This all started a few years ago.
When I was in college, I took flying lessons. I continued to take them the year after I graduated, but it was difficult - it was difficult during college because money, and afterwards because I had moved to New York City. As a result, getting to the airport became a 2-hr process instead of a 20 minute process, but I kept it up. I got to within 3 or so flights of my final checkride, and then I went to graduate school in another state, telling myself "I'll finish up when I get settled."
Fast forward 20 years (ugh). I was talking with a friend of mine about many things, one of which was 'regrets.' I mentioned the fact that I'd never finished my pilot's license. He asked "If you got it, what would you do with it?"
I thought about it for maybe 30 seconds. "I'd fly myself across the Australian Outback."
"Never been to Australia, and always wanted to go - and that's one of most stringent but attainable tests of my independence as a pilot."
He thought about it for a minute, then said "I think you should get your license. When you do, I'll take that flight with you."
He was serious. A couple of years ago, I restarted my training, and around 18 months ago I got my license.
So. Time to do what I set out to do.
This series of short nodes will hopefully serve to describe the process by which I plan and achieve this goal, as well as documenting the trip itself. At present, the notional departure date is maybe 2.5 months away and I don't have the trip fully nailed down (for reasons which will become clear). There's probably a 10% chance the trip doesn't happen this summer at all, and a further 40% chance that I go to Australia but don't get to make the flight (again, for reasons which will become clear). I'm still plugging away, however, and I hope like heck this actually comes off.
UPDATE: It came off! I'm presently in Australia, with an airplane, having a blast. Follow along in the daylogs below, and thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement! -custo
UPDATE UPDATE: MADE IT! I flew across Australia (from Sydney to Broome) - waded in the surf and had a cigar - then flew back via Alice Springs to Stawell, Victoria. After getting stuck in Stawell for a few days due to weather, we headed back northeast to Dubbo (closing the loop) and then flew back to Sydney/Camden via Bathurst. An incredible trip. 51 hours flying time, around 5200+ nautical miles, tons of great experience and memories.