This swing through Australia has been a remarkable opportunity to meet up with friends that we’ve made on the road. Before Australia, only once before – with Meg & Law in Bolivia – had we met other travelers at some point and then met up with them later on the journey. But already here in Australia we’ve reconnected with Piers & Charlotte (twice!) and Philippe and Mandi since meeting them in Fiji. St. Leonards, though, is the way it’s supposed to work: meeting up with friends we biked with in Myanmar three years ago!
St. Leonards was just a little two-day stop to visit with friends from that Grasshopper Adventures tour. There were only five others on the trip and two of them – Barbara and Lisa – were a couple from Melbourne. Well, sort of a couple, but not for long. Today they’re friends in Melbourne and Lisa invited us to spend a couple days at her beachside home in St. Leonards, about 65 miles southwest of Melbourne. So just a day into the new year Lisa and her dog Lucky picked us up at our hotel and drove us down. Barbara joined us the next day, with her dog Lucky.
It was a ton of fun to catch up with them. They’re both fascinating in their own way. Lisa, just starting a new job as an assistant principal in a prestigious public school, is finally finishing up a PhD in education and is passionate about the need to find ways to improve the teaching experience so teachers can be more effective. Barbara is a massage therapist who teaches other women in the field how to run their tiny businesses effectively. They’re fun, funny, interesting, and they both love their Lucky dogs.I, unfortunately, didn’t get to visit much. After the drive down and an evening visit with Lisa, I woke up our first morning there with a miserable sore throat, the certain onset of what would be a miserable cold. So for most of the time we were there I just holed up in our bedroom, sipping hot tea and feeling sorry for myself, listening to Mark and Lisa and Barbara hooting and laughing and having a great time.
Two days were barely enough time to renew our friendship so now we’re going to push either or both of them to join us in Sri Lanka next December, where Grasshopper Adventures is sponsoring another two-week bike trip. It’s a great way to spend time with new old friends!