Day 173 | back to Kambolgie campsite: there's some places you just have to go back to

55 km | Heading west total: 7,557 km

The most intrusive question I’m asked by my fellow travellers (with whom I have very little in common if the truth were known) is what I think about while I am pedalling away for those hours.

I’ve never bothered with giving a truthful answer: none of your business.

And I don’t usually bother making the point that I generally spend less time travelling each day than they do. 5 hours is considered a good day at the office, six is getting to be overtime, while 4 feels like having the afternoon off.

The tropical days are shortish: I generally am up about 6 10am, when it’s still dark, just after the 6am news and when radio reception starts to wane. With the mozzies, and lack of daylight, by 7pm, or 7 30, I’m horizontal writing my diary.

Surprisingly, one thing I seldom think about is previous partners, or clients: generally I leave that for a stretch of hill climbing or soft dirt road to get the blood pressure up.

I do like a chat but many people don’t seem interested in any two way conversation: just the rapid fire questioning then walking away leaving you completely drained.

I have been thinking about a gracious reply to this particular, well quite rude, question. How do you respond when someone you have never met before starts a conversation with that type of interrogation?

My stock reply is that ‘my mother told me never to talk to strangers.’ That gives me a breathing space to assess whether to have a chat or not. There’s always ‘our friendship had started so well.’ Those responses tend to close down the conversation to all but the most verbally articulate, and interesting, people.

The better response is ‘Oh. I thought you were coming over to tell me about the most interesting thing you have seen today.’ That’s got a few more openings. If the usual dumb questions persist you can kill it off then, but the occasional people who want to genuinely chat are surprisingly pleasant.

And usually, travelling the huge distances out here, they have to sit next to their wife or husband for long periods of time, day after day.

At least I have the best of company.