My rucksack, by this time, was cutting deeply into my shoulders, so I was relieved when a car finally stopped some yards ahead on the hot Queensland tarmacadam-paved road.
I grabbed the rear door quickly in case the driver changed his mind, and slung my rucksack into the back seat. When I slid into the passenger seat I saw the driver, a solid middle-aged male wearing a bush hat, eying me keenly. There was a half smile on his face.
"Trouble getting rides Mate?" he asked, as he swung the vehicle back onto the highway.
"God yes! I've been walking for hours without anyone offering a ride. I was some glad you stopped... thanks!" I said fervently.
He chuckled. "I hate to point this out Mate, but having a point 22 rifle sticking up from the back of your rucksack, doesn't exactly encourage drivers to stop."
I groaned. "Oh crimes, I never even thought of that!"
He glanced across at me again. "Can I ask why you're carrying the rifle son?"
I shrugged. "Well, I heard Australia was crawling with rabbits and figured I could bag some for the pot when I camp out."
He roared with laughter and slapped the steering wheel. "Oh man, you are something else! You don't know of course that there's a massive fence running down through Queensland that's designed to stop rabbits coming in here, so you'd starve to death before you ever spotted one."
I gazed at him dumbstruck. "No drivers will stop, and no rabbits anyway," I said wearily. "So, why did you stop then?"
He grinned. "I'm a cop, off duty at the moment, but still curious when I see something a little different out there, and you were different Mate. Where's your accent from? I can't quite figure it out. Some Irish I think but the odd American word slipping in there."
Shocked that I might have been raising flags with off duty cops, I felt myself relaxing in the friendly attitude of the Aussie.
"Yeah, I was born in Ireland and emigrated to Canada at age 17. I always wanted to visit the South Pacific, especially Australia, so after a couple of years in Canada I headed off...visited San Francisco, Hawaii, Fiji, spent 6 months in New Zealand...now here I am"
"All geared up for shooting rabbits. Look, here's my advice son; next town you come to, sell the rifle and you'll have no problem getting rides, a nice looking young fellow like you. And by the way, us Aussies love the Irish. The country was built by Irish Prisoners shipped out by the Crown, so no worries Mate." He reached over and patted my shoulder reassuringly.
A short while later he dropped me off and shot off in a different direction.
I stood there a few moments thinking about my situation.
I'd be days trekking along the highway if I couldn't get a ride.
Just then I heard the distant sound of a train whistle and spotted one flashing past a short distance away into the brush.
I had a brainwave. What about jumping a train and making it to the next town, where I could get rid of the rifle?
I immediately strode off through the brush towards the railway tracks. Even as I got there a passenger train flashed by going north, the direction I was headed in, but at the speed it was traveling, I'd kill myself attempting to get on board, so I started slogging along up the tracks.
After about two miles I came to a siding where a long freight train carrying a load of new cars was pulled off the main track. I couldn't spot anyone around so I crept over and made my way up along the side of the loaded train and hauled myself up onto the carriage.
I started trying to get into the cars but they were all locked. I kept moving up along the cars and eventually I found one that was unlocked and crawled inside, pushing my rucksack down out of sight.
Then I waited... and waited... and waited.
With the blazing sun reflecting of the metal car, it was like a sauna inside.
I was thinking of getting out again when the train suddenly lurched, staggered back and forth and eventually moved out of the siding and headed north. A couple of hours later it pulled off and waited for about 40 minutes to let and express train pass, then continued north again. That was the pattern for the next several hours as I sweltered inside the car, not willing to emerge in case I was spotted by the train driver.
Eventually, as darkness fell, the train arrived at a small town where I crawled off and staggered over to a nearby field, put up my small tent and collapsed inside.
Within five minutes I shot up again, aware of sharp bites all over my body.
Falling out of the tent and dragging my sleeping bag with me, I managed to locate a small torch in my kit bag and flashed it on to find that I had camped on top of an anthill. Not just any anthill, but a typical Australian one full of giant sized ants with ferocious stings.
Overall, it had NOT been a good day!
Transform Your Life
The Transform Your Life Journal came about when I was involved as an international life coach for 15 years. A number of potential clients were contacting me from various places around the world. I obviously couldn't visit all of them so I designed the Transform Your Life Journal which would act as a blueprint for future success in their lives. Basically, it's like having your own personal life coach. If you truly want to change your life, this success journal will do it for you... abundantly!
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