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Geraldton the “perfect” place for camels to train for traveller Soyela’s two year-long trek around Australia

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Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
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Soyela Shafer and one of her camels PJ.
Camera IconSoyela Shafer and one of her camels PJ. Credit: Supplied

Some new blow-ins to Geraldton may bring their family dog or even adopt a lamb in need, but one cameleer-in-training and her two “boys” will soon make their home in the regional city.

Soyela Shafer, 33, and her camels PJ and Trent will spend 18 months in the Mid West training for their ultimate journey, a two-year trek across Australia.

Soyela Shafer and her camels PJ and Trent.
Camera IconSoyela Shafer and her camels PJ and Trent. Credit: Supplied

As with all great modern connections, Soyela recently took to the Geraldton Noticeboard to find a home for her camels, whom she will move from a farm in Perth.

The daughter of a former Alice Springs camel farmer living in Geraldton answered her call and helped her find a 4ha property to house her and the big boys on.

Soyela will attend the Central Regional TAFE Geraldton campus to study environmental monitoring and technologies while taking time to go on one and two-day treks with PJ and Trent in preparation for their longer expedition.

You’ll probably see me, the crazy camel lady, walking around the town. Of course, I have to get council approval to go to certain beaches.

- Soyela Shafer

“It is really cool because it has a lot of the bush that they eat, which is actually a huge thing,” she said.

“Perth doesn’t have a lot of their food. You have so much land here to train.

Soyela Shafer and her camels PJ and Trent.
Camera IconSoyela Shafer and her camels PJ and Trent. Credit: Supplied

“You’ll probably see me, the crazy camel lady, walking around the town. Of course I have to get council approval to go to certain beaches. I want them to get used to sounds and people and things.”

Soyela left her home of Sacramento, California, a decade ago to travel the world and has since cycled her way across the Nullarbor solo and sailed the Tasman Sea from New Zealand to Sydney.

She said she was excited to see parts of Australia she wouldn’t be able to on a bike or even in a four-wheel-drive.

“When I was riding I saw you have camels here and I thought ‘I really want to do that as my big crazy next adventure’,” Soyela said.

“I knew I wanted to stay in Australia so I got on the school visa and wanted to pursue something different.

“I’ve always been on this search to be the best I can be, and doing very gnarly experiences and challenging all my fears has really helped me become a really confident person.”

Part of Soyela’s training will include survival courses, planning her route and orienteering.

She will take on another three camels in Alice Springs.

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