Moving up the coast of Queensland, I spend a few days in Townsville.
Back at the People’s Palace, I headed to the coffee shop for dinner. A young man at another table grinned when he saw me and asked, “You were just in Airlie Beach, weren’t you?” When I responded in the affirmative, he grabbed his coffee, came and sat with me, and said, “I thought I recognized you. You were there yesterday.” (It really is a small town.) He chatted while I ate, telling me with considerable excitement about his current plans. He is heading inland to Julia Creek to work as a “jackeroo,” or ranch hand. By the time my meal was through, he was done with his tale, and was obviously pleased to have had someone with whom to share his great good fortune. I smiled as he headed off to find a pub to celebrate his last night in the big city.
One of the things that I had wondered about was how I would handle the solitude of a six-month solo tour. At home, I live alone, but work, church, family, and friends provide me with lots of human interaction. I like having time alone, but I also like people. I like talking and sharing. So I had thought that perhaps being on my own for so long a period might be a problem. However, I am beginning to think that Australia is not really going to give me much opportunity to feel lonely.