When you’re traveling, you can take a couple of tactics:
- Create a tight schedule and try to see everything.
- Don’t have a schedule, but also only try to do a couple of things a day.
Not having a tight schedule meant that when we saw how relaxing our hotel in Bateman’s Bay would be, we could add a second night. Susy, the Australian member of our traveling contingent, proved to have many talents on this trip. one of which was Hotel Discoverer. In Bateman’s Bay she found this resort on the bay and booked us a nice little cabin with a living room, kitchen and porch. I bunked out in the kids’ room (probably a good thing, since the bunks were pretty short). The place came with laundry, which was good, since I still had blood on my jeans from our first-day hike, where Panti, Kill C and I climbed down and up a muddy Sublime Point. When we got back to our hotel, Panti and I discovered leeches all over our ankles. The jeans, of course, were the only pair of long pants I’d brought with me, so it was great to get them muddy and bloody on my first day in the fall weather of Australia.
At any rate, when we found out our digs were pretty good, we decided to stay an extra night and relax. The place came with easy-access wifi (at our Wollongong hotel, we got Internet access in increments of 30 minutes and had to use coupon codes to log on every half-hour. Great for getting work done. Even better when it’s 4 AM, you can’t sleep, and you’ve discovered that you’ve left your stack of coupons in the car and the key is locked in someone else’s room). We could buy food and cook it on the BBQ in front of our cabin. We could chill.
This also worked nicely because I was trying in vain to wrap up a project that was a good eight weeks overdue and had been causing me no end of frustration due to unending rounds of edits, document conversion and document merging. I’d been working on them the entire week–proudly saying, “I’m done!” after every time I shipped them out. Then I was bummed when they came back twice for more work, and by Wednesday morning I was in tears over document inconsistencies and pdf files that refused to merge.
Of course, tears and Australia don’t mix (and they make your traveling companions mighty uncomfortable), so I wandered down to the bay where I walked over the piles of boulders that made up the revetment. I prefer this kind of walking along the water versus walking on the beach, partly because your shoes don’t fill up with sand, but also because you have to pay attention to where you walk, and it’s challenging to balance on the rocks. Focusing on the task at hand definitely helped take my mind off my troublesome morning. As a bonus, I ran into these pelicans who were chilling out on the rocks with some other little birds. I watched them sit for a while. Surprisingly, they didn’t seem to mind me–even when I got pretty close to take their picture (or tons of pictures, as someone with a digital camera is want to do). Then it was back to the revetment walking, which kept me busy and calmed me down a bit.
After I did a section of rocks, I decided to head back to the cabin, but I took a detour along an area of the beach that was exposed due to low tide. As I strolled along looking at the scenery, it dawned on me that the beach was moving. Upon further inspection, there were hundreds of little crabs (likely poisonous, I’m sure) scuttling around. I don’t know if I provoked some kind of major crab freak out that had them trying to escape me by running down to the water’s edge or slipping down sand holes. I think a couple of them thought their little crab world was at the end of days because they figured they’d better have sex one last time before this massive human crushed them (or caught them and ate them). Made me realize how big and small different problems can be, and helped to minimize the big weight of the project that I was carrying on my shoulders into a parcel I could more easily carry.