“WOW!... so for 2 years now you’re travelling full-time… awesome! So where have you been?”
– is a question we get asked often.
So we usually answer… “Well we checked out a bunch of towns heading north from Sydney to Cairns over about 4 weeks thinking we’d stay in Cairns maybe a week at most then head off to ‘somewhere else’….
Four months later we finally headed south again to a pre-booked caravan event in Henty NSW. Due to COVID this was cancelled at the start of March 2020 while we ‘overnighted’ in Toowoomba.
Six months after that we finally headed north again towards Bundaberg to see some friends. Hervey Bay was another overnighter… been here now the best part of seven months as I write!”
Some people say ‘WHY!?” – to which we say ‘WHY NOT!’ – If you like somewhere, why not just stick around if you can. Meet the locals, get a feel for the place and more.
In case you didn’t know, Australia is a HUGE place. The UK - including Ireland alone would just about fit into the space between Cape York and Cairns. And if ‘bunched up’ a little, the entire European continent would just about fit inside Australia’s entire land mass.
So even doing ‘the Big Lap’ a couple of times as so many people seem to want to do these days, you will never get to see the entire place. Sure, clocking up tens of thousands of kilometres with just as many photos is great for social media posts and memories of the trip, but have you really experienced Australia?
Ok – so before our full-time adventures, we’d been to Oodnadatta and Alice Springs – even overnighted in a double swag under the stars outside Uluru! This was in fact for a TV pilot we were making about travelling AU many years ago!
While both beautiful locations, we’re drawn more to coastal and slightly inland regional areas rather than the ‘dusty outback’!... Fair enough. Each to their own.
But the most amazing thing about our country is how diverse, yet how similar various locations are.
So an outback pub in the Alice that may be run by a couple of locals maybe even over several generations is not that much different to a pub in (say) Cardwell FNQ or Miriam Vale slightly inland of Agnes Water/1770.
They are local people with a passion for the tiny towns in which they live and are working to feed families just like the rest of us and also to make travellers welcome and share local history.
By comparison, pubs in (say) any capital city are often owned by larger business groups and simply employ people to run them. While there are exceptions, the majority of employees are just that.
Working to ‘pay the rent’. Which is fine!... but what stories can they tell about local history, events etc past present & future?
For instance we managed to have a chat with the owner of the Miriam Vale Hotel, Mitch Brennan in which he shared some amazing stories of the pub’s history as well as what he was doing to keep those local stories ‘alive’ .
You can listen to that chat here or read the entire transcript on the same page.
Mitch was typical of the many people we’ve come across in our travels like Colin Oke – a caravan park owner in Cardwell FNQ where we stayed for a week or so who was passionate about the place – even after Cyclone Yasi almost wiped it off the map in Feb. 2011.
Listen or watch his story here.
And yes we have plenty more stories like this but the bottom line is… stopping by a location for a night or two versus staying longer than a few weeks. What’s the difference?
Well for us the difference is ‘PPP’ - the Passion of the People for their Place.
Apart from a few years overseas, we lived in Sydney for more than 26 years.
Will we ever go back??… NO WAY JOSE!!!
While Sydney is an amazing city with a very interesting history, it really exerts (for us) very little ‘passion’ now. Sure there are some wonderful things to see and do in and around the area and we’ve done plenty of them, but like Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth etc while all have some great ‘local history’ there just seems to be very little ‘connection’ between the people who live there with their ‘town’, unlike smaller regional towns.
So maybe ‘bigger is not necessarily better’ when it comes to locations. We’d be interested in your thoughts!
Images: UK/AU & AU/Europe comparisons - © Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia) 2021.