I arrived in Adelaide after a couple of difficult months, but I was really excited about the prospect of seeing Frank Turner support the Dropkick Murphys. Since booking the tickets id been listening to the 2 artists almost non stop.
I booked myself in at the YHA and got myself ready for the gig. I wasn’t disappointed. They were both fantastic. The highlight of the show was Frank Turner coming back out and performing the song “Shipping out to Boston” with The Dropkick Murphys. You may know the song, it was the soundtrack to the film The Departed. It’s also my favourite Dropkicks song so I was a very happy boy.
I hadn’t planned much passed the gig but the hostel I had found seemed really good so thought id better get job hunting.
I was invited out by the hostel to the Duke Pub as part of their weekly activities and went along to have an awesome night. I ate lots of Pizza and drank far more than I should. I didn’t realise that the Duke would become a weekly night out for some time to come. Similarly to Airlie Beach the people I met on that first duke night happened to be people staying in the hostel and all were working there in exchange for free accommodation. They were really cool people and I got on with them all fantastically. From the back of this one night I got introduced to a lot of people who had been in Adelaide for a while and whom became really really close friends.
A few days after this Mel approached me and asked if I fancied hiring some bikes and going for a long bike ride with her and another long term resident of the YHA Antonio. I hastily agreed and off we went. I cant remember exactly how far we cycled but It was a long way., in one direction. We got all the way to the beach before BOOM, one of the bikes got a puncture. We must have been at least 10 miles away from the hostel but at least we were at the beach. Fortunately as both Mel and Antonio had been in Adelaide for a while, they knew some other people who owned a car. We rang them and along came a car full of Canadians to save the day. We spent the rest of the day chilling at the beach before heading back.
Adelaide was a much-needed relief after Melbourne, Sydney and Tasmania. I was able to reconnect with myself and remember that I am a fun outgoing bloke who is worth the time of day to people.
We ended up with a big group of us, all staying long-term in the YHA and life fell into a routine. Job hunt, ping-pong, goon, duke. It was great. Within the group I also met May, a German girl who had just come to Adelaide after a rough few weeks of Bedbugs and Allergic reactions so she was quite pleased to be in the city and among friends. Her and I hit it off instantly and there was a lot of chemistry. We all as a group took day trips out and around Adelaide, to German styled towns surrounding the city, to strawberry picking it was a great time. I managed to land myself a job working for a charity harassing people in shopping centres all over the city to try to get some money. It wasn’t the most stimulating of jobs but I earned a few quid for myself and the charity.
My managed was a Dutch guy who was a real prick, you know the type, snake-like but charming. I couldn’t stand him and we clashed. After a couple of weeks it turned out our team wasn’t making enough money so someone had to be fired. That turned out to be me, despite having made quite a bit of money for the charity. Funnily enough the Pretty Dutch girl who was also in our team who hadn’t been able to make any money was kept on…………. Go Figure.
I spent some amazing times in Adelaide, surrounded by friends all in the same boat. We had Table Tennis competitions, Beer Pong, Theme nights, we had a Mexican themed night where we all got dressed up, night out where we got towers full of cider. It was amazing. The social side of travelling at its very best.
After I had lost that job May and I saw an advert on the notice board at the hostel for some volunteer work, they put you up, fed you and you spent a few days doing some menial labour. It looked like a great opportunity, especially as it was by the beach. It was so appealing that 4 others in our group decided to come along with us. Taylor, Antonio, Beatrice, May and I went off to Arno Bay. The organisation put us on a mini bus, gave us a project managed (basically to make sure we worked) and were sent on our way. After a few hours in the van we arrived, we had a house for all of us to stay in a lovely part of the country. It was real Australia, off the beaten track. We immediately scouted out the pub for a few before exploring the local area. This of course included finding a river and jumping in it!
In the house May and I had our own room, with a double bed! After 6 months travelling this was the first time id slept in a bed that wasn’t in a dorm room, didn’t have another bed below or above me and actually had a bit of privacy. It was amazing how much you forget home comforts while away. I slept so soundly those few nights.
While away we decided to have a bit of fun so set up a come dine with me style competition for cooking each night. We split into team of 2 and set about making the best meal and evenings entertainment. I can’t quite remember all the dishes or nights but Antonio and I made some awesome fajitas and played pin the tail on the donkey. Another group made a vegetarian lasagna which was really nice as well, we made them out of having a working oven, another thing id been without for 6 months
The work itself was quite boring but pretty fulfilling, we were removing weeds and litter from the beaches. An alien weed had come to the area and was threatening to overrun it so we just wandered the beaches and pulled out the little buggers. There were a lot of beaches and a lot of weeds so it was quite hard work but the 5 of us made it really fun and I remember having a great time.
Finally it was time to say bye to Arno Bay, we got our picture taken for the local paper and got back in the minibus to head back to Adelaide.
It was to be quite a short-lived return as we were all getting a bit Adelaide sick. There wasn’t much work around and we were all running out of money. So we decided to do what any sensible person would do, hire a great big camper van and get ready to go on a huge road trip of course. The destination, Alice Springs and Ularu.
6 of us would be heading off in the van with another meeting us in Ularu. There was of course still some time for drama…..
One of our group, Gemma, was heading up north to Darwin, it was also her Birthday. So we decided to throw her a giant surprise birthday party. Her present? 3 grown partially clothed men in various shapes and sizes covered in whipped cream. Kind of like a reverse Varsity Blues. Needless to say this set the tone for the night, and we had a big big night.
I had started working at the hostel in exchange for accommodation at this point. Well I was awoken the next day by someone shaking me, I believe I turned over and told them to fuck off in my hung over state.
Turns out that was the hostel manager who was less than impressed with the state of the common room. She promptly kicked out everyone who was working for accommodation out of the hostel, all 6 of us. We pled the case of one of the girls who wasn’t involved in the party and fortunately she was allowed to stay (Even though she had been the one to oversleep and miss her shift resulting in the manager seeing the mess) Ho hum, we were a few days away from going anyway. 2 of us were going off on the trip and the others had exits already planned so it was all good. We got a room at the hostel next door and had to be snuck back into the YHA a few times to complete the getaway plans to Ularu.
As we prepared to leave Adelaide May and I took a day to go for our long overdue date. This consisted of going to the Adelaide chocolate factory and then wandering around for hours trying to find a bowling alley. To no avail. It was still a lovely day.
The stage was set, we collected the camper and said goodbye to Adelaide.