• Barbara Murphy-Shannon

Australia Chapter 10 -An Unexpected Visitor Came to Camp

I’m not sure what to do?

John has invited me to his house in Tasmania for Christmas, but my plan is to go to Brisbane after the outback tour. It would be nice to spend time in a comfy home especially on Christmas day, but I don’t want to be persuaded to do something I don’t want to do.

That’s the thing about making decisions.

Are you making a decision based on what you want or, what someone else wants for you?

It can be difficult to know the truth when presented with such decisions.

Especially now, it’s so fuzzy and I feel so indecisive all the time.

When I was young, I was very certain of everything. I had this confidence. I’m not sure where it came from, but I had it. My mom would tell stories about how I would apply for jobs that I had no business applying for, but I did anyway.

I was of the thinking that if it wasn’t brain surgery and I didn’t have a chance of killing someone, I could learn anything on the job. Sounds pretty cocky now.

I miss that girl.

Now when faced with a decision, I question and question myself to no end. I get so confused and have no clue what I want. I doubt my ability to make a good decision.

It was taken away from me.

The ability to make a decision I mean. I used to have to ask my ex-husband for permission for everything. He controlled me and wanted to know where I was at any given moment.

After years of this, you start to doubt yourself and your ability to be independent and make the right decision.

It’s amazing how the mind works and how it can be manipulated. Brainwashed is a thing people. I am alive to tell.

“If I was from Boston, would you fall in love with me?” John unexpectedly says out loud.

I give him a look like, WTF?

“Come home with me for Chrissy”

“I want you to meet mumsy,” he pleads.

Did he really just say mumsy?

Relaxing in camp now safe and sound, I walk over to Big John and ask, “how come you didn’t come look for us sooner?”

“I knew you’d be ok. “One smart Sheila and three strong blokes,” he says nonchalantly.

I’m glad he’s so confident?

We decide to pack up camp and go back to the river so we can all go for a swim. The water felt great. I was sitting drinking a beer after dinner when we had an unexpected visitor come in our camp.

A Wallaby.

A Wallaby is like a small kangaroo, but they act like a dog. Friendly and non-aggressive. I was so excited about Wally (his new name). I ran and grabbed some broccoli to feed him. At first, I threw it his way and he would grab it with his little T-Rex hands and feed himself.

Then Big John said, “Why don’t you try to hand feed him?”


Is that a dare?????

I’m a little buzzed from the beer and everyone is watching.

I squatted down with a beer in one hand and a sprig of broccoli in the other and I waited for Wally to approach.

He wasn’t having it.

I guess he had to size me up. Was I going to kill and eat him or was I just some stupid American girl trying to feed a wild animal in the outback?

His instincts told him I was the ladder and he bounced slowly over to me and ever so gently ate the broccoli from my hand.

The sadness of being divorced at 23 years old was distant memory.

The thoughts of what could have happened being lost in the outback vanished.

The pressure of making the decision to go home with John was lifted.

A Wallaby just ate broccoli from my hand!!!

And I have a photo to prove it.

In this ever-so-small moment, I felt like me. I felt like I could do anything.


This is a true story that chronicles my rebellious journey when I was 24 years old backpacking around the world looking for solace after the end of an abusive marriage (ok to escape). An intensely graphic and heartfelt memoir of self-discovery is about how getting lost can be where you belong, how traveling to new cultures and meeting new people helps you heal (they don't judge), how to find your voice and remember who you really are, and want to be. It is certain to inspire anyone who has ever woken up in a life they don’t want to be in. Many life lessons and some bad decisions (sorry Mom) along the way. Buckle in! It's going to be a bumpy ride.

xoxo, Barbara

Barbara Murphy-Shannon, Psy.M. is a Breakthrough Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Leaders. Reach out at Barbara@barbaramurphyshannon.com