I cannot conjure up words powerful enough to describe my experience in the Australian outback. It was probably the most amazing place I have ever been IN MY LIFE! However, it did not start out that way.
At first, the outback adventure was not too kind to us. It rained the first day on the road as we sat in a bus filled with 40 people. The countryside was gorgeous and I could not ignore the thought of getting out of the bus and running up and down the hills. Unfortunately, it is not easy to do in a bus... so I just let my mind wonder. When we arrived in Dubbo (our stay for the night), I expected a very grungy, nasty hotel. Instead I was met with a nice family motel. In Australia, the term motor lodge or motel means a place that families can stay. There are large and small rooms depending on the size of the family. We had a nice meal at the hotel and I stayed up talking with Joi (the girl I roomed with). We ended up staying up way too late, but it was worth it to get to know her.
On our second day, we got stuck in a town called "Cobar". It is an old mining town that has been almost abandoned. The reason we were stuck is because there was so much rain that the dirt road we were supposed to use to get to Trilby Station (our final destination) was flooded. Instead of risking being stuck in the middle of a dirt road in the middle of the outback, we opted to stay in this small town. Again, we had a wonderful time despite the circumstances. Even if a little terrier JUMPED the fence and chased me and a friend when we went for a run! At night, we told life stories, ate a fabulous meal, and danced. I even got to do a little swing dancing, which I love!
We finally arrived at Mount Burrathumble at around 3 on Wednesday. Although there was much rain, there was still limited water. Our group decided to challenge ourselves to go without showers for the entire trip. Although it was only a few nights, we ended up getting extremely dirty.
Our time in the outback was incredible. We went on the back of trucks and chased Kangaroos and Emus through the fields. It was very muddy, so we got very dirty. In the evenings, we sat around a campfire sharing stories about ourselves. We ended up forming a deep bond through roughing it in the outback.
Nights in the outback were my favorite. The beauty and stillness cannot be matched by any place in the world. I slept outside both nights. The sky was filled with stars. I could see the Milky Way galaxy from where I was laying. I felt so small amongst the giant sky in the outback. Although there were many locusts, I didn't really care. It was such a wonderful place that the millions of bugs did not bother me.
I continue to learn so much about myself through every experience I encounter in Australia. There is something about separating from normal routine that catapults you into discovering unexplored areas of your life. I HIGHLY recommend any other Judson student to look into this program... or any other Best Semester program (though I'm partial to Australia).
P.S. I used the color orange because it reminded me of the outback!!!! I miss it already!