None of which, by the way, I saw on my recent trip to Australia.
I hadn’t meant to go back to Oz at the end of the year, but with hubby’s new job, I suddenly found myself a-flush with more leave than him, and we decided it was a good chance for me to take the trip on my own.
So off I tripped… for a whole month… just cause I could.
I arrived on a balmy, windy morning, eyes gritty with jet lag, and we headed straight to the beach for a swim. It is literally the best way to get off a plane. My dog, the 15.5 year old beagle, greeted me with about the same amount of joy as he greets any old visitor, though I like to imagine he was feigning ambivalence. Against all odds, he had stayed alive long enough for me to return for one more visit.
Unluckily for me I came down with the classic coldipickedupfromtheplane, which derailed my New Year’s plans, not that anyone cares much about this day anymore, so it wasn’t the worst thing to miss.
I’m a classic over-planner, but the previous year’s trip to Oz had left me running around, exhausted, and nevertheless feeling guilty over the people I hadn’t spent enough time with. So this year I took a new approach, which came about partly because I was disorganised, and the trip had kind of snuck up on me. Instead of making extensive, down-to-the-minute plans, I decided to go with the flow. Sure, I made some plans – I flew up to Newcastle for a few days to visit a friend, my brother was coming down to visit, and I’d organised catch-ups with those people I most wanted to see.
And the rest of the time… well it meant I could just oyster. And when I say oyster I mean the world was my oyster, the days were filled with oyster – I could be spontaneous, based on who was around, how hot it was, and how I felt. Cause let’s face it, when Melbourne is 44 degrees, you don’t want to be in the city, you want to be at the beach.
And it worked. After I’d caught up with all my besties, other people just moved into the mix, some popped up that I never would have imagined seeing, and others surprised me with what was going on in their lives.
Because at some point, when you live thousands of ks away, it’s just not possible to keep everyone. I don’t have the time and neither do they. Life just gets in the way.
There are people that I communicate with regularly, people who I make the effort to keep in touch with, and who make the effort back. They are my favourites. They are who I most want to see. Now I’m not saying I don’t care for my other friends back home, or that I in any way am offended by not getting a regular monthly phone call from every Tom, Dick and Harry I’ve ever met. It’s just that you can’t keep everyone on a short leash – some you have to let out to sniff, others are completely off the leash and just wander back when they feel like it. And it’s totally ok.
So what else did I do in Australia, you ask? Well, it was pretty chill. I ate, I drank, I swam, I ran, I revisited old haunts, I discovered new ones, I walked my dog, I read, I had afternoon naps, I got to know the little people that are my niece and nephew, I sat outside even when it was baking hot (in the shade of course, no sunburn for me) and tried to absorb the heat, I listened to the hottest 100, I watched various Aussie shows on Neflix (all featuring Chris Lilley) and importantly I spent time with my loved ones. Good, quality time.
And then when it was time to head back, I found myself ready. I missed hubby and I couldn’t wait to put on warm PJs and snuggle with him on the couch, safe from the freezing Austrian winter. I wanted to sleep in my own bed with my favourite pillow. I wanted to start to discover what the New Year had in store with me.
It was weird, because I was heading home… from home. So it was sad and happy at the same time.
But in the end, it really just makes me super lucky.
See you again soon, Oz.