Alright, here we go… I’ve decided to start my series of holiday-related posts with what was probably the highlight of the trip: Launceston. (Keeping in mind that I’m probably not going to write a post about my cousin’s wedding, since this is not really the sort of place I’d write about it if I did.)
For those of you unfamiliar with Australian geography, Launceston is a town (or small city?) in the state of Tasmania, which is that island at the bottom of Australia, just south of Victoria (which is where Melbourne is). Being the southernmost state, I suppose it is the coldest, and, apart from seeing my friend who lives there, I was probably looking forward to that the most. Well, that, and exploring a place completely new to me.
This was also my first solo trip (I’m not counting my trip to Rocky last year because that was for work). Granted, I was going to meet up with a friend, but since it was a surprise visit, I had to plan everything out for myself. Plus, there was the risk that she would not be free to hang out in the days/nights that I was there, so I’d be on my own anyway. And I was quite excited about navigating and exploring on my own, and just enjoying a bit of solitude and complete independence.
I almost feel like I need to do a whole separate post about the surprise visit thing, but I’ll try to squeeze it into this paragraph. I am just going to write this post about the lead-up to and outcome of the trip, and publish a separate one about my actual stay because this is going to be exhaustingly long if I don’t.
I had told this friend that I would be down in Melbourne for about a week and a half to visit family, and she had wanted to come up to see me, but she was on-call, and being on-call kind of means that you can’t just fly interstate randomly. I was a bit sad about this, so I just decided to fly down to Launceston and see her instead. I mean, it’s only a short flight between Melbourne and Launceston (and reasonably cheap too, if you fly on a weekday), so why not?
Less than a week before the start of my holiday, I booked flights, car hire and accommodation. My entire plan consisted of showing up, at least seeing her briefly so that I could give her a rather belated birthday gift and card, and then kind of just winging it from there. This was the first time I’d ever flown somewhere specifically just to see one person. I don’t even do surprise visits for friends in Brisbane that I could just drive or catch a bus to (or even just walk to). Well, I mean, I have been known to randomly visit friends at their workplaces, but generally it’s because I’m in the area, and I just drop by.
Anyway, I was pretty nervous about this trip because (1) I didn’t really have a plan, (2) I’d never been to Tasmania before, and (3) there was always a chance that I would not fulfil the one objective of the trip. I kept waking up in the middle of the night before my departure because I kept having dreams that my alarm didn’t go off, and I got to the airport about an hour before I needed to. But, to be fair, there was a lot of excitement mixed in with the nerves as well.
In the end, I’d say that, overall, it went quite well. There wasn’t really anything to be nervous about, and I don’t regret anything. Well, if anything, I feel like I should’ve booked a longer stay. I was there for three days (or technically 2.5, since it was basically afternoon when I got there on the first day) and two nights, and, for the size of the place, I’d thought that’d be enough. But, no, apparently that’s not enough. Well, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ll be visiting again some time in the future, so this is not such a big deal.
I think the biggest thing I got out of this trip was the realisation that, yes, it can be really easy to just make a move and go wherever you want; as corny as it sounds, this trip really opened me up to all the potential and the wonder of travel and adventure. It’s not like I never realised it before, but it’s sort of like the difference between looking out through the glass of a closed window, and actually opening the window and standing at the ledge – the outside world almost becomes more tangible.
And I feel like I’ve talked to a lot of people about travel and the places they want to go, and that’s all well and good but it’s just talk. It’s quite refreshing and, I suppose, exhilarating to actually take action and just go somewhere. I’ve never been overly affected by the so-called travel bug, but this lesson (? if you want to call it that) is applicable to other areas of life as well. (But, you know, within reason. I’m still a responsible person.)
Conversely, rather than inspiring me to take on the world (which, don’t get me wrong, I still really want to do), this trip has actually awakened a desire to explore within Australia. I think my sentiments are neatly summed up in a simple thought I had as I was eating breakfast and watching the sun rise above the Tamar River:
You don’t have to travel far to feel like you’ve travelled far.