Traveling down the South Coast of Australia.
KIOLOA, Australia- I almost ran over a kangaroo. A group of the bastards hopped out in front of me as I was driving down the South Coast of New South Wales.
I guess that’s how you know you’re in Australia.
We rented a car for eight days for like $170 and headed south from Sydney. We ended up in a $40 per night cabin in a place called Kioloa. It’s basically a trailer park flung out on a beautiful beach for people retreating from the world.
Herds of kangaroos flow through the place. They get so close that I’m told that you can walk up and pat them. There was a giant monitor lizard sunning himself out in the open when we arrived — “We know where he is because wherever he goes the birds go crazy,” the lady at reception told me. There is a tree by the pool that has an opossum living in it. There are birds that look as if they escaped from a zoo or exotic pet shop. There are people who are just hanging out, fishing, enjoying the beach — although it’s winter here and is not warm enough to really swim.
I don’t really have internet access in Kioloa. No WIFi, no mobile data. Two days with no internet. I have no idea when the last time I experienced this was. I feel like I’m floating on a raft out at sea. It feels oddly good. There are no emails to weed through, no chatting app messages to respond to, nothing to upload, nothing to check. There is nothing to do but hang out with my family and write.
My wife really likes this place. This means something, as she hardly likes anywhere. While I’ve grown used to seeing her look out on places with grimaces of scorn and disgust, here it’s something completely different: she’s all smiles and shrieks of joy. She likes the kangaroos; she likes the wide open, sparkling, primitive beaches; she likes the people, who smile and laugh when they talk with her. She walks around here confident, not insecure or on guard to defend her self-respect as she often is in Asia. She’s relaxed. Australia has not let her down.
I unexpectedly found myself having a vacation.
We have two modes of family travel:
A) Lifestyle travel, where we stay in a place for a month+ and basically live a normal life. I travel around and do my work, and my wife and the kids do their daily routine.
B) Vacation travel, where we travel for fun — like on a vacation.
My wife and kids put up with a lot of shit that results from my work travels. Either I’m gone all the time or they’re being Shanghaied into going to these remote, often unappealing nowheres. So once a year we take a real vacation.
I’m not sure how it happened. The plan was to spend a month each in an array of countries across Asia where I could do my work. It was supposed to be a bout of strict lifestyle travel. But then I did a couple of stories about AirAsia and inadvertently saw on their homepage a promotional fare from Taipei to Sydney for $170 …