I didn't know what exactly to expect from Australia. After five months in Asia I thought I had seen almost everything, I was already amazed enough. I had already seen so much variety and beauty, could I still be surprised? I really had no idea, yet. A breathtaking sunset greeted my partner Tizian and me as we landed in Perth after a four-hour flight from Bali. Those fiery colours were already making me forget the melancholy of leaving Asia behind.
We were going to stay on that huge island for three months. We would have covered 10,000 km in Range Rover, from Perth to Melbourne, along dirt roads and pristine beaches. I thought that living in a tent and constantly moving around would be heavy, after five months of wandering in Asia I was a bit tired. Instead I found myself more nomadic and adventurous than I thought. Every night we fell asleep with a different background: the waves of the ocean, the absolute silence of the Nullarbor, the leaps of kangaroos, the calls of koalas. I certainly didn't expect to see so many animals up close. For three months I felt like I was living in a BBC documentary! They were everywhere, space was theirs! I was so happy. I breathed deeply in that free air and devoured with my eyes the landscapes of that territory not dominated by human beings. For many kilometers there might be no built-up areas or infrastructure. At sunset, you had to have already found a place to stop for the night, because driving became dangerous. In fact, the animals suddenly came out of every corner and could find themselves in front of our vehicle, with the risk of both overwhelming them and hurting ourselves. We have risked this eventuality more than once, even when driving in broad daylight.
However, we still had contact with civilization. Do you remember the project I mentioned in the previous article? During our drive, we participated in 7 markets, in 7 different cities, setting up our stand and selling what we had prepared: we have printed t-shirts that illustrate the animals of my paintings. We had many types and many sizes and we were selling them at a reasonable price. We donated a percentage of the proceeds to three different wildlife conservation centres we had visited in Asia: Wanicare Foundation in Indonesia, Animal Friends Foundation in Thailand and Elephant Conservation Center in Laos. In any case we have not made money for ourselves with this deal; what we would not have destined to the centres, would have only covered the costs of production, the stand and part of the transfers. For us it mattered to be able to do our part and still have fun! In fact, it was nice to interact with the communities, we also made some wonderful friends. Some markets were doing better, others worse: it even happened that we didn't sell anything! Sometimes even things that seem simple actually present surprises and require experience and effort to allow you to reap the rewards. You never stop learning and meeting people who can give you valuable advice, this and much more I assimilated during that experience.