Featured My first train, Australia 2019. (1 Viewer)

Ahava

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Between the wire fence and floodlights lies freedom

March 29th, 2019 on the belly of the beast desert bound with the pot of stars overhead to direct this north bound train. Getting here felt like an intangible dream, fast and ambitious like the stars as their life pounds deeply on our windburned faces.

A week prior to this trip, I had already been desert bound from Adelaide with my dearest friend, Emilie. Taking the highway route up, counting all the dead and burnt kangaroo roadkill… I stopped counting at 87. That trip, that week, I got a call from my Dad in the states, with the news that he had been diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to vomit, to scream. It felt fitting to feel so lost, to feel so out of control in a place in the world that doesn’t surrender to human nature, a place that keeps moving and changing at its own will. Yet in the car, it felt safe, it felt trapped.

076306410024-jpg.50175_My first train, Australia 2019._Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_8:55 PM


I needed to feel this landscape, this sense of loss and lack of control from a from of transport that is that as well. I wanted to see that ochre land, and sage brush colored vegetation from a closer view. I wanted to see that desert night sky so black it could swallow you whole again. I wanted to be riding through the emptiness of the Australian outback, by freight to scream into the abyss. To feel closer to how my Dad might have been feeling. Vulnerable, scared, and maybe just a bit optimistic.

076306410021-jpg.50176_My first train, Australia 2019._Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_8:55 PM


When I got back to Adelaide, Emilie suggested I reach out to someone she’s seen around town who hops trains and makes art. I walked over to his home the next day to hang out, buy a zine he made, and spend that fading Australian summer heat in adventure. That day I met someone who I fell so deeply in love with. He was the one to take me on my first train.

Four days after meeting, and yet not a night apart, we decided to attempt at hopping 1,500 km from Adelaide to Alice Springs. We arrived at the yard one minute before departure. Stocked with one bottle of gifted wine, two liters of water, some gifted takeout, and dumpster bread. We ran from the road towards the gleaming metal fencing, with the moon overhead and the floodlights bright. Working our way through the thorns and high bush, a hole in the fence graced itself beside the belly of the beast, beside the perfect well. She began to air up, my heart had never beaten so fast, I wanted to vomit, again. My partner directed us towards what became our home for the next 22 hours. He climbed up and then myself behind him. She was off. We got low, embracing the cold metal like a lover as we were swung through the yard. I lain there on one side of the well, staring up at the passing of lights, as stars moved faster through the sky than I’ve ever seen. The black silhouette of trees and the buildings of industrial Adelaide almost close enough to touch.

As we pulled out of the yard, we sat up, rolled tobacco tryingly into a paper that wanted to blow with the wind, cracked open the bottle of red wine and laughed hysterically like mad men to the sound of the buzzing reefer. Every now and then, lunging our bodies back to the floor at the sight of crossings leaving town. There is not much I remember about that night, not because of the wine but because of the overwhelm of emotion and anxiety and loss and love. From what I can recall, is that confessing your love to another human, yelling it into the stars, as you move through lands where all there is, is nothingness, is freedom. I know that freedom is chasing what you fear the most, not to conquer it, but to understand it better.

000065200033190405-jpg.50174_My first train, Australia 2019._Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_8:55 PM


Waking up that morning, deeper into isolation, the sun peaked over the red horizon, it was magic. Warmth never felt so good. We danced, hid, chain-smoked, and laughed for hours. Sitting in awe as the red earth passed by. That evening we rolled slowly into the Alice yard, gathered our dusty belongings together, lept our feet back onto earth again, drank the wine with bloody knees, and rolled out our sleeping bags on the local golf course. A day had never felt so long.

(( photos shot on Pentax K1000 35mm ))
 
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Very nice write up and pictures!!!

I'll pray for your dad, he needs natural healing like herbs and spices, organic foods avoid the quackery chemo stuff!!!!

Again, nice story and pictures. Thank you for sharing and yes, Alice Springs gets real hot! Been there!
 

Tude

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Thanks for the write up! Sounds like you enjoyed yourself. Best of luck for your Father.
 
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Ahava

Ahava

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Very nice write up and pictures!!!

I'll pray for your dad, he needs natural healing like herbs and spices, organic foods avoid the quackery chemo stuff!!!!

Again, nice story and pictures. Thank you for sharing and yes, Alice Springs gets real hot! Been there!
Thank you for the kind words Johnny, Alice does get really damn hot, so many fucking flies. It is such an odd and beautiful place in the world.
 
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Ahava

Ahava

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short, but extremely well written. I've added this to our page of featured threads! Thank you for posting it, I'm looking forward to more if you have the time.
Thank you, I appreciate it Matt! It originally was quite a bit longer but I got nervous with some of the mundane writing.. Maybe I’ll keep it in next time. I’m gonna write something up this week about another train trip from Arizona-Texas from the other week.
 
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Ahava

Ahava

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Gods, this is amazing. The way you write is the way that I experience traveling, and it’s so good to hear those feelings put into words. Love this <3
Howdy! Mmm, I am so happy that you feel it like that. Sometimes these feelings all feel too romanticized, yet valid nonetheless. <3
 

timetraveler

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Are those the same type of cars we have here in the states? Those look like 53 foot containers?
How many kilometers and crew changes can you ride through there? Peace!
 

Zeddock

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Italy
Beautiful words about freedom.
Best of luck to your father. However it may go, remember that the time you spent together will be there forever, and nothing can change that. I experienced this firsthand.
Happy travels!
 

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