There is quite an important part of the story that we omitted in our fundraising blogpost. Those are all the wonderful people that we had the pleasure of working with. Spending 8+ hours a day in the streets facing the daily challenges that come with being a fundraiser creates bonds with your colleagues that are hard to put into words. We could go on for hours telling you about how equally amazing they all are but we figured the best way to illustrate this is to tell you a little story about a road trip we went on with Sina, Jenna, Ryan, Axel and Kanhu.
The plan was simple. Meet at 07:00 at the airport so that the five of them could get their rented van. And then, undertake the three hour trip to the Grampians as a two-van convoy. We were excited to experience the Grampians’ striking series of mountain ranges!… but it was the weekend… and work is tiring… and sleep is nice… and so…
To start things off, Jenna – from Northern England, always hungry, always sleepy and always making others (and herself) laugh – overslept a little, delaying the arrival of the whole bunch by about an hour and a bit. Then, Ryan – Jenna’s boyfriend from Northern England, with an unmatchable talent in accents – mistakenly booked the van from 7AM to 8AM instead of 8PM, and no matter how much we pleaded for our case, the company could not provide us with another car until the evening. So after a quick search on Google Maps we decided to go for a walk and ask all car rental companies in our vicinity for any vehicle that fits five with no luck.
By the time we decided to surrender the search for a car, it was already 11:00. Granted, we were four hours behind schedule, but could still make up for that delay if we chose somewhere closer to spend the day. Luckily, Australia doesn’t fall short of mind blowing locations, so off we went to little coastal town along the Great Ocean Road.
The seven of us strategically placed ourselves in Winston and Axel’s pickup; it was finally time to embark on this journey! But just as Simone was about to ignite Winston’s power, Axel’s voice came out of our glovebox. Axel – one of the few survivors from deadly Darwin, with a shinning character and endless positive energy– had brought along a pair of walkies and thought it would be a good idea to put one in each car in case we needed to communicate on our way to Lorne. He wanted to make sure they functioned properly, which they certainly did because shortly after Axel’s joke the voice of a man twice his age takes over and announces: “Attention. This is Melbourne Airport’s secure line of communication. Exit this channel immediately”. ’twas funny how fast we left then.
This is it! In about two hours we will be with our feet in the sand and… oh wait, Jenna is hungry. Axel and Kanhu as well? Well, then we will need to take a detour to maccas for a BigMac.. Lorne, see you maybe sometime in the potential future at some point possibly.
Alright, back in our cars, stomach full, nothing will stop us now! And surprisingly, nothing did. The road down to Lorne is as beautiful as it is stress-free, and although Kanhu and Axel tried to make us laugh to death with the best jokes in their repertoire; we made it.
In the face of all adversity (once again), our ‘simple’ plan did eventually pan out and perhaps the road blocks were worth it after all. Thanks to Winston’s cooking arsenal, we were able to cook up a veggie-wrap lunch by the stunning seaside of Southern Australia. Simone, Jenna, Laurent and Sina – a bubble of energy and a a living proof that not all Germans like the cold and always follow rules – got some play time with curious cockatoos on the beach. Axel had a chance to jump in the sea, something that could not even be touched with a ten foot pole where he grew up (crocs, jellyfish, sharks, shellfish, octopus…), and Kanhu – an Indian bundle of joy (that’s also a genius)– improvised a photoshoot in the idyllic surroundings (sorry guys, but I just had to release this footage).
As some might know, traveling is really not only about the places you visit, or see. It is more about the people you meet along the way. A few days ago, a few hours ago, you didn’t even know there was an Indian, an Australian, a German, and two English living in Melbourne, you didn’t know they were going to be your colleagues. Yet, in what felt like an instant, lifelong friendships developed. You just couldn’t help it, even though you knew that in just as quickly as you created those bonds, they would dissipate. You know the clock is ticking… and maybe it is exactly this ephemeral aspect, which makes the time you have together so valuable. Suddenly, all your experiences, everything you see, is connected by mutual memories – all of which will, at some point or another, be shared in the future with people who are strangers to you. Allowing the forever growing web of crossed paths to continue weaving, and at some point, these webs will cross just right, such that your story changed someone else’s.