My name is Philip Kirkbride. I’m a college graduate from Ontario studying at AU. I’ve always wanted to do an exchange program or study abroad but never found the right time to do so. This is the story of how Athabasca University has allowed me to create my own study abroad program. In the last issue we arrived at Crescent Head, a quaint beach town 440 km north-east of Sydney.
As I grilled some steaks on the beach-side grill Dylan prepared the rest of the ingredients. An unexpected perk of travelling with Dylan was his sense of taste and cooking skills. As the meat fried we heard the laughs of drunken teenagers further along the beach. Dylan explained that it was schoolies week in the area, the week following graduation for high-school students. The time period is widely known and covered by Australian media as a time of lawlessness, binge drinking, and sexual promiscuity.
Luckily for us the students steered clear and we managed to eat our dinner, a stir-fry with a glass of Australian wine (one of the country’s largest exports), in peace. After the meal, we packed up our wine and dishes and decided to move the car to the back of the parking lot. We started the engine and pulled out of our spot. It was then that we looked in our rear view mirrors to see a cop staring us down.
We bickered back and forth on the best course of action. Camping on the beach isn’t actually legal. I figured we should leave but Dylan insisted we talk to them.
“How are you boys doing tonight?”
“Alright, just looking for a good place to camp tonight. We heard there’s a free spot on the outskirts of town.” Dylan replied
“I think there is but you’d probably be a lot safer parking the RV here for the night? but don’t go telling the ranger I told ya that.”
With that the officer waved us on and I let out a sigh of relief. The police, like many Australians along the east coast, are friendly folk. We parked and got out of the RV and received applause from two skaters riding the nearby skate-park.
“That cop was a real mad-dog” one of the skaters yelled over.
“You don’t have a dart do ya” Dylan replied.
We made our way to the skate-park where we shared some wine and the other three some cigarettes (not being a smoker myself). The two skaters spoke with an Australian surfer accent so thick I couldn’t make out most of what was said. I did catch that the two were hoping to head north in an attempt to be paid extras on the Pirates of the Caribbean 5 shoot that was being filmed in Brisbane and Port Douglas.
We were having a blast but I decided to call it an early night. We’d have to hit the road early in the morning and I hoped to do some readings for class with my morning coffee. After bidding my new friends farewell I transformed the interior of the RV. Within a few minutes our kitchen had been become a bedroom with two beds. Exhausted I feel asleep soon after my head hit the pillow.