Saturday, June 16, 2012

This Place Is Different...

The very best thing about travel is that it forces you to be engaged.

Travelling frees you from the grip of numbing routine.  You're constantly exposed to new places and new situations, you're always learning, always trying to figure something out.

Traveling won't make you live longer.  But I'm sure that it makes your life seem longer, just because, by keeping your synapses buzzing as you deal with novel stimuli, you're packing more awareness into a given unit of time.

A few days ago we drove out to the forests of central Tasmania and took a quick walk around.

We've gotten out of Hobart very little since school started for Elias, and all of our forays have been on board Galactic.  So we haven't seen the interior of Tasmania at all on this visit.

On this day trip of ours I was overwhelmed at how little I know about the natural history of this place.  In Alaska, I feel like I know a little something about any ecosystem that I might find myself in - I might know a little of the geology and a few of the plants, and I'd definitely know most of the vertebrates, and I'd have a bit of a feel for how it all goes together.

But in the forests of Tassie, I have none of that.  I can see that the understory of this particular spot was dominated by outrageously big ferns, and the canopy by outrageously big eucalypts.

Other than that, I didn't have any idea of what was going on.  Which made me realise that we've been taking Tasmania a bit for granted on this visit.  We've been acting like we live here.  But, of course, we don't.  We'll be leaving next summer, and we have no expectation of ever sailing back.  So it was a bit of a wakeup call - this is our chance, now, to get to know this pretty remarkable little corner of the world, and that chance won't be coming back.

I'll let you know how we do.

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