Travel tales to tell

Bob’s ad­ven­tures abroad were full of fun and dan­ger

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S -

HITCH­HIK­ING from Iraq to Iran with a bus­load of people who were be­ing de­ported is just one of the crazy ad­ven­tures Bob Schutt had in the ’60s he prob­a­bly wouldn’t try these days.

As a 24-year old, the boy from Footscray bought a 152-pound fare to board the Fair Star for its maiden voy­age to Eng­land.

“There was no scurvy, just ter­ri­ble hang­overs,” Mr Schutt said about the six-week trip.

How­ever, it was in Spain Mr Schutt made his great­est con­nec­tion.

In a “crazy youth hos­tel” in the sea­side town of Ali­cante he lived for 10c a night for about six months.

“It was no­to­ri­ous; the coun­cil tried hard to shut it be­cause it was ob­vi­ous it was break­ing reg­u­la­tions over the num­ber of people liv­ing in a room,” he said.

“The thing was, they had to mea­sure the floor space of each room, but they did not have per­mis­sion to come in­side the build­ing.

“So they just walked around the out­side of the build­ing with all of their tape mea­sures, try­ing to work out the lay­out – it was like a scene from Catch-22!”

The scene stuck with many of the back­pack­ers, and once the bu­reau­crats suc­ceeded in shut­ting down their orig­i­nal digs, they wrote to Joseph Heller, au­thor of the clas­sic novel Catch-22, and asked per­mis­sion to use the name.

“He wrote back and said ‘Go for it!’ so we named a new hos­tel Catch 22,” he said.

With a in­ten­tion to score seis­mic sur­vey­ing work in north Africa, Mr Schutt left the Euro­pean party haze.

But upon ar­riv­ing in Al­giers, it was the movie-mak­ing world that came call­ing.

“I played a para­trooper in La Bat­telle Al­gie. It was a French film and we ended up win­ning an award at the Venice film fes­ti­val,” he said.

Af­ter leav­ing the African city, Mr Schutt kept mov­ing, stretch­ing his money though Tripoli, Kuwait, Pak­istan, Iraq, Iran, In­dia, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

“I sold blood in Kuwait and got about $30 for that,” he laughed.

De­spite the hairy sit­u­a­tions Bob found him­self in at times, he al­ways kept his cool.

In Iran, when a ma­chine-gun-car­ry­ing sol­dier climbed into a back seat be­side him, Mr Schutt said he just smiled, stepped out of the car and “ran like hell!”.

“I had a the­ory: if you smile they won’t shoot you.”

Mr Schutt said de­spite his taste for ad­ven­ture, there was no way he would hitch­hike through Asia and the Mid­dle East these days.

He rode home on a ship from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Fre­man­tle in Perth af­ter two years abroad.

He has en­joyed a more re­laxed life on his Monto farm since.

RAM­BLER: Bob Schutt rests af­ter ar­riv­ing in Afghanistan.


GREAT AD­VEN­TURE: Bob Schutt boards a bus in Afghanistan dur­ing his round-the-world ad­ven­ture.

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