Invariably the question is asked: “What was your highlight?” The first few times I was so jet lagged and so overwhelmed that I didn’t really answer. Now I’ve got a reply: “It’s impossible to choose one or even two highlights. You can’t compare one place to another and there were so many amazing things.” Dull but true, and I’m wary of boring people rigid with travellers tales. At least until I have a sheaf of photos to go with them.
When I say I can’t choose, it’s true. How can you compare building sandcastles next to a turtle, with a day spent in Te Papa, the finest museum in the world? The thing is, in nine months you can do really quite a lot of amazing-once-in-a-lifetime-stuff.
We’ve ridden elephants: huge, gentle, bristly creatures who can’t get enough bananas. We’ve flown in a helicopter to the top of a mountain so we could throw snowballs in summer. We’ve swum in swift, muddy rivers, under powerful, thundering waterfalls and in tiny secluded coves with black spiky sea urchins and little spotty pufferfish. We’ve slept on a beach with shy kangaroos and the Southern Cross for company, in a jungle hut which we shared with a large and rather noisy lizard, and in a flat above a junk shop in one of Sydney’s coolest streets.
Now that we’ve kicked jet lag’s bum, and are home and unpacked, kind of, I’m starting to realise quite how incredible the last nine months have been. Give me a few more months and I might be able to choose a best bit. But I doubt it.