Noosa to Townsville: An Ode To The Road and The Mountains
We have gone back out into the world, left behind Noosa, a bubble of abundant wealth and neat beauty. Rich man's playground and poor man's workplace.
I sit in the back of an old if not determined commodore, head resting against the solid mass of my backpack, the place I stow all my worldly possessions. Well, the ones I choose to bring along on this journey.
My leg is twisted awkwardly, resting along the window edge. A steady flow of cool air kisses my face, coming in from the driver-side window.
Its the blackest night, punctuated by the occasional reflective sign, made less quiet by the sound of music of every genre.
Daniel, our driver (found via a Facebook ride-share group), a fun and kind-spirited German dude, plays some of his own recordings. We move between our home-grown favourites and some other classics.
The road is ours and ours alone, or so it feels.
In our metal cocoon we fly along the highway, feeling each bump and hump as we soar.
The conversation is real and interesting, truths being spoken with open ease.
I rest my eyes and let sleep take me in short bursts, waking not to see if we have reached our destination but to stare back out into the black.
Is there anywhere more peaceful, suspended from real life and real time, than being out there on the road?
You are moving away from one part of your story, running toward the next chapter. But you are merely a passenger, along for the ride, letting the road deliver you forward. Your mind can wanderer faraway, or stay right there, immersed in the moment before the next thing begins.
Who knows what comes next?
Arriving in Townsville at 7am, the sun just rising in the sky, the car slowly moved toward the strand, where we could stretch our tangled limbs and dip our toes in the ocean.
In the distance sat the tall and lush green Magnetic Island; we would be heading there tomorrow.
We made our way to sleepily find food and eventually check into a hostel, at which point Daniel would be going off on his own way. We hugged and said goodbye, aware that we might not see him again, most likely won't.
That's the nature of many of the connections you make on the road; brief but often really awesome and memorable.
Tired and bedraggled, we thought, lets not just sit around and relax, lets climb Castle Hill, the imposing orangey-red rock-face visible across the whole of Townsville.
There isn't a lot to Towsville, other than being the gateway to Magnetic and home to a lot of industry, but its flat range of buildings are encircled at the edges by more lush green mountains, making the climb up Castle Hill well worth the hike.
I decided to take the hill at my own pace, allowing Taran to go ahead by himself. Sandy stones crunching underfoot, the path edged up toward the uneven and steep steps.
I felt out of breath and languid in my legs almost right away. 4 months of sitting behind my laptop working on the blog plus not having the most difficult hospitality job meant my fitness has definitely gone down-hill, no pun intended.
Quarter of the way up the walk a man twice my age past me heading down, and seeing my puffy red face asked if I had water and made sure I was stopping to drink it. The fact my woeful fitness was trumped by someone much older than myself did little for my confidence in climbing the hill.
In reality the hill isn't that tall or difficult a climb, not for anyone of reasonable health, not at all. But its the same with all challenges or obstacles in life, some of us take a little longer to surmount them.
Yet this was a challenge I chose to take on, because I knew I would find it difficult but I knew the pain would be worthwhile.
Most importantly the desire to do what deep down I knew I could do, was stronger than the voice in my head (and my aching limbs) telling me what I couldn't do.
I kept my eyes on my feet, as they moved upward, taking each step at a pace I was comfortable with. I didn't look up at what I still had to climb nor did I look back at what I had already done. I kept entirely present and focused.
Sometimes if we focus on the main goal and not the incremental small tasks and successes, we just don't even bother trying.
I took the climb one step at a time and I can't think of a better metaphor for how to live your life than that.
Reaching the top, walking the last few steps up to the viewing platform, I leaned over the edge of the railing and felt a great whoosh of fresh breeze embrace me. I could see everything, 360-degree views of this small slice of Australia, looking out to Magnetic and behind to the distant mountainous walls guarding the city.
It was understandably worth it. My mind quietened having spent the past hour talking me in and out of finishing this hot uphill trek.
Cramped, long-distance car rides followed by steep and hot midday hikes, might sound uncomfortable and painful, but in reality these things can be as wholly simplistic as they are unexpectedly beautiful.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!
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