February 15, 2009 GMT
Ciao, Ciao For now

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Featuring Grant Guerin and Julie Rose with special appearance by some other guy

Our flight from Addis took us to Sydney via Bangkok. For the first time in three and a half years we were eating seriously good Thai food. How we had missed it. The eight hour lay –over saw us having Thai massage and eating noodles non-stop!

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Piggy Arrives in Sydney

Crumpets and vegemite in Sydney, wandering streets and feeling oddly out of place, so many white people, so many people with Australian accents, most of the Taxi drivers though were of African descent which seemed comforting.

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Having to fill the tank yourself.... what a novelty!

Customs was an easy enough affair, a quick inspection, a stamp on the carnet. AQIS (quarantine) was another matter all together, but we knew this coming in.
The arrival warehouse did not have wash down facilities and as Piggy had been on foreign soil the inspector was not satisfied with the cleanliness of the bike. This required her to be moved to an alternative facility.

Couriers were arranged and Piggy was given several very high pressure wash downs and re-inspected twice before being released. Clean as a whistle.
To arrive at our home town of Cairns in Far North Queensland we took a slight detour via Adelaide to catch up with our families.

An inland route was chosen for the 4 day ride north, a last little adventure before arriving back to the ‘real world’.

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The Back of Bourke

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Long Road North

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Dusty Road North

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Sandy Road North

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Still Going North

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Damn it is a long road North

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MMMM YUUUMMMM Frosty Mango, definitely in the Tropical North now

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Now that's a tired frog!

GRANTS RAMBLINGS

Well the writing had been on the wall for some time now. In fact financial issues had been plaguing our journey since leaving South Africa in March. All this come to pass as is said. And for us the best three and a half years of our lives was nearing an end.

I, Grant, write this from the small North Queensland town of Mareeba where Julie and I have settled and work. We live in a small yet comfortable cabin by the side of a tranquil creek on the outskirts of town and have made tentative steps towards a more permanent life. As yet they remain tentative, for neither Julie nor I have settled well and Australia each day has appeared less inviting.

I had read a number of stories from previous long term travellers and each hinted of life thereafter. Struggling to adapt and exist in societies that no longer seemed relevant or even sensible. However, unless one is extraordinarily rich or famous it would seem there are few other options available.

People have asked “What have you gained from your trip?” At first upon arriving back in Australia I considered those typically far apart thoughts of being foot loose and fancy free, having few commitments and even fewer concerns. Yet though that is an important factor to being on the road it is but a small part of what one can gain by just stepping off the treadmill for a brief while.

As I stated w was not sure how I had gained from our wonderful trip, but as time has passed I have started to notice small changes in my behaviour. Now a news report or article on say Zimbabwe, that several years ago would have fallen on deaf ears and an apathetic shrug of the shoulders fills me with strong and definite emotions. When news of riots and civil unrest appear in Santa Cruz de Bolivia I watch recognising a familiar street or plaza.

Now with considerable confidence I am more knowledgeable of the history, geography and cultures of the American and African continents. Some would say and expensive and sometimes arduous way to learn, however school was never so much fun!

Julie and I have been fortunate to live and breathe many of the countries we have travelled through. Our international friends are far and away but always close to our hearts though we may never see them again we will never forget them. The hospitality the world has to offer the adventurous soul is somewhat awe inspiring and with this I will finish my ramblings.


JULIES NOTES

Home, what a strange notion that is. What is it? Where is it? Is it, perhaps, a someone? These thoughts and questions have been harassing me since my arrival in Australia towards the end of August 2008.

It was a lot of work organising customs and quarantine and a little stressful not knowing how we were to survive financially as well, especially as all departments had their hands out. It was a little like travelling in a third world country where everyone keeps asking you for money. Just that here it is called fees and you get a receipt!

I had forgotten how wonderful the Australian outback truly is. I wondered if I was looking at it with rose coloured glasses. The colours so vibrant, the landscape so harsh and yet stunningly beautiful, skies so blue it makes you gasp. That sounds exaggerated and overly dramatic, I know, but I was overwhelmed by my country of origin.

How I wanted to travel this wide brown land inch by inch. I felt we were rushing back to Cairns at great speed, for what, to settle down, get jobs and go to work? Why could we not just take our time, enjoy this moment? Appreciate what we have been through. No point in putting off the inevitable.

So now for the last few months in between working in a native plant nursery, keeping house and enjoying life in the tropics I have been sorting through thousands of photographs, laughing, crying, reminiscing and wishing. We would not change it for the world.

What a wonderful journey we have had.

We are planning the next phase of our travelling life, hopefully it will come to fruition sooner rather than later.

So where is home for me now. It is not a physical place but rather a place in my heart, no matter where I go.

Posted by Grant Guerin at February 15, 2009 04:00 AM GMT
 


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