My Australian Journey (days 3 & 4)
Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Read my travel journal! Click here for day 2.
We spent today hanging out at the Lagoon, shopping, and thinking about what our next move should be after Cairns. Jamie's only going to be in Australia for a month, but I'm planning to potentially stay for the whole year. This poses a bit of a problem because while I'm starting to think about finding work, Jamie's thinking more about sight seeing and exploration.
We met up with Ryan and Taylor again at the Lagoon and they mentioned an upcoming road trip. A friend of theirs from the banana farm has rented a van through a "relocation program" and is planning to drive from Cairns down to Brisbane in 2 days. He explained that certain companies need their vehicles to be driven from one place to the next within a certain amount of time- so they offer these vehicles up at basically no cost to the driver (except gas) in exchange for the driver bringing the vehicle to the desired location.
I'm honestly taken aback by how knowledgeable and experienced all these travelers are- I've never heard of anything like a "relocation program" until now and I certainly wouldn't have considered it as a mode of travel around the country.
Ryan and Taylor are also thinking of renting a car tomorrow and taking a day trip to some waterfalls in Cairns. They invited me and Jamie to come along and we decided it could be fun to get out of town and do some proper exploring so we agreed.
Day 4- Waterfalls and Ant Butts
We woke early this morning and met the boys at their car right outside the entrance to Gilligan's. We decided as a group that it would be a good idea to grab some snacks before hitting the road, so we took a quick walk over to Woolworth's.
(I'm so shocked at how cheap bread is in Australia - a loaf of bread is running around $1AUD... that's like 70¢ USD at the most?!)
We grabbed some Tim Tams, rice crackers, and fruit and then started off on the trip. The boys started singing along to country music as me and Jamie exchanged unsure smirks (not quite our genre lol). I watched Taylor drive and wondered if I'd ever be able to operate a car in Australia- I just feel like I'd get all mixed around with everything being backwards!
I spent the rest of the trip with my face pressed against the window staring out at the vast landscape passing through my line of site. Rolling hills, endless rainforest, crisp greens in perfect contrast with the clear blue horizon. Foreign landscapes always leave me with such a deep feeling of awe. The sights pull me so firmly into the present moment that my mind becomes void of all other thought until all I'm left with is curiosity, wonder, and love. It's almost like my mind can't comprehend the vastness or the beauty so my soul just takes over and explains it through feeling.
We pulled into the parking lot of a place called "Crystal Cascades" and hopped out of the car.
At my feet was a spider with legs as long as my fingers. It honestly looked like it could eat me. I've been warned about the various bugs and beasts of Australia but I didn't honestly think I'd come into contact with one so soon. Taylor fearlessly stuck his hand next to the spider for comparison as I stood paralyzed on the other side of the parking lot. Not the best thing to see before going on a hike through the jungle... I mean if this was in the parking lot, what was in the trees?
My fears faded away as we journeyed along the path, finding all sorts of hidden streams, waterfalls, and coves along the way- and luckily, no more spiders.
The boys saw a line of ants on the sidewalk and got way too excited so we all stopped to look at them. As it turns out, these were "weaver ants", easily noticed by their bright green back ends and even better known by - get this- the taste of those bright green butts.
The boys each picked one up and gave it a lick, explaining that the green bottoms tasted like Sour WarHeads candy and were used by the aboriginals as a spice. I refused to lick an ant butt no matter how many times I was asked.
We spent the rest of the day exploring Josephine falls (home to a steep smooth rock that travelers enjoy sliding down on their stomachs into the lagoon) and Palm Cove, a small beach-y area home to a pier overlooking the Coral Sea, surrounded in every direction by rugged mountain silhouettes.
Palm cove is the first true beach I've been to since being in Australia and it almost felt as though the whole cove was giving me a hug. I felt at home. I was surrounded again by sand and water and it made me think that maybe world isn't so small after all. The same water that was greeting my toes in Hawaii is now here with me in Australia.
The distant mountains reminded me of something I'd expect to see in Thailand and the pier gave me a feeling of nostalgia. I can't get it out of my head.
Piggy Back Rides, Whiskey, & A Decision
We returned back to the hostel to find 2 new room mates in our dorm. We introduced ourselves and ended up chatting for a couple hours before we all decided to go out and grab something to eat. I told Jamie that I thought one of them was cute- he's from England and has such good style (we'll call him Jake for the sake of the blog). I was starting to get excited about the thought of staying in Cairns.
Right before heading out, I got a text from Ryan- he asked his friend if me and Jamie could join on the road trip tomorrow and she said yes. I immediately told Jamie but she said there's a lot more she wants to do in Cairns and that she isn't interested in going to Brisbane so soon. So now I'm left with a decision. I have no idea how to feel, I'm so excited at the possibility of a road trip (opportunities like this don't just come around every day) but that would mean parting ways with Jamie after less than a week of being in the country together.
We wondered around with the boys for a while trying to decide what to eat before we finally settled on a pub. We had the best laughs over fries and whiskey and it reminded me why I love traveling so much- connecting with people from the other side of the world and feeling like you've know each other your whole lives, even though you've just met- it's a feeling you just can't get back home.
I was still so conflicted about leaving on the road trip so I decided to pull Jamie aside at the Pub. I told her I sort of wanted to stay in Cairns ... we're finally making friends and I'm having a lot of fun. Plus me and Jake really seemed to be hitting it off and it was nice to have a distraction from my latest heartbreak. But she told me she isn't going to let me change my plans just because of a boy- she told me I need to go.
At the end of the night we raced back to the hostel on piggy back. We ran through the streets making a ruckus and laughed until we could barely breathe.
I feel so content right now as I lay in bed writing this. I have so much hope for the friends and the experiences I'm going to make in this country. But it's so bittersweet- because as always, travel reminds me how temporary and fleeting each experience is.
I guess I better start packing up my bags for tomorrow's adventure and get some rest.
Day 5 coming soon!
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