When Jared was a kid, he and his family went camping. He has memories of being the only one in the water, having his pick of waves and visiting different beaches each day. They cooked jaffles and slept in tents and generally had a rip-roaring good time.
My family went camping in Michigan once. It poured down rain and the borrowed tent collapsed. We spent most of the night in the laundromat and the van broke down on the way home.
This weekend we went to one of the spots from Jared’s childhood holidays. It blew my camping experience out of the water and I understood why families might want to do this more than once. He loaded up the ute (truck) with boards, picked me up from work at 5 on the dot, and we drove 90 minutes north to Seal Rocks. We rented a cabin at the North Coast Holiday Park, and we could hear the ocean at all times.
The weekend really turned it on, with the most glorious sunny day on Saturday, perfect for beach activities, visiting the nearby lighthouse, and checking out the nearby town of Pacific Palms. We had a pub lunch of fish and chips at Smiths Lake on the way back, then hit the beach again.
At night, when I was making my last trip back from the toilet blocks (at the late hour of 9PM), I noticed a group of backpackers lining the picnic table at the communal BBQ area, drinking beers and doing the getting-to-know you thing. It was a reality check, because I was them once – no obligations, no responsibilities, just a loose plan of getting from Sydney to Cairns and wherever else I could fit in. Australia isn’t the big unknown island it once was. It’s where I live and work, pay taxes, check the mail, Google flights (and get a shock when I see how long it takes to fly anywhere internationally), all the regular activities that make up my regular days.
But it is still that place, the country that sucked me in and promised me adventure, all the time. This weekend was a little reminder that I need to go out and find it, because it is right on my doorstep, waiting to be discovered.