I'm afraid this blog has gone off the boil a bit recently. I set it up to document our journey in Leela and she has been parked in a Fijian cyclone pit for a couple of months now. None the less, the world has not stopped and neither have our travels so an update is much overdue.
We have been visiting family and friends and exploring the East coast of Australia checking out whether we want to return to live there and, if so, exactly where. The first question was easy to answer. We both felt at ease and at 'home' for the first time in a while. We have enjoyed the relaxed friendliness of the communities we have visited and our interactions with the people we meet. We love the smell of the gum trees and all the wonderful birds and we have been surprised by the geographic diversity of the east coast, an area neither of us were familiar with. Another thing that has surprised us is that Australia seems to have grown up in the twenty eight years we have been away. The political situation here is far from perfect but there has been a definite awakening of awareness regarding Australia's place in the world. This is most apparent in the wide recognition of indigenous peoples, their earlier claim to the land and their subsequent maltreatment. We have not had the chance to see how this translates into practical results but it is certainly a refreshing attitude shift.
Another less welcome change is that the society has become considerably more affluent than when we left. The downside of this for us is that it is now VERY expensive. Our unfortunate timing, selling a house pre-Covid and wanting to buy one now, has dramatically reduced our purchasing power. Such are the vagaries of life. We have thoroughly enjoyed getting not quite as well off as we thought we were 😊.
This was pretty distressing at first, when we realized that a lot of places that attracted us were quite simply out of reach but we pressed on with the mission, made more complex by the ongoing pandemic, and quite suddenly it all fell into place. The place being Tasmania.
What a treat the island is. I will write more about that later but we were instantly charmed by the people, the wildness and the old fashioned charm of the communities, with local shops and local culture. It feels like an Antipodean Newfoundland, which is one of our favorite places on the planet. Hobart is a fabulous little city, a mix of the maritime history of Bristol in England with a good dash of the 'WAY out there'. of St Johns, Newfoundland.
Anyway, having been quickly hooked by the place, we started looking more seriously at real estate. This is a dangerous game with us and we kept telling one another that this was just exploratory and the journey was not over. Then a modest little house in a fantastic position popped up on the radar. Oops..... We now appear to be the proud, and slightly nervous, owners of a new house. Continuing our attraction to edges, the ocean that we will glimpse from our house is pretty much uninterrupted to Antartica. The position is awesome, one minute from a great little beach and coastal path but far enough back to be cosy and sheltered, a few minutes walk to a track up into the mountains and a twenty minute cycle to downtown Hobart, all on cycle lanes. Here
is the location and some pictures here
So.... a VERY big change coming up. Where does that leave Leela and the Pacific crossing? The honest answer is we are not sure. We are not ready to part ways with her but we realize that there will be new demands on our time. We don't (yet) fancy having a boat in Tassie so the most likely option is to have her as a a winter escape in either Fiji or Queensland. Strangely, we know Fiji quite well but know very little about Queensland so we are going to drive up there and take a quick look before heading back to Tassie for closing. Life remains unboring ....
That's us for now. I'm still trying to put together a 'best of' underwater Fiji post but I keep getting distracted .... We hope you are all managing to stay well and at least partially sane in this crazy, messed up world.