I’m trying to recall when I first fell in love with traveling.
As a child, each year my family would drive to Queensland for a holiday. We’d stop just across the state border for breakfast at the same roadside café with speckled, bird-covered wallpaper. I’d order spaghetti on toast, always, then we’d journey further north for two weeks of September surf and sand.
A few days after Christmas we’d make another pilgrimage to Depot Beach on the New South Wales coast. Those camping days were long and smelt like morning Summer sun, wet leaves and rainforest. And Nutella. My brothers and I were each given a jar of that addictive cocoa spread to last the few weeks, a delicious lesson on self-regulation, moderation and the importance of properly cleaning chocolate-covered hands.
These trips were decorated with innocent joys that were felt sincerely and without caution. They fueled a desire to explore, to discover and describe. Yes, as soon as I could write I began to journal my holidays, keenly praying for those 4:00 A.M.-wake-up calls so we could do it all again. Do you remember that feeling? Piling into the car with your family, pillow on your lap and mum rationing the bag of Minties, watching the cars go by as you head off on some wild domestic adventure. I think the anticipation heightened my affection for those camping holidays. And I carried this love, this anticipation of adventure from childhood into young adulthood.
Throughout University I scrimped and saved, mooching all the canned food and homemade lentils off my parents I could manage, until I was financially free to jet off and once again, travel. To feed my then palpable need to explore and wander new rainforests, swim in new seas. To learn and grow and enjoy manufactured cocoa goods from various lands (I’m not entirely sure that my love of Italy doesn’t relate to their common love of Nutella). From Morocco to Moscow, from San Francisco to Sicily, I documented each and every step and crumb in my Moleskin journals. I was hungry for travel, always.
Such hunger encourages self-reflection. What culture speaks to me? Where is the place that feeds my soul? Where is home? Beyond “where was I born?” and “where do I live?”, where is truly home in my heart?
Last year, upon returning from the USA and settling into a little cottage by the beach, I found my home, and the desire to fill my backpack and get lost in exotic corners of the world quietened. For now, this particular hunger is sated. Instead, I feel a need to balance my desire for distance with real life. This home I’ve manifested and affirmed, this world in which I live day to day needs nurturing. And so I find myself dreaming not of 24 hour plane rides to Wales, but waking at 4:00 A.M. to ensure we can reach our camp sight in ample time. For now, at least, it’s about home. Australia.
Oh, and I’ve fallen for the most soul-nourishing corner of our homeland…Tasmania.
Tasmania smells like green and tastes like apple pie. The soil and the sea, the mountains and rainforests… such fertility and abundance. It stays with you, feeding your heart and your home long after you’ve left, fueling your desire for early morning adventures to the coast, for sandy toes and lungs full of rainforest air. For cheeky fingers in jars of Nutella…or whatever feeds you most.
This post was written for Latitudes, Longitudes, and online travel magazine I contribute to. Visit for tales and photographs, it’s a beautiful and inspiring escape.