I am writing to you from Mundrabilla Roadhouse in the outback of Western Australia. I’m a 27 year old from Ontario,Canada who’s been living in Australia on a working holiday visa for nearly two years now. While I have seen some incredible coastlines and met some incredible people I have chosen to write about my current situation which is at an extremely remote roadhouse along the Eyre highway.
For anyone that doesn’t know, this highway is the only route linking South Australia to Western Australia. The Western Australia part of the highway is virtually treeless, flat, saltbush covered terrain that is practically unchanging. I am 13 hours inland from Adelaide and 16 hours inland from Perth. There are no towns out here, only roadhouses located about 100-200 kms apart from each other. Due to it’s remoteness some parts of the highway are even used as emergency airstrips for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
In March, I decided I would spend 6 months of my last visa out here. My primary reason to come out was to cash up and set myself up for the next adventure. Out here you’ve got all kinds of money and no place to go. Our big nights out consist of driving to the next roadhouse to get lattes because we only have instant coffee or walking up the back of the property to get away from the sound of the generator and see some kangaroos and emus. Let’s be honest though, coffee isn’t everything, I do drink a fair bit of wine to keep things interesting.
Some days the silence, isolation and lack of social life really makes me wonder whether it’s worth doing something you hate just for money? To be fair, I don’t hate it completely. It is such a unique experience relying on a generator for power and desalinated ground water to drink. You really do learn to live with the bare essentials and I’m happy with that aspect of it. We look forward to our toiletry orders coming every month as if it was some flash new toy. On the other hand I am doing simple, mindless work that really allows too much time for thinking. Thinking of the more beautiful aussie towns I could be in, thinking of what else I could be doing, thinking of the places I won’t get to see in Australia because I’ve committed so much time here. On a weekly basis you really go through a roller coaster of emotions which is the part that I hate.
There are about 10 of us out here, the family that own the business, a couple of managers, and then us, the workers, the backpackers that the roadhouse relies on to operate the business. Currently, there are 4 here: Helene, a lovely, young lass from France (whom I just introduced to the Listserve) Matt, our wannabe pommy from Perth and Bean, a pint sized art teacher from Taiwan. Without these guys I would have fled the scene long ago. We keep each other sane, I like to think so anyway. We all plan to travel after so we constantly motivate ourselves to stick it out by chatting of the countless ways we are going to roam around Asia spending all our hard earned cash from Mundrabilla.
When it comes down to it, it is a great experience that I couldn’t get in Canada. Come say hi if you’re crossing the Nullarbor! Get in touch with any travel related stuff or anything that may keep me motivated out here for another 3 months!
Hope you’ve enjoyed my story.
Mundrabilla, Western Australia