I reached a new town in the east coast today, and I’ve decided I’m going to park myself here for a bit. I walked into my hostel, expecting the typical backpacker’s joint- nice enough but crowded and certainly ‘economy,’ and instead walked into a haven that feels more like a retreat center, nestled right along the eastern coast near a town called 1770.
One hundred and twenty km from the highway, it’s a quiet town with a peaceful buzz of energy. I was only going to stay 1 night here before moving on to my next adventure, a sailing trip on a catamaran in the Whitsunday Islands,, but as soon as I walked in, my body melted into this place and I knew I needed more time.
I need time to rest, to make my own food, to write, to do yoga, to sleep. As wonderful as traveling is, hopping from town to town and hostel to hostel gets exhausting. I love meeting new people but it’s time
for some time alone, as well as some time to connect myself to my soul. Because by nature I don’t like to miss out on things, when I travel I take it all in and sometimes forget to rest. These next 5 days will be all about self rejuvenation- my own personal Aussie retreat. Bye bye, cough and exhaustion. I’m not going to carry you for the rest of my trip.
The past few days I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Fraser Island. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Australia’s 11 places marked with such an honor. It’s the largest sand island in the world and is accessible only by 4 x 4 vehicles.
I went camping with 20 strangers that soon became friends. It’s amazing how close you can get to people when you are cooking meals over a gas cooker and sharing food with them, peeing in bushes with them and walking everywhere in pairs to avoid an encounter with a pack of wild dingos that make their home on the island.
It’s easy to make close friends while traveling because of the common ground shared, and wonderful to develop friends who live all over the world. To me, that is one of the most special things about traveling. I love learning about different cultures, hearing the languages and the slang that goes with them and seeing how different people react to similar situations.
On a different note, I have had some interesting experiences with Australian wildlife. Almost a week ago, I woke up with a bump on my left ankle. By the end of the day, it developed a disk about the size of a nickel with a hollow center, and my enter ankle was swollen with fluid. Lovely. I got the recommendation from a pharmacist the following morning to go to the Dr, and got antibiotics prescribed for what seemed to be a spider bite. I won’t post a picture because no one wants to look at that, but I did see this fellow while camping and I wonder if his cousin was who got a hold of me?
Likewise, a guy from a neighboring campground came over and told us to make sure we watch where we walk. He was sitting down cutting vegetables for dinner when he felt something slither across his toes. By the time his brain registered the feeling, the snake had almost gone over his foot and luckily for him, he didn’t react but let it pass. Turns out it was the deadliest snake in Australia, killing its victims within 49 minutes after injecting its venom. And we were told these snakes travel in pairs. Thrilling. I am still alive, but fully aware that I am in the outback. This place has sharks galore, jellyfish that can kill you with their sting within 15 minutes, and I’m convinced that every animal that is the most poisonous makes its home in Australia.
Having been gone for 3 weeks now, I’m starting to miss some of the comforts of home, things in my life that I don’t give much thought to when I have them:
– My own bed with my featherbed cover and comforter
– Having a room and space of my own- most hostels where I’m staying have anything from 4 to 8 beds, so privacy is a hard thing to come by. So is sleep. Inevitably, 8 people will always be on different sleeping schedules- so even if I have a night where I’m ready to be in bed by 10pm, Susie sleeping on my top bunk might decide to stay out until 3 am. Not too easy when you’re a light sleeper like myself
– Being able to shower and not take all of my stuff with me each time, as well as the luxury of being able to walk around in a towel or in the nude after a shower instead of having to bring clothes into the shower each time and come out fully dressed.
– Being able to cook my own food on my own time in my own kitchen.
Of course none of these things could begin to compare to the incredible experience that I’m having. I am loving life, taking it all in and growing as a person. As always, I leave you with a thankful heart.