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Baby Boomers in the Bush

We are getting ready to go away — away, away — really away, overseas and into another hemisphere. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might remember that in 2020 we were about to embark on a trip to Australia and New Zealand when, three days before departure, Covid intervened. And that was that. (“Doubling Down Under,” Feb. 29, 2020, and “Doubling Down, Part II, Mar. 13, 2020)

     As I wrote back then, Australia and New Zealand were the last big entries on our “bucket list” of international travel. Now, three years later almost to the day, it is still a BIG trip, perhaps even more so because we are three years older and inevitably changed by three years of Covid isolation. Having been almost nowhere since 2019, at this point I hardly remember how to plan and pack, much less prepare for the new realities of traveling anywhere today.

     We started planning this trip a few months ago, though it seems like we’ve been planning it since the beginning of time; we’ve talked about it, thought about it, read about it and researched it so much that I almost feel as though I’ve already been! During this time, Covid regulations were constantly changing and up until just recently, I have refused to go anywhere by plane that wasn’t a non-stop. (As though Covid germs only frequent airports and fly on multi-leg journeys — a conspiracy theory of my own making.)  

     All this planning has proven to be anxiety inducing in itself, however, even as our departure date nears. Every change in protocol, every modification to the itinerary, and every State Department directive precipitates text alerts and e-mails requiring some action on our part. There are, of course, still various Covid requirements and proofs, plus visas for both New Zealand and Australia, and multiple cross-referencing identifications, documents, registrations and app downloads. Pity the international traveler who is not computer literate and does not own a smart phone.

      We are flying non-stop from Dallas (16+ hours) to Auckland, then boarding a cruise going round that country and on to major ports in Southeastern Australia. It’s a long trip, but then we are talking about a whole continent here. Yes, I will get to see my long-desired Tasmanian devils, along with kangaroos, koala bears, wombats, Kiwi and Emu. And yes, we will have our treks into the outback, or bush as it is sometimes called. (I’m “bushed” already, and we haven’t even gotten there yet!)

    Bush: A forest or scrubland on the edges of civilization; from the Dutch word “boslbosch” meaning forest. It was a term used by the early Dutch settlers in South Africa, which we experienced first-hand on photo-safaris out into the bush in Kruger National Park years ago. In South Africa, bush traditionally indicates green as in the veldt; in Australia, the term has been adapted to mean the edges of the continent away from larger cities, colloquially called the outback, which is usually red or brown given the climate. Sounds like South Texas.

     One of the best trips we’ve ever taken was to South Africa and the bush. The other bests were  into the Sahara, Egypt and Jordan and the Middle East. I loved these vast landscapes and the flora and fauna (or absence thereof) of such remote and beautiful places. So I am looking forward to the trip “down under,” to the beauty of the earth as well as the beauty of the people and their cultures. Travel has been our life and inspiration for so many years, and for all the aggravations and anxieties, it is still absolutely worth the trouble. There is no other way to more immediately broaden one’s horizons and gain a better perspective on life than getting out of one’s comfort zone (or in Americans’ case right now, our “discomfort” zone). 

     Beyond that, I am simply looking forward to getting away to a place where I don’t have to do anything, literally. I don’t have to shop, or plan dinners, or cook three meals a day; I don’t have to clean or tidy up, or do the laundry. I can go on shore excursions, or not. I can read all day or go to the spa. I can simply, maybe, hopefully, relax. And I can do all that with my Honey.

     My husband and I said all through the pandemic isolations that, by the time we were able to travel again due to Covid, we would be too old to do so. Given the rigors of this trip, we may be on the cusp of that prediction. Nevertheless, we persevere,  knowing that there is no better way to feel alive and experience the beauty of other worlds than to do it with someone you love. 

     Happy Valentine’s Day.

1 Comment so far

  1. Diane Thiel

    Have a wonderful time! It is worth the long flights, time changes, weather changes and efforts to pack for it. Happy Valentine Day.


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