I’m lucky. I truly love the small piece of this planet we call home. I’m one of those people who wakes up in the morning, opens my bleary eyes and sighs in pleasure when I realise I am at home, here in the place I love best – our farm in the Otways. When I am not here, I take this place with me, tucked away in the back of my mind as a touchstone when I need to be reassured. I can close my eyes any time and hear the song of our birds, the warbling magpie, chuckling Kookaburra and excitable peeping fairy wren. I can conjure up the scent of the forest, the minty gum leaves, the musky layers of the forest floor and the misty Otways air.
And yet… I hear the call of distant climes. I am drawn to the travel pages in the Weekend Age. I love reading about people who have ventured out into the four corners of our beautiful planet. Ten Years in Tibet cuddles up to Under The Tuscan Sun on my bookshelf. My DVD collection is heavily weighted towards travel, from Michael Palin to David Adams, Rick Stein to Jamie Oliver, Ewan MacGregor to .. well, Charley Boorman. I like to tag along with them all when they are out there exploring the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the great unknown.
In three weeks time we will drive out of our farm gate, in our newly equipped vehicle, carrying our home on our backs, or at least our tent on the rooftop of the 4WD, and will be on our way across this massive continent. I will feel such mixed emotions as we drive down our unsealed road and meet the highway. How hard it is to say goodbye to this place, it tears at my heart. But how exciting, what a thrill to be on our way to the red centre. How I’ve longed to see for myself the great expanses in the interior of this sunburnt country. I imagine a landscape like I’ve never seen before, can it really be that colour? Can this country really be so huge that we can drive for 2 weeks without reaching the North coast? I have to see for myself.
Am I the only traveller who feels torn? Home is where the heart is, but out there lies excitement and adventure, the unknown, and we are drawn inevitably to explore.