So much to do, so little time
– Suzie Pearce
For years, four of us would spend the day visiting an art gallery.
It was the excuse to be together, have loads of laughs, have lunch, enjoy a gallery and experience a range of art.
Each had a turn, made all the arrangements and drove. Four trips a year. While we often ate at the gallery we visited, that was not necessarily the golden rule.
The organiser could reveal a new find. It was her choice. We were competitive and wanted our turn to achieve all the wow factors, including the choice of gallery exhibition.
There was no limit on how far we would go in a day as long as we were home to feed “the other half”.
Sometimes, we didn’t admit how far we had travelled. We didn’t care. We had great fun together, and it all promoted great conversation. Afterwards, we slept, tired and happy.
Sadly, one is now living overseas, one is no longer with us, and COVID-19 kicked in. During the pandemic, I made many day trips with my unwell husband. We went everywhere permissible within the ever-changing rules. We called it travelling in the halo, the circle around Melbourne. It allowed us to travel further than most thought or tried. We were adventurous.
We considered ourselves lucky to live in the north-east because there was so much to see and do within the halo in every direction.
We learnt how places were coping and adapting to COVID. We found pretty little towns, restaurants, pubs and wineries. That was all a COVID benefit if you can say such a thing.
Another day trip prompter was my now six-year-old granddaughter, who has always been up for anything. She abseiled, three times, with me from the top of Mt Buffalo during Seniors Week when she was four. She has always wanted to see and do everything exciting and will walk all day commenting on everything she sees. She loves finding animal poo. If it is fresh, she looks for whichever animal is responsible.
Square wombat pooh is quite a find, as are snake skins. She likes to smell the roses.
If a particular day trip was adult geared, she was happily placated if we found a good park for her. As a result, I have quite a list of great play-parks and another of not-so-exciting play-parks. We would look for tadpoles. My childhood was filled with frogs. The thing about day trips is that they don’t have to be expensive. While eating out is lovely, so is tea from the thermos and good old curried egg sandwiches.
What is important is looking where you are going, enjoying the scenery, noticing seasonal changes, especially on farms, and reading all the tourist boards and boulders with brass plaques. They are rewarding with fabulous information, often about things close to home that you had never considered. They prompt research to learn more.
I maintain that you can’t be a good tourist unless you are well practised doing day trips and noticing what is nearby. If you don’t appreciate the interesting things in your town, city or district, how can you suddenly love galleries, different food, experiences and scenery anywhere else? If you don’t learn to ride a bike at home, it’s a painful lesson in Switzerland. So, I am on a mission with family and friends, or by myself, to revisit my day-tripping travels to get up to date with what is new and what has survived COVID. I’ll let you know what I find, what I like, love or am disappointed by. School holidays are looming, so I’d best get going.