It all started when I was 29… and having a quarter life crisis.

 

I had a professional career in the Oil and Gas industry, had my own house (*mortgage) and life, on the surface, was pretty sweet. But I couldn’t stop thinking is this it?’. In societies eyes I’d made it, but it wasn’t enough for me, I felt empty and unfulfilled.

 

We had a close knit group of people at my workplace. We’d get daily updates from everyone on their lives, and one lady had proudly been giving us updates about her son’s upcoming wedding. And then the news came… the bride’s father had just been diagnosed with a brain tumour and it was unsure if he’d still be alive for the wedding in a few short weeks time.

 

You know when that one story has an impact on you? Something you hear, experience, see or do, that has a lasting effect. This one was mine.

 

It was like a wake up call. This gorgeous couple were retired, had bought their caravan ready to take off around Australia, and were just putting the finishing touches on their house renovations before hitting the road. And then, the rug was pulled from their feet, and he passed away not long after the wedding.

 

This was profound for me and it made me question my own death. Did I want people to get up at my funeral and say ‘She was a good citizen who paid her mortgage on time’ OR did I want people to say ‘She lived her life to the fullest, always following her heart, giving it her all and inspiring people along the way’. My choice was clear.

 

But what next?

 

I’d never done much travel as I’d always had a menagerie of animals, particularly my gorgeous American Bulldog – Rusty – who I’d had since I was 18. But I liked the thought of traveling and it made sense to do my own backyard – so Rusty and I could go together. But, I wanted to travel with a reason, a purpose.

 

Enter the book ‘Tracks’ by Robyn Davidson and my solution was born!

 

I’d always dreamt of travelling Oz by horseback, but knew it was unfeasible due to the arid climate. And I loved the idea of using animals as a form of sustainable transportation. CAMELS of course were my solution!!

 

I promptly quit my job, shaved my head, rented my house, packed a few prize possessions in my car and Rusty and I hit the wide open road. Ready for the adventure of a lifetime! Shitting ourselves, but happier than pigs in my mud. 

 

And so, the adventure of becoming a gypsy and chasing camels around the outback began….

 

Karla Hooper

 

Story to be continued… Part 2 Blog Available Now  Gypsy Dreaming – Hitting the Road – Darwin to Mt Isa