Lucy Samuels and Lucy Taylor were only new acquaintances when they shared a seven-hour car ride to a mutual friend’s birthday.

They spoke at length about their love for the bush and those who inhabit it and daydreamed together about flying across Australia to meet those people and to tell their stories.

A week after they returned from the birthday party, Ms Taylor knocked on Ms Samuel’s front door in Dubbo and said: “When do we leave?”

Both at a crossroads about where to take their journalism careers, the two would begin preparing for the bush podcast adventure of their lives.

Ms Taylor had left her job in Sydney, to go freelancing in country NSW, while Ms Samuels had left her commercial TV role, but wanted to continue telling stories in the country.

“We wanted to really give a voice to the untold heroes of the bush,” Ms Samuels said.

“We are both journalists and we are both really passionate about telling stories.”

The pair have since taken off in Ms Samuels’ plane.

Beautiful, bigger picture from the air

To her friends, seeing Ms Samuels flying and telling stories came as no surprise.

The former TV news journalist was willing to do a lot for a good story, including getting in a plane with a pilot for a report.

“After doing that [story] I guess it was the thrill of aviation, the adrenaline,” Ms Samuels said.

Two years ago, Ms Samuels went full throttle to get her pilot’s licence.

“It is freedom and focus — you have to be really disciplined in the plane and you always have to be ahead of the plane when you are flying.”

She said it offered a new perspective on the outback too, which can be dominated by straight roads that stretch on for hours when travelling by car.

“I enjoyed the freedom, being up in the air, it is beautiful, you can kind of take in things a little differently.”

Slowing down and filling a void

While both women had reported on outback stories, Ms Taylor was bracing for a very different change of pace.

The former Marie Claire features writer had traded in the constant hum of city living in Sydney for her hometown of Coonamble before embarking on the Australia-wide trip.

“I adore it out here and I adore the people and the change is good. It’s a slower pace,” Ms Taylor said.

The two have watched regional media shrink, especially in the wake of coronavirus.

Ms Samuels has watched on as the Channel Nine and the WIN Network have closed their newsrooms in her old beat of Dubbo.

“Being around regional areas and telling stories of the regional people is vital to Australia and we are really the grassroots of Australia,” Ms Samuels said.

“Being given the opportunity and the freedom to travel Australia and travel to regional towns and giving the voice for these people is something that the rest of Australia needs to hear — and we can’t be forgotten about here.”

Ms Taylor said the first podcast episode for Extraordinary Outback Stories was slated to be shared with listeners in a month, depending on how COVID-19 affected their journey.

“There are some amazing stories that have gone unheard for so long and we need to get them heard out here,” Ms Taylor said.

“We will hear from an outback astronomer, a pioneer of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a vet from Arnhem Land, a fourth-generation drover.”

For these stories the women have flown from Dubbo to Goondiwindi, Broken Hill, and later the Top End.

The venture is being self-funded, but the two Lucys say dropping everything to pursue a passion project is liberating.

“It [the podcast] was freeing, we were doing something for ourselves and for our people.”

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