In Progress –
Rough Around the Edges
The journey begins for Mark and his partner as they leave Australia on the day of Mark’s twenty-seventh birthday. For him, a disgruntled junior doctor, this flight is his gateway to freedom, the chance to continue his wanderlust, in exploration of the world’s underbelly.
They traverse across Africa, Europe, and South America; all the while encountering choice. Guinea pig for dinner? Absolutely. A swim in bilharzia infested Lake Malawi? Of course. Threaten to start an international incident with customs officials at the Chilean land border crossing? Sure. Invite the unexpected. Anything goes in the search for the real experience.
Along the way, they are almost stabbed in the black ghettos of central Johannesburg. They find themselves within five metres of a wild lion, loose in their campsite in the Serengeti. They are taken in as hotel guests in a brothel in Bolivia. They are offered the world’s purest cocaine before being subsequently mugged in the dark streets of Cartegena. And they are provided with an almost comical encounter with guerrillas, deep in the Colombian jungle:
“Standing there, decked out in one of those special, army-green, fishing-tackle jackets was a woman, no more than 25 years old. Her innocent baby-faced appearance and shampoo-ad shiny hair contrasted oddly against the rest of her attire. In her pockets she had not one piece of fishing equipment; just grenades, machine gun cartridges, and ammunition. I guess the six-inch knife that was firmly strapped to her arm could be used to de-bone fish, and the M-16 casually hanging over her shoulder could be used to shoot fish. But I still wasn’t convinced she was a fisherman. And if she was, she was a very long way from water.”
The manuscript focuses on the history, culture and idiosyncrasies of these beautifully diverse countries, all the while in search of the ‘belly-button lint of the world’. Meanwhile, it poses the universal question that ever traveller wants to know, but is often too scared to ask. Whether they can make it work, travelling with their partner. Every traveller knows that travelling in foreign places is the most intensely character testing experience available. The same goes with relationships. It tests the internal mettle and character of the relationship. Will it stack up?
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