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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Wednesday, 5 June 2002
Bingal Bay --> Mission Beach, Australia

“You know," she said, "they also wanted to teach me to castrate sheep, but as you have to do that with your teeth, so I said no.”

Muriel, one of the staff members of the Treehouse Hostel, woke me up this morning around 9am, telling me I could get some breakfast from the little shop down at the reception. If it wasn’t Muriel, probably the beats of “Die Fantastische Vier” funkers would have woken me up a few minutes later.

I had my breakfast and decided to relax at the pool. I had a couple of dives and watched how the day unfolds. I noticed that most of the carpet-riders were still on their trip, some walked around as zombies, not even knowing they bumped in to me a couple of times before in the same five minutes.

I met up with some travellers while I was trying to get a suntan and this way got in contact with the 18-year-old Joya de Boer from The Netherlands. Yes, a Dutchy. She told me the interesting story that she was going to start her study of Journalism in the Dutch town Zwolle this September. “Hey what a coincidence! I escaped that place after seven years,” I told her cynically.

She had been working and travelling around Australia since last November (when she got the legal age) and told me the fascinating story about her time at a cattle farm way inland from Sydney. “And than one bloke hold the head of the bull, the other the front legs and while a third person pulled his left legs apart, I cut his balls off.

Nice summer job she had. Nice lady too. It’s just something else than another story on how boring it is to be a fruit picker.

“You know, they also wanted to teach me to castrate sheep, but as you have to do that with your teeth, so I said no.”

How come I suddenly felt she had so much more life experience with the other sexes than me?

I shared her some useful information about her upcoming study, about the town, about the pressure (“all those parties!”) and other things she might expect in her first year.

Then it was already time to get ready to go again. I didn’t get a chance to thank the manager for letting me stay, and the people at the reception all looked very crossed (at least their eyes were)… The courtesy bus of the Treehouse Hostel dropped me off at the bus stop in Mission Beach where I got my backpack into another courtesy bus: the one from “Scotty’s Backpackers”, located in Mission Beach.

(The driver of the Treehouse bus looked at me like I was a traitor, for just going from their place to another one. He kept shaking his head and holding it, maybe he’d expect it to fall off…)

Scotty’s Backpacker was a big change, the people there were so much more sociable! I was invited by Melissa , the managing young lady of the hostel, who was informed about my project by Rob from the Coconuts Resort on Magnetic Island. When I arrived, she just had to explain everybody what I was doing. She arranged me a dorm room in one of the barracks that circle around a spacious garden and a swimming pool. She also registered me as a staff-member (so I could get a drink from behind the bar myself) and she provided me for my ‘free of charge’-meal in Scotty’s Restaurant, just behind the hostel.

As you can see on the photos, this was a comfortable place. The beach was just one minute away, the sun was shining and the company was good. The day ended at the cosy backpacker restaurant, where I had a rump steak for dinner and enjoyed the broadcast of the FIFA World Cup soccer games on TV.

Good night Mission Beach!

Ramon