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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Carrying the love

Sometimes my mother irons my tour shirts for me. She first started offering last year, when my at home time between tours was all about caring for my brother and I was almost incapable of much more than the bare functions required to get through.

Since then, she’s offered a couple of times and I’ve taken her up on it. I hate ironing so much, although once upon a time I was a Stepford Wife  and even ironed my husband’s boxer shorts. But I suck it up for a professional work look and I iron my uniform.

When she offers, I always say yes. It isn’t about perfectly ironed shirts for professionalism. It’s because every time I put on an ironed shirt that she has done for me, I feel the love.

I will always want her to iron my shirts as a tangible reminder of our loving relationship when I’m not there in person.

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Of course I remember you from [previous tour]! 

I haven’t a clue who you are from the crowd. Frankly, you all dress the same and you all have the same hairstyle: sorry if I’ve accidentally called you ‘mum’. 

To be totally honest, unless you’ve done something spectacularly bad or good, I’m not going to remember you between trips.


I remember the guy that put his hand on my backside.

And the guy who wanted me to wash his shorts.

And the lady who pissed her pants and her mattress.

I also remember the lady who put on expensive perfume every night after her shower: I use very expensive soap on camping trips so we bonded. It makes you feel wonderful to go to bed smelling so good and being clean after the dirt ridden day.

I remember the gorgeous family of six who loved my tour so much that they’ve been in contact every since. I call them friends now and we recently caught up in Broome for dinner. Very special people.

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Based on what I’ve previously posted, and as an ongoing series, I’ve decided to tell how things really are on the road. We talk a LOT and the passengers aren’t aware of how things really are. In bold are the things we say and in italics are what they really mean.

Just going to check the tyres.

When your tour guide/driver announces the stoppage that way, he/she is pissing behind the trailer, out of the view of the dashboard cam and the passenger windows. Because you don’t get the chance to go to the toilet much at stops; hordes of incontinent people are already queuing for the two available long drops.


Completing the formalities.

In that vein, if everybody has already boarded to a specified morning departure time and the crew then don’t turn up for ten more minutes, it’s because we are changing our dirty pack-up clothes for fresh ones and using the bathroom without a queue.

Sometimes we are actually completing necessary paperwork as well (driver log books, defect sheets, vehicle checks etc) but that bathroom visit happens as well.

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Moving on

I  cant seem to do it.

I am working and I am functional and  I can put on the necessary facade when required. But I  am so aware that my grief is compartmentalized and that I need to keep on seeing my psychologist when I can, to deal with it.


The thing is,  I dont want to talk about it because it doesn’t really help. I sometimes talk about it to my husband and rarely to my work partner, but nobody else.


I was at a low point the other night: physically and mentally exhausted because the trip was so hard. About 12 I finally got to go to bed and I had a horrible nightmare about my brother. My partner heard me crying and got up but I didn’t want to talk it out with him and I think he was upset by that.

It isn’t personal but other people offering platitudes don’t help.

I know, logically and from heart breaking experience , that my grief will get easier to deal with.. it just doesn’t seem possible right now.

I dont want to talk about my brother’s death because it brings up all the memories of our incredibly close childhood and it makes me think about him. He and I shared experiences in a way that keeps me clinging to his memory.

I will change the subject hard if anybody mentions him.and I cringe when anybody  even just suggests that I should be over it already. The whole of June was bad.

I had a negative interaction with some of my brother’s friends. I asked if they could  tone down all the celebratory social media posts that came about as part of them visiting dying members of the group and getting together afterwards. Yes,they care a lot about each other but it is really hard for my SIL to see all these posts where they are obviously enjoying life to the full without my brother. I asked if they could maybe share them on a private facebook group and was shot down immediately.

Seriously, what makes people so disregarding of other people’s feeling these days? Isn’t there some common level of respect for each other? Sure, my SIL is sensitive about things, as am I, but I’d like to think that the friends my brother had would be generous hearted enough to consider what upsets my SIL and not do it. Or at least take it to a private group. It distresses her so much.

The aggression I got after my request made me feel so awful. I just wasn’t prepared for that level of hostility, given my non-confronting tone. It definitely made my time at home less enjoyable. Added to that, an extremely stressful situation with my stepmother (I am now administering the family trust that supports her and she can’t or won’t understand that my brother’s death has changed everything and that there are costly legal procedures that have to be gone through) and I didn’t enjoy my down time at all.

My mother is quite observant and this time home she said she could see me change – for the first 24 hours I was happy and back to my old self; then I went downhill.

She’s right. I keep coming back to a place where he isn’t anymore and I feel lost.


I am still so sad. I want to scream out at the top of my lungs “i just don’t get it!”. I don’t. How can he not be here when all my memories place him so? How can he, his life, just stop? It doesn’t make sense at all.


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