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Stopping by`The World's Festival'

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Stopping by`The World's Festival'

It is true we're on our way to Sydney... and Byron Bay beyond. But sometimes the stars are aligned, there's an opportunity and a choice to be made. 

As it happens, we are in the city of Adelaide, some Toyota tweaks planned for the truck... the last day of Womad 2017 - 'The World's Festival' - a festival we have wanted to see for many years.

There's been some rain, but the morning is mercifully dry, scattered clouds that billow, the temperature 27degC, the festival set in magnificent rolling gardens of giant Moreton Bay figs, Norfolk pines, wide oaks and ancient gums, an evening chorus of bat squeaks overhead.

The street food is Yemeni, Greek, Japanese and Spanish,  and everything in between. The smells are of free-trade coffee, and organic donuts coated with sugar - from Byron Bay of all places.

Korean drummers and big band Columbian salsa vie with rap and techno dance.

The crowds are couples, performers, families with lots of babies and toddlers... and singles, wandering grey nomads, teens in Thai-dye tees, young hippies in torn denim, old hippies with pony tails, greying manes and bald but hatted pates.

A Jamaican dude wears a Japanese Kimono, aviator sunnies and dreadlocks down to his waist.

In the cool of late evening patrons wander, in awe of a French concoction of burning urns and pots that hang from trees, the smell of burning paraffin, rusted frames of steel, giant ferris wheels that turn and burn, buckets attached, tipping flames into chutes.

Yes, we could have focussed on the Troopy truck repairs and headed off again, but sometimes travelling means stopping, pausing to take a breath.

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Under the weather - Planning

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Under the weather - Planning

Just wondering... how much time we need to complete this little roadtrip trek of ours... the million dollar question... the elephant in the room... 

The pre-trip work has mostly been done over the last 12-months or so. Let's call it 'PLANNING' - the PC screen crowded with a multi-coloured, seasonal weather map, and  Hema digital map awash with tagged wishlists of places we 'just might' want to visit; a commingling of the odd and the isolated, the mysterious, abstract, the scenic and beautiful. Let's call them 'known unknowns'. And yeah, there are quite a lot. But these days there is heaps of info out there too, like AUSTRALIANEXPLORER.com and BEADELLTOURS.com.au.

And there are a truck load of wild and woolly tracks - the Canning Stock Route, the Deserts Simpson, Stony and Sturt, the Gary and Gunbarrel Highways, the Gibb River Road, the Tanami, Strzelecki and Old Telegraph Tracks - anywhere our truck will go.

And then there's the weather wildcard! It's a big country, with the full gamut of weather... Tropical and wet, hot and dry - through to VERY hot and dry - with freezing winters down south.

I do a quick calculation and come up with a roadtrip of... mmmm... 2-YEARS! (All pending the generosity of seasonal and unseasonal weather gods resulting in possible unplanned flights home to Melbourne from time to time.)

And, here's another thought - do we have everything accounted for? Well... there is the early July BIRDSVILLE BIG RED BASH, and the Easter BYRON BAY BLUESFEST... and the WA whalesharks and wildflowers among other things.

... To say nothing of the 'unknown-unknowns' along the way. Like... let's say we meet 'Jack' on some far-off wayward track. He sits propped at the bar of an Outback pub, staring into his ice-cold beer, the checkered shirt smelling of cigarettes, a battered pair of cowboy boots faded and scuffed. He says we 'must see' this or that, "just a day or 2 out of our way".

I stare at the PC screen, my cluttered maps of Oz - then look across at Sue. Will we have the time?

There really is an irresistible attraction in heading off with lots to see, while blessed with an indefinite vaguery of a timeframe.

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