My best friend of twenty years, Luis, came to visit us in Tassie last weekend. He was on a business trip in New Zealand and was able to give us a few days out of his busy schedule to make the trek to the end of the world. Paige and I felt very lucky to not only see him but give Luis a glimpse into our new lives.
As we drove to the airport, I realized that for the first time in more than four months Paige and I have not had ANY personal contact with our friends from back home. Ya sure we have facetime and google chat but it is not the same as sitting on the couch drinking a whisky with people who know you inside and out. On the drive back to Hobart as Lou tells us his stories about New Zealand trip I started to get quiet and very pensive. I was happy and excited– don’t get me wrong– but something else was throwing me off.
Once home and situated, Paige and I decide that the best way to bring Lou into our day-to-day lifestyle is to take him on a quick little mountain bike ride on one of our local trails right outside our door. The ride was great and as always cleaned and cleared my head. As I was riding behind Lou watching him pick the worst lines and just bounce around everywhere it hit me. The reason I was so pensive is that I just had my two worlds/lives collide. It felt like a thump. For the past four months Paige and I have been living, as Lou described it, like we were back in college. Paige and I have jobs that allow us to live a very active and simple lifestyle. This life is a total change from our big corporate day to day lives in San Francisco. It wasn’t just the jobs that fueled us, it was the American mentality about the “dream” and everything that goes with it. We Americans put so much emphasis on the job we hold, the car we drive, how much money we make or our potential to make more. In Tassie people just live life and ride, kayak, bush walk, own their own business, etc. Is anybody rich? Of course some people have money but the division between the wealthy and everyone else isn’t obvious. And it’s clear after you spend a week with active Tasmanians that everyone is loaded with time and energy. It is a different sort of wealth to be able to kayak in the morning and watch the sunrise, ride my bike to work and venture off on an epic ride up the “Mountain” later that evening.
By having Lou here it made me think back to where I was one year ago and it was scary. That is why I was quiet as I acclimated to Luis’ presence. I started to think about “what I am going to do when I get back home?”, “What kind of job will I get?”, and much much more.
Phew, well…once all of that headcase stuff wore off we had hell of a time. After our ride on Saturday we took Lou to Fish Frenzy, a fish and chips place on the wharf, and scarfed down some awesome fried food, scallops, Blue Travala, calamari, chowder, and of course some Tassie white wine. We laid low Saturday night to let Lou recover from his travels and rest up for our big boat trip to the Tasman peninsula.
As Paige described, the boat trip was wet, very wet, but still pretty memorable and quite an adventure. We drove leisurely back from the Peninsula and though we were still sopping wet, the rain finally cleared as we pulled into the Sorrell berry farm. It is a U-Pick farm so we managed to stuff our faces with fresh strawberries and cherries as we picked fruit. My mouth was purple after eating a few hundred cherries (no joke). Back in town, we parked the car walked over to the Lark to get a quick dram of whisky. Luis got to see Paige in action with her friends at the bar; a totally different context than the days of Whole Foods. We continued the Tassie culinary experience that night by making Wallaby burgers for dinner at home and just decompressed from the wet and long day.
Monday morning we met up with a few people and rode up to the famous North South Track on the Mountain. It was a beautiful, hot day (go figure, Tasmania) and I think Luis was impressed with the quality of trails in our backyard. After the ride, we went to go watch a fundraiser cricket game with some friends in the Domain. I was starting to see what Luis meant by the “living the dream” comment. It was sunny, beer was cheap (a rarity here) and we were surrounded by friends. Everyone loved meeting Luis but the funny thing he pointed out was that no one asked what he did for a living. When getting to know someone new in Tassie, your job isn’t necessarily relevant. This is starting to feel normal but with Luis visiting I could see for the first time in months that we are in the midst of something very different and special.
After having a few beers, more like 8-10, we needed some food to soak up the suds so Indian was calling. That was pretty much the end of that night so with a bit of a buzz and a full stomach we rode our bikes back to home base and rested up for our boys moto adventure out west.