When I stepped off the bus at Absolute Backpackers in Mission Beach, I felt like I was coming home. Everything about the area reminded me of Hawaii, which was surprisingly refreshing. The weather was great with blue skies, fluffy white clouds and a gentle breeze. The beach was a ten-minute stroll away and lined with palm trees. The sand and sea went on for miles in either direction, and there was an offshore island that looked close enough to touch.
After feeling very out of place on the east coast, I had finally found somewhere I enjoyed. Yet, it was ironic that the place reminded me so much of home. Mission Beach could be any number of small towns in the Islands. The people were welcoming in that small-town way. The streets were wide even though there were very few cars traveling on them. Despite the high-adrenaline sport of skydiving, which attracts many people to the area, the overall vibe was very chill.
|Slide Album: Mission Beach|
Upon checking into the hostel, I met Peta, the owner, who seemed genuinely happy to meet all the guests. She introduced Tracey and Mick, the new managers, and showed us photos of the typhoon damage. It was incredible to say the least, and many of the businesses in the community were still dealing with the effects.
What I noticed right off about this place was that the rooms and common areas were extremely clean. Unlike larger hostels in the city, this place was immaculate and really did feel like a home more than an anonymous accommodation. Adding to the homely feel of the place, Peta managed to remember everyone’s names. How she did that with so many people coming and going is baffling, but it really added to the specialness of the place. When she asked if I’d work for accommodation, I seriously considered it despite already having tentative plans in Cairns.
The following day I spoke to Tracey about the job and ended up working for five days. I would’ve liked to stay longer, but I had to make it to Cairns before my bus pass expired. While working at the hostel, my duties included cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms as well as some of the common areas. I only worked for three hours and had the rest of the day to explore the area, lie on the beach or chat with the other workers.
The other workers made my days and nights really fun and were from so many places: Susanne from Germany; Gwen from Holland; Chloe and Franck from France and James from England. Just as I was leaving, Pierre and Mary from France came on board as well. We all shared a room, bathroom and kitchen. Even though we hardly knew each other, we got on well as travelers tend to do. We all loved being on the road and seeing the sights of Australia. We were all amazed at how expensive everything was here. We would all jump at the chance to do it all over again.
|Slide Album: Absolute Backpackers|
Life at Absolute Backpackers was very much like being with extended family. Even though I wasn’t there for very long (a week in total), I felt as if I could return at any time and pick up where I left off. When it was time for me to leave, the gang saw me off at the bus. For the first time since arriving in Australia, I was actually sad to leave someplace. It’s amazing how Mission Beach and Absolute Backpackers can really stick to you without much effort. Before I left, I promised Tracey and Peta that I’d come back for a visit real soon. And, I really hope I do.