Beau Miles is what happens when you cross Bear Grylls with Bush Tucker Man. He’s an award winning filmmaker, poly-jobist, speaker, writer, occasional YouTuber, new dad and an adventurer with plenty of crazy stories in his new book, The Backyard Adventurer.
With a PhD in Outdoor Education, a string of successful short films under his belt, and a boundless passion for discovery, Beau’s exploits are funny, authentic and insightful.
The Backyard Adventurer is about conscious experimentation with adventure.
This is one man’s unique take on the world and how to go about life; this book redefines what it means to go adventuring.
I get the sense that a lot of the time the stern then friendly police are not really sure what's illegal or not.
“Much like the prospect of being frisked at an airport, I don’t mind the idea of doing something that gets the attention of authorities. Chatting to police officers in the heat of doing something a little off is a good chance to have a break, much like taking a leak, and a well-earned excuse to take stock of things over a conversation with someone other than yourself. In what must be a question-opener that police are trained to ask suspect people in Australia, Officer A, who is always partnered with Officer B, asks firmly, ‘Mate, what are you doin’?’
As I take off my sunglasses and shuffle into a slice of shade (I knelt down next an officer once, to be shaded by them), I’ll say what I’m doing in the simplest of terms, which is usually something a little unusual, possibly illegal, done with innocence. Officer B then says something along the lines of, ‘You know you can’t do that, mate?’
To which I say, ‘Yeah, right. Well, I figured I’m not doing anyone any harm.’
Most of the time, I’m told to move on and avoid doing what I’m doing, which I agree to do, before I go on doing what I was doing. I get the sense that a lot of the time the stern then friendly police are not really sure what’s illegal or not, especially when it comes to laws that are not often broken, or ones that are fringe, like those that prohibit paddling stormwater drains, sleeping in trees or dismantling an old bedframe on the median strip of a highway. Or, in this case, retracing an old train line on foot, shovel in hand, along a thin wedge of land the government once owned, and still might.
As clouds part and unseasonal heat starts to take effect, a welcome piece of shade greets me as I pop out onto one of the 20 road crossings I’d make that day. The film crew arrive in their cars, having followed me at right angles since the last crossing as I made my way across several farms. A police divisional van approaches from the direction of Warragul, roughly 10 km away. The car pulls up squarely alongside me. Officer A, who is behind the wheel, window down, informs me of the problem: ‘Mate, what are you doin’? People are ringin’ us about a man crossing their paddocks.’
I tell them I’m Beau from Jindivick, much like Bilbo Baggins says he’s from Hobbiton. As I stand there drenched in sweat, as if I’ve run from town carrying a shovel, and enjoying the deep shade of a willow that grows firmly from the small remaining slice of pushed up railway, our conversation warms up. Mitch, Chris and Brett continue to film. As I’ve been accosted by police before, and all of us know that a rolling camera doesn’t look like a rolling camera when you’re not looking through a viewfinder or at a screen, cameras continue to roll.
‘I’m running the old Warragul-to-Noojee railway line – retracing it. I reckon I might be the first person to do it since it closed down in 1958.’
‘Yeah, right,’ Officer B says. ‘How far is it?’
‘’Bout 43 kay, close to a marathon, which is kinda why I’m doing it.’
‘Geez,’ he responds.
‘What’s with the shovel?’ Officer A asks.
‘Well, a few sections coming up are pretty overgrown with blackberries and willows. I thought about carrying a machete, but reckoned you folks would have arrested me by now.’
‘Right,’ says, B, leaning towards the conversation from the passenger seat. ‘Well, at least you’re not crazy.’
I agree. We laugh.
I thank them, and they drive off.
Feeling a little relieved that I’m actually continuing, I dart across the next slab of green hillside like a hunted fox, as if the trained eyes of police, farmers and anyone else with a gun or a phone are onto me.”
The Backyard Adventurer by Beau Miles (Brio $32.99) is out 5th May.