There's nothing like a road trip to blow away the musty grit that settles on me after too many days alone in the studio. I decided to put my brushes and pencils aside and drive to Newcastle with my new assistant. My old Volkswagen Transporter had just been serviced, and I figured a two-hour haul on the freeway with my foot to the floor would probably do both its engine and me some good. If I got tired, my assistant could take the wheel.
There was just one small kink in the plan: the start of the spring school holidays. This morning, every road north was clogged with holiday-makers heading to beachside camping sites and motels around Crescent Head, Coff's Harbour and Byron Bay. As the traffic crawled along, I distracted myself by pretending I was Robert Frank making his way across post-War America in a beat-up Dodge (or whatever) with his 35mm Leicas and rolls of black and white film spilled across the back seat. Every so often I stopped to shoot rickety bridges or lonely-looking road houses or mangy but happy-looking dogs scrounging for food scraps in the dirt.
I almost didn't take the turn off to Newcastle. I wanted to keep on driving, to by-pass my obligations to talk to an audience there this evening, and to sustain the calm of being motion.
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road