It’s a long way between Perth and Adelaide – about 3,000 km, in fact – and in my anticipation to reach the latter I somehow managed to elevate it to a megalopolis of the highest order.
I arrived in the capital in full Bangkok-mode, ready for blistering traffic, thunderous industry and the neon signs that flicker between lifting skirts and lifted wallets.
My mind was so full of expectation that I peered down back alleys for an hour before finally accepting Adelaide for what it was – a pretty country city where old men in orange-flagged scooters talk about the weather and wish everyone a good afternoon.
And it was a good afternoon.
I met Erin and Pete, my Warm Showers hosts, who turned out to be two of the most wonderful people I’ve had the good fortune to stumble across on my journey.
Besides the world’s comfiest couch, they had a magical cookie jar that never ran out of ginger snaps and enough laughter and backyard vegetables to fill even the hungriest of cyclists.
The pair also treated me to a week of scattershot, as we raced Dragon Boats, played Bananagrams, tended honeybees and drooled over hundred-dollar cheese at the downtown markets.
I loved every minute, but the sad fact is that hospitality is a gift that can’t be kept. Sooner or later it has to be returned to the shelf, polished and waiting for a fresh-faced traveler who might never know what it means to trade kindness for a road leading anywhere else.
Tonight I hold a wine bottle and a campfire gaze, alone in a place I can’t even pronounce. Here’s to the road, my friends, and here’s to those who only come to leave. On we go.