The time has come and it's the day I'm due to leave. I can't quite believe it. It's Wednesday afternoon and I'm packing my backpack, I'm gathering all my bits and pieces, I'm throwing out stuff that is only weighing me down and I'm preparing for the off. I'm not stressed, but slightly groggy from the wine I had last night, as we went for a few drinkies in Brisbane. I'm also excited, I'm just about ready and I'm a tiny bit nervous.
So where am I going and what am I doing..?? I'll start at the beginning..
When I first arrived in Oz, on my second day, I got a phone call from Jason. A dear dear friend of mine from Adelaide, who I worked with in Nyah West on the farm when I was here first time round. We were so close as friends and he has proven to be more special than I initially thought. Why? Because he proved to me over the past year that any friendship can withstand the distance of space and time, especially when one needs as much support as possible, whilst being in a dark place.
When we last said goodbye, it was December 2006 and I didn't know if I'd ever see him again. We both went our separate ways and lost contact until Summer 2008. When I had just got back to Ireland in June last year, I wasn't doing too well. But one day I suddenly found myself thinking of him and I wanted to seek contact. I looked up my old sim-card, found his old mobile number and thought I could at least see if he still has the same number. I sent him a text, and within minutes I got one back.. It was so surreal. He didn't know what my story was at that point in my life, so I decided to write him a letter. I wanted, for some strange reason, him to know what was going on with me. And once he had received the letter, he supported me so much by texting me kind sweet words every week, without fail.
Those texts were always the highlight of my week, they made me smile even it was for just a short while. But it was still reassuring to be aware that I was still able to smile back then. When I was in the midst of everything last Summer, (I don't even remember sending that particular text) I sent him a text saying that once I'm better and back on my feet again, we would definitely meet. I forgot I had sent that text, but left it in my phone, only to read it months and months later after I had made the decision to come back to Oz. And after I was already aware that he was one of the reasons I needed to return. I wanted to come back and he was probably the catalyst or the drive that made me see where it was I needed to be, or maybe I wanted to see him again because of all the support he gave me. Either way, I was shocked when I came across that text, to read that I was already so willing to see him again, even whilst being so muddled.
When he rang me, on my second day in Oz, he was talking about doing a roadtrip in a van. He was planning on going pretty soon. At that moment, I'd had a glass of wine, so I was feeling a bit courageous and I asked him if he wanted some company. He was delighted, and so was I. It was too much of a coincidence that we were both in a position to travel at the same time, to not act on it. From that day, I've been waiting for everything to fall into place. He was finishing up the work on the farm, waiting for his last payday and waiting to buy the van in which we would be traveling. Then he was going back to Adelaide (which is where he lives) to sort out some stuff. Because he was doing so much else, I was wary about getting my hopes up too much. So I kept it pretty much to myself. But once he got everything sorted, he texted me, which was last week Monday, saying that I had to be in Adelaide by next Thursday (which is tomorrow) so we can go traveling! And that's exactly what's happening..
I booked my flight on Sunday, I'm flying from Brisbane to Adelaide this evening, he will be picking me up from the airport and we'll be starting the roadtrip from there. Straight away apparently. I can't quite believe that it's all fallen into place, the way it has done. It seems so surreal. I haven't seen him for 2 1/2 years. And tonight I'll be seeing him again. Who would have thought that it would happen so soon.. I never did. When I booked the flight over to Oz, it wasn't my plan to meet him this way, I didn't really have a plan. I told myself to keep an open mind about everything, even when it came to meeting Jason. It didn't matter when we were to be meeting or under which circumstances. I wanted it to happen but wasn't going to expect it to. And certainly not like this, not so soon and not so easily..
We'll be traveling in a van that he has renovated on the inside. It was empty when he first bought it, so he's now equipped it will all "mod-cons". He'll be doing all the driving, as I don't have a licence. We're starting from tonight, heading up to Cairns, driving cross-country. The usual route to Cairns would be via the coastline, which would give you the chance to see all the touristy spots and do the partying with all the backpackers. But, nope, that's not our plan. Driving cross-country means that we'll be driving through hundreds of miles of dessert.. for days and days. Once we get to Cairns (which some people reckon will take up to 3 weeks.. but I'm an optimist and I'm convinced it won't take us that long), we'll be heading over to Darwin. This is another route that would usually only be driven by the insane..or those who like to get off the beaten track. It will be hundreds of miles of more nothingness and dessert. But beautiful nothingness.. From there we'll be heading straight down the middle of the country, stopping in Uluru. That's the most famous spot of Oz. It's the big red rock, that is on the front of nearly every travelguide of Australia. That will be amazing.. From there, we head back down to Adelaide.
All this, in 4 weeks.. It's nearly 10.000km.. Is it doable? I reckon so. Or more to the point, Jason reckons so. I guess I'll have to take his word for it. All of these places that we'll be visiting, except for Darwin, are new to me. I haven't been to Adelaide, Cairns, north Queensland, Uluru.. So that just makes it all the more exciting. What an amazing trip!!
So new adventures are ahead. The first part of my trip is coming to an end. I'm leaving, after being here in Caboolture for 4 weeks. I've had an amazing time. It's been chilled-out as well as fun. It's been a great place to get my bearings and to settle into Ozzie life, which happened so easily that I sometimes can't even imagine I was never here to begin with. I've met some great great people and spent time with close family. That made it into such a great environment. The one thing that did strike me, was how I feel like I've been here so long, and how I've settled so easily and how this can make it more difficult to get up and just simply go.. But it's happening and the timing couldn't have been better.
After meeting such great people here, I can't say that I won't want to come back here to visit. Because I do. Oz might be a big country but it's relatively small and it's so easy to make an effort to revisit a place that has become so friendly and familiar. Or come to think of it, it isn't even an effort because doing something you want to do, is usually effortless..
So bring on the new times, I'm ready for whatever this trip might bring. And I'll continue to say that I can't quite believe this is happening..