Well, it’s been awhile. For folks that have followed my past travels, you might notice that we don’t blog as much as I used to. In fact, we’ve stopped blogging almost entirely. It’s been an ongoing topic of discussion, and we don’t have many succinct reasons. For one, we were working in Brisbane, which means the most interesting thing we had to blog about some weeks was that the laundry dried in just thirty minutes! This development, while exciting, isn’t the kind of thing that makes for riveting travel writing. Moreover, being our travel blog means that we like to read one another’s posts before publishing them, another hiccup that makes our updates less frequent.
But, then, even after Tokyo and with our final weeks of exploring Brisbane, we still neglected to share any photos or stories about the very cool things we got to see and do. Not even summary posts! We’re taking roughly as many photos as I did on past trips, but the editing and sharing part has just sort of fallen by the wayside. Perhaps it’s the advent of Google Hangouts/WhatsApp that has made the sharing of photos much less exciting. When a mouse bites my finger, I can just text my sister and tell her that a mouse bit my finger; I don’t have to write a paragraph about it and share it with the world. (I could, though, because it was a hilarious moment. Of all the things to bite you in Australia…) In summary, our hearts are only half into this whole blogging thing, and we don’t know why.
More recently, we’ve spent Christmas at Stradbroke Island with fifteen other Taits. It was brilliant, and photos are being posted soon. (Though you’re welcome to take that with a grain of salt.) I got my first surfing lesson in, which involved a few times standing up and many more times falling down awkwardly. The final evening, the whole family spent the evening telling stories of growing up out in the bush – way out in central Queensland where they sometimes run the sprinkler system with sewage-based fertilizer and they sometimes stitch people’s fingers up with dental floss. I think it had to have been one of John’s favorite parts, but we all had a great time laughing about the misadventures of their growing up.
Since then, we’ve been living with a family in Sandford, which is near Hobart, Tasmania. Or Tassie (pronounced Tazzy). There have been markets, gluten-free food trucks, botanical gardens, houseboats, some weeding, and – for John – stonelaying. Work-exchanging is easily one of the coolest ways to travel – great conversations, great communities and friends and opportunities that would be much more challenging (and much more expensive) without the connections through Help Ex (or Work Away or WWOOF). Local hosts giving you the inside tour of the regular old local sites – MONA, Mount Wellington, etc. And fantastic restaurant recommendations!
In fact, I sit now at a nifty little cafe in the Hobart CBD – West End Pumphouse. (Central Business District is the Australian way of saying “downtown,” and I cannot get accustomed to it. Downtown just rolls off the tongue.) It’s got a fantastic menu, crazy murals, and the coolest bathroom sink I’ve ever seen. This recommendation comes from our current hosts, whither we arrive last night. (I had to Google the proper use of whither, and I think I’ve succeeded.) We’re set to assist them with their vegetable garden and various odd jobs around their beautiful home. They’ve set us up in a caravan with a view of all the neighboring hills and a warning about wildlife should we leave the caravan in the dark. We’re excited to get to know a new family, to learn more about vegetable gardening, and to explore more of Tassie before we head back to Melbourne.