TO MY NEARS AND DEARS…
Aaah, it’s been a blast to be hanging out with my mates again after what seems like far too long a time. And just great to be back in my home state of Victoria, Australia. It always feels like a lifetime since the last time I saw them all. But after 5 mins, it feels more like it was only yesterday when we were sitting around having the brilliant catch up chats.
I’ve had the joy of knowing my closest mates for over 20 years. I’ve also had the pleasure of travelling with a good few of them both in Australia and overseas. We’ve explored so many different countries and ventured amongst such diverse cultures. Actually, the more I think about it, most of my mates have come from a wide range of cultures too.
A good few of us had the delight of growing up in this wide brown land but perhaps with Parent’s who came from around the world. Then there’s the ones who happily came to this dream country to make a new home, a new life, for them and their loved ones. And of course, the lucky traveller who gets to experience this beautiful place and fall under its magic charm.
Thankfully, we still celebrate so much of the old traditional ways and get to relish in the delights of the new cultures coming to make their mark in Australia. Through the glorious food of fanciful festive occasions, or the simple gathering around a table and sharing of the stories.
To me, this intermingling of cultures and all the diversity that comes with it is something that I will never stop getting into. I loved growing up in an Italian home and then going to my mates, which was a treat for me to see how the “Aussie” culture lived.
Then when I moved into Melbourne, I was blessed to be constantly surrounded by such a wide variety of nationalities. Hearing their languages, tasting their foods, delighting in their festivals and learning about their ways.
Travelling has also been a brilliant opportunity for meeting and making friends. As I always say “You’re never really alone when travelling on your own”. Strangers become acquaintances , who become friends, who become travelling buddies, who become life-long allies always happy to reminisce over a journey or more. Ready to remind you of that trip back then and there, many moons ago!!
Thanks to my friends, I’ve been able to feed my desire to partake in other cultures. Hanging out with their families for religious occasions, visiting their families in foreign lands and going to any cultural festival that we could find. And don’t forget about the multitude of international cuisine restaurants and cafes that are scattered throughout Melbourne and the suburbs. Always the more joyous an occasion when shared amongst friends.
Friendships have also allowed me to return to many countries to revisit my mates and it always feels a little like I’m going back to my other homes. Needless to say that it’s always a pleasure to be able to show them around my country too, when they’re bold enough to make it all the way over to Oz.
This summer has been a great time for me to get out and about with my mates too. Down to the beaches, making the most of the semi-summer that we had this year (Not a day over 40 degrees, honestly). From the bay to the back beaches.. Got to love it all.
Off to their beautiful homes to check out the latest renovations, to see how the kids have grown, to hear all about what’s kept them ticking. To rehash ideas of camping, hiking, future travels to distant lands. To just enjoy the beauty of this small but vast state. The forests, the cities, the small towns and always the adventures that lie just around each corner.
My initial plan had been to come back home, get a job, take my family for a few trips, catch up with all my mates and then head out of Victoria (direction North) when the weather really started to change into Winter. Well, that was the plan!
But all the best laid plans can go askew. Thanks to my infected foot, the job was pretty much off the agenda, and it’s only been the last 6 weeks that I’ve really had the opportunity to go and catch up with my crews.
Something is better than nothing and I’m grateful for any time that I get to hang out with my family and friends. And keen for the next time that I return from my travelling adventures. Back to my nears and dears, back to my blessed family of friends.