By AMANDA FRY
The open road can be very therapeutic, especially when processing emotions related to grief or loss. Even in my early twenties, I have always loved driving into the horizon not really knowing when I will get where I am going, or sometimes even where I would end up. It’s my time to be really alone in my thoughts and deal with whatever is troubling me. I absolutely inherited this from my father, we are both ‘journeyman’ filled with an unquenchable desire to explore anything new and different. In a poem by the same name, my father summed it up beautifully.
But this is mine, this dream
A distant light to start
To place my step on virgin hill
That I might find my heart
So when I met James Freeman last year, who set up Shitbox Rally five years ago, I was hooked. He has created an adventure to not only bring people together with shared personal experiences as a community, but done it through a multiple layered journey that in itself is therapeutic and one that generates such positive energy in the search for a cure to cancer. He harnessed his own loss when his parents passed and in the process opened up a whole new way to travel, make friends and explore destinations in this vast country that offers life lessons far beyond their physical beauty.
At first, you think the rally is the drive, and this year we cover nearly 4 000 kms in seven days between Perth and Darwin through the Pilbara and Kimberley regions. So as you can imagine with the Gibb River Road as part of the trip, there are a lots of adventurers participating. But, as your planning progresses, you soon realise the journey started the day you signed on for fundraising. And at each point along the way as the actual drive draws closer your commitment and investment increases in very unexpected ways.