I’ve never slept under trees where possums roam. I’ve never sat in one place for 19 hours in attempt to have an authentic experience. I’ve never climbed up the side of a bridge or stood in front of the farthest opera house from my own house. I’ve never surfed down under.
West Aus seems a little desolate, but that’s where the beautiful things are.
Beautiful like thousands of acres covered in farmland, like vast ocean with changing blue like the wind, with desert heat you could not imagine.
Growing up, I never saw the true value in having relatives that neighbor the Outback. It seemed to be just a fun-fact for friends and acquaintances. It wasn’t until I was standing 28 stories high with the Sydney skyline, or knee deep in Busselton waters, that I realized being here was a gift. It was an opportunity I could not waste. Days of beer, Fish ‘n’ Chips, and fighting with fellow tourists seemed to leave me discouraged at first. I was intimidated by the idea that I had become one of the many white-nosed and obnoxious tourists, just trying to avoid the intense sun of Western Aus. And then my Uncle tapped me on the shoulder.
To me, he was a humble uncle with a thick accent and a plethora of jokes in his back pocket. To the rest of the continent, he was a 4th generation farmer and one of the biggest players in the global agricultural market. This is where the authentic experience truly began. To be able to understand things the way my uncle does, whether it was the game of cricket or the specifics in his corn-growing process, was a gift in itself.
And what a holiday of gifts it was: the surf, the sand, the sun, the family, the food, and the beer. To me, it was perfection. Many stories that gloat authenticity and inspire people to dare the impossible often lead people to forget what authenticity truly is.
Authenticity can be the driver behind an expedition up Mount Everest, or it can be the small voice that beckons you to climb just a bit higher on your favorite backyard tree.
I had never slept under trees where possums roam until this trip. I had never surfed down under until this trip. I had never known a place to feel so new after just a quick decade away until this trip.
And that is truly authentic.