I spent this past weekend camping in a place called Sandbar. It’s about four hours North of Sydney.
My friends picked me up right after work on bright and sunny Friday afternoon. The drive up allowed us to get know each other through those kinds of conversations that only happen on road trips; when everyone is in a good mood, ready for an adventure. Music filled the air and we gazed out the window at the passing scenery.
We arrived to the camp site at night, our friend Rob was already there, “welcome city people!” he said grinning, pulling us in for a hug. He’d already set the whole camp site up. We thanked him profusely for going through the hassle of putting up our tents and then pulled a beer out of the eski and cheersed to the start of the weekend.
After dinner we sat around the fire, shared a few more beers, talking freely, and laughing as the warm buzz relaxed us further. When my eyes got tired, I wished everyone a goodnight and then climbed into the tent and zipped myself up into a cozy sleeping bag.
In the morning I was awoken by the sun soaking our tent, creating a glowing red tint. I squirmed out of my sleeping bag and stretched my arms across the bed, listening to the sounds of the kookaburras in the distance.
We had a slow morning, as you do when camping. We sat together over breakfast, sipping coffee out of little plastic cups that made me feel like a kid again. One of the girls called us to her direction, she held up an old school polaroid camera and took a picture of all of us. When the photo appeared I stared at it intently, it looked like an ancient picture taken decades ago, like the people in the photograph were old now, some had even passed away. We packed up our things and drove to a nearby beach. It was completely empty, a long crescent shaped stretch of white sand bordering turquoise blue water. The sun hit the water through breaks in the clouds, making spots in the water shine an even brighter blue. Salty, misty air blew over and pushed my hair back behind my shoulders, whipping wildly in the wind. I stared in awe, thinking to myself that this right here, is exactly what brought me to Australia and this is why I’ll never be able to leave. My friends hurriedly walked past me, pulled off their clothes and ran into the water. I watched them as they slowly became engulfed by a wave, a head popping up through the water a moment later. I felt overwhelmed in excitement and suddenly had an urge to do cartwheels. So I put my stuff down and did cartwheels along the empty beach, then ran into the water and dove head first into a warm blue wave.
That night we brought chairs to the lake and watched the sun sink behind the trees. Little kids played nearby while their parents fished. We stared at the lake as the light slowly dimmed. The moon appeared and produced enough light to illuminate the whole lake. When the mosquitoes got too intense, we made our way back to the campfire to drink more beer, wine and baileys.
The next day we did a little more of all the above; chilled, swam, ate, drank beer and I finally got a chance to paddleboard. It was my first time!
It was a great weekend away, it felt like a proper vacation. I’ve been so stressed recently with trying to finding a place to live and a job that’ll sponsor me, it felt so nice to unwind and reset. Nature has a beautiful way of reminding us what’s important.