The Antipodes

house winter 2020

The image above is what my house looks like today, the ninth of February, 2020. There’s ten centimeters / four inches of snow on the ground and it’s below freezing, of course. Winter is not my favorite time of the year, to say the least.

However, this year there is really little to complain about. Here we are in the middle of February and this is the first real snowfall we’ve gotten. There have been far harsher winters within recent memory, this one has been a pussycat so far.

But I still hate the cold. Maybe it was the falling snow that drove me to the computer, and to a travel website.

I researched tickets to Australia, the price in the timeframe I identified was actually very reasonable. Especially considering that it’s 9200 (!) miles from my house to Brisbane, a bit further to Sydney.

Well, I’ve been threatening this for a while. As the snow fell, I pushed the big red button on the travel website.

The button said “Pay Now.”

And just like that it was done.

Dates locked in, destination established, I booked my first overseas vacation since, well, an incredibly long time.

australian flag

So it’s going to happen, readers. I am going to Australia for the first time ever.

This is novel in so many ways. I’ve never been on a real overseas vacation as a civilian. My overseas experiences were all in Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and South America. Never to the Pacific, and rarely beneath the equator. Not traveling on an official passport on orders, no weapons or war stuff.

Nope. I’m going to Oz as a strict gawking tourist, fresh off the boat.

My point of arrival in country and my base of operations on this iteration will be Brisbane.

I am very much looking forward to this; at the same time there’s a bit of trepidation. This really gets me out of my comfort zone; travel unrelated to duty.

Who knows, maybe I can get in some book/author stuff too.

After all, that’s the whole point. If it wasn’t for you all, readers, I would have never had this idea. In a few months I’ll sling my duffel over my shoulder and head south with Air Canada. As road trips go, this will be my longest one ever.

Australia or bust. Finally.

And this time it’s not on the King’s shilling.





17 thoughts on “The Antipodes

  1. hey Jason,

    Well I hope that you have a fantastic time when you get here. So how long are in in Oz for and how far from Brisbane are you happy to travel. There are lots of awesome places around our country to explore

    look forward to hearing about you adventures


  2. A very different ‘deployment’. At least you’ll kinda be able to understand the locals and they’re mostly friendly. Weather will be fine up in Brissie then. Hope its a great trip.


  3. Very nice picture of your house – and a picture is the only way I want to see something like that. There’s a reason I live in Brisbane, and it has something to do with the fact that my idea of a hard winter is “we got a frost that year”. And by frost I mean the grass looked a little silvery in the morning, not that there was any actual frozen water around.

    I hope you enjoy your trip here, and if you want a local’s opinion on anything, please ask. Brisbane is a bit weird, in that almost all of our best known tourist draw cards are actually not in Brisbane but outside it. The first thing most tourists who fly into Brisbane do is leave it (for the Gold or Sunshine coasts).


    • Hey, maybe Brisbane’s draws are all outside of town, but at least there are some! Here in the old Steel Valley no-one ever comes as a tourist. No-one. Actually something I’m looking forward to is getting out in town on foot- reminds me of the old days when I was stationed in Europe before the war started. No target on your back, just walkin’ and gawkin’.


      • They are not all out of town, just the most famous ones. If you’re going to walk around, you have the CBD (central business district) which is almost all high rises, with the odd historic building left. Then around that is inner ring of the oldest suburbs, which have some nice older houses, what used to be local town hubs etc, then you get further out and it is pretty standard suburbs. You should use the river ferries (or city cat – faster versions) to get a view from the river at least once, and they can be useful to get around depending on where you’re going. Get yourself a Translink GoCard, put a bit of money on it, and you can use it for buses, trains and river ferries. If you’re walking around the city centre, don’t forget to cross the river and check out the south bank – there’s a bunch of stuff there.


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