At this point in time,I am now less than 2 weeks away until my departure to Australia. On one hand I don’t know where the summer went, but I am also fairly antsy to get going. I haven’t had an extensive social calendar, instead spending most time visiting the few close friends still in Ottawa and family. June was fairly nice, as my parents rented a cottage, and I went camping twice with a friend and his family at Murphy’s Point. I finished teaching at the end of June and flew to Northern Ontario on Canada Day to visit my mom and step-dad for two weeks.
The time was not very eventful, but we did get out and do a few fun things. My step-dad took me up to our camp, which he built himself, and is up in the Agawa Canyon. Think no cell service, quiet, lots of time to read. I went for a swim or too, but mostly frittered the couple days poring over a few books I’d brought with me. We also took a weekend to visit a friend of my stepdad’s on Manitoulin Island. It was a first for me, and definitely beautiful. His friend had a fairly private property on Lake Manitou – all limestone and clear water. It was two days of drinking and good eats with family friends, but I needed to take it easy after that.
After a few days hanging out around home, I headed to Blind River to be picked up by my best friend and make the road trip to Ottawa. It worked out so well because she had a bridal shower, and I live here after all – so she spent 3 days with me. We don’t get to see each other often, as her pharmacy schedule keeps her fairly unavailable, so the time was well-enjoyed. We did as girls do – shopped more than necessary, had wine chats, went hiking, beaching, swimming, and out for casual lunches. We have vowed to travel together at some point in our lives, but it may be some time yet, as her work is pretty demanding and I will need time to save again after this trip.The last time I went overseas, I had a bit of a difficult time. I missed friends and family. Christmas didn’t feel the same. Then I had a corny thought. Why not bring my friend with me in spirit? So, one embarrassing craft later, the promise of lots of silly selfies (see below).
This was followed by a weekend in Westport at a good friend’s cottage where I got to see some old friends from high school. In summer, there is honestly nothing I love more than being by the water. Good people, the outdoors, toss in a couple drinks? Divine. Aside from that, time has been ebbing slowly. I’ve been kayaking a few times with my dad, to the beach with family, a couple dinners, and a lot of beach-side relaxing. I know I’ll get excited about my departure, but I will admit I am mostly feeling stress when I think of it. I’m going ahead of my travel partner because I’ve been feeling restless, my money being wasted away on inconsequential things the longer I stay here. I don’t have the amounts of money saved that she has, so I’m a bit more worried in that regard. Purchasing my flight, insurance, getting more shots, picking up last minute items, etc – is definitely frustrating. I forget about all the extra hidden costs involved with travel. Such is life, I suppose.
My mom booked a flight to visit me my last weekend in town. I do love her, but for me, it adds a bit to the stress, as I can’t be packing or organizing anything while she is here. Still, it will be nice to spend some time with a loved one before heading overseas. We will be staying in the empty house I was watching over for a family friend, as my dad will be away that weekend and I can’t access my stuff. I’m very thankful to have had that place these past few months, as it allowed to save money and have my own space. Thanks Shipmans! Anyway, it means that I need to get all my stuff sorted well before Friday so I have that peace of mind. I always worry about forgetting something, or to have done something, before you take off. I’ve cancelled my phone, the gym, changed loan payments… but there’s always something! At least I have the comfort of knowing this isn’t my first rodeo. I’m praying my kindle, music, and adult colouring book (yes, you read right) will help me on the long journey over. I fly via Ottawa this time, making it easier, as I will likely be getting myself to the airport. We have a layover in Vancouver, head over to Brisbane, then finally to Melbourne. I definitely get cagey during the long flight, but I’ve got gravol, lots of water, and hopefully an aisle seat so I can get moving.
My friend Rimma, who lived in Ottawa this year, is actually from Melbourne, and has kindly offered me a place to stay until all has settled. Melissa should hopefully arrive a week later. We will meet tomorrow to go over some stuff, and hopefully finalize our plan for when she arrives. There is a school holiday in the 3rd week of September, so I find it would make more sense to get set up with our teaching agency before heading off on a holiday. I rejoined Melbourne Newbies, an awesome meetup group I was part of in 2013-2014 in the hopes of meeting some faces during that first week. There is a tour out to the Yarra, which was actually my first ever activity with the group.Sprawling valleys and wine samples with internationals seems like a good choice to me. 🙂
Even if I am the only one who reads this, I find it fascinating to come back to my thoughts weeks, months, or even years later, and see how I was feeling, what I was doing. As the quote above implies, I am curious to see what this return trip will be like. A close friend asked me how I’d feel coming back a second time, but the beautiful thing is, I don’t know. I have someone with me this time, I have the experience of seeing places and living things already in this country, but people have moved on, and things have changed. I have changed. The place will never be exactly the same, and I am coming with new eyes. I can only hope to build on my past experiences, and embark on a new adventure that surprises me and surpasses the last one.