I had been living in Europe for four years before I met Bill, and I was anxious to catch up with long lost friends. So for our honeymoon, I came up with the idea of driving from Sydney to Adelaide return, via the Australian coastline – a very roundabout choice. We covered many thousands of kilometres in around seventeen days, over which time I discovered that Bill was more focused on the destination than the journey. He preferred to stick to the main interstate highways, and would race past interesting turnoffs at 110klm, so that by the time we got home I had a list of things we did not see. Even more disappointing was that we were too tired every night to take proper advantage of being newly wedded and work free. We should have spent the time getting to know each other even better. Mea Culpa. Sometimes my bright ideas are missing a spark or two.
On the whole, it was a good trip, and we did really bed down some happy memories, but it wasn’t a great choice for a honeymoon. These days, I believe that honeymooners should go to remote places, moon around over each other, and only come out to eat and look at beautiful sunrises and sunsets. They should spend a couple of weeks indulging each other totally. Having exotic experiences and heartfelt conversations that they can recall and become sentimental about when looking back on it. Something that will sustain the couple through those future moments when you wonder why you ever got together in the first place.
What I did learn about Bill is that if you give him a job to do – in this case to cover a large distance in a short amount of time – then by golly – he will do that job to the best of his ability, and not allow anything to distract him along the way. He is a very task focussed and – by the way – a house proud guy. I am not one of those wives who has to leave a list on the refrigerator door and wait six months for my husband to notice. So I should count my blessings!
What I learnt about myself was that I never, ever, wanted to do a road trip with Bill again.
Well, almost thirty years together, and retirement, has mellowed us both. So when I started Uni three years back, we hit on the idea to grab short breaks in the session recess. We are not getting any younger, and there is so much of Australia we have not seen. Without work commitments to tie us down, it was silly to procrastinate. Bill promised faithfully to take his time and give us a chance to look around. He also agreed not to tell me how to drive the car, and so I agreed I would share the driving with him. Most importantly, he planned the route, and so it was up to him to make sure that the hours of driving each day were not too much.
Inspired by how I had planned an itinerary for a trip to Europe twenty years before, Bill mapped a route determined by where our various friends and family were, and off we went on a voyage of discovery: to catch up with people, to see how and where they were living, and to see something of the countryside along the way.
Even though Bill and I have lived in an apartment for twenty years, and know many people in the same situation, in the course of our travels we found that most Australians of our age still like to live in relatively large houses with space around them, they all keep pets, and many of them fall asleep to the sound of cicadas, and wake each morning to the sounds of kookaburras, parrots and other bird life.
Bill is in the throes of planning our next road trip. So I thought for the next series of blog posts, I would re-visit what we have already seen, drawing on the diary I kept at the time. Much of this will be very familiar to Australian readers. However, I am dumbfounded to realise that I have more than a hundred followers from various parts of the world. So perhaps my writings will inspire tourism to the land Down Under.
Garrulous Gwendoline, Wollongong, almost Christmas Eve 2013 ………..