Chapter 7 of our Short Travel Stories, which is a compilation of backpacking and travel memories. From Australia, to other parts of the world, here you’ll find real life stories of traveling, of what happens when you let yourself go out fo your comfort zone.
If you like what you’re reading and want to read more, check the “Short Travel Stories” section on the main menu to begin reading from Chapter 1.
Byron Bay Part 1
I make it to Byron Bay at 7 am and I go check in at the Cape Byron YHA, a nice hostel, with great reviews and really close to the main beach. It’s Tuesday and according to Todd, a really tall, tanned, chilled out type of Aussie, who works at reception, he’ll do a tour to the lighthouse and surroundings. Maybe we’ll get to see turtles, whales and dolphins.
Sounds good to me, so I sing up. It’ll help me to meet new people since I made it here on my own from Newcastle.
Tour kicks off and we start walking up a hill, through some bushes where we get to see birds and other animals. From there we keep going and make it to an awesome lookout point where we can see another beautiful beach below, and then we make it close to the lighthouse and the lookout. Fun fact, we are standing in Australia’s most eastern point. From there, Todd points out some whales, which are far far away. More than whales they look like little white dots, like confetti, but yeah, they’re whales. Check.
After that we can see some turtles below us, two to be precise, also really small, but easier to spot. Check number two.
We make it to the lighthouse where I start chatting with some guys. I met two Germans, a Swedish guy and a Canadian. All of them seem cool and pretty keen to go out and check out the stuff to do around Byron.
Now the cool part of the tour comes up when we start walking down towards the main beach. We are walking down some stairs surrounded by trees and bushes when finally we reach the beach from it’s flank and the first thing I see is four dolphins surfing a wave. I’m speechless. I see them for like five seconds, but I swear that it’s like in slow motion and I they don’t erase from my mind.
That’s the magic of seeing new things that surprise us. I had seen dolphins before in water parks, but never in the wild; it was exciting. It’s like when you’re sitting in the car, bored, and suddenly a song you’ve never heard starts playing on the radio and it clicks with you and makes you happy, stimulates your brain and fills that tedious moment with colours. You never forget the melody of the song, and if you hear it again you’ll be reminded of the electricity that went through your body.
Well, those four dolphins surfing the wave were just that, electrical energy and an image that became a mental GIF in HD playing over and over again in my mind whenever I think of that moment.
We’re back at the hostel and I’m in the same room with the Germans, the Swedish and the Canadian. There are five more people, another German guy, and American guy, a Scottish and two German girls. Looks good.
We all click straight away and decide to go for booze. I thank the gods of alcohol for putting the Canadian, named Beau, in my path, as he introduced me to this shitty white wine called Gossips. $5 a bottle, which is more expensive than goon, however, the extra bucks are worth it for a less shitty taste and a not so bad hangover.
We go to the beach and start drinking and telling life stories. The American, Michael, is a photographer and has the most radical projects in the world. He’s been living in a campervan back home for a year, and when he gets back he plans to drive from West to East, in the best Kerouac style. After that, his big plan is to drive from Alaska all the way down to the Patagonia in Argentina.
All the Germans are just partying their ways up through the East Coast, so is the Swedish guy, James. Beau is visiting his sister who lives in Surfer’s and just came down a few days to Byron.
The night brought a crazy party in a small but intense backpacker bar, with commercial music, intoxicated backpackers and body paint. You get the picture.
Next morning I wake up feeling like a train had run over me. Imagine if I had drank goon… My head is a ticking bomb ready to explode, and I’m drinking water when this Brazilian girl comes up and asks me if I wanna go do yoga at the beach with her. I’ve never done any yoga in my life, I feel terrible, but fuck it, let’s do it.
The main beach is just five minutes away, this time we reach it through the back, but we still have to walk through a short path covered in bushes and palm trees, it’s quite nice actually. Then the beach pops out of nowhere and I can see two walking dreadlocks drawing huge and quite attractive circles on the sand.
At our right we can see the group of people who came for the free yoga class. We join them and I can see the classic magazine blonde with an outrageous body, the hippies with dreadlocks, tattoos and baggy clothes, and the average, everyday people like me dressed with a t-shirt from a Pull and Bear mannequin and board shorts from a Rip Curl mannequin. It’s a nice mix, everybody is on a good vibe and no one is judging. Only in Byron.
All my life I thought yoga was easy. Mistake. Big mistake. It has been the toughest half an hour of my life. My body is not flexible at all and it suffers in every position the teacher asks us to do. I discover that my left wrist is injured or something because every time I put some weight on it shit hits the fan, so the teacher comes every time to correct my posture, but it’s the wrist man, she’s suffering.
Anyways, the class is finished and we get fifteen minutes to breath, relax and meditate. I can hear the waves hitting the sand in the background, some birds and voices of a few people that are coming for an early swim. Then I start letting my mind float around and think about what I want from this month on the East Coast.
I think about memories, yes, I want them but which type? I want fun ones, drunken ones, and any other memory that can become a good story to tell to a friend. However, there are my values and morals, and I can’t ignore that. I also want deep and meaningful friendships, the sort of ones that you can sit down for a chat and look at the person in the eyes and for the to tell you what has hurt them, made them happy, knocked them out and raise them back up, what excites them and vice versa. I want to see places and epic things that keep stimulating my mind even if I look back at them when I’m eighty years old. I want this month to be a special edition that I can store in my own spiritual library.
Let’s see if I can explain myself. So if someone was to grab us people and start breaking us down piece by piece until they reach our core, they’ll discover that essentially we’re made of memories and feelings. And I want that. I want to fill my spiritual library with a collection of unique memories and feelings: a backpacker edition.