A British backpacker has been slapped with a $1,200 bill after her Canadian travel companion reported her for damaging motorhome after she was stranded midway through a 1,500-mile road trip along Australia’s east coast
30-year-old European veterinary nurse Gemini Slater left communications professional Jenna Henderson at a Brisbane campsite last Wednesday and took off in their motorhome after a massive argument during the planned trip of a lifetime.
The pair, who had joined a Facebook group, planned to spend three weeks together along the country’s scenic east coast, from Cairns to Sydney.
But the trip turned into a trip from hell when they clashed over travel expectations and the relationship soured.
British veterinary nurse Gemini Slater, 30, (pictured) said she was forced to pay extra for damage to a rental camper after her trip with a fellow backpacker turned sour
Jenna Henderson (pictured), a former communications officer, was left behind at a Brisbane campsite last week by Ms Slater after the couple’s travel arrangements fell through
After being dumped, Ms. Henderson placed herself in the group berating Ms. Slater for stranding her when she paid $1,250 — half the cost of the RV.
But Ms Slater says she was also left out of pocket after Ms Henderson refused to split all motorhome costs 50/50 as initially agreed.
The Briton said she not only coughed up hundreds of dollars to repair the damage to the motorhome’s roof after driving under a low pass, but was charged extra when Ms Henderson later reported the incident to the rental company.
“I personally paid about $220 to get it fixed but the company took an extra $500 because of the accident plus the $500 bond that was paid when I signed for the motorhome,” Ms Slater told Daily Mail Australia.
“Some of that money may be returned when I return the RV, but I won’t know until they assess the van and the repairs.”
As their relationship deteriorated and Ms Henderson became paranoid of being abandoned, Ms Slater said she threatened to send images of the scraped camper roof to the company.
“I said I had lost faith in her so she said she would send the car hire company pictures of the damage so they would take more money off me if I left her which she did,” said Ms Slater .
“So now I’m out of money.”
The three-week trip was designed to take the pair on a 1,500-mile journey from Cairns in Far North Queensland to Sydney
Ms Henderson and Ms Slater paid half the cost for the motorhome (pictured) but disagreed over the cost of damage to the vehicle
Asked if she had reported the damage to the company, Ms Henderson told Daily Mail Australia she would not comment and was “moving on” with her life and “hopes Ms Slater does too”.
After being dumped, Ms Henderson said she spent $400 buying a last-minute flight from Brisbane to Sydney and “is staying with Airbnbs because hostels are all booked up.”
“I don’t even want to think about how much I paid right now,” she said.
“I’ve also gotten sick the last few days, so I’m not well.”
Last month Ms Henderson responded to Ms Slater’s post on a backpackers social media page, looking for a traveling companion for her trip to Cairns.
The pair agreed to meet in Far North Queensland town where they rented a motor home on October 31 to head to Sydney.
But after two and a half weeks on the road, the relationship fell apart.
“I came back to the site with all my luggage tossed around,” Ms Henderson wrote in a backpackers Facebook group, detailing the drama.
“Now I’m out of money, I have to find shelter and go to Sydney.
She said she was looking for other travelers to ride with her. Be warned, she can take your money and run! Watch who you ride with!’
Pictured: Damage to the roof of the vehicle after the pair drove under a low pass
The post left social media users divided, some siding with Ms Henderson, while others said they wanted to hear Ms Slater’s version of events before passing judgement.
In response, Ms. Henderson said the “story was simple” and that Ms. Slater “liked me for the first week and then started making comments and criticisms of me.”
“She said bluntly, ‘I wasn’t the ideal travel partner and she wished she could do it alone or with someone else,'” she wrote in the comments.
“I said ok give me my money back for the rest of the RV rental which was about $400 and she could continue the trip her way – she didn’t like my suggestion so I said we’d get together stay until Sydney,” she said. said.
“I went to dinner, was gone about 30 minutes, and she had left and checked out of the campground we booked together (which also lost me another $50). Win win situation for her! Lose-lose for me.”
Ms Henderson said she had reported the incident to the police and the car company but would have to take her to court to collect money – which was impracticable as Ms Slater had no fixed address to ‘deliver’ to ‘her’ with paper.
But speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Ms Slater gave a very different version.
After making contact through her post, Ms Slater said the pair had met once in Melbourne, where they are both currently based, and would meet when they arrived in Cairns.
She said they would initially both drive and be listed on the contract, but could only secure a last-minute rental for the 1,500-mile journey – and because the vehicle was a manual transmission only Ms Slater could to drive.
“She made no bones about saying she wanted to sign the contract,” said Ms. Slater.
“I felt I trusted her enough to sign for the RV, which in hindsight was a mistake.”
Ms Henderson said she felt “betrayed” and “swindled” after being stranded at the campsite
The Briton said she quickly realized the pair had different travel styles, which was fine at first and they managed to continue their journey – at times they stayed together with each other’s friends and relatives in the north.
She said her traveling companion wasn’t as clean as she could have been, didn’t want to cook and eat together, and pulled out of tours they booked together halfway through because she couldn’t handle the heat.
But tensions arose after two tour incidents exposed the differences in their personalities and expectations.
In the first, Ms Slater said Ms Henderson quit a Fraser Island tour to hang out by the pool, before racing ahead of her a second time while they were kayaking in Noosa, leaving the less experienced Brit on his own.
But when Ms Slater said she wanted the trip to be done together rather than ostensibly operating as solo travellers, she said Ms Henderson took it as a ‘personal attack’ and became ‘vengeful and spiteful’.
“I would drop her off at the mall to get her nails off, I had a day alone, but when it comes to these experiences [like tours]”I told her I might as well do it on my own, because I kind of am,” Mrs. Slater said.
“Then she started to get paranoid that I would abandon her. I tried to reassure her that I wouldn’t, but I didn’t realize how annoying it would be.’
Ms Slater said the three days the breakup was at its worst felt like ‘the longest in my life’
After their second row, Mrs. Slater said that Mrs. Henderson had asked her to buy her out of the rental car if she wanted to travel alone, but she said she was not willing because she had not signed up to pay the cost of the rest of the trip solo. cover. .
But the straw that broke the camel’s back came when Mrs. Slater scraped the roof of the car while driving and asked Mrs. Henderson to cover the cost of DIY items to repair the damage.
She said, “Why should I have to, you crashed the van?” but she accepted on the basis that I was driving,” said Ms. Slater.
“If you think it’s 50/50 as a whole, then as a risk it should be 50/50. If she was driving, I would have had to pay too. But she flatly refused to pay because I was the driver.’
From then on, Ms Slater said the journey turned into a nightmare, with three days of silence as they drove and Ms Henderson, afraid of being abandoned, followed her everywhere and demanded she hand over the keys as she exited the vehicle.
While she admitted it was an “unkind decision” to leave, Ms Slater said she’s been happier since then.
Mrs Henderson walks along a beach in Far North Queensland during the disastrous road trip
“She was a squatter in my motorhome who fell short of my expectations — neither of us lived up to each other’s expectations — but she had either lied or misinformed me about what she wanted from the trip,” she said.
“I am not bad, but I think that when someone is forced not to make an alternative choice, I am driven into a corner, what should I do?”
The pair met in Cairns (pictured) before heading down the coast a few days later on Oct. 31