Many Australians dream of doing the “Big Lap”* at some point in their lives –
(* a road trip that goes right around Australia, which if you keep to the main highways and don’t deviate, is about 14,000km/8,700 miles)
So can you imagine doing it not once, but 50 times?
The Big Lap
Meet Graham, who has done just that!
After years spent working at an office desk, Graham took the decision to follow his dream to drive a truck across and around Australia for his living.
His on the road lifestyle though does mean much time is spent away from his grown up family who are based in NSW on the east coast –
Including his grandchildren!
Wanting to ensure his 6 year old granddaughter knew just where ‘Pop’ was motoring… he started filling in and posting home a Journey Jottings Map Journal with his route marked in different texta colours to show where and when he completed each Big Lap.
We found out about it when he contacted us via our Facebook Page with the below image showing us a copy of his Map Journal illustrating the 8 big laps he’d completed in early 2016!
“I’m a Long-haul truck driver and I literally drive laps AROUND Australia . I bought the 1st of your maps from Victoria River Roadhouse in Northern Territory and subsequent maps from Mundrabilla Roadhouse in W/A. I send these to my 6 year old granddaughter as she loves to see what Pop’s doing .”
What a truly wonderful way to use my Journal Maps!
To share his travels with little ones back home 🙂
The 33rd Big Lap
The map above shows the first 8 Big Laps he did in 2016.
A year later he shared with us the breakdown of days he spent doing his 33rd Big Lap ~
Big Lap Highlights
The best part of having a job that involves driving across this wonderful country of ours is naturally the opportunity to see stunning outback scenery…
…and the diverse range of sights…
From boab (bottle) trees in the Kimberleys, historic houses in Menzies (north of Kalgoorlie in WA), outback shacks with water wind mills – and even the odd Big Galah (seen at Kimba in SA on the Nullarbor Plain).
Bush fires that come perilously close to the Highway and wild Brumby horses – and even the odd bush hiker – maybe doing the Big Lap on foot?
And then there’s the open road…
That goes on and on into endless blue skies and sunsets, or big black ominous clouds, and the thickest of bull-dust thrown up by oncoming truckie mates…
Seeing storms envelop the sky around you, dark clouds recede behind you, followed by rainbows framing the road ahead…
Oh! Those endless horizons disappearing into the never never…
Not to mention all the road signs!
Big Lap Dramas
But driving so many kilometres… Such as 1,000,000 (yes that’s one million) kilometres… as recorded here on Graham’s odometer…
Cannot be without its dramas –
Such as 6 years ago when his truck caught on fire
Or in early 2019 getting cut off in Richmond in northern Queensland due to rains flooding and closing the road to all traffic for 10 days.
Or getting within sight of home on the 50th Big Lap and having a blow out on your front steering tyre sending you careering airborne off the highway.
The Home Straight – 50 Times Around Australia
I’m happy to say I got to meet Graham in person on a less harrowing day than those above dramas, when he was driving up through Brisbane on one of his circuits…
Over lunch the conversation was peppered with all manner of amazing travelling tales from his life on the road…
Since then he’s continued to be well prepared for recording his future adventures for his family back home with a Map Journal at the ready and a fresh pack of texta felt tip pens for marking his routes!
“…my 50th complete lap around Australia. I’m stocked up with Journey Jottings maps and coloured textas to mark this journey daily for my grand children to have a momento of Pops 50th lap. 🙂
Linda your Journey Jottings range of products are fantastic”
Congratulations Graham on your 50th Big Lap of Australia ~
Post Script: Graham completed his 55th Big Lap
and then hung up the cab keys to spend more time with his grandchildren 😀
Have you travelled in Australia or completed a Big Lap?
How did you record your trip to share with family friends?
Do share your tales in the comments below 🙂
All photographs copyright Graham Parkes