The first desert-like climate I ever visited was in Rainbow Beach, Australia. After hiking through the bush to reach the top of the sand blow, I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw. I was standing on a gigantic sand mountain: a desert. As far as I could see it was all sand and the beautiful Australian horizon. To my left I could see the sea and to my right I could see the lush landscape. When I walked to the center of the sand blow I could see nothing but sand in every direction. For a moment, I forgot where I was and thought I was in the middle of the Sahara desert.
Fraser’s on Rainbow Beach, the hostel where I stayed, offer free daily hikes at 4:30 to the sand blow to go sand boarding, learn how to throw a boomerang, and watch the sunset from the top of the blow. I took advantage of this free tour and it is still a highlight of mine. I’ve not seen anything like it. It was then when I truly realized Australia has so much more to offer me than turquoise beaches and lush green landscapes. It was in that moment I think when I really started to fall in love with Australia. Ironically, it didn’t take a turquoise beach to make me truly fall in love, but rather something I’d never been exposed to before. In life, the things that are different and one of a kind are often the things that give us fresh perspective and a new outlook on life. It was standing there, feeling like a spec of sand amidst a desert, when I finally was in shock of the fact that I made it to Australia (and I had already been in Australia for 29 days at that point). It was a beautiful moment I will never forget.
While at the sand blow, I did something for the first time: sand boarding. It was exhilarating and a little scary at the same time. I had to climb to the highest point of the blow, lay on a body board facing the ground below, and slide down the sand hill at an incredible speed. Not to mention the effort it took to climb up to the top. At one point, as I lay on my tummy inching my way to the cliff’s edge, I could barely see the ground below. Without knowing what would happen I gave myself a hefty push with my toes and down the hill I went with the wind and sand blowing in my hair. I am not going to lie, I did scream a little.
After sand boarding, I watched the sunset beyond the green horizon. With a bit of drizzle, the most beautiful double rainbows appeared behind me above the turquoise water. Rainbow Beach claimed its name because of its rainbow coloured sands, yet to me, it is called Rainbow Beach because of the rainbows I saw on that day. Standing in the middle of the sand blow with the sun setting in one direction and the rainbows showing their colours in the other, I raised my hands in the air and turned my face to the sky to welcome the raindrops on my cheeks and yelled amazing. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.
How is it that in each destination I visit I find something that takes my breath away? Is it possible to have moment after moment that make me appreciate life and to be thankful? In all of the 16 countries I have visited thus far, I can remember a place where I learned something about myself as I saw more of the world. Australia continues to show me what it has to offer in each place that I visit. Maybe I make myself open to opportunities to see these amazing wonders. It’s in the quiet moments when I am alone reflecting, reading, or writing when I notice things being revealed to me. This is an example of one of those moments.