HOME is a simple word that conjures so much sentiment. The ache for home resides in all of us. The privation we sometimes experience in our travels makes us appreciate the small things in life. I believe one of the most important reasons we travel is to gain a renewed appreciation for home on our return.
Since we moved to Inverloch, we have been fortunate enough to escape from the winter cold in our camper for a couple of months. We’ve travelled to NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory so far. We headed north again this year. It was our fourth trip to far north Queensland. There wasn’t much excitement as we knew most of the places we were visiting like the back of our hand. Just for a change, we decided to go up the coast. There were quite a few places on the NSW coast we wanted to explore.
Our life was comfortable, and we could have easily stayed in Inverloch during winter months. We chose to explore again, however, because of those reasons. In fact, the cold winter months in Bass Coast give us a wonderful opportunity to travel to the different parts of this magnificent country. Why not seize the opportunity to follow the sun while we can? We’ve done this kind of lengthy travelling many times before, so the preparation has become easier. Our journey started in a leisurely pace in early July.
We enjoyed stunning coastline of southern NSW, especially Mimosa Rocks National Park, Bermagui and Kiama. Blessed with beautiful weather, we walked the lush rolling hills for miles with the views of unspoiled beaches. The scenery was simply breathtaking. The Kiama coast walk reminded me of the beauty of coastal walks in England, and during this magnificent walk, I often felt that we were back in Rob’s motherland. The sky was blue, the air was fresh and ocean view was splendid. We had lunch, snacks and water in our backpack, and that was all we needed. We were carefree, unworried and simply happy.
There was one significant chance meeting this year. We met Peter first time in 2016 at the place called Rollingstone just north of Townsville. We became good friends and caught up again on the road later. We kept in contact for a while but his communication had stopped. This year while we were near Taree where he was originally from, I tried all his numbers to no avail. I had grave concerns for his health, because he mentioned his diagnosis with melanoma in his last text message in early 2018. I didn’t care if we didn’t meet again. As long as he was alive somewhere, I would have been happy. There was no way of knowing that. It was very sad not knowing what might have happened to someone whom you’ve met only briefly. I was giving up hope.
We weren’t planning on camping at Rollingstone, but just stopped there for lunch. Then we realised how peaceful this place was. It was one of our favourite camp spots. For some reason it wasn’t as busy as we expected. We decided to stay. After lunch naturally I walked towards the camp site where Peter was three years ago. I saw the car was different, and there was a caravan. Nonetheless I kept on walking toward the spot we first met, gravitated towards something. The man was working under the car. I called him ‘Peter? Is that you?’
The man came out. Neither of us could believe our eyes. We rejoiced our fluke reunion and spent afternoon walking at the beach nearby. I was delighted to see him alive, back on the road travelling again. I was so happy that our paths crossed again even ever so briefly. I believe there is a purpose and meaning for everyone you meet. He promised to notify me if he changes his telephone number, and we parted, hopefully until we meet again somewhere on the road travelling.
We stayed at various places: free camp sites, national park campgrounds, commercial caravan parks, farm stays and bush camps. We revisited our favourite places from the past. We also explored the new places where we hadn't been before. There were many new gems found on this trip. Some places were no longer operating as camp sites for whatever reason. Like in life, nothing is permanent and everything changes. It made me realise how important it is to seize an opportunity and to enjoy and to appreciate while they are available.
As soon as we hit the road Inland, we felt the severity of drought that’s affecting many towns in Queensland. We were very sensitive not to encroach on their rainwater supply, and tried our best to minimise environmental effect of our travelling. Their hardship was truly palpable, and there was nothing much we could do to help them. Those arid places with dry, dusty land had their own unique beauty, especially in the dusks and dawns, but I thought I would never be able to live so far away from the water. I yearned for a glimpse of the Inverloch surf beach amongst the red dusty soil of the north, and prayed for the unlikely rainfall.
I was awed by the grandeur of the landscapes of the far north once again. There was beauty everywhere. The connection with the land, plants and creatures made me humble because I felt I was a part of something deep. Every time I looked up the vast night sky with the sparkling milky way, I couldn’t help thinking that we are all a tiny part of the big picture. This notion makes us insignificant, yet because of the insignificance somehow our life becomes even more precious.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien