I know, I know. That’s a bit of a broad topic for a favorite, but bear with me. I did a study abroad there for 6 months during college, and recently a friend made on that trip was in town and it got me thinking and reminiscing and looking through photos. It’s hard to express just how much I LOVED my time over there. Suffice to say I was seriously considering not coming back to the States (obviously, I did). I have never connected so much with a place. Don’t get me wrong, the people are great, too, and laid back and with fabulous accents. But it was the place – the actual physical land and surroundings – that really drew me in.
My stay over there was in Darwin, up in the Northern Territory (if you’ve see the Kidman-Jackman movie Australia, it’s that town – though it’s grown a bit since then). I choose to go there rather than a bigger city like Sydney because 1) at that time big cities really intimidated me and 2) I was more interested in the natural side of Australia. It was the perfect choice. There was no winter/summer, just wet/dry and always warm – my kind of place. My dorm was a 10 minute walk from a beautiful beach. 2 hours inland you have a huge rainforest-y nature preserve with waterfalls and crocs and hiking. 6 hours inland you get into dusty outback-type setting complete with ramshackle towns and rodeos. And it had a decent size airport to easily get to other areas of Australia (I did a tour up the east coast for my spring break there, and hopped over to Indonesia after finals). 4 classes per semester was the max over there instead of the 6 I was used to at home, so between that lightened load and the way my schedule worked out, I had lots of free time to explore. Australia is a HUGE place, though, so even with all of my exploring, there’s so much I didn’t get to see. I’d go back in a heartbeat, if plane tickets to the other side of the world weren’t so blasted expensive.
Tragically, a large portion of my photos from the trip were lost due to a disagreement between my laptop and a borrowed CD burner I was trying to use to burn my photos to CD. I cried, not even going to lie. But luckily I had already uploaded some to the interwebs. Take a look at these and maybe you’ll begin to understand my long-abiding fascination:
Where I Want to Be
This is pure nature –
wild, raw, unadorned.
Beautiful and abundant to those
who are willing to learn, to see;
harshly unforgiving to those who trespass.
This is primal testing ground,
at once ancient and fresh.
There are no subway maps here,
no gruff gas station attendants
to give directions.
No convenience stores or fast food.
No locks or feather pillows or hot water.
Out here, the civilized world means nothing.
Out here, mistakes can get you killed.
And so help me, I find that incredibly
This is life whittled down
to the true necesseties.
This is life with challenge,
life requiring skill.
In a world that revolves around
safety and sanitation and political correctness,
this is a reality with meaning.