Australia was full of many surprises. Arriving in Melbourne from India, we experienced an unexpected culture shock! After spending one month in Kerala we had grown accustomed to a certain type of hospitality and interaction with people that was much more rough, consumer orientated, and boldly in our faces. When we stepped out of the plane in the airport, the friendliness, the warmth and the assistance we received was extremely palpable, and in a way in all felt familiar. It felt warm and genuine as if we had just arrived ‘home’ to friends after a long time travelling.
Everywhere we went in Victoria it surprised us how nice and friendly everyone was. The people actually go out of their way to help you. Slowly, as we began to interact more with the local people, we realized that Australia really is the land of “no worries’ and “no dramas!” The people lived their lives without worry, fear, hesitation, or grief. It was so refreshing to see. In this trip around the world I have been to some pretty desolate places, which, as important and grounding as they are to see, leave a certain heaviness on you that is quite harrowing and can be hard to shake off. The air in Australia was clean, the waters were clear and warm, and the environment was well taken care. I could feel all the stress and discomfort from India slowly clearing away. And I finally found a place that sold Chai with almond milk
We began our journey east of Melbourne just outside of the small town of Sale, which sat just a few kilometres away from the southern coast . We volunteered for a week with a really cool family who owned an indigenous plant nursery on a beautiful wild property in the middle of a typical Australian bush land. It was fun to be so warmly held within the home of locals, and to learn about the native plants in that area. During our walks in the forrest we got to see many different coloured birds, parrots, and cuckoos, but the wallabies and flying squirrels remained hidden at night.
We then took a train west of Melbourne to volunteer at a biodynamic and organic vineyard, garden, and cellar door just outside of the small town of Queenscliff. Here we stayed for two weeks helping in the gardens, meeting other travels and guests, and using our time off to explore the area on bicycles. It was lovely. But we had been hearing rumours about the beauty of the Great Ocean Road – a coast long highway running along the shores of Victoria and beginning exactly where we were. So we finished volunteering and packed our bags to use our final days in Australia enjoying a peaceful road trip.
Our three day trip was incredible. Everything I wanted to experience during our time in Australia came to greet us. We were surrounded by unspoiled, wild, and beautiful nature, touched crystal clear beaches with the most beautiful and unique sea shells, and got to see hundreds of kangaroos and a few koala bears!
I fell completely in love with our surroundings. As excited and eager as I was to soon be leaving and finally arriving in North America, I was also sad that our stay in Australia had been so short. So much of the country reminded me of being back home in Canada. I felt as if I could easily find a beautiful place to be apart of there. Australia and New Zealand had always been mysterious and mystic places of my dreams since growing up and I always pictured myself one day arriving to explore the lands unbounded by time or circumstance. It was nice to touch at least a piece of Oceania and I promised myself, for the first time after leaving any country, that I would be back one day.
We were of course chasing time and I could feel my belly getting bigger everyday. It felt right to be moving back into North America, and we couldn’t believe that we were on our way to Hawaii – a place I never thought I would visit in my entire life! So we bid Australia a beautiful goodbye and thanked her for sharing with us her beauty, wonder, kindness, and wildlife. Then we boarded our ten hour flight to Honolulu.