When we asked Tom for a place to stay in Rockhampton, he replied inviting us to come along to the Yeppoon Village Festival where he would be staying that weekend or just come to his house and make ourselves at home. Wow, I like those options!
As we would arrive in Rockhampton rather late we opted to stay a night at his house and then meet him at the festival the day after. After our longest day so far (111km) we were blown away when we saw Tom’s house. Built some time ago in a typical Queenslander fashion on poles, he renovated it and I’m in love with the toilet and bathroom:
After our first tour of the house Torsten cycled off to do some grocery shopping for dinner and breakfast. We had already seen the supermarket on our way in but wanted to get settled first. About an hour later he returned with cider and beer but no groceries. Well it seems that Rockhampton’s supermarkets close at 5pm on Sundays. And suddenly I’m just utterly exhausted and disappointed by not getting the food I’m craving. I feel like a 4 year old being denied something and not being able to understand why. It’s not that we’re going to starve – we still have enough and Tom generously invited us to his fridge as well – but somehow I’m well out of my comfort zone food wise lately.
Torsten carries our food panniers and as eating out is quite expensive in Australia, we usually cook ourselves. We normally stock up in bigger supermarkets (cheaper) and buy fruit and vegetables in roadside stalls and a few little things we need in smaller shops. Usually that works fine and we both do enjoy cooking and being able to cook as we like it. But: The things we’re able to carry in our panniers are limited after all. That means that sometimes our food choices are limited as well. At home I used to live 5 minutes away from a supermarket and if I had any craving I would just pop over. That system really doesn’t work with bicycle touring. Sometimes we’re in luck and the next supermarket isn’t too far away or we just bought the item I want but sometimes you have to suck it up and settle for what you have.
To my own surprise that hasn’t always been easy for me. Now I could come to all sort of conclusions why that is – being spoilt with too many choices is one of them. But my likeliest conclusion is that food and (known) food choices provide some sort of security. Being able to satisfy my needs with something I know and knowing how to do that can provide a feeling of security and comfort. And sometimes that is very important especially after a day of cycling and being confronted with all sorts of new things and people.
When we went to the festival the next day it took us a while to orientate ourselves, to find places and the music we like. In the end we did and it was really enjoyable. There was this one singer, Sahara Beck, who has an amazingly powerful voice and it was a gift listening to her. And we finally met Tom and his friends and I really enjoyed talking to him and finding out about his job protecting the Great Barrier Reef from agricultural soil washouts.
In the end I believe it’s always going to be worth it. There is always going to be good food – it might just be different from what I’m expecting. And there is always going to be those wonderful gifts of listening to a new singer or meeting inspiring people. Sometimes it might take longer or you may have to take a different approach. And you never really know how it’ll turn out. That is a whole lot of what travelling is about. Being okay with the unexpected, dealing with new things, leaving that comfort zone. And then finding comfort in unexpected ways, over and over again.