Spots of Time

May 28, 2003

I'd Like To Tell You But ...

It's 11:33 p.m. and I'm jammed behind the blaring television and under the staircase of the Blue Gallah hostel in downtown Adelaide. I've just returned from a two-day tour of Kangaroo Island, which followed a 19-hour train trip from Alice Springs which followed a 10-day 4WD camping trip in the Australian outback. I've been bitten by a 10-inch centipede, frozen in a swag, woken up at 5 a.m. for sunrise, eaten alive by sand flies, learned how to say "good morning" "good night" and "dig in" in German, Flemish, Herbrew and Swiss German, gone without a shower for more than three days, and heard the morning cry of dingoes in the wild. Tomorrow I'm booked on a tour of the Barossa Valley (Adelaide's wine country). I should be the happiest girl in Australia but instead I'm tired, I'm cranky and all I want to do is go to sleep.

Welcome to the not-so-glamourous side of traveling life.

Not that I have any room to complain. I don't. I have put all of this on myself. Burning the candle at both ends can happen whether you're working in the real world or playing in the traveling world. Being halfway around the world where everything is new and different and knowing you may never be back can make even the most layed back person a bit frantic to "fit it all in." And while I am not at the extreme of the type-A personality spectrum, I would be lying if I didn't say I did fit in there somewhere.

The past two weeks have been amazing and wonderful and hard and scary and annoying and perfect and beautiful and long and sleep-deprieved and confusing and normal - all at the same time. And, I have so many great stories to share with you all. HOWEVER, as we speak my body and brain are beginning their emergency shut down procedures.

So, while I really do want to tell you the creepy crawly story about the kamakazie centipede attack, my brain is thinking about how comfy my bed is going to feel the moment I finish this column. And, while I would like to tell you what a group of dingos sound like at 5 a.m. when you are camped in the middle of nowhere with nothing between you and the elements but a down sleeping bag and a canvas swag, my brain is trying to compute exactly how many hours of sleep I will get before the bus comes to pick me up tomorrow morning.

The fact that I saw two koala bears fighting today is certainly worthy of a story, but my brain is having trouble focusing since the television that is two inches from my head is blaring some kind of Russian soap opera and my usual filter has ceased operation for the evening. I'd love to tell you stories about the very cool Israeli, German, Belgium, Swiss, and Irish people I met on my recent Outback tour but I can't seem to remember their names much less any interesting facts about them.

My sand flies story includes meeting an old Serbian opal miner at a natural hot spring in the middle of nowhere and finding out he was one of the men responsible for the amazing underground Serbian Orthodox church I toured in Coober Pedy. I could go on but at this time I can't remember any more of the story. I'd ask for details from one of the friends I am traveling with but at this time they are all tucked into their beds - warm, quiet and sleeping. Which is exactly where I should be.

So the bottom line is this: you will have to wait until next week. Assuming you are reading this column in the first place - which I'm not sure if you are and at this point don't even care. Because I am THAT TIRED.

So, Good Night. And, Guta Naght. And, Gooda Avunt. And, Layla Tov. And, Gwat Naght.