I never realize how much I’ve missed being on the road until I feel the wheels rolling beneath me again.
We were up at the crack of dawn, eager to be out the door and on our way. Norm and Marg Cheale, two of the loveliest travelers we’ve ever met, hugged us goodbye and told us we were welcome back at any time. I may have to take them up on that sometime. The stories they tell about their adventures and wanderings are truly inspiring!
To say that we’re all extremely excited to go on our first Australian walk-about would be a huge understatement. And by all, I mean all thirteen of us. Our fantastic new Australian friends, the Rickards, decided to join us. In the words of little Joash, “This is actual fun!” He’s been saying that off and on all day. He’ll bounce up and down next to me, listening to the birds living their busy lives in the eucalyptus trees, and whisper, “Hey, Hannah! This is actual fun!” He’ll yell it gleefully while sitting atop a plastic dinosaur in a forest of ferns, or chant it on his way back to his carseat. It makes me smile. There’s nothing more magical than watching someone embark on their first big adventure.
It was a long haul today; perhaps not the easiest introduction to the road trip. I think the overwhelming enthusiasm that had saturated us all kept us going more than anything else. The boys worked on school in the back. I read a steampunk comic book and tried to stay awake. Eventually we pulled over at the Otways Fly Center, our first stop on the trip.
The original plan had been to do the zip-line experience there, which would have been incredible. But unfortunately, there had been a mistake somewhere along the line, and our reservations were non-existent. I’m not entirely sure how that happened, but there it was. So instead, we took a walk through the forest. It was incredible. Enchanting. Ferns twice as tall as myself blanketed the forest floor, their delicate curls intertwining. Tall, slender eucalyptus trees swayed slowly back and forth, dancing in the breeze. Brilliantly colored birds flitted from limb to limb, far above us. Who says all of Australia is red dust and dry deserts?
The light is beginning to fade now, the eucalyptus trees block out any last bit of sunlight there might be. Everyone has eaten, the tents are set up, and the day is coming to a close. Joash announced with wide eyes over dinner that this was his, “Very first camping trip, EVER! The only one!” Nothing phases that kid or his siblings. Not a brief bout of carsickness, or the hordes of flies that attacked our food. I think I’m almost as excited for him as he is himself. Tomorrow, the adventure continues!