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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A temporary home has been found

A week in Cairns..and what a week it's been. Sometimes I can't quite believe my luck. So much has happened, and it's all so so good. On my last update, I had just met Cora and Janice. It was our first day together, we had only just met each other, and were obviously still finding our feet. The 3 of us were so excited, and were already so keen to get things sorted here in Cairns, that on Thursday, we randomly came across a number of an agency that deals with housesharing. Housesharing can be compared to living in studentaccommodation. We were so certain that we wanted to be in Cairns, find and job and settle for a while, that when we rang the number and were told to come round to the office to check out what rooms were available, we didn't have to think twice. Just like we didn't have to think twice, when we they offered us a twinroom, in an apartment with 6 other girls. The rates were cheaper than staying in hostels, we'd have a clean house, we'd have privacy... what more could we ask for? The rooms were available from Saturday, so we grabbed our chance.. Our chance to stay in a place as beautiful and lively as Cairns. Me and Janice instantly clicked, so I didn't doubt that living with her was all I wanted. So, within an hour of ringing the number, we had a home!! I couldn't believe it.. I was only in Cairns 24 hours and already I had a base for at least the next 4 weeks (we had to commit to staying in the apartment for that length of time, which wasn't an issue for me), and I was sure to be sharing a room with an amazing girl...

We couldn't believe all that was happening. So much, in no time at all.. We had 2 more nights at the hostel, before moving house. We had an absolute ball; living the hostel life to the max, and not caring about anything, because I knew that it was only temporary. We partied a little, and talked a lot. Cora, the Irish girl who we met at the airport too, was staying in the hostel for another week, before moving into a share house too. Everything was falling into place and being around backpackers again, after being with Jason for 2 months, wasn't any hassle at all. Their all drunken English and Irish girls and boys all over the place, so I was able to fit in well with it all, and not be too annoyed, all because of the move that was going to take place on Saturday.

Saturday was our day.. We got to the house, and the space was enormous.. Especially after living out of a van, with no space at all.. It was amazing. So what is the set-up like? It's like no where I've ever stayed before in my life. It's around a 15 minute walk from the Esplanade and the lagoon (a free man-made lake (with sand and everything) open to the public everyday of the year), and from where everything happens.. We have everything in this apartment.. luxuries I'd forgotten that existed: a sitting area, a big kitchen (where nobody steals the food). We have 6 other girls who we share with. They are all around 20 years old, and students. They are all so quiet, and it's all so clean.. We even have a cleaner!! We have a tv.. WITH TV CHANNELS!! (I must have sounded like a right wolly..or a proper bushman..when I asked if the tv has channels..my god..what's happened to me!!). We have a wardrobe and I actually unpacked my backpack (I put it under the bed, and was so excited, because I knew the next time I take it out and use it again, is when I'll be moving on after having lived another chapter of this journey, and I'll be so much richer with different experiences and new people in my life..how excited I was).. We have a desk in our room. We have clean sheets, we have a bedside table!! We even have a pool and a bbq area in the garden, which we share with 3 other apartments in the same complex.. We have palm trees in our garden, we have a dinner table, we have a clean fridge that will keep our fruit and veg fresh, that we get from the huge market that takes place 3 times a week and where everything is "cheap as chips".

There was so much to take in on Saturday, that it was overwhelming. But at the same time, as I sat at the dinner table that night writing, it felt like I'd been there forever. It felt like home straight away. Going from a van, to a set-up like this, is huge.. But all so natural at the same time. Me and Janice are like I don't know what. Every night, if we aren't out, we're up talking for hours, whispering to each other in the dark, giggling like little girls and then falling asleep and feeling so high on life.. This is the feeling I got on Saturday and Sunday night when I went to sleep, in my brand spanking new bed, with the clean sheets and a proper duvet.. It was amazing.

On Sunday we were settling in even more and by Monday afternoon, as we went to visit Cora in the hostel and drank wine from 3pm onwards before going to a bbq on the Esplanade and meeting other travelers, we were referring to the apartment as our home.. What an amazing feeling it was.

Today is another day, a day to maybe start the search for a job.. The next thing that I'm eager to sort. Seeing as it's raining (tropical rain I might add, the kind that feels sticky, and makes the air smell like it's a summers day.. because it always is..and it's delicious!!), I'm gonna sit here and sort it out. There isn't really that much around at the moment, when it comes to work, but where there's a will, there's a way. There simply is no question about it.. Because I'm here now, I have a home, and work is what I need if I wanna keep on living the dream. But even without work, the dream won't end, because the dream is my life. Also being around Janice I'm being reminded of my dream and it's been reawakened, if it might have temporarily gone to sleep. Not that I feel it did go to sleep, but being around someone who has the exact same dreams as me gives them, and therefore me, the energy I was might have been seeking. It's amazing. I love this city, I love this life, I love this day..

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A miracle.. if ever there was one

Wednesday Morning, the 22nd of July. I got on a plane, I left Jason and flew to Cairns. In some ways it felt wrong, as I turned and walked through passport control. But in other ways it also felt freeing. My emotions were so mixed, that I can't give them just one name.

As I walked away, I instantly had to take on a different approach towards everything.. Suddenly there was no one there anymore to talk to, or to listen to, or to ask about where we should go or what we should do. Every single decision I was going to make, from that moment on, was my own. This is a feeling of being so free that I felt, when I said goodbye at Dublin airport 3 months ago, even though I knew I was going to see Trish and Wayne on the otherside in Brisbane. I also felt it, when I said goodbye to Trish and Wayne at Brisbane airport, even though I knew I was going to see Jason on the other end. I felt it when I first set off, 5 years ago, when I said goodbye to Emma and Orla at Schiphol Airport, when I was going to London for 3 months on my very first big adventure. So it was a familiar feeling.. And yesterday it was there again. It's a feeling that gives me confidence, that tells me anything is possible. It's even a feeling that makes me want to walk taller and I instantly feel stronger. It makes me feel like there's nothing else in the world, except me and the unknown. I was totally dependent on myself once again, after so so long..

Getting on that plane, first to Melbourne (where I had a short stop-over), was a risk. I was taking a chance, taking a leap of faith. However I had to let go of the feeling that this next step could possibly be the wrong decision. If I were to hold on to that, I could easily end-up living according to those feelings. It took alot for me to accept the freedom in this uncertainty and leave the fear behind. I knew I had to feel fine with what the unknown gives me and the opportunities that can arise from it. The journey was 5 hours in total. I was nervous and excited, and sad, all at the same time. When I got on the plane in Melbourne, I spotted a girl with short hair, and she stroke me as being French. She had a very distinctive look about her and I instantly knew she was traveling. My seat number was 22f. A window seat.. I was delighted. Once I settled in my seat, this short-haired girl sat beside me. We didn't chat, and I was still convinced she was French.. I had no intentions of chatting to her. I was too busy sorting out my head..

The flight was 3.5 hours. Beautiful scenery, and I was writing lots and lots..all to get to that place of not fearing what I was going to encounter once setting foot back in Cairns. It was going to be so different without Jason. I didn't know if I'd miss him even more, by being reminded of where we went together and the great experiences we had. I didn't have a hostel booked either. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have a plan. All I knew was that, whatever happens, happens.. I also knew for sure that I would have time to focus on me and on what it is I want and need to do next in this beautiful life. I wrote so much, that I can't recall exactly what I put into words, but one thing did stick with me and that was that I was so excited as to who I was going to meet..

Towards the end of the flight, the girl next to me, starting chatting away. She ended up being Irish (the plane was pretty noisy, so that might have been the reason why I thought she was French..huummmm), and she was traveling and, just like me, she had no clue what she was doing or where she was staying. Not reading too much into this coincidence, we got off the plane and went our separate ways.. I had no intentions of trying to tag along with her. I was feeling fine with going into the city alone. I picked up my luggage and walked up to this information board, that had lots of different phone numbers displayed of the hostels around the city. I walked up, and stared.. What was I going to do? Then the Irish girl did the exact same.. she walked up and stared. Then another girl did the exact same.. she walked up and stared.. So here we were.. 3 girls, staring at the same information board, finding ourselves in the exact same situation.. We were traveling alone, we had just gotten off the same flight from Melbourne, we didn't know where to go in the city, but more importantly, we were all so excited about being in this beautiful place..

We started chatting and chatting and before we knew what was happening, we had booked ourselves into a hostel, in a room with just the 3 of us and it was like we had known each other for ages. We got to the hostel, which is around 5 minutes from the city center, and chatted more and more.. We were like old buddies. Their names are Cora (27, from Galway) and Janice (31, from Malta) and I'm blessed to have met them. It became apparent that the 3 of us had the exact same feelings, when we boarded that flight, earlier on that morning. We all had visions, and maybe even concerns, about getting to a hostel infested with pissed, noisy and immature teenagers. all partying up and down the east coast of oz. We all had visions of being alone and feeling lost (because we all had just left some special people behind) and feared that we would regret the decision we made in coming to Cairns. We had such a laugh when we admitted that we really didn't want to be the typical backpacking "pissheads" anymore. The 3 of us were so over it..

Cora and Janice are really really special. We chatted until I don't know what hour last night and have definitely met for a reason. We spoke about why we booked that particular flight, what reasons there were and how blessed we are that we all stood at the same information board at the exact same time. We wouldn't have met otherwise. Me and Janice are both on the same wavelength. We connected instantly and I'm so so eager to get to know even more about her. I know we'll both learn so much from each other. It excites me so much.

I went to sleep last night, feeling like I was walking on air. Why? Because I couldn't believe my luck. I think the 3 of us felt the same. I woke up this morning, and felt like I was on holidays.. Even though I'm in a place that holds alot of memories I share with Jason, I was still so eager to get out and start this new chapter, this new adventure. I wasn't worried about feeling lost without Jason. Cairns looks different right now. I already felt it yesterday, when I sat in the hostel. I woke up and was eager to start the day, and to get to know these 2 great girls even more. It's so exciting and we seem to be at the exact same place.

Not even 24 hours ago, I didn't know of their existence. Now I feel I know them well, especially Janice, and I don't want to have to say goodbye to her just yet. This was destiny. I'm 100% certain of it.. It's almost a miracle and I'm already feeling privileged to have met them, especially Janice..

So I now sit at the computer, in the heart of Cairns. It's a beautiful day and I'm so excited. Yesterday was a massive day, and now it's settling and the opportunities that have arisen, since getting here, I feel are huge. There's so much going on right now, that it's hard to keep up with my yearnings and my enthusiasm to start making great things happen for me. We still will never know what will happen next, but life can be so miraculous. It might all sound very far fetched, but it's just how it is right now..

I'll be staying in the same hostel for another few days, I can't say what I'll be doing next, but I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Coming Full-Circle Part 2

Our last day was spent doing a winetour in the Borassa Valley. This is what South Australia is known for..the 96 wineries, all within a 20km radius. Jason had said from the beginning of the trip that when we get to Adelaide, we'll spend our last day visiting all the wineries, tasting all that's on offer and getting drunk in the process. So that's exactly what we did. I can now say that I'm a wine expert..when it comes to knowing that "mixing around 30 different kinds of wines isn't the way to go, when you don't want end up feeling pretty sickly". That's all I can say on the subject.. From white wine, to rose, to dark red, to port, to muscat, to mead.. They all passed my palate (as they would say in wine-jargon), and I don't plan on drinking anything made from grapes that consists of alcohol for next while.. Or maybe the next few days or hours anyhow..

We camped that night in a suburb in Adelaide by the beach. Both pretty drunk, and still not being able to grasp that this was the end of our roadtrip together. I was up at 3.30am the next morning, trying to pack, in the still of the night. We headed to the airport, and nobody would have guessed that I was hungover as bedamned.. Why? Because there was simply too much going on, when it came to just about everything, that the hangover was the least of worries: leaving Jason, ending the trip, saying goodbye to Myvan, thinking about where to stay in Cairns and nearly being convinced that this could end up being a big mistake. The hangover wasn't there, but the nervous and sickly feeling was very much present. Ending the trip on a clean note..I had a shower in the airport, checked-in my bags.. and then it was time to say goodbye.. We didn't drag it out and I was also almost certain that I'd come back down to Victoria to work with him, in 4 months time. Almost, I say, as nothing is ever a certain in this life. But I figure if we do end up missing each other that much, then it won't even be a question if and how I get back down to work with him in Nyah. I just simply will make it happen.

An amazing trip.. 8 whole weeks (exactly) of driving, seeing, doing, being, laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes complaining, sometimes disagreeing.. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week we were in each others company. We said, after the first 3 weeks, that it was a risky thing we did: deciding to do a massive roadtrip together, after no having seen each other in 2.5 years.. It could have been disastrous. But it wasn't anything but that. It was amazing. We both have said it's a trip a of lifetime. And it was.

I've been on roadtrips before, and have traveled around with people on the odd occasion, so it's saying alot when I say that this trip literally WAS the trip of a lifetime. It wasn't just because of what we've seen.. When I did the West Coast for example, 2 years ago, the experience was totally different. It was rushed, it was scary, it was chaotic. But the scenery over there is out of this world. Some parts would probably even be prettier and more breathtaking than some of the places we've seen over the past weeks. But with this trip, it was just about perfect because of the freedom, the van, the company, the way we were able to communicate whenever either of us was down and out. It was the fact that there was no pressure, no stress, no time limit - even though we knew our money would run out, we still managed to get into that frame of mind where time really can stand still. It was the unknown that made it so amazing. When I traveled the West Coast, we had a plan, a tight schedule, that we had to keep following.. and that's why the experience was so different from this trip. Also traveling with just 2 people is so freeing, compared to traveling with 5 people.. We were on the same wavelength when it came to flowing with the moment. We knew each others weaknesses and therefore we knew what to do when we they would become apparent, due to certain situations. He also pushed me, into doing certain things that I would never even have considered doing, 2 or 3 months ago.. He brought out that adventurous side in me, that I sometimes feared I was lacking.. How grateful I am, for this experience..

An amazing journey, and I'm sad that it's ended. I really am. I know I'll miss Jason's company, I'll miss the van, I'll miss the freedom, I'll miss living in the moment and I'll miss the unknown. But, all good things must come to an end, and this next step I'm taking, I need. I have listened and I know what I heard.. "This is the time for me to branch out and be independent again, no matter how hard saying goodbye was.."

"What a trip.."

Coming Full-Circle Part 1

The last week of our trip together. That's what the past 7 days proved to be, when I plucked up the courage to book a flight for Wednesday morning, the 22nd of July, back to Cairns. Maybe an unexpected turn of events. Not the fact that the trip would be coming to an end, but more the fact that I decided to fly back to an amazing place, I had already seen.

After 2 days of being in Swan Hill, I knew that I had to take action. I had to make a decision, I had to take that leap of faith. I had different options and opportunities. Jason had offered me a job with him in Adelaide, on the farm. He said this from the very beginning, so I had that in the back of my mind. But the more the trip progressed and the more I seen of North Queensland, the more wrong it felt for me to decide to stay in Adelaide and work on the farm. The work for one, was something that was stopping me. I haven't worked in over a year, and for my first job to be on the farm, out in the middle of winter in South Australia (day time temperature of around 14 degrees..and freezing mornings..I've turned into a real cold-blooded person.. (which I might have been, even before getting to the north of this amazing country)), would definitely be pushing myself too hard and too fast. Another reason why it felt wrong to stay in Adelaide, was that I wanted to keep on moving and be the independent traveler I dreamt I was going to be. It was such a hard decision to make. And if I'm honest, staying in Adelaide would have been the easiest option.. I would be in Jasons company (which I, quite frankly, didn't want to have to miss) and I'd be earning money, I wouldn't have to pay for accommodation or a flight, and I'd be settled for a short while. But choosing the easiest option isn't always the right option.. And I'm not one to choose the easy way out either..

So, on Friday, I sat behind the computer, in Swan Hill, without anybody there to influence or interfere with my decision. I nearly chickened out, once it came to clicking the "confirm flight" button. But I didn't. I clicked the button. I then started to feel sick to my stomach, nervous and it felt so so wrong knowing that on the 22nd of July the trip would definitely be ending and I would leaving Jason. I got back to Johns house, the mate who we were staying with while we were in Swan Hill, and me and Jason couldn't quite believe that I'd done it.. We both never thought that I'd go through with it. But I did. So to ease the nerves and the sickly feeling we then went down to the river, the Murray, with the 3 of us and had rabbit in a campoven (a big steal pot, in the ground, surrounded by coals, which takes hours and hours to cook, but is absolutely delicious..), a fire and some drinks before setting up camp and sleeping in the bush, for one more time. Very surreal I might add.. seeing as though it was here where we used to hang out every weekend, when I was here back in 2006. And there we were, last Friday night, sitting with the 3 of us once again.. Crazy..

Anyhow, we ended up staying in Johns until Monday morning. I know, I know.. much longer than we anticipated, but there you have it.. We got comfortable being in a house, and being in Johns company and having a couch to slouch on and heat in the evenings and a larger space to move around in, compared to the 1.5 by 1.5m in the van. We were spoilt for a few days. We visited mates of Jason, on Saturday afternoon. I had such a blast, was fed some beers and I felt so at home.. (even without the beers I would have felt at home..). They were the first aboriginal family I'd gotten to know and vaguely remember from the farm I used to work on. They welcomed me into their home, and I didn't want to leave.. Amazing people.

Finally Monday morning came, and it was time to get on the move again. It was a day of driving from Swan Hill to the South Australian boarder. It was our last night to camp out in the middle of nowhere, along the river Murray again..(it's the longest river in Oz by the way, so we followed it the whole way back towards Adelaide). The sunset was pink, and the stars had never shone so brightly.. All because there was no moon.. They were brighter than anywhere we'd stargazed, when we were up in the North. Amazing!

This wasn't the end of the final week just yet.. There's more to come..xxx

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Visiting - driving - visiting - driving - visiting

I find myself in a place I've been before. Somewhere that isn't new to me, somewhere that's familiar. A little blast from the great times of my past. I'm in Swan Hill, in Victoria (only 4 hours north of Melbourne), where I worked in 2006, for nearly 3 months, when I first came to Australia. It's where I had my first job in Oz and where I worked with Jason. Swan Hill was always the nearest town to the hotel, where we all lived. We would come here every week for shopping, it was like our base and Nyah West is where the hotel was and also where we worked, which is 25 km down the road.

We got here yesterday after a week of full-on driving and are staying with a mate who used to live at the hotel too, but now lives in Swan Hill, a guy called John. We rocked up at his place yesterday afternoon, without any warning.. A little risky, but he was delighted to see us and couldn't believe that I was there.. He thought he was never gonna see me again, just like I thought I never would see him again either.

Such a great time we've had, catching up. And so surreal aswell. The whole set-up and situation right now is so strange.. I was sitting on a sofa last night in a living room (which has been something I haven't done in nearly 2 months, so even that felt odd), with Jason and John, in Swan Hill, 2,5 years after leaving here.. I'm back in a place I had some magic moments and a place that holds some of my dearest memories from backpacking. I'm almost a different person, with a different state of mind, on a different journey and with so many different things going on in my life.. Things that I could never have imagined that could happen to me, have happened or have the potential of happening. It's the strangest feeling.

This morning we went to Nyah West, and that totally blew my mind. Seeing the hotel where we stayed, the phonebox where I used to ring home, the pathway I used to jog along in 40 degree heat, the deli where I used to email from, and the pub where I used to spend so much of my hard-earned cash on a beer after a day of tieing trees with Jason in the paddock. It was so crazy. Not much has changed. I even seen some familiar faces, everybody still doing their daily thing.. I had forgotten how backwards that tiny little town was. It's still like a place out of the 1960's.. the buildings, the roads, the "shops", everything. But it felt great to be there. Especially seeing as though it was there that I met Jason, and now I was back but after having traveled thousands of miles with him; It's all so surreal..

Before getting to Swan Hill, we came down from Childers (up on the east coast of Queensland). Along the way we've been visiting some other cool people. We left Childers last Friday morning, and headed down towards Brisbane. We were going to visit Trish and Ed, back in Caboolture. It was again the strangest thing really, because in a way it was like coming full-circle. I had left there, 6 weeks earlier, when I got on the plane to fly to Adelaide and suddenly I was back to where my journey in Australia had started out. But with so much than I set off with. So many great memories, that Jason and I are already thriving on. We got there on Friday afternoon, had some drinks and lots of chat out on the porch. We stayed in their house on Friday night, after having a great lamb curry, which gets mentioned everytime we see sheep or lamb in the fields as we're driving along (thanks again Trish!). It was all such luxury. Staying in a house, with heat for one, was glorious. The nights have been getting so much colder the past 2 weeks.. so a proper roof over our heads was soooo nice and warm.

Saturday we went on a search for a mate of ours, Lewis, who we stayed in the pub with in Nyah West years ago. We had his home address in Brisbane and after getting lost in the suburbs for a while, we finally made it to his house.. Totally unannounced we knocked on his front door, not even knowing if he still lived there or not.. When the door opened, it wasn't him though.. Our bubble burst so quickly, after the excitement took over both of us for a few minutes, once we were told that he moved out a while ago and that the new owner had no idea of his whereabouts. What a shame. We had no way of contacting him.. But at least we gave it a try. Deflated we left and got lost some more around the suburbs of Brisbane, until dinnertime and then just desperately wanted to get out of there.. We had nowhere to camp in the city so we had to hit the highway.. and freeze our socks off once again, as we found a restarea on the highway.

The next day, Sunday, we went to visit a mate, Craig, in Stanthorpe (south of Brisbane), who we also worked with in Nyah West. I was so excited to see him, we always got along so well. I never ever thought I'd see him again, just like John, but there you have it.. (my new motto should become: never say never) We got to his house (announced I might add, which makes a nice change..haha), hung out with him for the afternoon, had some beers and hit the highway again, in search of restarea where we could light a campfire. And it worked!! Halleluja, we had heat! A raging fire at night, and in the morning once again. You might be wondering just how cold it gets, at night. Well, I'm afraid back home, it might not be considered cold at all.. My Irish blood hasn't been serving me well at all, since I got so used to the warmer climate up in North Queensland.. It's only around 5 degrees at night, and 15 in the day.. So it's not freezing cold, but fairly chilly when you don't have heat in the van at night. Anyhow, enough about the weather..

From Monday onwards we were doing some good driving.. When I say good, I mean, "putting in a lot of km's". We had to put in the hours and needed to push ourselves to get on the road, good and proper again, that's if we wanted to move ourselves in space, not only in time. And they were very monotonous days I can tell you, and playing eye-spy doesn't really work when there's nothing around. Talking..and talking and talking alot of "bla bla bla" is all we can do. Which can't really be considered as talking. So then we go for just plain silence which can be nice, but then we both get too caught up in our thoughts and are like 2 zombi's and Jason then gets fatigued and agitated by rattling sounds in the van and I feel useless because I can't do anything to help or can't drive.. Hummm.. I reckon thousands of km's will do anybody's head in. So the camping at night was all we had to look forward to. On Monday night we were in the forest with a fire, Tuesday night we stopped in a truckstop.. and last night we were in Johns nice warm house here in Swan Hill..

So at the moment, we're only 600 km's away from Adelaide. This is probably our final port of call, before coming full-circle good and proper. John wants us to stay for a few days. We aren't too sure just yet how long.. Maybe until tomorrow or Saturday.. It depends. I don't know what it depends on really. But just on us I suppose. So much of the trip is now behind us, and I'm noticing that both of us have been pretty tired over the past days.. so many impressions, so many sights, so many kilometers.. It has been taking us more and more out of us, to keep the energy going. But being here, and feeling the way I'm feeling right now, it's all going effortlessly again. Which is great. We'll more than likely be back in Adelaide at the beginning of next week. That's an estimate. We'll see what happens. Until then, we're enjoying being in a house for a few days, in a warm bed and with great company.. I always said that Nyah West came close to being the best.. xxxx

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heading South

It's Thursday afternoon. I'm in a place called Childers. We are still in Queensland and are on the road heading south, still. We're in no rush at all to get back to Adelaide. If anything, we're dreading it. But needs must, I suppose. I'm sitting in a tiny little bakery, on the oldest computer in the world, and probably the slowest too, while my clothes are in the washing machine, in the laundromat. It was a mission to find internet, so I'm delighted to even be able to type anything right here, right now. It's been the first day that we both haven't wanted to get anywhere.. We want time to stop, and the road to stop. But it can't and it simply won't.

Since leaving Mission Beach last Friday, a lot seems to have happened and some plans have been changed. We were initially planning on driving down the coast towards Townsville, which was only 300 km's south of Cairns and then heading inland and driving cross-country back to Adelaide. But we knew that the trip would come to an end too quickly, had we done that, as there's not a whole lot to see and we'd have been constantly driving. So we decided to go a few extra km's, and drive down the whole east coast, to Brisbane and call in to see Trish and Ed instead. It would add a couple of days onto the journey, which is great and I wanted to see them anyhow. So that's where we're heading for now. It's taken us nearly a week to get this far, but we've been hanging around everywhere a little bit longer than necessary.. trying to prolong the journey back, as much as possible.

We stopped last Friday night in Townsville, where we got busted by the cops for camping in a place we weren't allowed, so we got out there pretty quick and were relieved that we didn't get a 500 dollar fine instead of the warning. We slept in a residential area that night, which wasn't the right thing to do and were waiting for the knock on the window from the cops, telling us to move. But it never happened, thank god. We made it out of Townsville on Saturday evening, and camped at a service station instead. I was delighted, and not at all paranoid. We then made a stop in Bowen, where we camped once again in a spot we weren't allowed to, near the beach and we actually did get a knock on the window that night from the cops, who were wondering what the hell we thought we were playing at! (to be honest he was real nice and didn't give out too much!) We told him we'd been drinking, so we couldn't drive. Which turned out to be the best thing.. we got off with another warning.. My god, I was waiting for our luck to start running out and for the fines to start rolling in. But so far so good..

We had 2 nights in a forest, which was the best. We were so remote, and it was pure luck we found such a nice place to stay for a couple of days without worrying about the cops. The cows were out and about, but they were good company. The weather was starting to get colder though, and still is by the way, so we haven't been to any beaches since our stop in Bowen. We aren't on the look-out for our little pieces of paradise anymore either. We've made peace with the fact that those days belong with the warm tropics up north. And down south we can light fires in the bush and have camp-fire toast instead, just like we did on the beginning of the trip. A different kind of paradise, just as nice, but a little chillier.

Yesterday we had our first long day of driving again.. And today we've been dossing about, not wanting to go too far.. we simply don't want this to end. But it will.. I reckon we'll be back in Adelaide by next week. We're still trying to get used to the fact that it will end, so it can be a little deflating.. I'm just trying to make the most out of every day, now that I'm certain our days on the road together are numbered. Not to worry though.. we're not quite there yet. We've still got quite some km's of driving to do. So smiles and laughter all the way, as we wind down from this amazing trip.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mission Beach - Reality hitting home

Saturday, the 27th of June, we left Cooktown and headed back towards Cairns. Sad to leave our little beach but also excited to be on the road once again. Before we knew it, we were back on the beaches we had left behind 2 weeks ago. We didn't mind though and were quite happy. We hadn't really planned on staying near the city, but ended up staying 3 nights. We stayed near the beaches just north of the city, where the weather was still hot and where the beaches were still pretty deserted. So all was well. It was great being in civilization again, and Jason had his first experience in an Irish pub. So cool!! When it came to leaving Cairns, we were so sad. It was like we were nearing the end of this trip. We knew it would only get colder, the further south we drove. We knew that if we wanted, we could be back in Adelaide within a week. It slightly depressed us both and we were willing to do anything in order for this trip to never end. We even looked in to getting work up here, for a week or so. But we had no luck..

On Tuesday, the 30th, we had to force ourselves to switch-off any bad feelings we had about heading down south again, and just get on the road. We headed down through some towns along the coast and did some more beach walks. We even started to feel so spoilt..we'd seen so many beaches and they all started to look the same.. Oh no.. But did we still manage to appreciate them?? Yes we did, especially when we reached our next destination which was Mission Beach. It was dark when we arrived on Tuesday evening, so hadn't a clue really what to expect. We'd heard that it's pretty touristy but absolutely beautiful at the same time. And the next morning, I was blown away once more. We went to explore the beach, that does the name of this seaside resort so much justice and it was spectacular! A 14km beach..wider than any beach we'd seen so far, and the sea was bluer than blue. I felt like I'd found my new home.. what a spot it was!

It was at this point where we both started to feel like we were coming back to reality. Even whilst being in such a gorgeous spot, we realized that this roadtrip will really be ending, and pretty soon too. When we set off, which is now nearly 6 weeks ago, we hadn't planned to stay away for this long. We thought we'd do a month.. but as we started to loose the feeling of being a part of real life, we also lost track of time. Being at Mission Beach, I realized that within a week, or maybe 2, we'll be back in Adelaide.. Money is starting to run out, and Jason's boss will be needing him back at work pretty soon too, as well as the fact that his homelife is urging him to come back. Also, as we continue to drive south, there'll be less and less opportunities for us to hang out on beaches all day everyday and do nothing. Travelling on a budget will get harder and harder, because keeping ourselves occupied in the hot weather is far easier. The nights are already getting so much colder and the days will soon follow suit. In Adelaide for instance, it's around 14degrees during the day. Which I have come to experience as being blooming freezing!!

Anyhow, back to Mission Beach. I was changing my frame of mind and my way of thinking. There are certain things that I'll soon be wanting to do. I have practical things that I want and need to work towards. So I'm starting to plan ahead, but not really that far into the future. The distant future is too far off. And I reckon just the fact that I'm thinking ahead is enough for now, be it for the near or the distant future. Especially considering that when I started this trip, this was I was thinking about. I wasn't planning further than the next day. Sometimes not even that. So I needed to readjust my frame of mind, and I couldn't have done it in a better place, which was this magical Mission Beach. I took a day to myself and walked the whole 14 km's down the beach. I appreciated where I was at the point of the trip and of this point in my life. I appreciated everything that's happened so far since being on this trip and since being in Oz, as I walked, I sat, I read, I wrote, I did everything that I loved doing so much, all the while realizing that once we get back to Adelaide it doesn't mean my adventure ends. But it means that the next step of this journey can begin. Yes, it did make me sad for a short while, but then I got excited. It's still the unknown.. It's still a challenge.. and it's still my journey..

It was an amazing day and it gave me a new look on this trip. It's not bad that it's ending soon, but it's a miracle that it happened..