The Daintree rainforest on the northeastern Australian coast was beautiful. Peaceful, remote, magical, gorgeous.
If I wasn’t so afraid of bumping into saltwater crocks or lace monitor lizards or snakes or spider webs or the illusive cassowary I would’ve walked with my neck craned back toward the vines the whole time. Wow.
Cape Tribulation, Mount Sorrow, Weary Bay. When James Cook sailed the east coast of Australia in 1770 he put a hole in his boat along the reef off the Queensland coast. His sour mood influenced the names he gave places. As one of the locals described it, Cook was having a whinge.
There’s no town here, no store, no neighborhood. Just one road going in and out, a handful of rustic accommodation options, and a few locals and seasonal workers. I stayed at Cape Trib Beach House, a group of cabins in the rainforest along the coast (I had a bunk in a dormroom to myself for about $20/night) and spent solitary hours on the beach or wandered the paths or napped to the sound of rain on the tin roof. I spent an afternoon on horseback like I’d been craving for weeks. Who knows why. I’m not even a good rider. Every time Midnight went into anything faster than a trot I’d hold the saddle at both ends in terror, but mostly I loved it.
It was exactly what I needed: time offline and unplugged, almost completely to myself. The other guests were good company when I wanted, or I could keep to myself when I didn’t. At sunset a few of us would gravitate towards the beach, staring transfixed as the colors changed on the water. Then the moon would come, then the stars.
As always, I love meeting new people wherever I go. Here I had the pleasure of sitting down to dinner with a couple of sisters of German descent from Namibia. We talked African politics, the complexities of race, travel. I’d been thinking a lot that week about next steps, feeling directionless. My Australian visa ends in a month and I have no clear sense of where to go. Do I return to Thailand to work-kayak-climb for awhile? Do I accept an invitation to India? Do I catch up with an old friend in New Zealand? Do I make my way home? Why am I here and have I had enough?
The best thing to do, I have found, is to wait. Life has its ways and its plans for us. A conversation or chance encounter might steer us in a direction we’d never thought of. A few weeks ago I’d randomly gotten into a geography kick and felt drawn to memorize the countries in Africa. That night at dinner talking with these women from Namibia that particular continent stirred me again.
Despite all the pro and con lists I wrote that week, no future plans were made. I’d fall sleep sure I would move in one direction, then wake up convinced I was meant to move in another.
I have never felt so simultaneously solid and fluid like this.
Every road is open. Everything is possible.
Want more pictures of Daintree and Queensland? Check out this post at matador.com.