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It's amazing the way our perspective has changed since we haven't had a house, a job, a 'base', to go back to. Everything is more beautiful, and we really give ourselves to the experience.
Dusty took the photos above after we arrived in Ballina, he's getting good at operating the camera! We parked our caravan in my cousin Geoff and Nadine's front yard and they were amazing hosts - to have us, welcome us, enjoy spending time with us and the kids, to encourage Dusty to get more familiar with the drums ...
... To show the boys how to catch yabbies with sand pumps...
... And to take us on a guided tour of South Ballina, where we crossed the river in the car on a ferry.
When we climbed a sand dune, a very excited Dusty discovered he was actually afraid of heights and it wasn't as fun as he had hoped it would be.
We left the beach before the tide could catch us.
My auntie said later, as we pushed the pram on the walkway running beside the Ballina River, that Ballina is one of Australia's best kept secrets.
She is right. I've always loved Ballina because it's where my cousins are, but this time we got to see it through new eyes, as we had 4 days to see Ballina, Byron, Lennox and Mullumbimbi the way tourists, or even house-hunters, might.
Tim showed the boys the job site at the Saint Helena bypass where he drove the crawler crane last year.
And I performed a reading of Dusty's Wonder Bug at the Rainbow Gardens Family Daycare at Mullumbimbi, thanks to Maxine, and thanks to friend Amber of Rainbow Bridge, who we had a lovely afternoon catching up with at Brunswick Heads.
We also visited the Crystal Castle and they enthusiastically agreed to stock our book Dusty's Wonder Bug in their bookshop alongside their amazing selection of holistic health books. It is truly an honour to have my book available in this amazing tourist and cultural venue.
Back in Ballina, fishing in the river in sensational weather was a highlight, especially as the fish were happily biting and the boys caught dinner pretty quickly.
Knowing we are going away for our traveling adventure makes it all the more special sharing time with people we love. We were lucky to see my auntie and uncle and cousins Julia & Nathan at least a couple of times. After we walked the main esplanade (and of course, used the beachfront playground) of Lennox Head, Julia and Nath taught Dusty and Maxie how to play a bugle over a sensational parmigiana dinner.
And Siah, our big red superstar, was once again a beautiful traveling companion. Asides from a short bout of food poisoning from not having his usual diet from our old reliable butcher, he is having the time of his life. We were so relieved when he got over his rough patch and will plan his meals more carefully, which is a bit of a challenge, but a priority.