I’m enjoying my brief visit to Australia immensely. Everybody I’ve met here has been friendly, and author Anne Gracie should be given an official post as a cultural ambassador. She not only equipped me with the treasure map and compass for navigating Melbourne, she’s been my self-appointed conference-mum at the Romance Writers of Australia annual gathering here in Sydney. And THEN she gave me some of her scrumptious books…
Romance authors really, really are a special bunch of people. If I ever get stuck on a desert island, I’ll try to make sure it’s the romance authors’ desert island.
All of this travel has visited some insights upon me. The first is, daylight really matters to me. I’m not sure this was always true, but it’s true now. When I landed in New Zealand, the weather was dreary for a solid week. When the sun finally came out, it was time to stay in the hotel all day in conference sessions. In Australia, the problem has been sky scrapers.
My hotels have been amid urban canyons, such that even when I go outside, I walk streets that the sun touches only briefly at mid-day. The hotel courtyard might get twenty minutes of sunlight. The rest of the day, even if it’s a brilliantly sunny day, is shadowed. The result is that my biological clock, three weeks after leaving home, still doesn’t know when to sleep or wake up. How do city dwellers deal with this?
Another insight has to do with noise. I know I love quiet, but I hadn’t realized how dealing with noise–conference noise, street noise, construction noise–physically tires me. I drag-butt up to my room, shut the door, and suck up the quiet like a vampire let loose in a bloodmobile. Quiet gives me energy, noise sucks it away. This is a step beyond my sense that “I prefer” quiet, such that I now recognize quiet as a physical and emotional nutrient.
Third, courage is required of all of us. The New Zealanders face earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis, but they have no venomous snakes or spiders worth mentioning. Australia has a lot less seismic activity, though there’s a spider here whose bite results in death in less than fifteen minutes. Back in Maryland, we get the rattlesnakes, Lyme disease, flooding, freezing… To dwell on earth is is face hazards, for most of us. I’m reminded of this, and of the fortitude we develop to cope with those hazards, even as we enjoy life and know we have it pretty good.
Despite these hazards, the planet is beautiful, most people are pretty decent and kind. Books are wonderful. Good chocolate seems to be a universal human value, and technology is amazing. I will go home very happy to have traveled, and ecstatic to be back amid the peace and quiet of my bide-o-wee.
If you could wander for three weeks, where would you go and why? Would you take anybody in particular with you? Leave anybody home? To one commenter, I’ll send a SIGNED copy of Anne Gracie’s Marry in Scandal.