Australia. Passing over a river full of crocodiles through a bridge as safe and stable as you can see in the photo. Sounds fun? Because I-love-it.
It isn’t an irony. I am an adventurous person: going to new places, learning languages I do not understand and explore locations that I don’t know makes me alive. I live for travelling and I’m a nomadic person by nature.
And all this stuff comes in the wake of: What was I doing exactly one year ago, on 24 December 2013? I was in the middle of an amazing roadtrip around Australia that lasted no more and no less than three months. Three months sleeping in a tent and fighting against all the insects and animals that you can imagine, plus the weather. Because remember: in Australia everything wants to kill you.
Here I am with Mandy and Elodie, the hitchhikers I found in the desert, abandoned by a moron who also took their money. Of course, they joined my car and together we came to Kakadu, a national park north of the continent that is larger than Catalonia. It was hot, very hot, and the torrential rains that fell every half an hour prevented us from keep dry our clothes for more than one day.
With them I celebrated this day exactly a year ago, staying in a small hostel in Darwin and preparing home made sushi as our Christmas dinner.
My gifts were a packet of muffins and a box of dates, which they themselves had collected while working on a farm a couple of weeks ago. They wrapped it in newspaper sheets, because we did not have gift wrap, or money to buy it.
Probably it’s one of the best gifts I have ever had 🙂
I see myself exactly a year ago, and I am another person. Australia taught me the value of freedom and to learn to fight for what really makes me happy. He gave me the strength to keep fighting for my dreams.
I wanted to share with you this snippet, and make this small retrospective of how my life was just a year ago. Here’s a bit more of Marina 🙂
And with this Queensland python I wish you: Merry Christmas!
Last winter while traveling around Australia with little more than a backpack and a tent, I recorded this video for Ishotmyself. It is a little ode to freedom and my passion for travel.
I run in salt lakes and speak in an horrible English…here you have me! 🙂
For every man and woman who ever dreamed of love, of gently sunlit laughter and naughty teasing grins, come hithers and bedroom eyes on the beach, for anyone who ever dreamed of the perfect day, the perfect girl, the perfect love, or the perfect ISM video, for anyone who ever dreamed of anything at all, this video is for you, with love, from Amarna Miller.
I wanted to write a post about my adventures in nature since long ago.
I adore to travel. Learning new things, visit new countries and know about places located in the middle of nowhere.
Here’s my list of the five most amazing routes I’ve done throughout my travels. If you like this post, please write a comment! and tell me what else you want to know about my crazy life. Here it goes:
Tongariro Alpine Crossing (New Zealand)
This 19 km route runs along the boundary of Ngauruhoe volcano with the active volcano Tongariro. Although the recommended time to do it is about seven / eight hours, we finished it in 5. Landscapes are a blast, full of craters and dry lava rivers everywhere, with areas relatively difficult to pass through.
When you get to the top you find the “Emerald Lakes”, small lakes with a color that seems to come from another planet (Sediment give them an amazing blue hue) covering the summit craters of the volcano.
Geek detail for fans of The Lord of the Rings: It was here where the Mount Doom scenes were shot, the black lava rivers are part of the scenery of Mordor, and above the Tongariro is the eye of Sauron.
Ascent of Mount Fuji (Japan)
The last route I’ve done! Three weeks ago we took a bus that took us from Shinjuku, Tokyo, to the fifth station of the Yoshida-guchi route, 2230 meters above sea level and located at the slopes of Mount Fuji, the highest point in Japan.
Equipped with front lanterns and warm clothes (thermal difference with the summit is over 20 degrees) and just a week and a half before they closed the access to the summit due to bad weather, we started the route at 7 pm with the intention of reaching the top for the sunrise.
The path to the seventh station was relatively simple, but from the eighth things got complicated: the lack of oxygen became noticeable and gave me a bit of altitude sickness. We decided to stop in a shelter, where we slept in a dormitory with other 20? people, in a giant mattress that covered the floor at various heights.
Once recovered we continue the ascent through areas where you had to crawl and climb the rocks. In total we walked just 6 km, but with 1,550 vertical meters of difference! and through snow and rain to reach the summit, where we saw the most amazing sunrise I’ve seen in my life 🙂
Boodjamulla National Park (Australia)
It has been terrible to choose only one site of Australia! Boodjamulla competed hard with Eungella National Park (where I saw wild platypus), Kakadu National Park and Uluru.
So Why I chose this park in the middle of nowhere?
Reaching Boodjamulla is a living hell. You have to go through the Australian desert, with temperatures over 50 degrees and a red dust that gets into each one of the slits of the car, clothes, and your skin. The roads are unpaved for over 500 km and it is not possible to ride them unless you have a 4×4 car. You have to be alert to not cross the path of a brown snake and avoid the scorpions passing under the car. There are so many bugs that you can not walk two steps without a cloud of flies posing at the corners of your lips and climb into your sunglasses, rattling against your eyes. Yes, it’s hell in the most literal sense of the word.
But when you get there…Oh, dear God! Boodjamulla is a natural spring that comes in the middle of nowhere, creating an oasis of greenery, rivers, lakes and exotic animals everywhere. After mourn to get there, what you find is simply shocking. My first thought is that it seemed like something out of a scene from Tomb Raider. Vines hanging from the trees, giant ferns, birds of totally unknown colors and millions of fishes watching you from the rivers. Yes, there are freshwater crocodiles, but I’ll try to not mention them in this description of paradise 😛
The photo does not do it justice, and I think it is impossible to judge distances … do you see the waterfall on the left? It’s 10 meters.
Valley of the Gods (EEUU)
It is perhaps the most beautiful and unknown place I’ve ever visited. Located in the southeastern Utah and very close to the famous Monument Valley are these sandstone formations that look like something out of the twisted imagination of an architect. If you get the car there you’ll find a 4×4 track (which we did with a Toyota Corolla, ahem) passing over 27km around the stone structures. Beautiful.
Wanganui River(New Zealand)
The route of the Wanganui River is one of the great walks that you find along the North Island of New Zealand.
Basically it’s a three days route of kayaking or canoeing through the river, doing the 90 km which separates Whakahoro from Pipiriki. I did kayaking (first time!).
You are paddling more than 7 hours a day so get to the shelters that you find in the jungle along the way feels amazing. You can see all the vegetation and animals that you can imagine, a bridge in the middle of the jungle called “The Bridge to Nowhere” plus endless trails through the forest. Yes, I fell off from the kayak in a hellish rapids.
And the last day I slept on a Maori village.
Here are some pictures, but it is impossible to show the environment in which you find yourself.
On Friday November 15th we woke up in the rain and very, very cold. I have sleep really bad because of the cold and I’ve been putting layers of clothing, so now I wear two jackets, two shirts, a pair of trousers with leggings underneath and the sleeping bag. Yet I’m so frozen I get up super early.
We eat a couple of cans of flavored tuna (probably one of the most delicious things in this country. You can have tuna with chilli, tuna with onion, pepper, and best of all, tuna with rosemary and sun dried tomatoes) and have a look around. We are still in the Croajingolong National Park, beautiful but full of mosquitoes.
We decide to take a walk along the beach, where we found dozens of trees. Yes, whole trees stranded by the storm, creating a curious landscape when you look to the horizon.
When we look carefully to the floor, we can find a few small mounds of sand, as if it had something buried underneath and covered by a thin layer. Looking more carefully and digging a little we discovered that there are thousands of dead birds behind the sand.
Later we would red that it is a migratory specie that comes from Canada every year, and after flying 15,000 km to reach the beaches they arrive so exhausted that the vast majority of them dies. If we sum the creepy storm of last night, you can understand why there are so many, but sis still really sad.
We walk up a hill to reach the lighthouse of Point Hicks. There we see a small wallabie hiding from us, and a bird of bright blue that seems to pose for the camera. The wind is very strong but seeing the scenery, is worth it.
We stay a while watching a commemorative plaque of the discovery by James Cook of the part of Australia where we are. We go down the hill to the wreck of theSS Saros, stranded now at the foot of the hill as a tangle of rusty iron .
We descended back to the car and take the Princes Highway to finish in the town of Mallacoota, where we stopped in a bay with a small harbor absolutely full of pelicans.
Australian pelicans are not normal animals, they are giants. With a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters, they are real living pterodactyls. Their yellow eyes look at you so inquisitive as saying “Give us food!” and when they come to you, you find that are just huge.
After a few pictures we continue heading north until we reached the Bournda National Park. It is really dark, though the full moon allows us to set up the tent in the dark.
Suddenly I see a shadow under the car, moving towards the backside. When I realize, there’s a cat attempting to get into the trunk of the car, where we have all the food. I tell to Zor and we take the lantern.
Then, we discover that the animal is a… tree kangaroo? pygmy possum? He runs and climbs into a tree in a really incredible way. Runs on all fours, has a long fluffy tail and giant round eyes. Seems to have no fear of us, so we came to having him just half a meter. He looks surprised, his little face is so beautiful!
The next day we looked at our books. It was a bushtail possum 🙂