Saturday, October 30, 2010

two roads diverged in the west

After Melbourne, I enjoyed some lovely visits with long-lost and new friends in Tasmania and then Adelaide (both of which ended with some very difficult goodbyes!) before getting to Western Australia.  Priscilla and I arrived in Broome a couple weeks ago, and headed our separate ways the following day.  Back when we were in Melbourne, it became clear to me that Priscilla and I needed to split up.  We had different timelines and priorities for the last part of our trip.  I wanted to incorporate time to do absolutely nothing into my schedule - this was very important to me, and not something I was willing to negotiate on!  On top of that, I felt the need to spend some time by myself, so I suggested we each do our own thing on the west coast.  (There’s little space to have your own day when you’re on the same tour or sharing the same rental car.  Despite my best efforts, my dreams of having separate days in Melbourne didn’t really materialize as our similar interests got in the way.)  I even suggested a transition strategy of staying in separate places in Adelaide to help us adjust from constant togetherness to complete independence.  The four and a half months we travelled together were great - I’ve been grateful to have someone to share the ride with - but I really felt the need to be on my own... and so far I’m really enjoying it :)

After getting to the west, I spent a few days camping in the Kimberley and have been back in Broome for a week now.  It's hot here - the kind of heat that leaves you with elbow sweat if you leave your arm bent for just a couple of seconds, and makes finding shelter from the sun make you feel like you've hit the jackpot.  I've seen some pretty amazing things though, and that makes it all worthwhile.

It's hard to believe I arrived in Australia exactly 5 months ago today.  I wouldn't say the whole thing has gone by quickly, but the days certainly seem to have piled up.  Travel is a roller coaster of emotions, finances and circumstances.  (Side note: I say finances because my credit card keeps getting put on hold due to "suspicious foreign activity" despite the fact that I've informed them on five separate occasions of my travel plans.  I keep finding out that the card is not usable at the most inopportune times - like when I'm trying to book a multi-day tour that I need to pay for and have already exhausted my bank card's cash withdrawal limit.  Customer service is not an optional thing for me, so I'm going to have to switch banks when I get home... right after I figure out what to do with my PC points... :) )  It's also like therapy - there's this instantaneous level of conversational intimacy that you automatically have with fellow travelers.  Typical conversation starters like name and occupation are not important and seldom used.  The focus instead is on where you've been and where you're going - both geographically and in life.  Geographically, I still have a lot of Western Australia to explore before I leave the country.  And in life?  I'm still figuring that one out - luckily I have another month and a half of total freedom to think about it... :)

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