“I presume the flight isn’t full?” I asked as we checked in to our flight back to Narita.
Covid was spreading and the world was panicking. A brief grin followed by a chuckle, and then that most Australian of replies, “Nah.” The attendant was right, too. The airplane was half empty as people were becoming afraid to travel.
We returned as the Australian summer and Japanese winter were coming to an end straight into a blistery snow storm. Narita Airport was eerily quiet. It was late March 2020.
We got back just in time. Both countries were preparing to close their borders, so I was, as a non-Japanese citizen but permanent resident! in danger of being locked out of my own home. I thought we’d be back in Queensland as usual later that year so there was little fuss when we didn’t get the chance to catch up with old friends. We’d see them again soon.
You know the rest.
Fast-forward to August 2022. Back on Queensland soil. Back under that insanely beautiful night sky. Australia is one of my favourite countries and one of the only countries I have a desire to visit again and again. Like many people nowadays I’m weary of international travel. I just don’t desire it anymore. Australia, the UK, and Japan are enough. Apologies everywhere else, I’m just not that interested. Three countries are plenty. In fact one is probably more than a lifetime’s worth. Is it an age thing?
So it was with joy that we returned to Queensland this year. Apart from raising my daughter taking children on our Australia homestay is the most rewarding thing I do each year. The kids love it, the parents do too, and so do I.
When I’m retired I want to join the grey nomads of Australia, revisit my twentieth birthday when I travelled the whole continent (except for Tasmania) on a working holiday visa, and spend time in the Outback. Preferably without and wifi or needless distractions. No noise or distractions except for the deafening silence of the desert.
There is nowhere else I find more inspiring and equally terrifying than the Aussie Outback. Oh, that drive up the west coast from Perth to Darwin back in 1995! I still think about it now.
For now though our homestay programme is plenty and I’m glad it’s back on the annual schedule.
Incidentally: Apple have just released their new ‘adventure watch’ for the bargain price of ¥124,800. According to Apple this new watch, “”… is a versatile tool that empowers users to push their boundaries with adventure, endurance, and exploration.”
The world is going mad people.