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Goodbye New Jersey. Hello World! A record of my journey as I give up my job, my possessions, and life as I know it to go off and see the world!

Adventures in Tasmania: Part II

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 27 January 2011 | Views [2156]

I have bug bites all over, a swollen ankle and haven’t slept properly in about 3 days. And I am sad, but not for the reasons you would think. Today I had to say goodbye to Tasmania, a place where I have spent the last 2 weeks roaming around without a care in the world, enjoying the landscape and feeling free.

At the end of the first part of my post I had hiked to the summit of Cradle Mountain. I still can’t believe that I did it. If you are going to Tasmania it is the one thing you have to do, trust me. If you recall I was traveling around with two women named Karin, one who was 65 and from Germany and another who was 28 and from Chile. The day after our 9 hour hike we decided to take a trip to the small town Strahan located on the west coast of Tasmania. Karin from Germany had her endless amount of energy as she wanted to do many walks along the coast and then go on a boat trip. Karin from Chile and I were just shot, nursing our sore feet and knees from our heavy impact walking yesterday. We checked into a lovely backpackers not far from the beach and she and I spent the day relaxing there.

There are many parts of Tasmania that remind me of home. The small mountain towns could be in many places in the States. How interesting that I have traveled thousands of miles on the other side of the planet and the landscape can be so similar. However, there are other parts of Tasmania that are just unreal to me. At the beach in Strahan it almost looked like the mountains were running directly into the ocean. Every now and then a 4WD car would drive by on the beach. The sand was long and white and the soft blue from the far away mountains melted into the deep blue of the sea. Karin has told me that these mountains are nothing compared to the ones in Chile and yet she is caught up in the scenery as well. What I love the most is that it’s pretty much just us on this massive ocean….and this is considered the peak tourism season. We sat on that beach awhile as we drank Tasmanian beer and allowed the strong sun to soak into our skin. The flies would not leave us alone as they buzzed around us but we didn’t care. Later we returned to that beach with a bottle of wine and watched the sunset. There were a bit more people out and about now but we could still find a bit to have to ourselves. The blue mountains in the distance became hazy and I felt almost like I was in a dream. The sun was so bright as it dipped below the clouds. Before I came to Australia I had seen perhaps 10 beautiful sunsets in my life. Since I have come here I have lost count. Karin and I talked about everything. It has been such a long time since I have really become close with someone I have met while I am traveling. The last person I felt this close with was Johan from my Tran Siberian trip. I forgot how much I enjoyed this, really getting to know someone and learning about where they were from. Karin has one of the sweetest hearts I have ever known, and I will never forget this night in Strahan with her for the rest of my life.

Over the next few days we did much more hiking and driving. We went to Lake St. Claire and got to enjoy a warm comfy fire at the lodge we were staying at. We hiked to the top of Mt. Field and met a Chilean man who was hiking and camping around the area. I enjoyed listening to him and Karin speak in Spanish and realized just how different it sounds as opposed to people from Mexico. I walked through countless spider webs, scrambled up craggy rocks, and go to feel like I was on top of the world several times. German Karin was a real riot. She was always pushing us on the walks to keep going further and make the most of our time every day. She would sit in the back of the car and read from her Lonely Planet out loud about all the places we drove through. I am not really sure if she just liked to read out loud or if she really wanted to educate us. I will not forget her loud German voice anytime soon. Karin and I were starting to predict her mannerisms and what she would say next.

We arrived in Hobart in the evening and Karin and I wanted to celebrate our amazing week together. So, we went out on the town, had too much wine but had an incredible amount of fun. The next day was extremely rough for me, as we were back in the car driving over incredibly windy roads, German Karin continuously talking in the backseat, and me nursing one of the worst hangovers I have ever had. But looking back the whole thing was hilarious. The two Karins took care of me that morning and we finished our last day trip together as we drove to the southern peninsula and went to Port Arthur, an old prison colony. German Karin lectured us about “making party” too much the night before, and that she remembered the days when she was out on the town, even later than us!

When everything ended Karin and I realized just how much we missed German Karin. She was part of our family and it just wasn’t the same when she left. German Karin taught me some new German vocabulary and I learned about all the amazing places she had been to, including Ethiopia not so long ago. I wonder what she thought of us two young girls and I hope that she wasn’t too annoyed when we were sometimes late to meet with her.

My last few days in Hobart were a bit of a blur as I continued to spend time with Karin and met up with my friend James from Launceston as well. I don’t know if you remember, but I was supposed to camp with him before I decided to go on the road trip with the ladies. No regrets. By the end of my 2 weeks in Tasmania I gained beautiful memories and 3 good new friends.

Today is Australia Day and it is also the day I leave to go to New Zealand for about a month. It was a bit low key in Hobart but I still had the chance to hang out with Karin and James one last time. We found a the seediest hostel that had cheap beer and a barbeque. Saying goodbye was extremely sad and I found myself wistfully looking out the window as the shuttle drove me to Hobart airport. I am so happy that I added Tasmania to my list and have fallen in love with the place. Should I come back here and live? You never know. Unfortunately I am not sure there are much work opportunities once the summer is over. I have a feeling that if I did come back it wouldn’t quite be the same. The joys of traveling usually do not come from the sights you see but instead the people that you share them with. I really hope that I get to see both Karins and James again, and feel like I have made a lifelong friends.

Thanks Tasmania, for all that you have given me. My heart is full of happiness, love, and the confidence to keep on going and make the most

Tags: tasmania

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