31 October 2009

Home sweet home?

"On the road again
goin' places that I've never been
seein' things that I may never see again
& I can't wait to get on the road again,
On the road again
like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
we're the best of friends
insisting that the world keep turning our way, and our way
is on the road again"
-- Willie Nelson

I should have known the nights sleeping outdoors & jam-packed days would catch up with me. My throat was sore & my head was stuffed up. After we arrived at my au pair family's new house in Townsville, Mom & I watched Deal Or No Deal (my fav show here in Oz!) and ate out. The city, the second largest in Queensland, was crowded in anticipation for the first-ever Townsville V8 Supercar races that weekend.

Feeling crook a.k.a. sick and running a slight fever I pushed myself to show Mom Townsville's famed Strand. It reminded me of the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California, where I grew up. The Strand was a few kilometers of beach access. Along the path were various picnic tables, benches, and play areas. One dock had a cafe overlooking the ocean; another had fishing access. There was an area with water toys/fountains and the ever-popular-in-Queensland enclosed swimming area. (If you're not acquainted with Australia, you should know that during the spring/summer months a.k.a. wet season, it is highly recommended that no one enter the ocean due to Australia's deadly jellies: the Box & Irukandji). However, what I loved most about The Strand was its location. Toward the CBD we saw Castle Hill -- the landmark that the city was built around. Looking outward at the sea, Magnetic Island dominated the horizon.
An hour before the Aussie road trip with Mom embarked, I was told that I had been made redundant a.k.a. laid off. Although tragic, this left me with absolutely no commitments! Mom proposed that I travel to Sydney with her, but I felt like my head was still swimming and had no cashflow. I awoke Friday morning still in limbo over whether or not my body & bank account could handle another trip. I replayed a conversation that I had -- ironically, on my international flight to Australia -- with an American professor, Marc Mehlman, which left a big impression on me. On the plane, en route to Fiji, I explained my plan. He offered this advice: "When you're younger you have time, but all you want is money. As you get older you have money, but no time. In my experience, it is much better to be in the first position"... so here I am in New South Wales!