It’s nice sometimes to be sent to a place in your home country that you wouldn’t often get to visit. I travel all over the world and see some amazing things, but you know it’s nice to just explore your own homeland and see the beauty that is so nearby. I may not have chosen to go to Queanbeyan in NSW, a town outside of Canberra our Nation’s Capital, but I’m glad I got to go! It’s a lovely little town and it was nice to spend just a few days there reconnecting and gaining some new experiences from those who’ve travelled many steps before me.
Travelling down on the train from Sydney, it was gorgeous to see the countryside and actually to realise my phone wasn’t working. I sat next to a charming old man. 93 and travelling back to Goulburn from his daughters house. He told me about enlisting in the army at age 18 for World War II. He shared his stories, he told me about his families history in the area and about how Australia had changed over time. I learnt so much in a few hours. I actually only sat next to him to charge my laptop. I then didn’t use it once! It was really nice just to hear the stories of someone who has lived so much.
Look let’s be honest, there isn’t heaps to do in Queanbeyan! But as I had some time to kill in the evenings and mornings, I wanted to make the most of it, so off I went on my walks! I strolled around town and loved coming across the natives… insert cows!
The Mill House Cafe sits next to the old Byrne’s Mill and is a charming spot right near the river. Lovely food and definitely a hot spot for Sunday brunches. Throw in a gorgeous autumn morning and you have the perfect way to start your day.
If there’s one thing Queanbeyan isn’t short of, it’s pubs! We had a wide variety of choice when it came to a beverage and a meal on the weekend evenings. We opted for a walk across the river and to grab some very exotic, Zambreros. I can’t in this post, express how much I love Zambreros. I didn’t have time to take a photo of my meal cos I scoffed it – maybe that explains it. Mexican on the go! Delicious!
Another day I sat in the food court at the local shopping centre for lunch. I had a salad and was all set to pull out my laptop and get some work done.I was making a mess and the old man who had sat across from me kindly handed me a napkin. I’m such a grub. We shared a few smiles and glances, I could sense that he wanted to talk. We just chatted a little at first about my i-phone and my computer and all the equipment I had on the table. He went on to tell me in his thick accent that he was a passionate photographer and travelled all around Australia. His accent was from Finland. A place I had actually been which surprised him and we shared some of our favourite points of the Scandinavian wonder. He explained he was a taxidermist all his life. He loves fishing, and now photography. He had such a sweet smile and such enthusiasm for his hobbies and experiences in life. He loves camping and now spends majority of the year exploring Australia, hoping to cover every inch of land he can. What a joy.
My final morning was spent strolling around the town. I walked past cows, rivers, streams, parks and a market. Everywhere I went I got a nod, hello or smile. There were friendly puppies and the air was fresh. What a beautiful image to leave this little country town on.
I headed back to the charming train station which looked straight out of the early 1900’s. I waited for the one train to roll into town to take me back home to Sydney. I felt refreshed and ready to head home to the city. Looking forward to the time and space on the train to be with my thoughts and to catch up on some writing, perhaps to even write this blog.
But again, the universe had other plans in mind. This was not a week for writing. This was a week for making new connections and reconnecting, with my home and myself. I sat next to an elderly lady. She asked if I’d taken the train before. I told her yes, on the way down. I mentioned how nice the view is and how wonderful it is to look out the window and just take in this beautiful country. I mentioned the chat with the lovely old man and how nice it was to hear his stories.
We then spent the entire four hour train ride chatting away. We told stories of our travels and exchanged hot tips on destinations. She was in awe of what I had down with my business and travels and that I was 28 years old. She had been a teacher and she shared with me her experiences in schools and watching young people learn. We talked about our families, films and our plans for the future. It was amazing. The time passed quickly and when we arrived at Central Station we exchanged business cards, we hugged as if we were old friends and said farewell.
It reminded me of the beauty of storytelling. It’s a shared experience. We don’t just make stories, having the adventure is only one part. It’s getting to share that with someone and relive it as you tell the tale. It’s also listening and learning. How nice it is to sit back and listen to someone as they share the special moments of their life and you watch their eyes light up as the memories unfold.
Stop. Look. Listen. Learn. Enjoy. and…. Share.
“No matter how far I go, I still call Australia home.”