely amazing.
By the time I’d gotten to Taralga six months ago, I’d given up and just told people that I was on my way to Yass but had to go via Bathurst because *mumble*mumble*. That seemed like a much more realistic explanation than wanting to see more of inland NSW (and telling them I’d taken a two-door hatch along Wombeyan Caves Road would have probably been pretty damn embarrassing).
What’s the big deal? Do people not just travel for the hell of it any more? Maybe they think it only counts if you’re going overseas? Have we forgotten how much of the new and exciting is sitting right at our doorstep (and if not there, definitely a two hour flight and ten hour drive from it)? Maybe small town inhabitants just don’t believe their particular small town is worth visiting (I know I still think this about Yass).
When was the last time you threw the figurative dart at a map?
Can I fit the words “Coober Pedy” in to this post one more time?