Our Year That Was
It’s hard to comprehend that this time last year Dean and I were house sitting in Rockingham just south of Perth and we still had more than 10,000 kilometres (6,213.1 miles) in front of us to get home. Bear in mind, we didn’t have a house to come home to, but we’d already decided that reaching our starting point would herald Closing the Loop and mark our journey’s end.
It’s equally as difficult to fathom that we arrived at Dicky Beach on May 22 and it’s almost inconceivable that that was more than seven months ago.
Where did this year go?
In late January 2016, as we said goodbye to Rockingham and headed north, so too did the mercury, with every kilometre taking us into sparse arid regions and hotter weather. By the time we ventured Above the 26th Parallel we were in (what was at the time) one of the hottest places on Earth. I still remember the heat sucking the moisture off my eyeballs the day we pulled over and changed seats so I could drive and Dean could have a rest. It was 45° (113°F) outside and our car’s air conditioner was working overtime just keeping us cool.
We were not so naive to think this was not going to be the case but we didn’t let it spoil our fun. During this scorching heat, we managed to visit several national parks, gazed in wonder at more rugged coastlines and landscapes, and even got up close and personal with some native wildlife.
We stayed away from the interior, keeping mainly to the coastline, and saw as much as possible by getting out of bed early and enjoying our surrounds before the heat took hold.
I still can’t believe we had this all to ourselves for four hours one morning.
Getting burnt was not an option with my fair complexion, but I must add, that didn’t happen mainly due to lashings of sunscreen and my board-brimmed hat. I may have gained a few new freckles though and there were days when we walked with sweat dripping off our noses and running down the backs of our legs. We cooled off in the ocean as often as possible, and honestly, I cannot remember any other time in my life when I was in the water so often, nor can I ever remember being so unconcerned about what I looked like in my ‘bathing costume’ (ha ha).
Sunsets on Cable Beach in Broome, the long road to Nowhere, Lake Argyle, and the Bungle Bungle Range, just some of the amazing sights we were able to enjoy. But I still wish that park owner in Kununurra had warned me about George, the fresh water crocodile who likes to visit every now and then.
I may well be laughing about George right now, but I wasn’t laughing that morning I almost stood on him.
It took us 5½ weeks to reach the Northern Territory and, I must say, by then we had left the most of the heat behind. Though it was still warm, and we experienced a few wild electrical storms generated by the heat, this heat was different and, although accompanied by extremely high humidity, it was almost pleasant by comparison.
There are only two seasons in this part of our country – the wet one and the dry one – and we were there in the middle of a relatively dry wet season, at a time when most businesses and tour operators are closed.
But that didn’t bother us. We thought we were the luckiest people on earth because there’d been enough rain that we saw Kakadu and other parts of the Norther Territory, as well as WA’s Kimberley region, lush and green. We were very lucky there hadn’t been enough rain that roads were closed causing us to become stranded. Neither of us wanted that.
Finally, after 17 months, we crossed the border back into our home state of Queensland. Dean could almost smell the salt of the Pacific Ocean and hear the call of the waves. It had been a long time between surfs, but he’d have to wait a bit longer to get into the water as we spent time with family, visited the Daintree rainforest and drove as far north as Cooktown before turning the car south on April 6 to begin our last leg back to Queensland Great South East.
After crossing into Queensland, it would be six weeks before we reached Agnes Water – Queensland’s most northerly surf beach where Dean finally got his board wet, and another 6½ weeks before we arrived back where it all started at Dicky Beach.
We could have kept going, but our finances were telling us it was time to buy a house and get back to work. Who would have thought that ‘work’ meant the planning and building of a new home? Sure we’re not building it personally, but there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into securing a block of land, selecting a plan, altering the plan, and ensuring those plans and all the associated paperwork are in order prior to signing the contract – that almost did my head in.
It seems the first half of 2016 was full of excitement, and the second half was dull and boring. But it wasn’t. We’ve spent time with our children, caught up with friends, and been house sitting all over the Sunshine Coast while our new home is being built.
All in all, it’s been a good year. 2016 saw Dean and I in the right place at the right time – at the best possible moment actually, and on more than one occasion.
I can see 2017 is going to be a great year. We will take possession of our new home in February and are looking forward to an exciting new adventure in a new city.
In response to the WordPress Discover Challenge – Retrospective