Ah, my grand Aussie Adventure. What a fantastic trip of a lifetime! Today I am still a little jeg-lagged, even though I have been home. I think part of the jet lag is from the usual exhaustion that comes after an awesome adventure. As I reflect on my trip, I am left with many, many, many great memories. But I think I can list the top five “ah ha” moments from my trip.
1. I am no longer a young traveling back=packing adventurer. My tour to the Red Centre really showed me that I am older than I was thirty years ago! Aside from two middle-aged Korean couples, I was the only one on the tour over 30. I watched the way the younger travelers interacted, the excitement and enthusiasm they demonstrated, and they way they still dreamed of what they will become someday. I quickly realized that their perspective comes from a different time in live. It’s not that I, nor others like me, can’t be extremely enthusiastic and excited because I know we can. It’s that the young have a slightly different perspective that comes naturally from being at a different phase in their lives. They are just starting out on their lives, figuring out who they are and who they will become. I, on the other hand, have most of this figured out – more or less! But, most importantly, even though I am no longer young, I still can have a very rewarding, exhilarating, and exciting adventure. I believe that tour companies and others have started to make great strides in catering to my age group but will need to do even more if they wish to cash in on the older adventure-seekers like me.
2. My memory is not as good as I thought. Over the years I had developed my own version of my backpacking trip of over 30 years ago. My vision of Australia’s landscape, culture, and space somehow morphed into something vague and ephemeral. In other words, I realized that my memory had captured some images accurately, while others have merged into scattered random images and senses. I was surprised at how inaccurate my memory truly was. But I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to revisit the places and get a better sense of what Australia really is.
3. Small acts become grand adventures. The most fun I had on the trip came at random moments, not from carefully scripted and planned tours. Some of the most fun we had came from simple moments such as playing cards, making up silly songs, or taking a wrong turn.
4. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.
5. It’s not what you do, it who you do it with. Number 4 and 5 really belong together. This trip was special not because I went to some amazing places. Nope, it was really special because I had the most awesome time possible with my sisters and assorted family members. As Bonnie says, this trip was the perfect storm of awesomeness. We all had great times together, but also had enough alone time to get the space of each of us needs. We all had moments of hilarity, combined with moments of grumpiness, Fortunately, the hilarity far outweighed the grumpiness. And we played well together. We rolled off each others silly puns, fell into the jokes and pratfalls. To put it simply, we had a ball!