Recently, while driving along the road on Eyre Peninsula, we had one of these moments that we will never forget. The short encounter with a man from Italy was a real eye-opener. The man’s name is Pier Luigi.
It is windy and the temperatures are below 20 degrees Celsius. It is an ordinary day of our road trip, nothing special so far. We are driving on a country road on the Eyre Peninsula and are on the way to the west coast. While driving we listen to a podcast until we see something on the road in the far distance. It’s hard to tell what it is. It could be a stray animal or someone on a bicycle. I ask Marcel: “What is this tiny speck over there?“ „It looks like a walker“, Marcel says.
We are getting closer and well, yes, it is a walker. A man is walking along the highway heading south while we’re driving north. We are waving and he is waving back. Marcel and I simultaneously say, shall we turn and ask him if he needs some drinking water or food? Who knows how long he already walks and when he had the last chance to buy anything.
We turn around and stop next to the elderly man. We shake hands and he says: “My name is Pier Luigi and I’m from Genoa. Where are you from?”
While talking to him we feel like luxury travelers. He only has two backpacks with all his belongings. We in comparison have our Troopy with a kitchen, cupboards, and lots of food, drinks and clothes. Sure, we also have limited space but compared to Pier Luigi we have lots of space.
“Where did your start your trip?”, we ask him with great interest. “In September I started in Perth. I want to walk all the way to Brisbane”, Pier Luigi answers proudly.
On foot from Perth to Brisbane. Wow! That’s quite a distance. It’s more than 5‘000 kilometers altogether. We are speechless.
Meeting here on the Eyre Peninsula means, he managed a big part of his trip already. More than 2’000 kilometers are still ahead of him.
We are standing on the road side and can’t stop listening to his travel stories he has to tell. Pier Luigi pulls out a laminated map from his backpack and shows us, which parts of the world he already explored. Another long-distant walk he did was crossing the continent of Europe from west to east. From Spain he walked through Siberia to the east coast of Russia. We are flabbergasted.
On foot from Perth to Brisbane
Pier Luigi started his long-distance walk trough Australia in Perth on the west coast. Alone. He walked more than 2’500 km so far. It takes him another three to four months to reach Brisbane on the east coast. He is walking the whole distance which is more than 5’000 km. What a plan: On foot from Perth to Brisbane.
He tells us about the annoying flies that nearly brought him to the point to quit his trip. As a walker there is no escape from the flies that crawl into your nose, ears and eyes. He experienced lonely roads, the rough and harsh conditions. Wind, heat and freezing nights. Along the Nullarbor nothing but dry land. And he experienced that there is almost nothing between West Australia and South Australia. No cities, just a few roadhouses. No proper shops to buy groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables. He tells us about his hopes when approaching another town followed by disappointment when he figures out that it’s just another roadhouse. But one story catches our attention. It’s the story about the night he slept in a motel. The room was expensive but basic, so basic that if he knew, he would have rather spent the night in his tent.
It’s so fascinating to listen to his stories. We suddenly realize how luxurious our life is. We have our house with us. We can cook whatever and whenever we want. The food we carry lasts about two weeks and the water at least for one week. If it rains or the flies are getting to annoying, we can hide in the camper. That’s luxury.
We offer Pier Luigi water, apples, carrots and muesli bars. He thankfully takes it but he doesn’t want too much as he needs to carry everything. All his belongings like clothes, tent and food he carries in two backpacks.
Before we say goodbye he wants to take a photo of the three of us. He tells us that he’s taking a photo with everyone who stops along the road. “Ciao Pier Luigi. Safe travels.” He’s looking back, waving us a goodbye and walking satisfied in southerly direction.
Thank you, Pier Luigi. You were a real eye-opener. I always thought we are living a simple life. I just realized that we live in luxury. We have our house on wheels. We can go nearly everywhere and we have a home with us all the time.
We wish Pier Luigi all the best on this trip. Good health and a happy and safe arrival in Brisbane.
Traveling is amazing. Meeting people is one of the great things about it. We learn so much and it is extremely interesting to hear other people’s stories.
Have you ever had an encounter with someone you think is very special on your travels? Use the comment box to share your story.
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