Maggie's request to stay a few extra days quickly turned into a few extra weeks. A few extra weeks turned into her staying the last month with us. Matthew and I were glad she did. When she had previously planned on leaving the three of us were upset we wouldn't get to travel together. We had all three created a really good group dynamic and though our timelines were different, we had the same destinations in mind. I guess sometimes bad things happen for good reasons. Since Maggie no longer had a job in Canberra to get to, she could relax and join in with us. It also didn't hurt that she had recently sold five designs and made a good chunk of travel change.
Originally, Matthew and I had planned on flying to Darwin, but since we had no deadline for our arrival we decided it would be much nicer to rent a car and drive up through the center of the country. We could see the outback and get a first-hand look at what the big middle was all about. For a few days we talked about renting or buying a car. Cars were cheap here but we still weren't keen on spending a thousand each. Then we noticed Maggie was thinking about selling her car. We pondered a few days on the idea of buying it from her before we all came to the conclusion that the best idea was to all three drive to Darwin together. When we made it to Darwin, Maggie could take her car and Matthew and I could fly on to Bali without the worries of selling or parking a car. We would all three save month because the road trip was split three ways and we could camp out of the back of the car.
We let these plans rest until June 1st. For some reason that day was like a time bomb for us. We could begin the countdown and start finalizing our plans. Together the three of us sat down and studied the map. There was one highway that went from Adelaide to Darwin, the Stuart Highway. I did my part by creating a Pinterest board full of ideas for attractions, accomodations and travel tips. Matthew and Maggie firmed up the plans by sketching out a route and making note of the attractions I mentioned.
Maggie had actually driven the Stuart Highway before. Her and a friend had driven across the country from Cairns down the Stuart Highway to Adelaide. While she had seen most of the main attractions, there were a few things she hadn't seen on her original journey. Her experience came in handy too as she could tell us how much time we needed to a lot for each stop. We figured we could do the drive in a week; stopping to see what we wanted along the way. All of the travel blogs I had read said it was best to take short driving days with lots of rest in between. The outback was a desolate and dangerous area and it was not recommended to drive it without full attention and awareness. We would need to keep extra water and petrol on us at all times and driving at night was an absolute no-no.
After a while Matthew and Maggie explained to me that the trip would probably take two weeks instead of one. I was fine with two weeks, in fact I was relieved to hear that both Maggie and Matthew were going to be lax enough to spend two weeks traveling instead of just working. They were both workaholics and I sometimes I had to make sure they relaxed. I worked hard too, but compared to them I often felt like the lazy bum who painted too much.
While Matthew and Maggie talked supplies, I went and fetched the three of us some ice cream. Together, we sat at the kitchen table licking our pops and dreaming about our future after the Outback excursion.
Matthew and I wanted to spend a week in Bali before returning to Darwin for six weeks of work. In September his sister and our friend Jacob were planning on visiting Australia for a few weeks. Matthew and I discussed the possibility of driving from Cains to Byron Bay and then on to Fiji for a few days before the three of them would fly back to the states and I would figure it out.
I was thinking of flying back to Sydney and then on to Perth where I could then meet up with Maggie some time after. Maggie would be in New Zealand with her boyfriend but later wanted to meet up with me to explore Tasmania. Her and I discussed the idea of me flying home with her to Germany in December. It all sounded wonderful and it was nice to let ourselves dream and plan, but we kept in mind the first rule of backpacking: no planning ahead.