Crash and Learn: Part 2

Australia, Car, Health & Safety, Lost Girls RTW Adventure, Spa & Beauty — By on July 10, 2007 at 7:36 pm

After spending two full days lapping up the luxury and relaxing atmosphere at The Golden Door Spa, I had almost forgotten about the fact that I’d kinda, sorta damaged our van just a teensy, weensy bit. That was until we were forced to drag our dirty backpacks out of our lovely world of tranquility back to a less friendly reality where the roof of our World Nomads loaner mobile was practically touching the steering wheel. Oh yeah, now I remember…my life pretty much sucked right now! Not only was my stomach doing flip flops at the thought of explaining my completely ridiculous display of driving to the car rental company in just a few hours, but the additional repercussions of my little mishap were beginning to pile up (oh you just wait, I’m full of witty car accident puns!). The biggest problem being that Holly’s sister was arriving tomorrow and we’d planned to pick her up at the airport and head straight up the coast to Byron Bay. Not only had had I destroyed our only form of transportation, but I’d put a serious dent (see, I told you!) in fabulous our road trip. But as I’d soon discover, the good-natured, ‘no worries’ attitude that most Aussies possessed was about to save The Lost Girls’ trip from further damage (yeah, I’m that good!).

After a tense, three hour ride back to the city, we pulled the van into the body repair shop and sheepishly slinked out, prepared to face the wrath of Auto Barn’s employees. But before I could spew out my long list of pre-conceived apologies and self-deprecating slurs, I was shocked into silence as the body shop manager, Phil, raised his eyebrow, laughed and said, “Hmm, yeah, you certainly did a bang up job here!” (Alright, he might not have actually used the word bang, but I couldn’t resist adding to my repertoire of clever puns!). But he did say, and I quote, “Well, you’re not the first World Nomads Ambassadors to get into an accident, but you certainly did the best at it!” Maybe I was still in a bit of shock over not getting reamed out, but it seemed as if the wonderful folks at Auto Barn were taking my accident in stride. As further proof, their main Marketing man, Chris Ford, who Amanda, Holly and I had met when we first picked up the van, grabbed me in a big bear hug and reassured me that accidents happen, everything would be OK and absolutely not to let it taint our trip at all, especially since we were in the final weeks of our year abroad. Well, if you put it that way!

Of course, there was still the slight dilemma of having to pick Holly’s sister up at the airport and getting up the east coast of Australia with no transportation to our names. Once again, our new best friends at Auto Barn came to our rescue. After a quick conversation with our reps at World Nomads (who were also seriously cool about the accident and wanted us to continue to represent their company as ambassadors), they got permission to give us a station wagon at no charge, so we could continue traveling. As if that wasn’t enough, Chris placed some calls to a few friends and managed to hook us up with lessons and accommodations at the coolest surf school on the east coast (see Amanda’s “Finding Our Mojo” blog, posted on 6/29, for all the juicy details) and a private dorm room at the YHA hostel in Byron Bay – all for a grand total of zero dollars and zero cents.

Now, I have absolutely no clue how, in spite of my best efforts to wreck our itinerary (sorry, couldn’t resist one more pun!), us crazy Lost Girls managed to get so supremely lucky – yet again! But here’s what I do know, which I pass on to you, dear blog readers:

1. Don’t ever leave the country without an insurance policy from World Nomads. I mean, I crashed their van and they still love us! I think! 🙂
2. If you need some wheels in OZ, don’t even think about renting from any company other than Traveller’s Auto Barn.
3. Low clearance signs are about as popular Down Under as Foster’s beer.
4. While the fiber glass roof on a standard camper vans can’t be banged/pushed/shoved or coerced back into place like metal can (trust me, I tried), it does provide a nice, clean base for masking tape should you happen to rip a few holes in it.
5. If you accidentally drive under an awning that’s just a tad too short, Duck! Then blame the dent on a rogue kangaroo. Trust me! It makes for a much better story!

For more fun, crash fodder, check out this video clip of our visit to Auto Barn!

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  • Dellie says:

    Your Auto Barn Video Commercial was SO FUNNY! It made me laugh-and I had to share it with friends. We liked your game show girl impression, Amanda. We’d all patronize Auto Barn if they were here in the states! Ahhh… the power of advertising….

  • Travelin' Tracy says:

    I have always enjoyed reading about your adventures around the world. I am also a girl who loves to travel. Recently I was asked to write about bloggers that I love, although I have not really commented on your blog I mention the three of you. If you would like to see what I wrote then please go to my blog.

  • Burgo says:

    well of course they forgave you for crashing the van… they’re promoting your blog for you so obviously they wouldn’t want anything bad coming out!

    Consider yourself lucky for the special treatment, I doubt the rest of backpacking plebs would get away with it. Plenty of horror stories available on the web to back that up!