Well it’s the first day of the New Year and the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. I finished the final edits for “Travels with Bertha” on December 30th and yesterday, New Year’s Eve, it was included among the Irish Times’ list of travel books to read in 2012.
After toiling so long in my garret (with laptop), thinking it might never see the light of day, somehow it’s now official. It exists.
So sticking with my New Year’s Resolution – to share with the world more about the experience of living and travelling in Australia – it seems the perfect day to write my first blog entry.
February will be particularly interesting this year. “Travels with Bertha” will be sent to the printers for an April release with Liberties Press, Dublin. And my brother-in-law is heading down to Australia alone on a one year visa. He finished work last Friday and now the wait begins and, as much as he’s trying not to show it, I think he’s bricking it.
He’s not sure what he’s doing or why he’s going (why leave the comfort and familiarity of home for the unknown – and to do it completely on your own?) – but he knows he has to go. It’s just something he has to do. Simple as that.
When I travelled down alone in my mid 20s to Oz, those weeks leading up to the departure I remember well. Feeling relieved to be leaving the dourness and sense of little future in Ireland and excited to be finally going out to see more of the world – all mixed with a dread and distinct sensation that I was about to step off a cliff.
So I’ve been trying to provide some support and comfort to the bro-in-law (BOL) on several recent nights out – at my expense – to spare the travel kitty and to get him into good practice for what lies ahead.
More than 20,000 Irish people availed of temporary Australian visas in 2011. How many will be leaving our shores in 2012? How are those impending travellers (and their friends and families!) feeling this January 1st, I wonder?