I really hate that my stepfather is such a bigot.


I hate more that I don’t engage him much about it because it upsets my mother. I am such a coward and I want to hold together what is left of our family and it bangs back on her. But I feel diminished every time I don’t say something: like I am choosing selfishness for our family, over the greater good.

Which I am, but, God, what sort of example am I setting for the next generation?

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Tour Guide Truth

I get paid to like you and I really do. But the people I befriend elsewhere in my real life have various categories of like and it takes a lot of history/mutual interest to transcend the crew/passenger relationship.


(Well, unless you are a guy and you have a functioning penis. In my life on the road, it rapidly became clear that there was an extremely blurred line in those circumstances.)


But for me, I don’t want to invest emotionally in a relationship that I won’t have the time to sustain. I do honestly mean it when I ask people to keep in touch but these relationships invariably fizzle out because they don’t understand why I am not making that much of an effort: the very circumstances (i.e my job) in which we bonded mean that I don’t have the time to put in a 50/50 friendship effort.

But I can’t say to them, “Hey, I want to be your friend but it will be 60/40, 70/30 relationship at the very best.” Very arrogant and, to be honest, I wouldn’t accept a friendship like that, either.


Sometimes I feel sad about missing out on friendships with really great people. We both have to accept it is circumstances, not lack of interest.


Maybe this is why we develop such an intimate relationship with our work partners? Like a Clayton’s marriage. We bond closely with each other because we need to.

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Tour guide problems

There are quite a few issues that come up as a side effect of constant travel through remote locations. Probably one of the most important is poor health. Evacuating anybody really sick is extremely difficult way out there and so we tend to be maybe a little too cautious at times as regards medical problems.

We have to think of the needs of the group, above those of the individual and this sometimes means immediately shunting ailing passengers off to the doctor, even if they don’t think it necessary. If there is an illness that might spread amongst the group, we need to make sure it isnt contagious.


Howevet, I really don’t tend to look at my own health as a priority and it takes a lot of urging to make me seek medical help. Ive damaged myself so many times, in so many ways, whilst working for this company but I will only visit the doctor if thete is a possibility of something infectious.

Or if I feel really bad. My husband says that he knows when I’m really sick because I agree to medical stuff straight away.

This last Sunday, here in Cairns, I woke up very early because I was so cold. A temperature of 40.5C and it wouldn’t come down much, even with medication and tepid showers. It was a bit reminiscent of my salmonella hospitalization last year.

When my partner forcibly marched me down to the medical centre, I didnt argue. A 17 day across the desert camping trip coming up no one needs somebody possibly ill and passing on viruses. And, besides, I felt too out of it to object much.

The thing was, though, I had no other symptoms apart from the fever. The doctor listened to my chest, checked my urine, physically examined me and…nothing.

We’d just come back from a trip up to Cape York. The doctor’s eye lit when he heard that. He immediately wrote a letter to the infectious diseases specialist at the hospital and told me to go straight thete.


To be cleared of (or quarantined as a result of) typhoid.


You’re telling me that I might have fucking typhoid?!!!

I didnt even know that was still a disease here!

Oh, and/dengue fever, although that seemed extremely secondary when compared to typhoid. I do believe it is one of the original plagues.

There were a few nasty hours when I sat and thought about how to tell my boss that I’d inadvertently exposed the entire group, and possibly infected some, with typhoid. I don’t think there would be any coming back from that one and I wouldn’t blame him.


Oh my God, it was bad enough telling him that I had animal contracted salmonella last year – I dodged his calls and tried to act like I was at home, rather than the hospital, when he did manage to contact me.


God, I come up with some interesting medical possibilities, don’t I?

Anyway, a barrage of very expensive tests later (thank you, socialised medicine),  and I was deemed to be not Typhoid Kitty. Or Dengue Fever Kitty.

The chest xray showed a big lung infection that none of the doctors could pick up just by listening. Although, one said afterwards he could hear my lack of breath when I was talking. He asked me if I hadn’t noticed being really short of breath upon exertion and if there was any pain arou d my chest area.


Well, actually yes, now he came to mention it. I’d walked paxs  a very steep hill the day before and I really couldnt talk and walk at the same time. But the thing, those symptoms aren’t out of the ordinary for me. Half my ribcage is fused as a result of my anky spond (arthritis type) and my lung capacity is severely limited as a result. I do struggle to breathe whe  I am climbing hills.

As for the pain, well, the bones and joints fusing together make pain an inevitable part of my life on occasion and I  mostly put up with it if it isnt too acute.



Nope. No symptoms out of the ordinary.

Im on antibiotics now and the fever has gone. Cleared to leave town, although doc would prefer me to rest.


But really? These unicorns of way out, rare, medical possibilities only seem to gallop around me.











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Tour Guide Truth

When we say that your bag is too big for luggage storage, we actually mean that.

You were given size dimensions in your tour information and we don’t care that you called up the office and said it was only a couple of inches bigger and they told you it was okay.

The luggage rack is actually built to specific measurements and your bag being bigger than that means that it won’t fit in. Especially if it has wheels – again, information tells you to bring a soft bag.

You aren’t special and there is no fucking way I’m going to have oversized bags sitting in front of my food stores because they don’t fit it in the luggage racks. I load those racks and I will make sure that your bags fit in. They might have been rigid frame before but I guarantee they won’t be after fourteen days of me making them fit.

Also, if you can’t carry the bag you are bringing on the tour, then you are in for a world of grief. I am not a porter and I won’t move it around for you. I’ve actually stood at a airline luggage carousel and had people say to me ‘How do I get my bag to the bus?’.

My answer is ‘airline trolley and push it if you can’t carry it’; I’ve also been known to say that if they can’t manage the weight of their own bag, that they personally packed, they might just have to transfer things into a smaller bag that they can carry.

If I ever do end up with extra luggage in my cook trailer aisle, due to space issues, you can pretty much rest assured that every time I have to move the bags (because I can’t access the things I need for meals until I do and that is probably five times a day), I will kick the shit out of them. I’ll literally hurl them out of the back of the trailer into the dirt and woe betide anybody that complains about such treatment.

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I have an admirer

On tour I pretty much always have an admirer. The older gentlemen see me doing really heavy and sometimes difficult things. They see a level of competence that is sexy. And the position of authority I hold over them, as part of my job, appeals to some.

They generally don’t get too handsy (I shut that shit down fast) but they have other ways of demonstrating their feelings. They might take on a specific role that helps me, for the tour duration. They’ll angle to sit next to me, on the rare occasions I actually  sit. They will develop all sorts of minor health issues that I need to treat. They will tell me all sorts of life anecdotes that only periphally touch on the current circumstances but  which are designed to portray them favourably.

But this one guy? On this tour?

He writes poetry. He presented me with a whole folder of it on day 3 and showed me his (self published) book. Today he wrote a poem for me because I couldn’t be there and he wanted me to experience it!

He’s managed to convince us that he should reaf his poems aloud on the bus and has done so, to mass indifference and a little polite celebratory clap at the end, most likely because it had finished.

It isnt even good poetry. In fact, it’s really awful poetry.

Vogon poetry.

This man once wrote a poem about farting in church! Yes, I heard that masterful epic. Be thankful you didnt.

I am being wooed by a man who writes Vogon poetry. Gotta say, it is a novel approach.

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I am often complimented on my amazing memory for facts and figures about obscure places and things.

Actually, I don’t retain any of that knowledge between trips unless it is a place I visit often. I have printed out notes about the places that I read out. You can’t see me do it and I paraphrase enough that it comes across as me simply talking about what I know. If there’s internet access, then 10km before town sees me hitting the google. You could actually do that yourself.

If I can’t remember a time date, then I’ll fudge the issue. Use a lot of phrases like “I believe it might have been around —-“.  “Hearsay has it….”.

I will never outright lie to you but it is shaky ground. To make myself feel better about it, I think of it as tour summation, ala TL;DR.

I tell you personal things about places I’ve been to.

This may happen because a) I’ve forgotten facts/have no internet and want to distract you from my lack of knowledge, or b) I think that telling you stories about my life will make you see me as a person and that helps immeasurably when it comes to tour issues.

You might rant and rave about whatever it is but in writing your letter of complaint to the office, you will always speak favourably about me.

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#TourGuideTruth. What we say vs what we mean

So, we’re travelling via this alternate route to show you something that you might not otherwise see.

We took the wrong turning and anything along the road will be talked about as if it is pioneer/biologically special. We’ll even alternate microphone use so you think that both of us really are invested in this place.

Nope. Just looking for a place to turn this pig combination of bus and trailer around. If we can’t do it within 20kms, we’ll carry on this route regardless and tell you that the road was travelling slower than we anticipated.



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