Skip to navigation

Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: Travelling Possessions

One thing I'd hoped to lose by travelling on a tight budget was my possessiveness – from the man with a mobile phone to the man in a mobile home, that sort of thing – but I didn't really want to end up losing my possessions themselves. Within the space of four days both my sleeping bag and my camera – the two most expensive things I own, after my little computer – were no more, one to theft and one to a swimming hole in Litchfield National Park. What a pain.

Money, Money, Money

Anyway, I'm over the distress and I'm setting my sights on Melbourne, where I can sell all my stuff and go back to the glorious situation of being able to pack everything I own into one little bag; this appeals to my sense of tidiness, and if you own very little, there's very little to be stolen or dropped into the river. Having thought about it, though, I'll probably end up getting another car in New Zealand and it'll start all over again; my original idea of cycling round New Zealand was fine as an idea, but you end up spending most of your time cycling from A to B, rather than doing the wonderful bushwalk at A, marvelling at the views at B and visiting the sight-of-a-lifetime at C en route. I want be able to really explore New Zealand, and for this the only real option is to go by car, but this time I'll try to get a station wagon, so I can kip in the back and camp absolutely anywhere, rather than in pricey caravan parks. I quite fancy going feral1, as they say round these parts.

Still you'll never get it right
'Cos when you're sitting there at night
Watching roaches climb the wall
If you called your dad he could stop it all

This doesn't sound like a problem as such, but there is a bad side: I'm becoming obsessed with the financial planning of this trip. I've always been interested in money matters, but here I'm constantly controlling my expenditure and planning the rest of the trip, almost to the point of distraction. I regularly tweak my budgets, which I keep in a spreadsheet, and it's almost too much; I'm always drawing up new travel plans to fit changing budgets, when I could simply slap it on a credit card and just go and do what I wanted to do in the first place. I suppose I'm having to draw the line between doing everything I want to do and doing everything I can afford to, while knowing in the back of my mind that if I wanted to get into debt, I could afford to do almost everything, it's just a matter of how long I want to spend travelling. I think what I need is a mate who says to me occasionally, 'Sod it, let's go out, have a ball, spend loads, and just forget about money for a while: she'll be right2.' I guess that's where my friends in Melbourne come in...

1 What the English call 'gypsies' or 'new age travellers', the Aussies call 'ferals'.

2 'She'll be right' is another timeless Aussie saying, meaning that everything will be fine. Quite who she is, and why she'll be right, is not something that is particularly relevant. A similar saying is 'She's apples', which makes even less sense, but every language has its strange idioms, I guess. After all, Bob's your uncle...