In the middle of 1966, after sixteen months in London, and with little to show for my efforts to become an actor, it was time to head home to Sydney, where I felt I might make better progress. It was tempting to take the easy option and go by air or sea, but the thirst for adventure was still strong, so Ade and I, intrepid as ever, decided to ‘do it all again’ and go home overland, taking a largely different route from previously.
The plan was to get across Europe to Greece as quickly and as cheaply as possible and then proceed via Turkey to Iran, where we would have some R&R with our friends in Tehran before tackling the long haul through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. We intended to spend about a month on the sub-continent, covering new territory as much as possible, then head north for the climax of the trip, a trek through the Himalayan foothills in Nepal, from the Indian border to the remote Pokhara Valley. If we survived that experience we would continue on via Southeast Asia to Singapore and then fly home to Sydney from there.
To accomplish the first objective, getting to Greece, we put an ad on a notice board in Earls Court, seeking anyone taking a vehicle in that direction and wanting passengers to share driving and fuel costs. We got a reply from an Australian, Bill Bradley, who said he was putting together a group to do a trip to the Middle East in a long wheel base Land Rover, and would take us as far as Thessaloniki for £12.10.0 each. In the absence of a better offer we accepted, and on 4th July we set off, expecting to be with the Land Rover for the next 9 days.
My journal of the trip home, which took four months in all, was less than complete, but I did write to my family regularly, and these surviving letters fill in the gaps and hopefully give continuity to the narrative. While I am transcribing and editing this material, integrating images and mapping the progress in detail, I will be making the virtual journey via the web, as I did with Shoestring Road, my earlier blog, and will add comment as I feel appropriate.
This trip was quite a different experience from the first one; it was summer; I was 21, still short of cash, but no longer an apprehensive novice of the road. I knew what we were in for and I knew how to handle it – sort of. We were off on another great adventure. We would encounter many more young travellers than we did in 1964, but the Trail was still a trail, and not yet the Hippy Highway it was soon to be. Come with us on the journey.
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