Big, Incredible Journeys in an Incredibly Big Country

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-06-02 06:11:13  • 6 mins

Trips across Australia are often necessarily trips at a striking scale.

The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. Sign up to get it by email. This weeks issue is written by Natasha Frost, a reporter in Melbourne.

Earlier this year, my colleague Hikari Hida and I reported on an amazing, improbable journey underway on Australias east coast.

Ryokei Mifune, a young Japanese backpacker who goes by Uni, was making his way from Melbourne to Cairns, via Sydney, on a flimsy nonmotorized childs scooter, a journey of more than 2,000 miles.

He was, in every respect, underprepared camping in urban parks, losing toenails to the tarmac (he wore sandals throughout) and communicating with strangers via Google Translate and the universal language of grateful smiles and nods. His ride, which was sorely inadequate for Australias gravel roads, broke on multiple occasions.

I dont think I prepared anything in particular for this trip, he told us in February. If I think too much, itll just complicate things and itll be hard to take a step forward, so I thought: If I jump straight in with no Plan B, Ill somehow figure things out.

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