Johnny Anderson's Autobiography
On this page and the few that follow are some more segments of my book. This portion goes into when I was in
Australia for the first time, which was back in 1988/89. My hitchhiking days really started in Oz and this was the beginning of my eventual 64,000 mile hitchhiking spree that took me around the world three and a half times.
During that time period I took over 25,000 photographs. (These shots began in my punk days in England and I caught on film bands like Dirt, The Sub Humans, The Stranglers, The Damned and many more well known punk groups. My pictures range from skinheads vomiting, punks passed out in the high street to the punk scene as I saw it through my eyes.)
After 20 years of writing, editing and a lot of frustration my book was finally completed in the latter part of 2011. The e-book can be purchased (or another sample chapter can be read) at the following link on this website:
I hope you enjoy reading this part of my book and browsing through the rest
of my web site.
Thanking you, Johnny Anderson.
Copyright © 1995, Johnny Anderson. TX 636 995 Washington DC.
At the edge of Port Augusta, South Australia, I stood with another hitchhiker, who I’d just met called Simon; hoping a ride would save us from the unbearable heat and imminent dehydration. I swore the black tar was beginning to melt under the warmth of the sun and I imagined mild mirages as I looked down the road in both directions. An expanse of water lay across the highway evaporating in front of me in groovy, blurry, visible waves.
We waited two hours for a ride and during that time period, I returned twelve times to a nearby motel to refill my water bottle. When someone finally pulled over they drove us half an hour up the road to the sole highway that runs across the plain. Now, we had to hitch again in the heat, but we were fueled by the conviction that, if we did catch a ride at all, it would more than likely take us all the way. Between where we were and Perth, lay 2,400 kilometers.
We waited between grub weed and nothing else. The absence of vehicles was a constant reminder that we were already in the middle of a desert. I wonder if I could’ve borne the isolation if Simon hadn’t have been with me that day.
Luckily, the first vehicle that came along was the one that picked us up. Adding Simon and I, there was now a total of four in the van. Each of us took turns driving for the four days that it took us to cross the plain. That first day, my turn at the wheel came just before sunset. As I drove towards the blinding sun my sunglasses offered little protection against its brightness. I was almost standing up on my feet in an attempt to raise myself and hide from its glare.
The nights were the best part of the journey, although of course we weren’t making headway then. I loved sleeping under a night sky clearer and more expansive than even that of Havana Island. Easily, I spotted and followed shooting stars and satellites throughout the night.
In the days that we traveled we passed only a handful of gas stations and shops. This monotony was only broken on our second day when we reached The Bight at The Nullarbor National Park. We were now at the southern edge of Australia standing on high, red cliffs that stretched jagged in both directions for miles. Far, far below, the near end of the otherwise infinite blue sea threw itself against the cliff face. Its roar was dulled by the height of the cliffs on which we stood. I felt humbled as I grasped my own insignificance, an ant on the top of a mountain that was a piece of the world that really counted, whether the ant stood on it or not.
One unique thing that Australia does have compared to the rest of the world, are trucks known as road trains. They usually run across the more barren, wide stretches of highway on the western side of Oz. Road trains are semi trucks that are usually two if not three times the length of those that are found in the United States. Most of the time, there are two if not three trailers that are pulled along. Some of these even have cars on top of the cargo that they’re hauling. They’re absolutely huge.
Click below to see: