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Journeys and Destinations

We’ve got a family wedding coming up next year and coincidentally, the brides folks live half an hour from where we are just now. What better way to further cement family ties than with an impromptu lunch date? Clearly anyone in this situation would want to get it right.

So here’s how not to do it-

  • Get distracted by flower shopping (thought it would be nice) and end up leaving late.
  • Put the wrong address in the sat nav.
  • Realise the notes you made of the directions are beyond garbled. You can’t even understand them yourself.
  • Leave you phone on the kitchen table at home.
  • Forget to write down your host’s phone number (seriously, i don’t know what is wrong with me sometimes).
  • Almost run out of fuel.
  • Accost a woman weeding in her drive for directions. Her Welsh accent is so heavy you. can’t make out what she is telling you, but with some frenzied pointing to go on, you head off in the opposite direction.
  • Hold up a lengthy queue in the petrol station while the cashier and a truck driver debate, at length, whether it is 5 or 6 roundabouts past the 10 foot cowboy before you turn right.
  • Browse the internet with a man in his pants who kindly opened the door to your. desperate pleas of ‘where the hell is is number 501 on this godforsaken gated community??
  • Arrive, hot, flustered and frankly close to tears nearly 2 hours late.
  • Gratefully accept the de-stressing glass of early afternoon wine kindly offered BEFORE you have even had time for any breakfast.
  • End up staying not just for the one meal, but THREE, with an overnight stay thrown in for good measure.

You couldn’t ask for more generous, entertaining and probably slightly bemused hosts.

Our hosts amazing home, something to aspire to!

A little worse for wear we then headed off for my birthday surprise- a VERY nice stay in the Queensland Mountains. Chris certainly does plan a lovely mini break. (I’ve been sooo looking forward to this; I have been pretty much tied to the dining room table with work for the last 3 weeks, made worse only by the hideous glass cabinet of china figurines which dominate my direct line of vision). 

Anyway, we had a lodge deep in the jungle with views for miles from our sundeck.  The air, weirdly, smelt of caramel (Chris suggested it may be a stray Tunnocks factory; an establishment usually only found in Scotland but does do a lovely line in caramel wafers); the trees scream at sunset with wildlife, mostly insects, maybe the odd kookaburra; and on the main hotel terrace was an infinity pool overlooking the valley, very picturesque but chilly enough to make a penguin feel at home.

Pool with a view!

Parked outside our lodge was a golf buggy which I was initially dubious about- who needs electric power to walk 200 metres up a slight incline to the restaurant? How I changed my tune after my first shot behind the wheel. I would have driven from the bedroom to the toilet if I could. The best fun was playing chicken with the poisonous tree toads that appeared when the rain did. With my fingers clenched to the wheel, eyes riveted on the inky black road and my foot on the brake we swooped down hill at, ooh, at least 15 miles an hour, achieving a final lift off over the speed bump at the bottom.

Our very own pool!

Best way to travel to dinner!

Other highlights this week were the koalas on sticks

Koala on a stick!

at the wildlife sanctuary, a rainforest hike which took us through waterfalls,

Walk in the jungle

eating chocolate before lunchtime, wrapped in a blanket by the pool just because it was my birthday, and helping an old friend move house.  She thanked us by saying we could bank some good karma and would one day repay us; bless, she had totally forgotten she had put us up for the best part of a week 5 years ago without a clue who we were or how long we were staying!

I spent most of my birthday reading a book which got me thinking about travelling, creating new experiences and directing energies to specific outcomes. It made me want to be more fearless about meeting new people and building on random connections like the ones we have got so much enjoyment out of so far this trip.  The book reminded me to direct my actions to a specific destination, rather than just keep going aimlessly, hoping for the best (as aptly demonstrated by the journey from hell we managed to create this week).  With lots of help from lovely strangers we got there in the end, but if we had been a bit clearer in the planning and the intention our journey would have been a lot more pleasant, which I can’t help but feel must be a lesson worth taking on board this time!

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