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Loughton Teenager hitch-hikes across Australia
A teenager is currently embarking on the trip of a lifetime as he hitch-hikes his way across Australia .
Jack Mitchell, from Loughton, is half way through the adventure and the 19-year-old has so far covered 4000km in 84 cars, including a 1986 Toyota Hiace Camper and a 116 ton Kenworth Roadtrain.
The former Chigwell School pupil has been forced to battle flooding, fallen fellow travellers and ride in some less than comfortable cars.
He said: "It can be pretty spectacular, I've seen some sunsets that blow you away and starry night's skies that are so bright they look artificial.
"I've also met some amazing people. I've had an opportunity to get to know aboriginal people that I would never have met if I'd used a more comfortable means of getting around.
"Don't get me wrong though, there have been rough times."
With people he barely knows, the young traveller has had to sleep in a toilet block during a thunder storm and evacuate his tent twice due to flooding.
He has also had to suffer conversations with highly opinionated drivers and endure a brush with the law, after one driver was stopped without a licence.
The idea for the jourbey came after Mr Mitchell, of Queens Road, arrived in Australia to visit his uncle.
After two policeman in Melbourne suggested he buy an old Ford Falcon and travel to Ayres Rock, he felt inspired to take on a challenge.
And as soon as he met Australian girl Forrest online, an idea was born.
He said: "It was her idea to hitchhike around Australia. We left having known each other for a month .
"We started at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne ready to head for Geelong. From there we caught a tram to the end of the line and walked for 2 hours before sticking our thumbs out on the Geelong Road.
"The plan is to end back in Melbourne, but that ship has sort of already sailed for Forrest who was struck down with a suspected case of Ross River Virus when we were in Kununurra, but I'm hoping the trip will end not too far from my uncle's house in Alphington, north east Melbourne."
Mr Mitchell has travelled from Melbourne, along the Great Ocean Road and into South Australia, around the Eyre Peninsular and across the infamous Nullabor Plain.
His plan is to now head along the east coast, travelling through Brisbane and Sydney, before returning to Melbourne.
With ten weeks to go, Mr Mitchell says that one of the things he has learned to value about Britain is health and safety.
"There's a lot to be said for the annual MOT test," He added.
To find out more about his trip, click here. musingsfromjack.blogspot.com or find him on Twitter at @musingsfromjack.