People said travel will make you know yourself more than ever. I Couldn’t agree more.
In my daily life, I don’t think I am somebody who is reckless, but some of my thoughts considered as naive to some people.
My year in Australia has revealed another side of me, I tend to be reckless when it comes to trusting stranger. Or maybe just naive – you pick the word. Though actually following intuition was the reason behind it all.
I might be kidnapped, killed, or raped during my let’s-call-it adventure, but it didn’t happened. Luckily so far my intuition worked really well.
One day, two weeks after moving to Perth, I got a phone call from a woman, a total stranger. She said she saw my looking-for-jobs ads on Gumtree and wanted to offer me a job. She explained that it is an easy job in the kitchen of her family B&B and restaurant that required no special experience. Her family use to employed the backpacker from all around the world that willing to work in the countryside. All food and accommodation will be provided, and the weekly wage was good enough.
I didn’t accept her offer straight away because I just got job in Perth. Besides, their B&B was not located in Perth – like 6 hours driving south. She understood and gave me time to think it over. If I was interested, I just need to let her know by the weekend.
Actually the offer was such a thrill to me, my coming to Australia was for seeking adventure and experience. Working in countryside surely in my bucket list. So, why didn’t I give it a go?
My friend was worried that it could have been a scam, telling I shouldn’t bother with the offer. But I felt like the other way. So, I did a background check on the internet, checking the B&B website that the woman gave it to me via text. I found nothing suspicious.
By chance, on the same weekend, I had plan to go down south to Yallingup, Margaret River with some backpacker from Facebook Group. If I checked on the map, Margaret River was halfway to Northcliffe. I took this as a sign that I have to go to Northcliffe and take the job. So, I contacted the woman to give her a yes. Then she sent me the address and how to get there right away. Wow it would be A COMPLETELY NEW LIFE for me.
The weekend getaway in Yallingup went well – check here for the story. On sunday morning, my friends dropped me off in the Yallingup community centre, the closest point to the bus stop. They looked worried, asking me many times whether I was sure to be left there alone. I convinced them that I will gonna be okay.
The bus schedule from Yallingup to Northcliffe was at 3 pm, which still 4 hours later. So there I was, sitting in a quiet restaurant by the window, got myself a chicken corn soup and hot chocolate. I could see the sky was raining light from the window, must be very cold outside. The restaurant suddenly turned very busy on the lunch time and gone back quiet around 2 pm. Thank goodness I brought my laptop with me so I could keep myself busy writing a blog, such a good killing time activity.
The rain had stopped when it reached 2.30 pm, guess it was also the right time to get ready. I dragged my small suitcase leaving the restaurant and heading to the main road. I asked around where was the bus stop, and they said it’s just outside the shopping complex about 300 m from the restaurant. I kept walking and walking till I realised that I was in the middle of nowhere, I barely saw any cars on the road.
When I got to the main road, suddenly a car pulled off. There were 4 people inside the car 2 girls and 2 guys – asking me if I was alright and whether I need a ride somewhere. I politely declined since the bus stop just 30 m from where I stood. Then off they went. I was wowed. The fact that people were very nice – or did I just really looked lost walking with this suitcase in an empty road?
10 mins prior to 3 o’clock, I started doubting if that was the right spot to wait for the bus. Because there was no one there – only me, literally no one – no car – and seemed like no life is going on. To make things worse, the bus stop didn’t seem like bus stop either. It was more like a warehouse to me.
In the middle of my anxiety, a bus came and stopped on the other side of the road. I came over to them, the driver got off and helped me to put my suitcase in the storage. Before I got on the bus, the question suddenly popped out from my mouth : ‘is this going to Pemberton?’ He furrowed his eyebrows, answered that the bus going to the other way, to Perth. Then he asked me to show my ticket. Apparently that was the wrong bus. Geeezz, almost!
He helped me calling the call centre to check on my bus schedule. Then he convinced me the bus should will come in a short time and made sure I would be standing on the road side, so the driver could see me and stopped. I walked back to the shelter that looked like warehouse and waited there.
The sky got dark and a light rain started to fall again. My brain tried to find alternative if the bus didn’t come, where the hell I could stay for tonight, and so on and so on. My phone rang from unknown number, turns out it was the call centre. She informed me that the bus was running late and will be at my stop in 5 minutes. I was wowed again, knowing that the call centre was very thoughtful to inform me personally.
Exactly 5 minutes after, a bus with a sign written Pemberton arrived. Before I got on, I once again asked the driver, ‘Pemberton?’ and he said yes. Yay! Relieved!
When I hopped on to he bus, I was quiet surprised that there were only less than 10 people in a 54 seated bus, can you imagine? And one by one of them got off in different towns that we passed along the way, leaving me all alone with the driver.
It was still 4 more towns to Pemberton when I sent message to the woman in Northcliffe, saying I will be arrived in Pemberton within 45 mins. I’ve got no reply in the first 15 mins, which made me a bit worried. But I kept being positive, thinking it might be because of the bad reception since it was in the countryside. Sometimes the bus made a sudden stop many times because there was Kangaroo crossing, a sign that you are really in the countryside of Australia.
I finally got a text reply from the woman who said sorry that she wouldn’t able to pick me up in Pemberton. But there will be a family relatives to pick me up. I told her I didn’t mind as long as it’s safe.
At around 6.30 pm, the driver yelling ‘Pemberton!’ and I rashly hopped off from the bus. The sky was already dark and raining a little. Seriously, it was literally feels like 11 pm since not a single lights seen from the shelter and no one was around. I just realised that I was all alone – somewhere I didn’t even know….
A thought came to mind, ‘shit, what if this is a scam? why the woman sent someone to pick me up instead of her? Shit.. why am I so naive? and How can I be here without thinking further? What should I do?‘
then the ‘ahh everything’s gonna be alright. Don’t be negative!‘
I texted the woman again, telling her that I arrived in Pemberton and waiting at the shelter.
Not long after, a 4wd truck came towards me. I could see an old man smiling from the car with a light brown German Shepherd popped out his head from the back seat window. ‘G’day! You must be the backpacker for B&B, sorry to make you wait. I was at the bar nearby.’
I was wowed (Again). The situation made me feels like I was a character in an Enid Blyton novel.
I greeted him back and smile, while trying to sweep off all my negative thoughts in my mind. We crawled through the dark and empty road. All I could see through the window was bushes and woods. We had a light conversation for nearly 40 minutes. Mostly about the family that own the restaurant, where I came from and how long I wanted to stay. To be honest, I tried to keep talking or asking him something to hide my anxiety.
‘If he killed me here, no body will ever found my dead body for sure’
‘Damn.. this could be a trap! I might be raped..oh no..’
‘what the f* I am doing here?’
‘why could I be so brave? I think I’m just f*ing out of my mind’
All those thought was off as soon as the he stopped the car right in front of a B&Bs. ‘There you go..! Welcome to Northcliffe!‘ he said.
My eyes got bigger looking at a lovely country BnB’s in front of me. OH..this place is real!
A big guy with grey hair walked out from the bar’s door to welcome me. Later I know he was Steve, the owner of the B&B. And the woman who called me was his daughter in law who’s usually in charge for recruiting the staff. It’s true that this was a family owned BnB with a very great owner, my fave couple – Steve and Kathy.
And yes everything was alright. My intuition was right.
This was certainly one of a hella adventure in my life – where I spent a couple of months in a place where no one knows me and no one I know