by Cate Ellink
Have you ever seen Survivor or I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here? My trip to the Daintree was like that—but without the TV!
When I was at uni, there was a call for people to go on a scientific expedition to the Daintree, north Queensland. I loved camping and bushwalking, was studying Environmental Biology, and the trip seemed perfect. I applied and got in. Six weeks of hiking around the Daintree in the Christmas holidays seemed perfect!
I was 21 and naive. I thought this would be day treks from a lodge or something. The reality was setting off for 15 days on a walk, collecting plant specimens in that direction, with four guys and two girls I’d only met, lugging the heaviest backpack I’d ever carried.
Safety was important (well, for the 1990s), so we’d had a talk from the National Parks ranger about crocodile safety and snake-bite first aid—basically it was ‘avoid those things’. We did a three-day acclimatisation walk where we worked each other out and worked out what we needed (or more precisely, what we could leave behind). After Christmas, armed with food, gear, compasses and maps, we set off in the name of science. (There was no lodge. We camped in a paddock with a creek.)
This trip made me who I am. It showed me what I was capable of. I faced fears I didn’t know I had, and overcame them. I pushed past mental barriers that became physical barriers, overcoming obstacles like rock slides, crocodile nests, boulder-strewn creeks, being lost, and not really fitting in. I was the weakest link in that team, the one who’d be going home first if that was an option, and I fought tooth and nail to not hold everyone back. I discovered aspects of me I didn’t know I had.
Life-changing events should be recorded somehow, and so I chose that location and trip for a novel, The Virginity Mission. The reality of it was not a story—it was too harsh and raw. But the bones made for a great story, and adding in a romance made it suitable for the market. The greatest aspect of this trip was the ‘growing up’ and ‘finding yourself’, and so I tried to keep the feeling that this was life-changing for the heroine, Willow.
Have you ever done something life changing?
An erotic new adult romance about old insecurities, new beginnings, and the things you can get up to in a tent…