The long climb from out-of-work adventurer to successful freelance writer is outlined, though briefly, in the epilogue to Waltzing Australia. The long “second step” may seem short in the rear-view mirror, but it seemed very long indeed at the beginning, before I had really succeeded—and before I had managed to get back to Australia. I never truly despaired—that might have resulted in giving up. However, there were times I longed for the certainty I had when I was traveling in Oz—not to mention longing for the country itself. I’ve been back to Australia three times since that first six-month trip, but before my second trip, when it seemed that I’d struggle forever to make things work out, I wrote the following little poem.
Australia Calls Me Still
Australia rises suddenly
And catches in my throat:
My heart beats faster, and the hair
At my neck’s nape stirs,
And a sad thrill,
A sweet remembrance salted by the miles,
Floods through me,
And I know I must get back,
To what I was, and who, and where
When I was in Australia.