The Travelling Student – Vagabond Memories

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 in Byron’s Bay, a beautiful beach city at the northern most part of the province of New South Wales (Australia).
I sat watching the surfers swim out into the bay and take their turns riding the waves. Every once in a while a skilled surfer would catch a good wave and manage to stay afloat for what seemed like a lifetime. As I sat on the edge of my seat (a beachside rock), watching, I hardly noticed Dylan had received a call.

“We’re good to go”
“What’s that?” I replied
“My Dad’s mate is out of town but we have the thumbs up to park the RV.”

We drove up a small winding hill which was surprisingly close to the beach. Driving up a winding hill in a manual, multi-ton vehicle can be either exhilarating or terrifying. If at any point you come to a complete stop (which we did) you have the pleasure of shifting back into first gear. On our first try the RV began rolling backwards. Dylan slammed on the brakes, which was followed by a loud crash! Luckily it was just some dishes being rattled around in the back. After the small mishap we drove through a gate onto the property.

What was most surprising was the magnificence of the house itself. It looked like the kind of place a modest executive might buy. Not a McMansion, but I could tell no cost had been spared in either quality or location. It was a bit ironic being led there by Dylan, who looked like an Australian vagabond.

With the family out on vacation I wouldn’t get a tour of the stunningly beautiful home, but we did have access to an outdoor (warm water) shower, a grand luxury when you’re living on the road.

After a quick dinner, I took some time out to do a bit of reading and write an article for The Voice. While I wanted to share my adventures in Australia, I was still telling the story of my travels in Quebec. As time had passed my memories had matured, some details being forgotten, but others taking on a more symbolic importance. Of course, I remembered the obvious stuff?key places and people?but, looking back, it’s always interesting to see the small things we remember. A morning coffee completely ordinary yet so perfect as to take a permanent place in our memory, or the particular way the waves hit the sea wall on Wakki Beach.

After some routine reminiscing while writing, I packed up and readied myself for a night on the town. As the sun set bats came out in the hundreds?maybe even thousands?high above us, making a sort of constant buzzing sonar sort of sound.

As we made our way to the main street I tried to push back the reoccurring thought that we had over ten hours of driving ahead of us the next day.