I didn’t have a fairy Godmother to make my travel dreams become a reality, but I do have an incredible older sister.
My eldest sibling had surprised us all by moving across the world with the man of her dreams to Perth, Australia (what a fairy tale story that is). With my final year of college ending, she asked me what my plans were for post-graduate life. There wasn’t much of a plan other than “get a job, try and find somewhere to live, try and travel”.
Having spent my life in land-locked Ontario, I had never been to the ocean before. Now it was down the street. I could watch the sun set into the Indian Ocean from the kitchen. If the wind was right, the sea spray would cloud the windows with salt.
I got a job at a nearby restaurant, but spent most of my days off at the beach, obsessed with the ocean. Awed by its beauty and size, but cowed by the power of it. For the most part I stayed on the sand – walking, reading, or staring (I’m afraid to swim alone).
A flock of parrots lived in a park around the corner. After spending 20+ years surrounded by 90% brown birds, I can’t explain how happy wild parrots make me. They never get old.
Sometimes I’d go for long jogs along the coast alone, or with my intrepid explorer buddy. We found a hidden beach in the dunes, but I never found a way to get down there. Now that beach is gone – the coastline is eroding and the tide has moved in.
For a change from their quiet neighborhood, I’d go into the city. Perth is pretty quiet as far as capitals go, but it has a great positive vibe.
At the Perth Zoo I got to celebrate an elephant birthday and feed Armani the giraffe.
When summer begins, the jacaranda trees come into bloom and the city looks like a fairy tale.
Despite my best efforts, I cannot get behind watching multi-day cricket matches. Yet, the short games are quick and exciting. We went to watch a few tournament matches at the WACA.
Perth puts on the best show in the country for Australia Day (although getting to the fireworks can be an ordeal).
In March, I found some Sculptures by the Sea at Cottesloe Beach.
The weather in Perth is about as close to perfect as you can get. On rare occasions it does get cloudy or even rain, a soothing drink for a dry climate.
For a day trip from the city, Rottnest Island is a brilliant little island, loved by both Aussies and tourists.
With no visitor cars allowed on the island, transportation options are two feet or two wheels. The lack of engine noise makes the island feel like it has time travelled backward. Be sure to say hello to the quokkas for me when you visit – I couldn’t get over how cute and inquisitive these little guys are.
The best part about living on the West Coast was the sunsets. I maintain that they are the best on Earth.
I’m always look forward to my next visit to Perth.
To sitting on the beach watching the waves,
or standing next to the ‘pineapple palm’ and look out at my favourite view.