Tag Archives: Australia

What stays – Reflections on starting out in Australia

So here we are, almost ready to catch that flight to Indonesia. A big part of me doesn’t even want to leave because of feeling far too comfortable in Cairns with beautiful people. But another part is excited about that new place waiting to be discovered. Only today have I started looking at some roads in Bali via Google Street View and some of it just looks amazing. Tiny roads with lush green scenery and houses and temples scattered about. But before embarking on that flight I want to share some reflections about our time cycle touring in Australia.
All in all it has been a great place to start out. While both of us have cycle toured individually before, we’ve never toured together or for such a long time. Here we encountered a few key factors which made it quite easy for us:

  • English is the most commonly used language. That made it easy for us to talk to locals and more so to have meaningful conversations. Or just to convey our needs for food, water, a place to sleep.
  • Australia is a big country and quite inhabited. That makes it easy to find a place to camp in nature. Also there are lots of camp sites for no or little money.
  • There are so. many. hosts. Warmshowers is really big especially on the east coast. So it was really easy for us to find hosts and we met so many amazing people through that site.
  • Supermarkets. While there are some isolated stretches where you need to plan your food supplies, going from Sydney to Cairns is usually not too bad. The supermarkets are mostly well stocked which makes it easy to get your supplies all in one place.

Of course we also faced a few challenges like road rage, long hilly stretches, the occasional rather racist approach and building up those energy levels. But all in all it was a great place to start out. We could concentrate on cycling, an building up energy, on coordinating our needs and ideas and if we needed something like new tyres we usually knew where to look for. What I’m unarguably most grateful for is getting to know all those wonderful people and still feeling connected to them. And what is maybe equally important – I enjoy cycling and cycle touring  more every day. Sometimes it’s over the brim exhausting but I’m learning more and more to deal with that. And then there are the many joys that come with our mode of travel: Spontaneous conversations with strangers-no-more, food that never tasted so good before, cycling in those cool morning hours, seeing kangaroos hopping over the street and enjoying the first cup of coffee in the morning just outside of our tent. And rest days. Seriously, just reading a book with a cup of coffee is the single best thing after cycling for five days.

So here we are, ready now, to catch that flight. See you in a little bit!


Inspiration and Homecoming

Sometimes we are just incredibly lucky. I don’t even know how to begin putting our few days with the Canfields into words nor can I believe our luck of meeting people like that.

As soon as we arrive at their house in Cairns I feel welcome and very very comfortable. Les, Mandy and their two daughters Kady and Erin have been bicycle touring and backpacking themselves and thus just completely understand what touring cyclists need.


In the matter of a few minutes our immediate needs like shower, place to sleep and storage for our many things, food and drinks are sorted out. And on top of that Les already organized cardboard boxes to pack our bicycles for the flight which is a big load off our mind.


And over the next few days he generously offers to drive us around to get various things and even helps us clean and maintain the bikes. So our big to do list shrinks rapidly and we actually have some time to rest and prepare for the next leg of our trip.

But mostly we enjoy our time being home with family. Because that’s just what it feels like.Together with Pietr and Natalia (two more cyclists just starting their Australian leg) we take turns cooking meals…


we eat together, explore trails around Cairns…



and enjoy the views.


I feel comfortable to a degree that constitutes being home. There is something about being able to be myself entirely without having to go through a lengthy getting to know each other process that is quite rare during life on the road. I’m not even entirely conscious of how much it feels like home – it hits me only a few days later when I feel severe bouts of homesickness after getting to Indonesia. I miss that family and our time together. I miss the warmth, the generosity and being with the people I like.

And yet the gift of being home is not the only one we received in those few days. As mentioned before the Canfields backpacked and bike toured together as a family for several months each. Of course I knew that some families did that but it never really registered. So talking to Les, Mandy, Kady and Erin about their experiences was really fantastic. Mandy and Les shared their ideas and motivations behind their travels and also talked about home schooling their kids. And Kady and Erin told us how much they appreciated the family time. And that got me thinking about travelling and having kids and how all of that might work together. I started reading about home schooling and found out that it is not allowed in Germany but that some people still fight for it and do it anyway.

I know that having kids and having a family is something that can only be planned to a certain degree which probably means not much.  But I would like to question if having a family should be equivalent to settling down. And I would like to challenge the view that the existing school system in places like Germany should be seen as the only possibility of getting a good education.

One thing that gives our travels a direction is the “cycling home” part. As interesting our life is and as much as I like cycle touring, at some point in the future I want to be home again. I want to be with family and friends and I want to be in one place for a while.

And the other part consists of the “wandering thoughts”. That means new ideas, challenging old ideas and random reflections on happenings on life on the move. And of course the two are connected: We get ideas because of the way we travel and we might change our life and our way of seeing the concept of “home” because of inspirations we get along the road.


And sometimes, if we are lucky, we might find home on the road. In Cairns we did, for sure.



Rainforests and Roadrage

As we still had some time left before our Australian visa would run out we decided to explore a bit more of the area which is called the Wet Tropics of Queensland. People were telling us about the beauty of the Daintree National Park north of Cairns and our remaining time would allow for a little detour in that direction.


Coming down the tablelands we enjoyed beautiful views and most of all the downhill through lush green forest.


Next stop was the Mossman Gorge with a rather touristy set up. But it is possible to cycle (or walk) there instead of taking the costly shuttle bus and the swimming in the crocodile free river is just pure bliss in the rather hot climate.


On the following day we cycled further into the Daintree National Park. The small road was just beautiful although I did not appreciate the hills in the beginning to much. Once again I was surprised how much influence my mindset has on my motivation. After the exhausting cycling in the tablelands I was set on relaxing and not pushing myself too much. So there were a few silent and not so silent outbursts on my part until we conquered this not at all big hill.


We cycled along tea fields…


beautiful beaches…


and did another small hike in an all green forest.


And then, very unceremoniously, our last day of cycling in Australia was here. Cairns was less than 100km away and in a few days we were going to take a flight towards Bali, Indonesia. Only a bit more cycling, lots of stuff to organize and a few rest days separated us from the next leg of our trip.

We started the day with an awesome breakfast with the most beautiful scenery…


and then followed the road to Cairns along the beach:


Visually the road was absolutely stunning with the glittering ocean on the right hand side…


and the mountains on the left:


Sadly we got our fair share of the all to common road rage towards cyclists in Australia today. Since we started our trip in Sydney we’ve gotten yelled at at least once a day with very few exceptions. Mostly for nothing at all meaning us riding on the shoulder of the road and the driver in question not even having to slow down for a second. Sometimes because the driver had to use the breaks for two seconds because there was oncoming traffic and he/she couldn’t overtake us right away.

Today was worse than usual. The road was quite narrow and curvy and we encountered lots of speeding drivers overtaking us with little space between us and them. And we got quite a few curses I won’t repeat here. While it is true that most people are friendly and we usually get a lot of thumbs up and smiles on the bikes it still leaves me wondering why people here sometimes get so aggressive when they see cyclists on the road. I don’t think this is a phenomena exclusive to Australia but we sure faced it a lot here.

The slogan “We are traffic” of Critical Masses all over the world comes to mind. Cyclists should not be seen as an obstacle but rather as part of traffic. Lots of Australians we talked to actually prefer mountain biking instead of commuting or cycle touring in their own country for safety reasons. So reclaiming the roads and seeing bicycles as part of traffic is important and maybe travelling by bicycle is a small part helping that goal.

And so here we are, just before Cairns, as we find heaps of wild mangoes right next to the street – a wonderful gift I couldn’t appreciate more! And a little later we arrive tired but very happy at the Canfield’s house in Cairns. More on that later!

A break in Mareeba

A stint into the outback, much needed rest and the best company you could wish for – that pretty much sums up our stay with Dale and Jeffrey. But let me start from the beginning.

The tablelands have offered stunning scenery and beautiful cycling, but after 5 days I really needed not to be on my bicycle. My muscles were tired from the almost constant climbing and more so my mind. So we tried our luck with warmshowers and couchsurfing but everyone was busy or out of town. Luckily one host in Mareeba referred us to a friend of his who would be happy to host two cyclists. Sure, why not!


So we wrote to Dale and were soon on the phone with his nephew Jeffrey. Both of them invited us to come to Mareeba and we happily accepted. Over the next few days we could finally rest and enjoy the wonderful company. Dale is maybe one of the persons we wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for our mode of travel. He is retired, used to work with tobacco and knows the area around Mareeba really well. It was an absolute joy having him as a tour guide.


On the first day we all piled into his ute and took off towards Mt Mulligan. I was torn between really liking being in a car and not having to power it with my legs and on the other hand it was all too fast compared to a bicycle. But then again I was far too tired to cycle.


The scenery around us was amazing and completely different to the lush green fields from the last days.



Near Mt Mulligan we wandered through two cemeteries and the old Mt Mulligan mining settlement.


A very interesting detour that we wouldn’t have made on our bicycles – thank you Dale! And going back to Mareeba we even went to cool off in a creek. Since Rockhampton I liked having locals with me while going swimming as there are just a few too many crocodiles around for my taste ;).

During the next days we visited a local coffee roasting business, had lots of discussions and relaxed at home. We didn’t always share the same opinion but we had beautiful sincere talks. We exchanged opinions, we listened and everyone shared something from him- or herself. With Dale’s knowledge of the area and his many experiences and Jeffrey’s curiosity and will to understand everything I felt very comfortable. Dale even let us stay longer when he and Jeffrey went to Cairns as we still wanted to get a few things done.

And once again the faith in humanity is restored and I couldn’t be more grateful for our encounters with lovely and inspiring people.

The Atherton tablelands in pictures

After we recovered from our conversation early in the morning the tablelands were an amazing place to be. Of course you had to be willing do work for it. Instead of many words we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves this time!

Right after our not so pleasant encounter we had an inspiring talk with the owner of this castle and enjoyed some awesome coffee waiting out some rain.
As we didn’t buy fruit earlier we jumped at the chance of this little roadside stand selling papayas.
Naturally we had to compare if these were as delicious as the ones before… They were!
And if you ever wanted to know if not yet processed cocoa tastes good – we tried that as well and oh well, it kind of doesn’t. But still interesting!
So much green!
Clouds looming…
…but loving the roads…
…and the views.
Buying some tea directly off the fields.
A little hike in the woods…
…and another one with a nice waterfall at the end.
The next morning some more climbing rewards us with stunning views.
Yep, not a bad place for a second breakfast.
Just a bit hard to get moving again…
Good that we are on bicycles ;).
The kind owner of this house invited us in for some coffee to hide out from the rain. The company and the coffee was just what I needed when it turned out that the tablelands aren’t really flat after all.
Another hike in a beautiful national park. As we were a bit low on food three fellow travellers took pity on us and gave us hard boiled eggs – quite the luxury after a few days without real supermarkets!
Our new friend rain is finally catching up with us.
On the next day we took it easy and enjoyed this beautiful lake with lots of coffee and some reading / writing / picture taking.
The sun brings out the colours.
Like this one. Just because.
And after a quiet day we make our way towards Mareeba. Over some real backroads this time with the added bonus of dogs chasing us.


Looking back over these pictures the tablelands really offered some of the most stunning scenery. It didn’t come without effort though. It was a constant up and down and I’m really looking forward to some rest days now. And I’m curious to meet our next host, Dale – a recommendation from a warmshowers host who is currently out of town himself!

Refugees welcome: on racism and the usual challenges

While we had a wonderful few days with Kay and Mozzy in Townsville, the next few days would bring quite a few challenges – mentally and physically. As we still had some time left before flying out of Cairns we decided to do a little loop over the tablelands west of Cairns.

p1120144 So we cycled from dry dry Townsville into Tully, the wettest place in Queensland. And what do you know – it rained! A lot. But since it was still warm we didn’t mind too much. And we passed some seriously stunning scenery and  fell in love with all the green around us.p1120156p1120200Some time after Tully we turned inland and thus the climbing up to the tablelands began. The first day was gentle and we found a nice camping spot next to a river.

The second day would bring over 1200m of climbing which is the most I have ever done on a loaded bicycle. Somehow most of it wasn’t that bad though. It was only in the end when I suddenly got ravenously hungry (cycling uphill burns a lot more energy than cycling on flat terrain) that it got a bit exhausting. And we must have searched at least an hour for a place to camp. A farmer turned us down and all the land around us was fenced off. So we settled for this:

p1120328A tiny clearing in a dense forest but it was good enough for a night. And we really needed to rest after today. Not only did we climb a lot, we also had  a very memorable encounter that took me a long time to write about. When we stopped at a small store to buy some fruit, the clerk who attended to us asked us where we are from and upon hearing that we are from Germany started a conversation about the horrible refugee situation in Germany and Europe. Initially I agreed but it turned out that we had quite different things in mind. He was convinced that refugees are basically bad cowardly people and should not be allowed to entry Europe. Or Australia for that matter. Once again we tried to argue, tried telling him about (australian) refugee camps in Papua and how refugees are treated there. I tried talking about reasons that force people to leave their home country. But once again this was not a conversation. This was about him expressing his point of view and honestly, I just can’t listen to that any more.

My heart aches when I read about refugees seeking a place to survive, to live. And not being able to do something as the situation worsens in Germany is really hard. And I’m grateful that I have friends who are active in supporting refugees wherever they live.

So, forgive me when I say that I’m sick of listening to some arguments which I have heard a thousand times before. When someone says that criminality is higher now with all the refugees around, why not have a look at the statistics? The media raved so much about that argument that the German police felt compelled to publish a statement that crime rates have NOT gone up.

When people talk about muslims not respecting women why not criticize that in our own (western) society? And why don’t people think about the fact that refugees are trying to flee from some extremists (not respecting women)?

When people complain about the government providing for refugees and not doing enough for you I want to scream. Really? These refugees had to leave their homes because there is a WAR going on. Sometimes I really doubt that people get what that means. Bombs falling, guns firing, kids being left so traumatized that they start to cry when they see a glue gun.

In the end I think it’s a lot about the feeling of security and stability. Things in the West seem seasonably good as they are so why change them? But things aren’t good for a lot of people on this world. When you buy a cheap shirt from H&M you are supporting incredibly inhumane working conditions and climate change is starting to show its impact. And then there is war.

So I urge you to think about the privilege of being born in places like Germany and Australia, the privilege of being white. It’s nothing you did, it just happened. So don’t pretend you’ve earned it.

In the end, I sincerely believe, we all want similar things. Marshall B. Rosenberg even based his theory of Nonviolent Communication on that assumption. And when I asked refugees in Germany during the research for my thesis what they really wanted, most listed a job/occupation, being able to provide for their family and just living a happy life. So why not think about feelings and needs we have in common instead of things that draw us apart!

But as uncomfortable as that conversation made me once again, I was glad that it ended differently this time. I managed to speak up and we did not buy any fruit from him. A small thing maybe but important nonetheless.

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Martin Luther King Jr.



Happy News and Homesickness

Usually I talk to my family about once a week, mostly with my parents and sometimes with my sisters and friends. Yesterday someone very close to me called and first we talked a bit about where we are at the moment, how she liked her recent holiday on Zanzibar and so on. And then, just as the phone connection started to get really bad, she told me that she and her partner decided to get married next year. Oh wow! I was almost instantly torn between being really happy for her to be in a loving relationship and being incredibly sad for not being able to be with her in that moment. For not being able to hug her and see and feel the excitement instead of listening to it over the phone.

For a moment it made me not want to do this any more. I wanted to be at home, with my family and friends and not be so fucking far away on the other side of the planet. I wanted to be with my friend and her partner and celebrate with them and not have to deal with visa and route planning. Thoughts of quitting flickered through my head. I considered trying to cycle / travel faster to be able to come home in time.

But then, thinking of having to rush to get through all the countries in between here and home doesn’t feel right at all. It’s not going slowly, it’s not compatible with stopping when something interesting turns up or when you need a break. One of the things I like most about our trip is the open end. While that doesn’t mean that I want to keep on travelling indefinitely it means that our plans are to evolve organically during the process.

So I’m torn between a happy and a heavy heart and don’t quite know what to do yet. Being away is hard sometimes.

One day, many cyclists: on perfect days and making do

September 5th, 2015

Annika and Roberto over at Tasting Travels came up with a wonderful idea: They picked a date (September 5th 2015) and invited lots of cycling friends to document that day. Timetables, cycled distances, food, encounters and problems and everything else. We thought it was a great idea and immediately decided to participate. Then September 5th rolled around and we took it quite seriously and that started with taking a lot of pictures during that day. Way more than we usually take. It was actually even a bit exhausting to remember taking all those pictures. But we did. The next thing was to document all the thoughts, problems and wonderful little things that we encountered on that day. In order to do that in a disciplined way you would typically write that down or even better write this blog entry on the same evening or the next day. Well, we are not that disciplined. The next day was spent with our wonderful hosts relaxing from 5 days of hard cycling. And so some time passed and about a week later we found out that one of our cameras was missing and we lost a lot of pictures from September 5th. So, long story short – this is sort of a compromise, we’re going to make do with what we have. That on the other hand is not a bad motto for cycle touring after all!

Here’s our day (posted about two month later as we are still behind with our blog):

5:45am: Our alarm clock rings for the first time. And then many more times. Oh, how we love the Snooze-function!

7:00am: We actually get moving. It’s another beautiful day in Home Hill, Northern Queensland, Australia. Last night we pitched our tent on the Showgrounds in Home Hill. Many of the Showgrounds in Australia are open for Campers when there is nothing else going on. We especially appreciate the showers and toilets for very little money.

So we finally decide to get up with slumber still lingering in our eyes…

107:20am: We are in the middle of our daily process of packing up. Our ‘house’ has to fit in our panniers and backpacks, so we roll up the sleeping bag and mats, dissemble the tent and pack everything else. We usually try to do that before having breakfast as not to waste too much time afterwards.

27:40am: Torsten fires up our MSR Whisperlite to make some coffee – something we rarely go without. As it’s quite windy we really appreciate the windscreen! Apart from that our breakfast usually consists of muesli. As we only have oats left we spice it up with chai spice – not too bad!

3408:40am: Everything is packed, water bottles are filled up and we are ready to go!

509:00am: We’re cycling along the Bruce Highway towards Townsville. The sun is shining and we are thankful for every cloud to have a little break from it. Queensland is also called ‘The Sunshine State’ and that couldn’t be more true for us. We had exceptionally beautiful weather so far.

609:30am: Our first stop of the day is at the Coles supermarket where we get some more food. Surprisingly Lisi is hungry yet again and has her second breakfast of the day. This time it’s fresh bread, cream cheese with cracked pepper (was on sale 😉 ) and juice.

10:30am: We’re on the road again. Dark clouds are looming over us, but we stay dry.

7We are surrounded by sugar cane which seems to be the most popular crop in this area. With cycling you can actually smell the sugar cane – it’s like a taste of caramel in the air!

8Sadly we see lots of roadkill, mostly kangaroos and wallabies. Usually we smell them before we see them and the stench of dead animal is quite strong in this hot climate.

 12:20pm: Lunchbreak, Fruit: Roadside stall/warehouse with fresh honeydew melons (and more) invites us to make use of their chairs & table. Great! The road is missing picnic areas today, and shade. Apart from fruit there’s baguette, Nutella, Jam, Cheese … pretty much our usual Australian lunch, if there’s no leftovers from the day before.

13:30pm: As the land around us is quite dry (save for the irrigated crops of course), bush fires are not uncommon. Streets often work as fire brakes, so this is why our left side looks rather brown and the right side is all lush and green:

9 1014:20pm: Only 37k to go! And by the way – if you’re looking for your Aims and goals in life – they might be here! 😉

1114:30pm: Flat, third in a row of three days, sucks. But what can you do? Schwalbe Marathon tyres are waiting for us in Cairns 🙂

15:15pm: Roadhouse with chairs – but again, there should be a picnic area … well, we kill our pineapple and have more fruit (it’s a hot day), cookies and resist the temptation for overpriced chips and ice cream.

 16:30pm: Arrived in Townsville a bit earlier than planned – this is rather unusual – and as it was a very hot and humid day we could do with a bit of downtime before meeting with our hosts. So we decide to indulge in one of our guilty pleasures and go for a coffee at Hungry Jacks (much cheaper and only a little worse than at regular cafes) Sometimes it’s really nice to just have a bit of time for yourself and not do much.

 16:50pm: We go shopping for some food and wine as we don’t like to come empty handed to our hosts.  Coles doesn’t have a liquor department here, so we stumble upon another drive in liquor store where people stay in their cars while someone tends to all of their alcohol needs. Funny, somewhat!

 17:20pm: Finally, we make it to our destination for today: Kay, our warmshowers host welcomes us warmly and we couldn’t feel more at home. She and her husband have the most beautiful and inspiring house: It is built in a way that air flows through naturally which works as a natural cooling system. It is surrounded by native plants, a green green garden and a pool! All these perks remain for another day though as we make ourselves at home in our comfy guest room and soon after get to know each other over wine and snacks all the while we are preparing dinner.

12 13Today was a good day. We managed to cycle 98k which was quite easy given the flat terrain and the favourable winds. Yes, we could have gotten up earlier and thus avoided some of the worst heat, but oh well, maybe someday we will. Not much did happen today, it was mostly quiet cycling along the same old highway. But still, there were all the big and small things which make it a perfect day of cycling: enough sun to feel good, enough clouds to give your skin a break, funny road signs, a yummy fruit stand with a table in the shade, drivers giving us thumbs-up and us feeling capable of going the distance. And to top it all we got to meet Kay and enjoyed ourselves immensely in her wonderful company. It felt just like coming home after a trip and that’s really what makes it a perfect day! And there’s pear crumble for dessert:


Uncomfortable in Bowen

p1110929Our host Peter told us that the only place to experience the Great Barrier Reef directly next to the coast would be Bowen. Usually you have to go with a tour and pay for a boat to take you out to snorkel or dive. But in Bowen you can snorkel directly from the beach as the reef is very close! Sounds great!

p1110908So we cycle north, find beautiful back roads for the most part, camp once with about 50 other campers and once alone in a dried out river bed. We fight a lot with headwinds and I have a hard time cycling into Bowen. Dealing with my motivation is getting better, but at some point headwinds are just no fun. Period.

p1110949In Bowen we head to a camp site as the local council is pretty strict about free camping. Once we arrive we find out that the town is quite touristy which reflects in the high prices for everything. We settle for the cheapest camp site only to find that reception seems to be closed and no one answers the phone either. It’s not a nice camp site anyway – there is almost no space and it looks more like a crowded parking lot. But we have to stay somewhere. So we wait for about half an hour and still nothing. That’s when we start to get a bit frustrated as we want to get settled in, leave all our stuff here and go to a different beach to snorkel. I try to call a second time, but again no one answers.

So we decide to make some coffee and have a little snack. And to use the shower. I’m a bit concerned that it might be rude to just use the facilities without having checked in but Torsten is unconcerned stating that we are going to stay here anyway. So we shower and that was the best idea in a long time!

After about one and a half hours of waiting we finally decide to leave. We don’t like it here anyway and it’s quite expensive on top. So we plan to go to the other beach, snorkel and then just cycle out of town and free camp somewhere. Of course, just when we cycle out, the owner arrives and nonchalantly asks if it was me calling about staying here. However, I still ask about prices to stay here only to find out that they have even gone up. No thank you.

p1110951So, off to the beach it is and once we arrive I can only laugh about everything: We talk to some people who just snorkelled and they tell us that the water is murky and you can’t see much. Well, so much for that plan.

It’s funny sometimes: We usually don’t go for touristy things or for the must-sees because we care much more for all the small things and encounters by the road. We both really like being spontaneous and being surprised by what the day brings. Still, sometimes we get caught up in the must-sees and dos and snorkelling in Bowen was one of those things and it got us all stressed out.

Once we ditch that plan it’s actually kind of nice. The beach is not too bad and after a snack we go for a nice swim and talk with a local who just loves living here and going for a swim every day. And just as we  decide to leave we meet another local who invites us to set up camp in his backyard. We enthusiastically agree and thus this weird day continues.

p1110952Over the course of the next few hours we make dinner for ourselves and our very helpful host, get talked several ears of and listen to his view about the second world war and how the holocaust was all a masterpiece of Jewish propaganda and completely untrue. He is a Jew himself by the way.

We try to discuss, try to understand where his views come from, but it’s like talking to a wall. At some point Torsten just leaves but I stay listening politely, trying to argue, trying to find a way out of this conversation. I get this churning feeling in my stomach as my core beliefs are attacked and I feel increasingly uncomfortable with our host. Finally I manage to say that I heard enough and we say good night.

I just want to go to bed with a pillow over my head but Torsten convinces me to go to the beach and talk it out. And we do talk and it’s really good. We talk about where our boundaries lie and how it’s hard sometimes to hold those boundaries when someone invites you into their home and you feel grateful for that. We talk about how we want to learn from many people on this journey and how sometimes it’s important to listen and how sometimes it’s important to say what we think and need. We’ll have a long way to figure all of that out.

p1110954For now, with the crushing waves and the sand under my feet, I feel calm again and for that I’m grateful.

The art of doing nothing – relaxing in Mackay

p1110875_v1After long stretches of pastures and nothing else we were finally back with people. We reached our host Peter’s house while he wasn’t at home and followed his instructions to make ourselves at home. He and his wife Jacki live in a beautiful Queenslander house and we couldn’t have appreciated the quiet and relaxing surroundings any more.

On the first evening Peter took us to meet some of his friends which are all active in environmental politics and action in Mackay. It was fun getting to know them over home made pizza and beers. Sadly I was also very tired after all those long cycling days, so we turned in quite soon.

p1110847On the next morning, after a long breakfast, we all cycled to the waterfront where a boat race with funny boats was supposed to take place. And fun it was – different groups of people build all kinds of colourful vessels and proceeded to through rotten fruit at each other before doing a little river loop.

p1110863After that Torsten and I cycled along the river for a bit which has beautiful cycle / walking paths and discovered the botanical garden. But we both felt unusually tired and not very keen on more exploring. So we decided to buy some food and cycle back ‘home’ and just relax. And that’s just what we did. With one or two coffees and a book some previous cyclist left in our guest room I settled on the balcony and was very happy to while away the afternoon.

p1110861Sometimes it’s a bit hard to decide just to do nothing while travelling. There is always something to see, new cities to discover, more trails to wander, beaches to stay at and people to meet. But as I said, lately it feels a bit like having a full time job sometimes as we’re constantly doing things. And I need more time to process everything to stay sane as well as my body needs time to rebuild its energy resources with breaks in between cycling days.  So for the next few days we’re not doing much except for reading, talking with our generous hosts, eating and having coffees. It’s all about just being for now. And that’s just what we need.