This trip I would be privileged to have time to myself, time with friends and time with family. You can have all the money in the world, the best home, filled with beautiful possessions but it means nothing if you don’t have good people in your life.
For me, as much as I love to travel and experience new places, if I can see friends at the same time I’m winning!
So, another day at the Quicksilver Pro - unfortunately due to traffic and holiday mode I missed the ‘must see’ heat on day two but it was great to catch some good surfing and some sun!
Two heats later Domi and I decided to head off and check out ‘Surf World.’ With a collection of over 100 surfboards dating from 1915 to the present day plus photos, artwork, clothing and other artefacts it was a pretty good museum, just not a patch on a live event and probably not essential unless you are a die hard fan.
I spent the afternoon at Pacific Fair, I hadn’t been there since I was twelve and so had to at least window shop! My sense of direction is good until you put me in a shopping centre. I get so caught up in the moment I need to allocate an extra thirty minutes to find my way out.
That evening I was so tired that the oversized gecko on the wall in the kitchen didn’t get the reaction he normally would have. I simply got up and shut the door to my bedroom in the hope the yellow translucent reptile would be satisfactorily entertained elsewhere, preferably out of sight. I’m not a fan - they move too quickly to capture, they’re freaky looking and you really have no choice but to live with them. At least you can squash spiders. Now I’m thinking about squashed geckos, time to move on.
The next morning I’d planned to have breakfast with a good friend, he swung by at 9am to pick me up and as we drove, asked what my plans were while I was in town. I mentioned that I’d thought about driving to Byron for a day but had been put off by the long range weather forecast.
“Anywhere you need to be today?” he asked. “Nope!” I replied. “How do you feel about breakfast in Byron then?” he asked. “Pretty bloody happy” I said, “let’s go!”
The weather was great on this day and because we were in the area and had the time we called into Bangalow for a look, such a great little town with heaps of character. Beautifully restored federation buildings line the main street where you can tuck into fresh local produce in lively cafes and restaurants.
Byron bound! We found a park at the main beach and grabbed a table at one of the first cafes we came to as we strolled down the hill. The place was bursting at the seams but we spotted a small table out the front, claimed it and scanned the menu.
Three years ago I’d decided to give coffee a miss. On this day I acknowledged the fact I quite missed it and ordered a latte. Liquid gold. Never mind the fact my speech immediately quickened in pace as it tried to keep up with my brain.
Unfortunately I couldn’t blame a caffeine hit on an earlier comment about why there were more shark sightings at Byron than other places along the coast. I’m not going into specifics but in trying to recall something I was told I may have implied that it had to do with the whaling history and there being more fish. Yes, I know…
After a tasty breakfast which, (since we had crossed the border into NSW), was actually more like lunch we had a walk around. I love Byron, like Bangalow it also has plenty of character, and plenty of characters. An older man was standing near the crossing swinging his hips as his blue hoola hoop spun in a disjointed fashion around his frame while his younger female counterpart played the tambourine. As we walked passed he addressed us in song. Actually it was more like a marginally melodic race call. “ANNNNNNNNNDDDDDD SHE HAS HER PINK LIPSTICK ONNNN TODAAAAAYYYY.” He yelled, somewhat hoarsely.
We realised we only had a couple of hours on the metre and so made our way back to the beach where we sat for while people watching, enjoying the sun and watching the waves.
When was the last time you sat with someone saying very little for the best part of an hour while staring out to sea. Or in his case at one point, at the seaweed (my company was clearly amazing). It was good to just chill in the sun and zone out.
We relocated to Wategos Beach soon after for more of the same. We were so relaxed that when I heard him say, “you know, one day I’m going to start a little business somewhere (*long pause) just doing something.” I had to think about it. This was coming from someone who has a successful career that keeps him ridiculously busy and was so vague I couldn’t help but laugh. It was at this point that we decided a two second delay might be necessary before we shared our thoughts.
The return trip took in a couple of scenic routes, both accidental. The first was a dead end that could really do with a ‘no through road’ sign and the second, well we were initially convinced we would come out on the right road eventually but after fifteen minutes I Google Mapped our location.
“So it would be quicker to turn around and go back the way we came”. I said, showing him the map which wanted to send us further inland to another road which would take us back out to the coast in a southerly direction. We laughed, gave up and used someone’s driveway to turn around, thereby ending our drive to the middle of nowhere in particular.
At 4pm having been safely returned to my apartment I decided I would make dinner because we’d had brunch at 11am Queensland time and I was starving. I parked myself on the couch for the rest of the evening and edited photos while watching TV, double screen time.
It would rain quite heavily for the next two days so aside from meeting a friend for a long lunch and venturing
out to a nearby shopping centre I was able to allocate some time for work. In hindsight this wasn’t the best idea, I thought it would slow the emails and clear my mind but it only served to increase them. I put my out of office on and vowed to give myself the next week off entirely. I needed to switch off and however unlikely that was going to be I had to at least try.
After dinner one evening I caught up with the owner of the property who I’d met the day I arrived. It was great to learn about the history of the place I was staying in. Even greater to learn the ghost who reportedly inhabited the cottage before it was relocated to beachside suburbia seemed to have departed.
Tip: I’ve got nothing, except maybe that I should write the tip first!