A dinner table suggestion has turned into a major Australian adventure for Perth man John Elliott, who last week arrived in Wagga with nothing more than five camels and a dog.
Two years ago, Mr Elliott decided to walk away from a career in finance to learn to train camels in a bid to travel across Australia after a casual conversation around a dinner table turned serious.
After departing from Queensland in April, Mr Elliott and his camels stopped in Wagga last Monday for what was supposed to be a short stay.
Mr Elliott said the city was one of the best culinary experiences of his trip so far, with the town's best restaurants keeping him here for a week.
"It kinda dragged an extra couple of days out of me," he said.
"Wagga will definitely be one of the stops I won't be forgetting."
While the trip was initially about finding fulfilment outside of making money, Mr Elliott's preparation turned out to be potentially lifesaving.
After receiving his first ever skin check, Mr Elliott was treated for a melanoma, prompting him to use the trek to raise awareness for skin cancer charity Beard Season.
"If I weren't doing this trip I never would have got that check," he said.
Beard Season promotes regular skin checks while raising funds to provide easier access to checks in regional communities, sending specialists to local shows, fairs and even the local pub.
Mr Elliott said the charity would be helping some of the smaller towns he had visited where communities must travel long distances to see a skin specialist.
"It's not something they feel they have the time to do," he said.
Mr Elliott said fundraising had taken a backseat over recent months as he aimed to create a "Mexican wave of smiles" across the drought and bushfire affected NSW towns he had visited where money was tight, but businesses and people on social media had still donated $25,000 already.
He departed Wagga yesterday with dog Bruski and camels Ted, Jackson, Bill, Arthur and Charlie in tow, headed for Albury.