And just like that, it’s over.
Australia has sung to us, from the fading notes of La Traviata in the Sydney Opera House, to the low hum of an Outback didgeridoo, to the blue water lullabies of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a siren song that beckons a traveler closer, begs a wanderer to stay longer and is already calling to us to return.
As ever, it is the people who really make a place for us.
Marg & Norm with their infectious laughter, generous spirits and lively advice from their well traveled routes. I have a feeling that when we grow up, we’ll be a lot like them. It’s a happy thought.
The Geelong homeschool group, so many of whom welcomed us with open arms, shared adventures and meals with us and treated us like old friends and not new foreigners.
Rhoda, and her three little cuties.
Robert & Jess, friends since before I drew breath, echoes of home for me. People with whom I share my parents story. A living example and encouragement of how to live life well, and fully, and with broad brushstrokes of bright colour throughout all the seasons.
I’ve said before that the greatest gift the road has given us is a handful of best friends and chosen family that we’d never have met if we’d just stayed home. This family changed our lives forever with their presence, and I’m quite sure our adventures together are just beginning. We don’t take off traveling for a month with very many people, so that should tell you something! I’m already missing laying in my tent of a morning and waking up to the sound of little people giggling and telling morning stories. I’ll always call a zombie bus a zombie bus, thanks to Curly. Australian animals proper names, for me, will always be “bangaroo, bandihoot and toe-ala” I wish with all my heart that Joash would sidle up one more time and open with, “Hey Jenn, did you know…” and proceed to enlighten me on some aspect of life in his five year old world. I loved that. Every single time. The bigger Rickard boys are exactly the picture of Aussie mini-manhood to me. In my minds eye they’ll always be putting up a tent while swatting flies at twilight, or charging ahead through a rainforest, brandishing sticks and hollering. Boys should be boys; these are prime specimens. Adeline. There are no words. Everything you think of when you dream about the perfect baby: this child. I tried hard not to eat her, she was so sweet. They are all going to grow too much before we see them again. I am lamenting this already. James wrote very kindly of us on his blog, and he mentioned that when we hugged good bye the journey felt incomplete… and I concur… which leaves us all scheming about “next time.”
Nan and Grandad… the only bone I have to pick with these two is that they didn’t roll up their wiley boy and pack along with us through the Outback.
Our Going Anyway buddies. It’s always a joyful reunion and a tearful goodbye with these guys. Time seems to slow down when we’re together and there is nothing but the everlasting present to bask in fun and friendship. There’s no doubt that we’ll see these folks again, the fun part is thinking about where! They’ve been the cherry on top of both of our trips to Australia. Lemon capers notwithstanding!
The Pedersens, fellow travelers, generous souls who more than put us up our last evenings in Australia, they spoiled us rotten. I’m still laughing at Gert’s stories. Everywhere we go we connect with our fellow traveling families and it’s always like reconnecting with old friends.
We’re not even gone yet and already I miss the whole country.
The take home message, clearly, is that we need to come back, get a visa for a whole year, and buy ourselves a van to knock around in.
So here it is, boiled down, the very best of our favourites:
Our Top 10 for Australia:
7. Sovereign Hill, Ballarat
1. The Rickard Family- at home and on the road!