Friday, December 7, 2012

Mission Beach. (and life decisions)

After my desired plane ride over the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, it was literally onwards and upwards - this time, unfortunately past Magnetic Island - but onto Mission Beach. Mission Beach is one of those places you hear about now and again as a popular stop along the coast. Mainly, it is famous for tourists to skydive: jump out of an airplane over the GBR and land directly onto Mission Beach. Although it would have been a stunning experience, I have already skydived and had to save my money for other travels expenses. I was heading to Mission Beach because I wanted an opportunity to WWOOF again and I had found a hydroponic farm along Mission Beach that sounded right up my alley in terms of what I wanted to learn about growing vegetables and herbs - a learning experience in the tropical rain forest for my future Irish farm, no doubt. Makes sense. On the 8 hour bus ride up to Mission Beach from Airlie Beach, northern Queensland is absolutely breath-taking - and this is just the views from the side of the road from a bus window. We were surrounded by cascading mountains, tall grasses, wild palm trees and eucalyptus trees, lush vegetation, fertile fields of purposely planted produce I couldn't even identify but imagined mangos, avocados, bananas and aloe vera, and the sense of the intoxicating aquamarine ocean was just beyond reach. Going further north and into the rampant rain forest, I really felt as though I was finally far away - far away from civilisation and far away from home. Even when in the middle of Western Australia, I never actually felt so in the middle of nowhere. I felt as though, maybe I had come too far, that it was time to go back. I knew I had to be back all the way south in Sydney in a month for Christmas and I wasn't quite sure how I would get there.
Upon arriving in Wongoling Beach, one of the villages along Mission Beach where my hostel was, there was nothing in the near vicinity besides a little shopping arcade with a closed news agent, an over priced Thai restaurant (over priced for the mere backpacker, but boy did it look scrumptious) and a Woolies.
So, I walked to the beach hoping to get a glimpse at the pastel sunset. As I was about to set out upon my stroll, a guy came running over to me yelling at me to watch out. He said I had to stand back or else the descending sky divers might knock me out, breaking bones or even killing me. So, I stayed back and watched the landing show. One actually did come quite close to me as I ran back into the prickly vegetation on the edge of the sand, but I smiled as they all screamed with joy at their survival. The beach was pretty empty, and it felt weird to feel alone for once. Alone and far away. Even traveling by myself for the last couple weeks, I hadn't actually felt very alone. Being alone is nice, even necessary sometimes, as long as you don't take it for loneliness. Everyone needs to have their own space, but a quote I learned along the way, "happiness is only true when shared" popped into my head. As much as I have grown comfortable with myself since traveling solo and relished in my own time, it would be nice to share these experiences with someone (oh, hello Blog). But, I had grown a bit tired of traveling; I had no desire to talk to any new people in the hostel and needed to figure out my own life before I could invite anyone new into it.

 To be honest, as I sat there on the sand and staring off into the vast ocean, thinking about my travels and all the beautiful places along the coast I had seen, with the sunset symbolically closing the day with my own ending introspection, I still thought: Killyhooey is still my favourite beach.

Mission Beach to me, since I wasn't doing the sky dive, was a quiet stop off where I did not do much, but contemplate back and forth (times a hundred million) what to do with my remaining time here in Australia. I was looking forward to some of the nature "things" Mission Bach offered, like a walk in the rain forrest, a day trip to Dunk Island, a Cassowary conservation site (what is that? it's like an emu) and Sunday morning markets.
But the following day it absolutely poured with unbareably high humidity - the kind of heat that you want to sleep completely naked, not even a thin sheet to cover your feet, despite the fact that you are in a hostel with 7 other people in the room. It was the start of the rainy season and I had to decide if I wanted to stay up here for another month, in the rain, and the curly-hair-humidity to do my remaining farm work. If I got my second year visa, it would be really, another year of living abroad. Another year of fabulous weather, meeting new people, and picture-perfect places. It would be nice to have it as an option, a bit of a shame not to take advantage, but I could always come back on a tourist visa.  I've met so many people here who were just on holiday, whereas I always thought Australia was too far away to do that. People actually go on holidays rather than moving to unknown places without a plan!!!  This year of mine, without a plan, here in Australia....I don't even know how to put into words. I do know that looking back, I would have done everything differently, but I regret nothing. It was an experience. It was my Australian Adventure. A year was exactly what I needed and now I want to create a real life. I can honestly say that I have grown up, that I am more comfortable with myself, and have heaps more confidence. I absolutely adored and appreciated the opportunities I had, the experiences while traveling by myself, the friends that I met along the way - some who I hope to keep in contact with and see again in the near future - and yes, can check off these places on my places to see.
So, back to my indecisiveness - which I still have to work on - I made a plan. I weighed all my options, over a couple hours, checking out prices for buses and flights and which combination of travel was the cheapest and most convienent and searched for some inner confidence to comfort me in knowing whichever decision I was going to make was going to be the right one. I was to leave Mission Beach earlier than planned (missed out on getting my 3rd night's refund back) and go up to Cairns to not only check it out, but to fly from there back to Brisbane. I had another WWOOF opportunity down there, who seemed pretty eager to have me run their Community Garden at this swanky mountain top resort, but something about it didn't feel right and Brisbane also was where I had a few friends I could meet up with again. I was flying out of Brisbane in a couple weeks anyways so I thought it would be best to look for a job there to earn some money to pay back for all this traveling. I had a plan, I was going to stick with it, and I was going to feel good about it. 

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