Continuing the Journey…
It began nearly twelve months ago…
It was the character of this little outback pub that had me enthralled. The walls, a patchwork of stapled bank notes and business cards, fans circulated the warm air creating a scene reminiscent of ‘washing-day’ as the underwear that hung from the rafters blew in the breeze. Through the door came an endless stream of cheerful travellers, sunlight illuminating the trail of red dust that followed them in. Truck drivers dined on large steaks, backpackers manned the barbeques and grey nomads looked over their glasses, smiling with youthful approval as children played and parents relished their meals. There was something about the place, a comforting familiarity that made you want to stay.
At the Daly Waters Pub in Australia’s Northern Territory I sat among this good-natured lot wondering what Dad had thought of the place. He was the reason I was there after all. Nearby, a Father unfolded a road map and laid it out on the grass, his wife and children listened intently as he spoke with passion and gestured avidly. His wife smiled at his enthusiasm and his children’s faces were awash with excitement in anticipation of the forthcoming miles.
A road map is a powerful tool. The one I have once belonged to my Dad, while old now, its visible imperfections could transport you back in time.
As a child my imagination became entwined with Dad’s stories, his desire to see the country in his truck and those meticulously drawn lines that marked the roads he travelled. As I got older the reality of sitting high above the road left me in awe of the passing surrounds and delighted, as seemingly fictional characters came to life. The maps unspoken promise of adventure sustained me into adulthood but it was the tragic loss of my Dad in a road accident that inspired me to continue his journey.
Leaving behind the comforting familiarity, I set off along a road that would have been new to both of us, for it was where those bold lines on the map ended, that mine would begin.
B.C Mahony – March, 2012