It was one year ago that I started a nearly week long tour through the Australian Outback. Though I tend to shun tours most of the time, the Outback isn’t exactly accessible to a lone taveller without his own transportation. Besides, at this point I’d been away for so long, I was having trouble finding the energy to do everything for myself. Even before arriving in the country, I was a bit surprised to hear that so many people visit Australia’s East coast, but not the ‘Red Centre’. I suppose the appeal of tropical weather and wonderful beaches is a priority for most, and the backpacker infrastructure along that coast is extensive. Still, I always remember seeing Uluru, or ‘Ayers Rock’, in Australian tourism ads. It felt like a cliche I couldn’t ignore.
I’m so glad I didn’t.
The Outback is one of the most unique environments I’ve visited. Red soil and silver grass. Flat horizons broken by immense rocks. It’s interesting how forested mountains can seem similar all over the world, but every desert feels special. There are a lot of countries with beautiful beaches, and a lot of countries with hot weather. This is a place Australia can truly call its own. From canyon hikes to salt flats. Underground towns to rock peaks. Star filled night skies to dramatic sunrises. The Outback offered some of the most striking scenery of my year around the world.
As much as I like to explore on my own, there is one great benefit to taking an organized tour. The people. Booking during the Winter season meant it wasn’t a large group, and with so many long drives across South Australia and the Northern Territory, there was plenty of time to get to know each other. Sharing it all with a group reminded me a little of my time with the Balkan Boyz, though on this trip, only one friendship will last a lifetime. Sitting around campfires. Sleeping around stoves. Preparing meals. Talking under the stars. Sights, activities, laughs, and tears. I’m all smiles when I look back on it now.
My Outback tour did confirm a long held belief of mine. If you’re tired of something. If you’re bored, or uninspired, or lost. If you’re not sure whether to stop, or to keep going…keep going. Force yourself forward. Push. Push until you’re absolutely sure you’re done. You can never know what’s around the corner. You can never know what might come tomorrow. If you stop, you might miss a chance to reignite your passion. You might never find what fuels the next leg of your journey. Keep breathing, stay positive, look ahead, and don’t give up.