Try Something New: Hitchhiking

So there we were in the middle of the Outback with a van that can’t run for any longer than 2 minutes without overheating. Fortunately for us when we got towed into Tennant Creek we were brought to the one campsite, which resembled a death row for vehicles on road trips. The campsite itself had nothing wrong with it, but the back row of the grounds was filled side by side with broken down vehicles… Mostly old vans. Some people were lucky enough to have vans that could and would be fixed in the coming days. Our van being unfix-able ended up being mostly positive and barely negative.

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Loaded up onto the tow truck to be brought to the campground.

The Negatives

There were essentially two things that we considered to be negatives. One was the inevitable amount of stress trying to figure out what to do not only with the van, but everything inside the van we accumulated. The other one was that we were left about $5000 out of pocket with the value of the van and the extras we purchased. In the end the negatives didn’t have an incredible impact on our experience. Sure we lost some money and were stressed for a couple days, but the memories from it were incredible.

The Positives

In this sort of situation, you have to stay positive to keep yourself sane. We were able to help many campers with their costs by giving away everything inside the van. This included fishing gear, motor oil, coolant, pillows and sleeping gear, maps of Australia to tour around, and our cooking equipment. Everyone was very appreciative of us giving our things away and it was a good way to let everyone know about our situation. You’d be surprised at the amount of people that wanted to help us and it was very encouraging. We met some amazing couples who were traveling in retirement and loved that we were experiencing life on the road at a young age. We also ended up meeting the couple that would eventually give us a lift 500km south to Alice Springs to catch a flight to the west coast.

In this post I’m considering “hitchhiking” to be getting a ride with complete strangers. This can also be done online depending on which city your in through ride share posts on Kijiji, Gumtree, Craigslist, and any other online marketplace where people are looking to help one another. As we were giving our things away we ended up telling people that we had to find a way to ditch the van (the scrapyard wanted $200 to trash it and we were already $5000 out so we decided against that) and find a way to Alice Springs because it had the nearest airport. We told people that we were going to head to the main road and just try to hitchhike down to the 500km destination. Lucky for us most of the people camping were in their 50’s and ended up having children about our age. This caused them to be concerned about the idea of us trying to find a ride with people just driving by and word got around the campsite pretty quickly.

That’s when we were surprised by everyone’s efforts to look out for our best interest. Within a couple hours there was a couple that came forward and said they could give us a lift all the way there. They didn’t want anything bad to happen to us along the way. They didn’t even want us to help out with money for gas even though we offered. This was just the type of people we were surrounded by and is the true personality of most Australians. They typically just want to help in whichever way they can.

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Where we ended up leaving the van.

The ride ended up being quite interesting and the 5 hours went by like it was nothing. We talked about what our adventure entailed so far, what we planned on doing the rest of our year in the country, what they did for work, their religious beliefs, and about their story and family life in general. I will never forget that drive and their willingness to help us. Although, there will always be one line from that trip that will stick in my head. At one point we were talking about riddles and he started the “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. We go along with it not knowing where this was going and say “I don’t know… which one?”

“You know, I really worked myself up about this riddle before and one day the answer just came to me. One didn’t come before the other. God put them both there and there is no reason to look any further than that. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders once I solved that riddle. All you have to do to be relaxed is trust in God and that he put everything there for a reason.”

We are not very religious people. Hayley and I looked at each other in the back seat and I was trying my hardest not to laugh. I didn’t want to be rude and make it seem that I disrespected his views on life. It was just one of those things you don’t hear very often and it took every ounce of my energy not to let my giggles out. Regardless, I will be forever thankful for their help getting us to Alice Springs.

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A picture while we were getting a ride. A sign stating there is no speed limit, just drive to the road conditions/as fast as you feel is safe.

They dropped us off after giving us their contact details so if we were ever in their area of Australia we could stay with them. We left with a new appreciation for people’s willingness to help and not to rule out hitchhiking or taking a ride with others. Please listen to your gut instincts when looking for a ride with strangers and take proper precautions to ensure you don’t end up in a bad situation. Stay aware of your surroundings and if you sense any danger get out as soon as possible and any way you can.

We checked into our hostel and only stayed for the one night. The next morning, we were on a plane to Perth. Within 24 hours we went from having a van and planning to live out of it for another month while driving north to without a van and on our way to a little town called Dunsborough just 3 hours south of Perth.

Little did we know it would end up being our home for the next 6 months…

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Try Something New: Las Vegas

We had all our things in order. We were going to Australia and we were as prepared as we could be before leaving. Before we made our way to Australia we had one last thing we wanted to do before we left North America for a year – Las Vegas.

During our planning stage we quickly found out we were going to have to go through LA for a connecting flight. Hayley and I have been into music festivals for quite some time and always had an eye on Electric Daisy Carnival – Las Vegas. This was our opportunity. We had to go near it anyway, so why not stop there on our way to Australia? So we bought our tickets and vowed not to lose all our travel money before even reaching our destination. In the end it helped us save money because we got the partying out of our system before Australia (alcohol is expensive here).

We landed on Wednesday and the festival was Friday-Monday over night. We had 2 days before the festival and 2 days after to explore what we wanted and actually have some energy to do it. Our days pretty much looked like this:

Wednesday: Land in LV from Ottawa and find our way to the MGM Grand where we’d spend the next 5 nights. Quickly realize the hotel is huge. Find the nearest liquor store and begin drinking. Spent the night walking up and down the strip checking out the hotels.

Thursday: Check out the pool and relax during the day at MGM. Vegas is incredibly hot and you can’t really do much during the day other than lay around. In the afternoon we went to a shooting range where I shot my first 3 guns. Hayley ends up having the best aim out of our group of 4. Don’t make Hayley angry. We try to make it out to an event at Cosmopolitan only to find out that event was last year (2014)… Oops. Continue drinking on the strip and gambling a little.

Friday-Monday: Friday during the day we head to Tao pool party with DJ Carnage at the venetian to get excited for the festival starting that night. The festival ends up running from 7pm-5am Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Now the festival was AMAZING and we saw tons of great shows. The first night it took us 4 hours to walk around and see all the stages. Seriously this festival is massive. I’ve posted some videos on Facebook and Instagram from the trip. Debating making a media page to upload pictures and videos so may upload them there later! During the day we… Slept. Followed by eating and immediately getting ready and drinking. Fastward to Monday. Monday is simply a struggle of a day. We wake up at 4pm hungover and starving. This is going to take a while to get back to normal. Weird thing about hotels in Vegas – you can’t really sleep more than 8 hours in a day. Its impossible… I assume its the air they pump into it. In the afternoon we do a zipline on top of a hotel to get our energy back up. Then we manage to make it to the Venetian again Monday night to see Jack Ü at their pool club. Unreal night.

Tuesday: It’s our last full day in Vegas and we are checking out of MGM to move to the Bellagio. You have to take at least one night to pretend to be a baller right? By the time we get into the Bellagio full blown post festival depression has kicked in. We use the rest of our day to see the rest of the strip and at night head over to “The Highroller” to get a view of the strip on top of the biggest ferris wheel in the world. We sleep like babies knowing we did Las Vegas as best as we could.

Wednesday: Check out day. It’s time to get on our way to Australia!

Our time in Las Vegas was so amazing we are going back again this year for the festival. In total I spent about $2000 CAD between the festival tickets, hotels, drinks and food. It was definitely worth it. Good news – we didn’t gamble away our travel funds either! This meant more time to spend not working in Australia.

I would definitely recommend people go to Las Vegas at least once for the experience. You will see some crazy looking people, have a great time, and create unforgettable memories. That is for what you remember. So what are you waiting for?

Go try something new. 

Trying Something New: The Decision

I first decided to take the leap of faith in trying something new when both Hayley and I started to get bored with our jobs. There had to be something more to life than just working our boring (or stressful) jobs. Hayley was the Customer Service Manager at a grocery store and I was doing a desk job for the government of Canada. Boring as hell when you just finished college and are looking for some fun.

Deciding what to do on the large scale was quite easy. We wanted to leave the city and experience something else. We knew we didn’t like the cold and we both don’t know any other languages but English.. sorry my Quebecois friends. So it came down to two things: What country is English speaking AND has nice weather most of the year? AUSTRALIA.

A year before we actually left we decided that we were going to save up as much as we possibly could, pack only the essentials, and leave everything else behind for the time being. We’ve been having a blast and we haven’t regretted a thing. It took a lot of courage to make the huge change, but once we made that change it has been an addictive path full of new things. This has sparked the idea to keep trying new things and eventually making this blog.

Have any questions? Leave a comment below and be sure to follow as I continue to post about our trip in the past and keep up to date as we go.