Broaden your horizons. Explore. Travel. Discover. Get to know yourself and learn. Get rid of the baggage – everything unnecessary that’s weighing you down and not enabling you to fly where new stories await you. New adventures. New experiences. New people. Where new memories are waiting to be born. No, this isn’t my motto. Not my life guide. It’s something that reminds me that it’s worth it every time I find myself thinking whether or not I should spend my last cent on a plane ticket.
Every trip is worth much more than a plane ticket, or the most expensive coffee you can afford. It’s worth every second of seeing a unique sunset. To feel an unknown breeze of Australian wind. To touch every raindrop of tropical rain that doesn’t allow your clothes to dry. And to feel that drop that runs down your body because of excessive moisture. But it’s worth it. It’s worth the realization that we have jewels at home. Green jewels of beautiful nature.
“There are thousands upon thousands of wonderful waterfalls that await you in Australia,” I told myself. Each one of them is going to be something special. On top of a hill overlooking the Coral Sea and the overpraised gondola, the panoramic chairlift, the Baroon Falls are hidden. A tourist attraction, right next to the Kuranda village. On my birthday. “This is it?” A street filled with shops where tourists buy ‘Australian’ products, and the falls, which are smaller than expected at the end of the wet season.
Expectations. The expectations I’ve had before arriving to this enormous island were much too high. Just like this waterfall that didn’t impress me. Why? In Slovenia, we have this amazing nature that nothing can measure up to, and I’ve also seen many more beautiful natural wonders elsewhere in the world. Did I really have to come this far just to be reminded how nice it is back home? No, this isn’t me being homesick. After I’ve traveled to so many countries, I don’t even know how to be homesick anymore. Except in the mornings when I miss the smell of freshly-made coffee from Celje’s retro Emo pot.
Did I really have to come this far just to be reminded how nice it is back home?
I’ll admit it. It’s nice here. Everything is green. Those tropical plants that I carefully keep watering back home, in their white ceramic pots, talking to them so they’ll grow up reaching the heavens, follow me on every corner in tropical Cairns. Through thickly-woven branches, on the wet, slippery floor, I make my way to the red basins. The locals love them. I don’t know why. They’re not deep enough to jump into. They’re not big enough to swim in. The sun doesn’t reach these hidden corners in order to warm up the body. But they’re hidden. So I find my peace here. Though they never measure up to our Soča. But they have wonderful waterfalls at the top; Crystal Cascades made for a water massage. If a water python doesn’t peek around the corner.
Beautiful tropical birds dining during breakfast
As I go on a trip a bit further inside, I realize how much I’m actually enthused by the mountains. Just a few meters tall, green hills that rise up next to the beach and create plateaus, which hide a few more watery wonders. Josephine Falls. The first waterfall that amazed me. A wonderful, large basin at the top, where it’s not allowed to swim due to powerful tides that have swallowed too many swimmers. These falls are something special, as the water runs from the highest point of Queensland, Mount Bartle Frere, and are specially worshipped by the Aboriginals.
By sunset and on my way home, I drive by Walsh’s Pyramid. A solid 900 meters tall cone represents one of the hardest climbs for the locals. Each year, they organize a run up the pyramid, which they say that it’s the hardest of this sort. In the world.
Here in Australia, everything is the –EST. The second tallEST mountain in the region, the biggEST amusement park in Eastern Australia, everything the -EST. And signs everywhere. Attention, a turn. Attention, the pavement. Attention, two turns. Attention, kangaroos on the road. U-turns are allowed in a cross-section. And the best sign: turn left. In a turn that goes left. Sometimes, I feel a bit dumb around here. And yes, I’ve gotten used to driving on the left side; after two attempts of suicide trying to drive on the right side.
``Here in Australia, everything is the -EST.``
``The more you know, the less you need.``
I return home. Open the wardrobe. I’m looking for the dress that I haven’t worn in a month. It’s moldy. Now I understand why no one uses wardrobes. All clothes simply hang on the hangers, that hang next to each other on beams all over the apartment. It’s the only way to save yourself from moldy clothes. I take everything off the hangers and wash it. Dry it in the dryer. Hang it around the room. Like the locals do. And no, the Aboriginals aren’t the locals. My desire for how much I want to get to know their culture has led me to resign to the truth about who they are and how they live. In reality. Today. And not how they used to live years ago. Before they(we) took their land. But I certainly like their saying: the more you know, the less you need.