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Holiday reflections

And so, after 20062 miles by air, 1646 miles by bus, 30 miles by boat, 14000 feet by gravity and 34 timezones, my little tour of Australia has come to a close. I'm still living the same Sunday it was in Cairns this morning, some 30 hours ago and there's plenty of it left. A few closing thoughts:Power tourism worksWhile Lonely Planet suggests 17 to 26 weeks for this trip, the eager traveller will reap the rewards within just two. A little bit of planning, a tight itinerary and a bit of enthusiasm leaves few stones unturned.Airport shuttles are one of the saddest places in the worldA 4am shuttle ride doesn't help anyone's mental wellbeing, but with a carefully selected CD soundtrack, a driver can reduce half of the passengers to tears. Hangovers on boats are badGoes without saying. Don't try this one. Especially if you're sleeping in the bow.Hangovers on buses are badAlthough not as obvious as the boat scenario, the effect of dehydration is perfectly timed to coincide with that point where the seat becomes so uncomfortable it's no longer possible to sit in it. Misery ensues.Long distance buses are a necessary evilWhile the Grayhound attracts some of the most colorful elements of society, it's pretty good so far as budget transport (and free accomodation) go. You get to watch the scenery go by too.Road-side food can killAfter the worst breakfast of my life in the 'Big Prawn' diner in Ballina (the only tripworthy landmark for miles around), I resovled to never eat in a road-side diner again. From that point on, the excitement at seeing the golden arches was like being a child again. Some people really love their jobsMany people say they like what they do and for the most part it's true, until you see people that live for what they do. My experience with skydiving instructors and sailors has completely rewritten the job satisfaction scale.If you're touring (backpack or not), you're a touristI'm no fan of the tour bus approach ('5 minute photo stop here guys'), but to refuse to do things simply because they might be touristy or not quite in the backpacking spirit is a mistake. Never skip on the details - a performance in the Opera House is not to be missed, scuba diving with some of the best coral and fish in the world is well worth it.Worth doing? Absolutely. Worth doing again? After Tokyo, Moscow, Kilimanjaro, Antarctica and NZ, perhaps.