I could not write about all of the things that I have learned or loved during this trip. I knew that I would see things, the like of which I have never encountered before. I knew that I would love most of what I would find here and that I intended to have a great time with my friends.
I did have to make certain adjustments to the way that I am used to living. You see as an adult with no children, I had no real understanding of the day to day running of a household with a family in it. My hat goes off to my friends, whilst I was previously in my own comfortable bubble of blissful ignorance I have seen some of what is involved in getting things done in a household with children so I salute those who are doing this every day. For the first week here I felt absolutely wiped out, by so many things, exhaustion being only one of them and the cold that followed. I found the noise difficult to get used to and have become a much lighter sleeper during this trip.
I am used to motherly instincts kicking in, since I am Mama to a wonderful dog, so if he stirs in the night, then I am awake. But with children about I was on tenterhooks. After weeks here now I am not so skittish. I am also enjoying the numerous hugs which are planted upon me throughout the day, or leaning in to see what I am doing, or just to tell me something and the little gifts that I have been presented with during my stay. It has been wonderful being part of this family for the past few weeks and I will miss each and every one of them when I return home. I am also extremely grateful for them for making me so welcome, not only in their home but also their hearts. I have known their Mum since we were children at school, but for a large chunk of their lives, I was not in touch with them, having only caught up again recently. It seems like we are all making up for the lost time.
My friend said to me only the other morning, that she wanted to show me so much whilst I am here, she doesn’t want me to go home and not have done something that is wonderful and we could have done, since she doesn’t know when we will get to do it again. So we are not staying in and relaxing around the home, we do that when we have collected the kids from school and are all indoors for the evening. We are out in the car, gallivanting, visiting wonderful beaches and just sitting there on the sand, talking about the things that we can remember, when we were younger. The people we grew up around and experiences we shared. It reminded me that this is exactly what friends do, they should do. It is totally normal. I never thought that I might be totally normal.
We are enjoying the time we are spending together, the voyages of discovery, the sightseeing. Neither of us are particularly happy shopping, we ventured into a shopping mall here last week I think that although the building was pretty in places, but it is the most uncomfortable we have felt since I arrived and we could not wait to get back outside and do something else.
Don’t get me wrong, we have on occasion perused some of the shops, like galleries, artisan shops and the like, but generally speaking, we are making memories and thinking of ways and things that are different from the norm.
I am writing this month, but not in the ways that I thought I would. Bizarrely I have not written one poem since leaving the UK. I thought that I would write plenty of them, in the spare time of the evening.
No, instead I have been writing Trip Advisor reviews, which thankfully people are reading them at a steady rate. It is also a format where I am able to include my own photographs and of course helps any other people who may be thinking of visiting the area as well.
We haven’t been too far from here Queensland has so much to offer that it really hasn’t been necessary to travel very far at all. I think the furthest distance we have been has only been about 50Kms from the house. But we have still seen so much or maybe it just seems like it since I hadn’t left the house for such a long time before coming away. We are out on most days by 11am and return to collect the children from school by 3pm, so I guess that limits how far we can go, but I am so grateful for the use of the car to drive us about, it makes such a huge difference when you are not reliant upon public transport. It also meant that we have been able to pick up any provisions which are necessary too. We have had some lovely meals.
I have tried, Australian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese food at home and out whilst here. I will not return to the UK as a slim summer version of myself since I haven’t managed to lose any weight. My friend likes cake and has a sweet tooth. I think I do too but am trying to curb my urge to eat sweet things, so have been eating a lot of fresh fruit and also dairy free deserts, which are plentiful in this part of the world. We don’t usually have dessert at home, but I have also noticed that the food portion sizes here are much larger than I eat at home.
I will take with me some wonderful memories of this place.
For instance the smell of Eucalyptus in the rain and the trees that you catch a waft of as you head through the mountains. The vision of the enormous blue and black and white butterflies which fly over the garden and have managed to escape my camera lens for the duration of this trip, yes a whole month! I delight in their presence yet feel the frustration of just missing out, so many times a day.
The sound of the wonderful birds who visit each day some of whom sing recognisable songs which I have recorded so that I might listen again and again when I am home. The sound of the rain on the roof of the house and the 5am train that thunders by lighting up the bedroom where I sleep. The verandah which is filled with gecko’s each night who sound as though they are blowing kisses, whilst running around chasing all the bugs and the one that hides in my room and comes out at night. And the sound of cicadas chirping in the evening and the lizards who run for cover as we pass them on the way back from school.
The day that I was covered in Parrots all vying for my attention and had the biggest smile on my face.
I was thinking as we drove back earlier the other day, of the blanket of trees covering the road. The lush green surroundings which were so unexpected when I arrived, the earth around here, a vivid reddish brown and rocks in beautiful coloured layers all along the roadside as we drive through the hills. The gang of Kangaroos, we drove past just standing in a field on one rainy day that we went out in the car. Being up a mountain, with an amazing view which I could not see for the rainclouds which were rolling in and not minding one little bit. The fact that it kept happening, on several occasions we went out to enjoy the view from a height. The happiness and elation of standing on the beach with my friend, taking in a fabulous view of the surf meeting the sky, the salt being swept towards us and landing on our skin, sun warming me to the bone. The fact that my hands and my feet do not hurt when I wake up in the morning, they ache from the walking on sand and up hills by the end of the day, but it is a satisfying ache that I have done things, achieved something, gone out and seen a part of the world that I had previously only dreamed that I would.
The beauty of a Buddhist Temple on a cloudy day, with it’s Garden of Enlightenment and the plants and peace and calm that surrounds a place that until recently, I probably would not have even thought to visit.
I dare not hope that I could have come here to this amazing place, for such a length of time. I am counting my blessings each day, waking to sunlight and birdsong, surrounded by trees I don’t know the names of and wanting to know more, about the place, the things that I am seeing, wanting to explore. Wanting to write about it all, in detail, so that if at some time in the future my memory fails me, I will be able to read about these wonderful things, experiences and the life that I will have had.
It feels a little surreal, at times as though I am on the outside looking in to what has been happening. After all I am the person who did not have much ambition in my younger years, although I wanted to travel I didn’t really get the opportunity to do so when others went off to see the world, I was left behind, just getting along with paying the rent and things. But now, things are different, that very same person is getting to see places which not everyone does. I am conscious of the fact that this is not just a dream place of mine. Others dream of these places and here I am getting to live someone else’s dreams too. Documenting this trip, with photographs and diary has been easy, when we are out, barely any time goes by before either camera or iphone is poised to record what I am seeing. But there are many things and moments, which I have seen and which I will cherish, when driving the car for instance when I have been unable to stop and take a photo. Instead, storing it to memory and hoping that it will remain there for years to come.
I may not have children with whom I can share these experiences by way of storytelling. I do however have you the wonderful people who continue to read my blog. And that is why I write it. Maybe for some who are cautious, or hesitating in some small way it will serve as inspiration to take the trip, do the thing, be the person that you have always wanted to be.
I knew that this year would be important, I had sensed the changes in myself and they seem to have been a long time coming. There have been changes for the better, there have also been things which will teach me as time goes on, if not in the here and now, then in the future I am sure.
I will be able to look back upon this year, when I reach the end of it, with fondness for the things that have happened. Above all, whatever life chooses to throw at me, I have decided as this year began that this not going to be another bad year, this is going to be one of the best! I have wanted to take control of my destiny, we are even now, only ¼ of the way through it and there is so much that can happen during the rest of it.
I am inspired, feeling creative still, I want to do so much and for the first time in a very long while, this break has given me the energy to do some of it. Feeling that this is the start of good things to come, like the corner has been turned and I am looking ahead up a long straight road, with no obstructions, no dangers waiting to pounce. Although that may be foolhardy since no one knows what is around the corner. Excitement is kicking in about the things that we will get to do when I return home to my love, the time that we will spend together. The memories and photographs that I can share with him and also the new ones that we will also make along the way with our little family.
So in conclusion.
As I wrack my brains to try and find the answer, I wonder is this actually a voyage of discovery for a land that I had not yet seen, or is it in fact another great part of my own journey, which I have begun to enjoy at last. Some of the things that I will take with me from this trip are the simplest things, which money cannot buy and which I will cherish. The laughter as we went around a mountain road, listening to a song that we grew up with wrecked as another cover version and the various comments we made. Giggling together as we shared a joke or a look, just as we did when we were children of course we are all grown up now, but it is times like these when we forget it all and revert to the kids that we were, just enjoying the moment together as old friends. I don’t think that there is anything better and I know that I am truly blessed to have had this experience, my gratitude is immense. Although I am sad on my last night here to be leaving these wonderful folks for the time being, I know that one day I will return again for more adventures together.
And finally on my last full day here I managed to get it, albeit a distance shot of one of the beautiful black and white butterflies, just as I was bitten by a green ant. Something else I have learned, Green Ants are not my friends and neither are Marsh Flies! They like to nibble.