Within 50 minutes of takeoff, the flat, barren shore of the island continent appeared below, stretched out below us like a monolith of brown, its edges lost in distance. Stepping from the airport terminal into the reality of Darwin was like awakening from a dream: the cars, the shops, the people: everything remembered yet forgotten for so long.
Brad White [the Englishman we met in Melbourne at the beginning of this story] greeted me with the words “Allo Fergie” when he picked us up from our backpacker’s hostel and took us out to this camel farm on the edge of town. We stayed there for a few days then took a 26-hour bus ride to Brisbane and spent the next few weeks making our way down the East Coast of Australia.
On Wednesday, June 17th we bordered a QANTAS Boeing 737 for our flight home. We landed in Auckland and made our way south, visiting friends and relations along the way.
At the beginning of July, we set off to hitch-hike south from Blenheim. Two days later we were home, back to a world that seemed not to have changed in the three years, ten months and six days that we had been away.
We settled back into our comfortable, orderly lives, glad to be home yet a little wistful that our travels were over.
It turned out that they weren’t…