I awoke early the next morning and set off for the Greyhound terminal to buy a return ticket from Brisbane to Toowoomba. I was on my way to meet Yvonne, who was a friend of a friend. It sounds crazy to travel miles out of the way to visit someone you don’t even know, but these little detours are the best part about traveling.
During my last semester of college, I interned at the Hawaiian Humane Society under a lovely woman named KT. I really enjoyed the time I spent with her (and her dogs) and kept in touch after I graduated. When she found out that I was heading off to Oz, she put me in contact with Yvonne, who had lived in Hawaii for many years but had returned home to Australia. And now, after really short notice due to the fact that I didn’t have internet connection for a while, I going to Yvonne’s house for two nights.
The bus ride to Toowoomba was as fine as any bus ride could be, and before I knew it I was there. I was a little worried about finding Yvonne because I had no idea what she looked like. However, I was the most likely person to be from Hawaii on the bus so odds were that Yvonne would find me. And she did.
Yvonne was as sweet as she sounded on the phone. She was about my height with short blonde hair and a warm, welcoming smile. She took me out to the car where her brother-in-law was waiting, and they took me on a short tour of the town. Afterward, we picked up her sister-in-law and headed off for the western Queensland outback and lunch at the Brookstead Pub.
The Queensland outback was different from the Red Center because the land was mostly used for farming here. There were wide-open plains for crops and silos filled with grains. Every now and then, a small community of homes would pop up. After driving for an hour or so, we reached Brookstead Pub, a traditional Aussie outback bar and restaurant. It served as a gathering place for the people in the area, and we’d arrived to rousing games of lawn bowling and bingo. The four of us chatted over a delicious lunch before returning to Toowoomba.
Back at Yvonne’s sister’s home, we shared a bottle of wine and her other sister came to visit. It was extremely nice being away from the hostel environment. Even though it’d only been a week since I left Sharon’s home in Sydney, it felt like ages since I sat at a real sofa or around a real dining table. The company was also much more authentic than at the hostels and it was nice to see the banter among the family. There were no pretenses and jokes flowed naturally. Sooner than I would have liked, it was time to go and so Yvonne and I said our goodbyes and headed off to her home.