After three weeks almost entirely on my own, I gratefully arrived in to the bus station in Townsville to be collected by my friend, Peta, and her husband, Dan. This moment was a long time coming, dreamed and planned and finally realized.
Although Peta and I hadn’t seen each other in ten years, and had only ever met in person for about two weeks, our friendship continued from afar: she was the first Australian I ever knew, and from the moment I knew I was going to Australia I was determined to see her again. Visiting Townsville was non-negotiable in my travel itinerary.
We spent our days and nights talking (years and years to catch up on) and marathon-ing our way through Parks and Recreation. My favorite chicken-soup-for-the-soul show, the show that never fails to make me feel better or laugh no matter how many times I watch it–and one I had been unable to watch since arriving in Australia. This mix of wonderful company, tried-and-true entertainment, and comfort was like a magical balm to my adventurous but at this point fatigued and lonely heart.
I spent a day on nearby Magnetic Island, happily trekking up and down the length and breadth of the island. As best as I can calculate, I hiked upwards of 12 km over the course of the day.
In addition to getting to see and stay with Peta (in a house! with a real bedroom!), the day I arrived coincided with the grand opening of the first Bikram yoga studio in North Queensland, opened by a lovely couple from my very own Teacher Training.
I got to take class from both, and even had the opportunity to teach a class. Because the studio was brand-spanking new, most of the students were, too. This meant that practicing I was as much a demonstrator for those behind me as I was a practitioner. But my favorite part about new students is their bravery and enthusiasm. Trying out Bikram yoga, much less making it through the first class, takes courage. Similarly, opening the studio on their own, with no yoga community around for hundreds of miles, required HUGE amounts of bravery and perseverance on the part of Dayna and Jason. I admire them so much, and was so happy to get to support them and cheer them on for even a few short days. They’re working wonders out there on the yoga frontlines!
Although I spent over five days in Townsville–more than in any other single place besides Sydney (to the bafflement of my travel agent)–it felt all too short and was easily by far one of the best legs of my trip. It was a beautiful reminder that the most beautiful places in the world still matter less than who you’re with, wherever you are.
Next Up: A final hurrah in Cairns