Fellow athletes I have news. With the call of the road rattling in my ears like a 10c coin in a fist-squished VB can, rusted at the edges, I am off walkabout. Gone. Awol, headed to the heart of the abyss with nothing more than a Tin Lid and a cowboy… four dozen bottles of ginger beer, a slew of liquor, 63kg of tools, 90L of water, 150L of unleaded, eight tyres, $30 worth of citrus, 2kg of butter, 6ft of cured meat, 8 ears of corn complete with furry coat, a voodoo bunny, 47 party balloons, half a goat, bubble bath, enough milk powder to make ASIO suspicious and an indecent amount of licorice.

Leaving our urban enclave behind seems easy, the weeks of op-shop scouring, list-writing, motor-tweaking, booze-stashing frenzy relegated to a rose-tinted memory. The city spews traffic from every artery, purging herself of the frenetic whorl of endeavour, the non-stop-9-5-deadline-looming-fuck-I-need-another-short-black.

So we are gone. Already far from a wholly disposable life. The beeps and clicks of technology are silenced, the clamour of obligation stills and the poisoned spur of stress that infects us daily is withdrawn into the maw of the mistress, though her fetid breath lingers far to the south.

The road spills beneath Black Mary’s tyres, growling with heady anticipation, the lines stretching taught into the distance, the horizon gossamer thin.

The sense of space is exquisite, I can taste the freedom, the exhilaration, the heady objectivity of being in the bush. Suddenly those fears and threats and weighing dilemmas are dissolved, dissipated beneath the steady solidity of this other world, a world where intermittent wi-fi, gridlock and not-strong-enough-double-flat-white-with-two is largely irrelevant.

We’re a long way from Kansas Toto…


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