Busy Weeks and Beautiful Mornings

It was a busy week.

I started getting some real shifts at Tribal Travel, a little travel agency / internet café where I sell East Coast backpacker tours to fresh-off-the-greyhound travelers.  It’s repetitive and mind numbing work, like call center stuff, except with real people.  All day long I talk about Fraser Island tours and 2 day, 3 night Whitsunday boat cruises.  Scubas, snorkels, campervans, skydives, dolphins and kayaks and sea turtles and blah blah blah.  It’s the kind of job that wears you down and makes you slowly, but fiercely hate the backpacker crowd. And I just started 2 weeks ago.

In addition to my hours at Tribal, I was helping out at Wylie’s bakery, doing deliveries for him in the mornings.  I’d start at 6AM and pick up the bread and pies from the Byron Bakery, do deliveries in Ballina and Goonellabah, then pick up the meat in Bex Hill before heading back to the Byron bakery by 10AM.  Then I’d go home, shower, and head to Tribal to start my day in the office.

Long days for sure, but the bakery runs were just for one week (though I’ll probably fill in one day a week now) and I really needed the money to get back on top.   But it wasn’t just about the money, really the bakery runs were awesome.  I enjoyed my time on the road – just me and the radio (Tripple J is possibly the best radio station in the world – for real.), cruising the highways of Byron’s hinterland.  It reminded me of my days doing deliveries for Student Traveler Magazine before I left The States, and I enjoyed those days.

The scenery during those bakery runs was incredible.  I got to see the sunrise every morning as I ran my first delivery out to Ballina.  There is a part of the highway where you come over a hill and you can look out over the green hilly expanse of the hinterland and see all the way to the ocean.  I was too far out to actually see the waves breaking, but the hills themselves seemed to undulate like waves, with thick pockets of fog that nestled themselves into the lowlands overnight, to be burned off by the rising sun every morning.  The contrast of colors was amazing.  The pink and orange pastels of the sunrise sky, soft in their splendor, seemed held at bay by the vibrant shades of green that dotted the rolling hills.  It was beautiful.  And as I drove that delivery van in those early morning hours, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I had to remind myself to really take it all in.  Most other travelers missed those sights, those little windows into Australia’s real beauty.
The other day, Lou and Courtney and I went to see Fat Freddy’s Drop, a New Zealand Reggae band that we all became fans of during our time with the Kiwis. They were playing at the Great Northern, and since we’d never seen them play in NZ, we all decided that despite our collective brokeness, we’d splurge and buy the expensive tickets.  It was a good show, and my first night out in a while.  So I got nice and drunk on goon and beer, but by the end of the night I was just too tired to keep the party going.  The busy week had caught up with me and I was in dire need of a sleep-in.  I bought a gross (read: heavenly) hot dog from the street vendor outside of the Great Northern and went straight home to bed.

Today, I’ve been trying to make some plans for the next step, or few steps of my journey.  Robin and I are looking into taking a 2 week trip up the East Coast (so I can finally see all those touristy places that I talk about in my Tribal Travel sales pitches).  Money is tight, but I hope to put my travel agency connections to good use and squeeze as many freebies out of this trip as I can.  Also in the works is a new place to stay in Byron.  It looks like I’ll be moving back into the Arts Factory for about 10 days over the Easter holidays (because rent in this touristy town skyrockets over any holiday), before moving into a sweet house on Belongil Beach.

Fingers crossed about that one.

But yeah, I have ne next few days off, so booze, surf, booze, surf!  Woo!

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  • Chelsea

    Are you on track to making it home by June..?

  • Justin Jones

    well, yes chelse… kinda… i should be able to afford the plane ticket soon… but then I’m planning that big trip up the east coast which will put a big dent in my bank account. I’ll figure it out!