First of all – I found it!
It has been a bit like searching the needle in the hay. There’ve been moments, when I thought it was hopeless and I was going to leave Australia sooner, than planned (not that I had a deadline, but three weeks would have been very short). I thought it was maybe me, just wanting too much, being too picky, or – even worse – not able to enjoy travelling any more. It took me many hours of wandering around, from place to place, of worrying and being in this „man, what’s wrong here?“-mode.
But finally, I followed my heart and decided for one last try: I wanted to, again, spend some volunteering time within a family. And that decision should turn out to be a very clever one, because guess what? I am still within this lovely family in cute Rileys Hill, Eastcoast Australia, and I am absolutely happy here! <3. But this story is to be continued within another post, because I will not think about leaving this beautiful place (and its people) untill mid-March 🙂
For now, I am going to share with you one of the many favourite places, I finally have discovered during my (new and making-every-traveller-jealous- kind of authentic) Aussie life.
Byron Bay: Hippie di hop
I’ve heard a lot and from many different perspectives about Byron, long before I went there myself: almost every traveller I’ve met, was super happy with this place and would tell me about the most „epic“ weekends one’d spend there. About the unique hippie vibes, and the good surf. No question, that I urgently wanted to see this legendary town. Even better: my former travelmate Anja would be there, as well!
When some people told me then, that Byron has lost its nice little hippie town flair that it used to have years ago, and that it has become a bit too touristy, I was indeed a bit afraid, I’d just get an extension of my Surfers Paradise experience.
But (breathe in) – I didn’t (slowly breathe out).
Byron Bay. It’s around nine in the evening, already dark. Anja and me are sitting at the beach, our stomachs filled with the best french fries since ever, in front of us a bottle of the worst wine since ever (budget balance). I just can’t decide, whether I want to stare at the beautiful ocean, that is moving back and forth in front of us, like a mysterious wall of deep black, blue and greyish colours, shoveling big white crashing waves up the sandy and humid-wet beach, or to lay my head direction sky, where the most beautiful tent of a million (or a billion?) of stars would glitter up.
What can I say? I am just so happy.
I think about how lucky I have been to end up in Rileys Hill, a place I feel good in, with people around me, who I just instantly liked. I’m surprised myself, that this finally happened – after all this, let’s call it “not so super fitting” Australian places, I’ve been to. I notice, how much better and calmer I feel, since I found my place. I know, that I won’t stay in Australia for a very long time, but I am now so sure that the time I will stay here, is going to be an exciting and super enriching one.
Also, I’ve never been living more for the moment, than I am doing now. I enjoy being outside and listening to the waves, more than ever. I also appreciate, that I got to see Anja again, and together, we laugh and indulge in USA travel stories. We notice that, even though we’ve seen so many beaches and have had so many great moments, we are still able to appreciate the beauty of each new moment to the fullest. And I think that this is very important.
It’s called “Comme la mer” for a reason
What I’ve learned from my first weeks in Australia till now, sitting in this wonderful moment in Byron, is, that it is worth it to strive to be happy and to not give up in first place, just because a place you’ve ended up in is not like you expected it to be (not even, if it’s several places…). Of course, one should always look carefully at one’s own attitude and state of mind, as well. But after that’s done, it’s OK to change, whatever needs to be changed. Even if that means, that you’ve got to let go. Or to go, yourself.
Sometimes, like in my case, it might even take a while to find the “feel good” place (or people). But once you’re in the right surroundings, travelling (and actually, life) can become totally different. Good, actually! 🙂
So, now that the rare condition appeared that I know what I am talking about, I would like to underline this little advice myself: with whatever you’re struggeling at this moment – if you have any chance – try not to give up too easily. I know that, very often, this sounds like an empty sentence and is anything but easy to realize. But it can work and is at least, worth a try.
Byron Bay: touristy, but go there!
I don’t argue that Byron might have been way more authentic ages ago and that it’s become touristy now, but that’s how lots of nice and known places start. I am obviously, and maybe unfortunately too late (so I would be for South East Asia and many other upcoming travel destinations), but you know, I am fine with that and too old now to break my head about „shit, I’ve should have come here ten years ago“. It’s still what you make out of those places and, actually, it’s seriously not that bad.
Byron may be a bit over-hip, and to cool for school, but it’s a super cute, nice (surf-) town to hang around, to stroll through the surf shops, to eat some good food and to enjoy the beach. It’s SUPER relaxed. Short: I like it!
What to do in Byron
Super-known and super-worth it. As the name tells it – the walk ends up at the lighthouse. You will get some beautiful ocean views and if you’re happy and lucky like me – might even see some dolphins or sea turtles. Be prepared for some stairs, enough water is a must!
A bit more expensive, but seriously super delicious.
Very good burger, mind-blowing fries 😉
Thank you, Norval!
My Byron experience would certainly NOT have been the same, without having met this outstanding artist and personality Norval Watson. I’ve had the pleasure to be shown his art work and instantly loved it. Thank you, Norval, for having me and the super inspiring talks! Check out on Norval’s work!!
So, whenever you’re near Byron Bay, definitely go there and have a look, and enjoy at least one beautiful sunset! And in case you’d like to reduce the touristyness-shock, just go to Surfers Paradise before you head to Byron 😉