Down Under Dreams…Part One

Here I sit on a different continent, trying desperately to get my mind to register that fact. I’ve literally waited my whole life to be here. Upon reflection, I’m pretty sure that as a kid my whole reason for wanting to come here was simply to see koalas and kangaroos.
It might still be my main motivator.
I’m pretty sure I’ll cry.
Because I cried on the shuttle bus that stank of sweat–not because of the smell, though it was tear-worthy, but because I looked at my husband and realized where he brought me.

I have avoided oversea travel thus far, though most all of my family has already flown in a little tube over the ocean. I’ve avoided it partly because I’m a mom and haven’t felt like gallivanting all over the planet was as much my priority as being available to my children. But now they are almost all grown and some still able to travel with me, and when the opportunity presented itself, it seemed like it was finally time.
I’ve traveled a lot–within the northern hemisphere and within North America. I’ve taken several flights across the country, but most of my hours logged in travel have been purely in an automobile.

This flight is not for the faint of heart. Somewhere between thirty and forty hours of travel time, start to finish.
That’s the shortest route possible.
It was three planes (one of which is 15 hours) plus a three hour drive. It included about 4-6 vague hours of sleep in which I felt like I had an awareness of everything going on around me. Not exactly like my usual sweet dreams.

It was no joke.
But the in-flight movies were great!

We arrived to a land of tropical heat in which everything from time to light switches is upside down and backwards. The words are fantastic, the attitude totally laid-back, the air is hot, the plants and trees are gorgeous and unrecognized by our family, and as a result we feel completely out of our element.

In the morning, the birds swarm our “backyard.” And they are lorikeets (they look just like parrots) and fruit doves and all manner of screeching, warbling feathered friends.

Upon the arrival of darkness, giant fruit bats arrive by the tens of thousands with wingspans of three feet swoop from every hidey place, and at first quite effectively give us all the willies until we learned some more about these unique guys.

We took a drive into the mountains when severe jet-lag prevented any other activity. The mountains are rainforests and the drive up showed us what sugar cane farms and banana plantations look like.

The winding roads led us upward to hours of nothingness except millions of termite mounds the size of a kitchen stove and a complete and total lack of humanity like nowhere I’ve ever been before–well, except Death Valley. Honestly, it’s kind of a creepy feeling being so far from anything and knowing that if you needed help, there is no way to find any. No other people around anywhere and there sure aren’t any bars on the phone!

Christian has to travel the next couple days for business so the three of us here will enjoy gelati and lunches out, opening fresh coconuts at the beach, and perhaps do a bit of shopping for our two loved ones who remain at home–busy working and both turning nineteen while we are away. We won’t be swimming at the beach, however. Perhaps it’s due to having to stay inside the stinger nets (literally nets in the water to prevent rattlesnake-like bites from all manner of jellyfish).

This kind of separation from my reality is a first for me. The distance alone is frightening. Somehow, I have to choose to not think of that little map that showed my plane zooming most of the way around the earth and just do the equivalent of looking only at my feet when I walk. I just stay in the moment and see what is in front of me and trust God that He has me in His hands no matter how far from home I roam.
And enjoy the view…

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