Australia, Destinations, Dispatches from Down Under

There’s an I in Bobbi

3 Comments 03 June 2010

There’s an I in Bobbi

(Banner photo by Bobbi-Jo O’Gilvie)

Some readers might have noticed I actually posted content on this website in the past week.

I’m back.

After two months (and still a bit more writing) of representing and writing on behalf of THE WORD Australia and its Best Backpacker Job, I’ve finally stopped touring and settled down in Port Douglas, QLD.

To say the experience was amazing is an understatement. In the best two months of backpacking the east coast of Australia with THE WORD, I’ve been wined and dined, held three koalas, jumped out of or off of just about everything that can be in this country, conquered one of my fears and met some extraordinary people.

One person in particular, which is by far the best thing I’ll take away from the past two months, my new little lady, Bobbi-Jo O’Gilvie.

The Bobbis take on quick sand at Moreton Island off of Brisbane, QLD. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The Bobbis take on quick sand at Moreton Island off of Brisbane, QLD. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

When I was in high school, this crazy lady at a head shop told me she could read names. I told her the name of my boyfriend at the time and she said, “Oh, he’s trouble.” A few months later I found out how right she was. She said reading names only comes from interacting with a lot of people with the same name. I found it to be true to a certain extent with a lot of Mikes and Sarahs I’ve met.

But what about me, a Bobbi.

There’s not many of us Bobbi girls and even fewer that don’t add an unecessary “e” at the end of the name. So when I first saw that there was another Bobbi with an “i” in the Best Backpacker competition, I have to say it made me smile.

Spending two months with another Bobbi only reaffirmed that crazy lady at the head shop’s belief about reading names. The Blogging Bobbis, a name coined by Jennifer Chapman at the Fraser Post Chronicle that we both hated at first but grew to like, shared a few of similarities in mannerisms and thoughts. There were quite a few times on the road when all Bobbi-Jo and I had to do was look at each other to achieve an unspoken understanding that yea, this situation or that person is ridiculous.

That said, her and I are extremely different people. We come from different places, want different things and carry ourselves very differently. Though we were referred to as one throughout the trip, we’re both extremely unique, which I think comes with such an odd name for a girl.

The Bobbis posing with a croc at Koorana Crocodile Farm and Restaurant in Emu Park, QLD. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon.

The Bobbis posing with a croc at Koorana Crocodile Farm and Restaurant in Emu Park, QLD. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon.

It’s differences that make life interesting. I learned so much from the other Bobbi and shared so many great times with her. We were hunted by a Peanut Butter and Hummus Bandit, were part of the Brawl of 1770 and victims of the Refrigerator Disaster and Emu Park. We laughed a lot, smiled often, fought rarely and watched a whole lot of Julia Roberts.

Most of my traveling in the past has been solo and if I ever had a travel partner it was for no more than a month at a time, so traveling with another person for two months straight was a learning process for me.

I value my alone time and will say upfront that I’m not one of those people that’s always in a good mood. When I don’t feel like socializing at home, I retreat to my room where I can’t snap at people, but that was not an option here.

Traveling with someone for so long taught me it’s better to say something than not, people can always work things out once they cool off and having some time apart is crucial to fully enjoying time spent together.

More important than all that, I learned that it’s a lot better to share things with someone else. I guess I’m a bit of a loner. I like working in teams and love spending time with friends and family, but I’ve always been extremely independent, almost to a fault. When I want to go somewhere or make a change I don’t like waiting on others if it’s not needed. I wouldn’t hesitate to do anything on my own, whether it be eating out or moving to another country.

That mind set has served me well. I’ve seen so many great things and met a lot of great people. But there is something to be said about having a constant figure to share all the wonderful things that come with travel. Until this trip I never quite realized that and I think it may affect my travel plans in the future.

But for now, I’m flying solo again. Bobbi-Jo and I parted ways in Cairns and I traveled only an hour north to Port Douglas.

Why Port Douglas? Good question.

After stopping at just about EVERY city from Coolangatta to Cape Tribulation and declaring at all of of them that I want to live here, I chose Port Douglas for a few reasons.

A view of the bay from ANZAC Park in Port Douglas, QLD. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

A view of the bay from ANZAC Park in Port Douglas, QLD. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

To start with, it’s beautiful. From its quaint little shops and cafes on Macrossan Street to bushy hills that line the breathtaking Four Mile Beach, it’s paradise. The Great Barrier Reef is only a 45-minute boat ride away and it’s surrounded by the Wet Tropics Rainforest, both World Heritage Listed. If you want an idea of what it looks like in motion watch “Fools Gold.” It was filmed here. (But I’d recommend just looking at my pictures as that movie suuuuuucked.)

To add to that, the small town has heaps of opportunities for backpackers. I started working reception at a hostel in town the day I arrived. At the hostel, most of the long-term guests who are working for accommodation also have part or full time jobs as well.

Finally, it’s June and as a girl from Jersey that means a natural migration to shore areas. Before you start picturing “The Jersey Shore,” which by the way contained only one cast member from Jersey, the rest are from New York, my favorite shore town at home is a bit more classy. Long Beach Island is a large but sleepy shore town with some good surf spots, a small village, fishing and people that don’t grease their hair nor wear Ed Hardy.

Battling with a bit of homesickness in the past few weeks, it’s nice to settle in a place that reminds me of the same place I would be visiting at home right now.

Known to be a more expensive or luxurious place to visit in Australia, I’d say Port Douglas isn’t a bad place to call home for the next few months and I’m excited to have the opportunity, which couldn’t have come any sooner.

While I love traveling and spontaneity, I’m a sucker for schedules and order. I actually enjoy planning my schedule and organizing my things, so the past two months of craziness was not always easy for me. Settling in one place for more than three days, I’ve been able to return to some good old habits, such as exercise.

Last weekend I signed up for the Bridge to Brisbane 10k on Sunday, August 29. I read about it in the Sunday Mail and it was just the motivation I needed to get back into the shape I had lost after two months on the road. Courier Mail will start publishing a 12-week workout plan its Sunday Mail edition, but in the past week I’ve already started preparing by running on the Four-Mile Beach as well as doing some weight training.

This is where Ill be training for the Bridge to Brisbane. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

This is where I'll be training for the Bridge to Brisbane. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The past few days of running has given me time to reflect on the past two months of my life. So much happened and I went through many emotions. Not many people get to experience treatment like Bobbi and I did or take on a schedule as large as we did either. It wasn’t always perfect and there were a lot of things that really bothered me about the trip.

But I wouldn’t change any of it.

It’s made me rethink some things I thought I wanted and reaffirm some things I’ve always known I wanted. It’s knowledge I never would have come to if I didn’t make an effort to travel and didn’t have the gumption to enter a video competition I heard about on Twitter.

So here it is, the same advice I’ve been handing out all along: travel as much as you can and take as many chances along the way. You never know where life will take you if you jut let it.

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- who has written 310 posts on Heels and Wheels.

Creator of Heels and Wheels. Writer, traveler and more.

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  • Bobbi Small

    Thank god you only held three koalas, I held like, fourteen and have the scratches and calendars to prove it!

  • http://www.heelsandwheelsonline.com Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    haha I know but they’re so cute they can get away with it

  • Pingback: Leaving my new home | Heels and Wheels()

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