Hi Everyone. Let me fill you in again (briefly) on what's happening with my life.
I'm home, back in Zion, Illinois. Returning to life back in USA has been an adjustment, but I'm staying busy and enjoying almost every moment of it.
Since I was too busy to even think about blogging while I was traveling this summer, I'm updating my favorite memories in little pieces for you. So read back if you'd like and you can see other fun moments from my wanderings through Australia.
As always, thanks for reading! And leave a comment to let me know you stopped by!
Hugs and kisses!

Welcome to The Whitsunday Islands, one of the most beautiful places in the world! Captain Cook discovered these Islands back in 1770. I was thinking, how awesome it must have been to discover a place of such rich beauty! What a thing to write home about! Anyway, The Whitsundays are a group of 74 islands along the Queensland coast that make up part of the Great Barrier Reef. The coastal land is nothing special really and Nick and I found ourselves a bit bored. But words really can't describe the stunning beauty seen once you leave the shore and weave through the islands on the bluest water imaginable.

This is a photo shot from Airlie Beach looking out towards the islands.

And here are two people very excited about their vacation!

We boarded a boat called the Mantaray. It became our home for a day of snorkeling and beach bumming and whale watching. (We didn't get to see any whales though.)

This is the Skipper.

Probably the best part of the trip was our stop at Whitehaven Beach. I've never seen anything like it. It's the largest beach in the Whitsundays and it's about a 2 hour boat trip from the coast. I could have spent days there!

We had a little sand sculpture activity. Nick made a whale, and I made a smiling sunshine. You can pick the winner, post your opinion in the comments :)
Vacation...what a beautiful thing...


noosa and beyond

Our second day on the road we stopped at Noosa Beach, a famous beach on the Sunshine Coast.
We mostly just relaxed, paid an ungodly amount of money to use the internet to let mom and dad know we were safe, and took ice cold showers in the beach house. Refreshing! We also had a nice picnic lunch on the beach which included something like turkey, avocado, brie sanwhiches on raisin bread. Delish!

We had fun watching the kids play.

And even more fun looking at interesting people like this guy!!! Hot!!!

And it gets better! He's got a bare-bottomed son and a little girl who just doesn't quite know how to react to the bare-bottom :-)

And the journey continued... Here are some images from the road.

And then one night I made spaghetti. I had a briliant idea to make garlic bread with English Muffins and butter/garlic. I wrapped them all up in foil and put them on the stove flame. And they were delightfully...ummm.... disgusting.
Let me just say that we ate like royalty on this trip, and only once did we eat at a restaurant. We shopped for groceries and dreamed up our own best camp food ideas and only on the rare occasion were we disappointed. And WOW did we save a lot of money!


meet Dave.

Nick flew across the world and met me in Brisbane. We rented this snazzy little campervan and named it Dave. Dave was pretty great!

In Australia you drive forward on the left side of the road. Also, the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. This meant that we had to use our left hand to shift gears, and our right hand to work the turn signal, and really... everything was quite backwards! Driving with these changes wasn't as terrifying as I had imagined but it did take a little while to get used to tricky intersections or remembering who had the right-of-way in the round-a-bouts.

Anyway, our first night on the road consisted of just a few hours of driving before we started looking for a place to sleep. I hadn't made any reservations, and to be honest I didn't really know what to expect, or how far we'd drive, or what sorts of things we'd even see along the way. We just started driving. We made it to a small town called Yandina (middle of nowhere) and found a caravan park which was FULL. Figures! So we got back on the road in search of any place where we could rest.
Two seconds later we were pulled over by the police. What?!!! "Nick!!" I said nervously, "What did I do? Am I on the rights side of the road? Did I do something illegal? Was I speeding? Are the lights on?".... What the heck? But the officers were calm and polite and informed us that they were just performing random checks and they needed to test my breath for alcohol. That was a first experience for me. I had to breathe until the machine beeped and then everything was peachy-keen and we could take off again.
In our predicament, I figured I'd ask the officers if they knew of any place for use to sleep. They looked at us, said "You don't look very high maintenance" (not sure if that was a compliment)and then said, "Follow us!" They drove us to a little free roadside camping circle. It was like a rest area, only made for people to camp for the night. No power or water, and just a homely pit toilet, but perfect for us!

And there we camped out for the night.
In the morning we met our neighbor (don't remember her name) and her dog Bessie. Bessie was VERY excited to meet us. We learned that these little camping areas are quiet common along the highways (awesome for people on a budget!) and we learned a few more tips for road-tripping through Queensland. So strangely, I'm really thankful for getting pulled over on that first night of driving. Those police officer's set us up for an excellent driving adventure.