I’ve been on the road for a week now.
In one week we have snorkelled with Manta Rays, met dolphins, lost a wallet, sung, said too much, opened up, thrown a tantrum, stargazed and giggled, traded advice for play fight pinches, driven 2129 kilometres, found a wallet and killed an emu.
Old mate Chris flew in from Canberra right into the heart of the mining boom, emerging wide eyed from the sea of high vis at Karratha airport. I’d forgotten to tell him that his holiday was gunna be a part of this big museum thing and that we (mostly he) would be towing 750 kgs worth of vintage caravan behind us the whole way to Perth…
After a screening, the next morning we (mostly I) packed the van and farted around. Once on the road we quickly slipped into roles. Roebourne way, the men bring the guns and chop the wood out bush, the women prepare the food. In our car, the man holds the keys and doesn’t stop until Nanutarra Roadhouse/Geraldton/whatever destination is at least 100 ks away. The woman loses the keys and wants to stop for toilets or food or photographs.
On that first day we drove over 600 kilometres to Coral Bay. Chris tallied responses to the mate wave – the old two fingers off the steering wheel that can excuse the slowest of drivers.
We talk about Roebourne, about who we are, progress, family, capitalism, faith in art and karma and Lennon.
We listen to Paul Kelly, Crowded House, America, Dylan and Springsteen but driving through the darkness it was singing stuff like this at the top of our lungs that really got us there:
That first morning the caravan park was in full swing by the time I got back from my morning jog along the beach. The village awoke with the sun. Gaggles of kids rode bikes, made plans, jumped on bouncy pillows, kicked footies and toddled too far from their tall humans. A couple my age walked passed with skinny jeans and takeaway coffees. I guess hipsters holiday too, it’s not all grey nomads and families.
“There’s a lot of neighbours here,” a small child said.
We lie in the sun for a while, then splash out on a snorkeling tour and hang out with some majestic Manta Rays, marveling at that whole other world that exists down there – landscapes and fish where there’s so much unknown.
That night a couple of kids cuddle under blankets at another screening. I don’t bother shouting over the freezing wind about the project, just let the films bewilder and enchant on their own.
The wind makes me uneasy and kids unsettled.
We’re always driving or doing, ticking things off the ‘stuff to see’ list- after all, we could die tomorrow.
We knock off another couple of hundred ks to Hamelin Station.
It’s still windy but at least we are almost alone.
That night we looked at stars and opened hearts and the universe expanded and contracted but basically stayed the same.