The Grass is Greener in Nimbin

A #VanLife Story From the Past: 

(Note: These photos were taken on old-school point-and-shoot digital cameras or disposable cameras in 2012. The quality is low but the story is clear.

If you haven't heard of Nimbin, Australia, quickly Google it - you'll understand. There is no reason for the town to be there, none whatsoever. Except, for whatever reason, it's the 420 capitol of the world. After Driving the eastern seaboard solo, I picked up my friends Chris and Louis at the airport in Brisbane. Somehow, they talked me into detouring away from the coast to go to Nimbin. Even though I'm someone who doesn't partake in this lifestyle, it was one of the crazier experiences of the trip nonetheless.

Nimbin, Australia. Photo: Louis Yorey

Nimbin, Australia. Photo: Louis Yorey

There's even a museum entirely devoted to 420. I think the whole town forgot to sweep it for a while. Photo: Chris Hetem

There's even a museum entirely devoted to 420. I think the whole town forgot to sweep it for a while. Photo: Chris Hetem

We ended up trying to spend the night on the side of a dark road outside of town. At about 11pm, a yute pulled up next to us, stopped, and through the window an odd voice yelled, "You're not safe here! Follow me I'll take you somewhere just up the hill... it's a housing development, not done yet... When you wake up you'll see the sunrise over the mountains and kangaroos in the fields!" For some insanely illogical reason, we elected to follow him.

With cloud cover and no street lights, it was really, really dark out there. Photo: Tasha Rivard

With cloud cover and no street lights, it was really, really dark out there. Photo: Tasha Rivard

We drove for about 10 minutes down winding back roads before he finally stopped the truck at a dead-end turn around in the middle of literally nowhere/nothing, blocking our path back to the street. Our headlights illuminated the rail-thin 50/60-something-year-old man as he got out and strode over to us with a freakish, tilted, bouncing stride. He stood at the window, waiting for us to roll it down. I was flipping. Chris inched it down enough for the man to stick his fingers through and say, "See?! This is it! Nobody here! Just you and the roos!" He pointed to the pitch blackness and explained that the sun would rise over there. He bobbed around as he talked and kept putting his face with his googly-crazy eyes way too close to the window. He asked us questions about where we were from, what we were doing, laughed too loud, and stayed too long. Just when it seemed like we needed to escape he told us to enjoy our sleep and catch the sunrise, then bounced back off to the yute and drove away.

Sunburnt Australian road. Photo: Tasha Rivard

Sunburnt Australian road. Photo: Tasha Rivard

We wigged out for a bit and tried to figure out what we should do. Eventually, we decided to just make sure the doors were good and locked and stay. When we woke up, the sun didn't rise over the mountains because it was raining and overcast, but everything else the man said was true.

Even though it was raining, the view was still impressive. Photo: Chris Hetem

Even though it was raining, the view was still impressive. Photo: Chris Hetem

It was the truth, down to the roos! Photo: Chris Hetem

It was the truth, down to the roos! Photo: Chris Hetem

If I hadn't been completely clearheaded when we followed the man here the night before, I wouldn't have believed it was real. Nimbin was hands down the weirdest, most interestingly bizarre town we could have wandered into. Such is the randomness of the road.

Supposedly, the sun rose that way.

Supposedly, the sun rose that way.