Tasmania is Australia’s smallest and only island state. It’s named for the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman–a guy who managed to get like 47 world features named after him despite hightailing it outta New Zealand as soon as the Maori showed their faces. (Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, the spot on NZ’s South Island now called “Golden Bay” was initially deemed “Murderer’s Bay” by Tasman. Well, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word.)
Sunday, the first of May will be my 28th birthday, the second that I’ve spent here in the Netherlands and the sixth that I’ve spent abroad. In what is perhaps an odd personality twist (given how much I like celebrating certain other holidays), I’m not that “into” my birthday–any more than using it as an excuse for a night out and/or to eat a tower of bitterballen (cause I wouldn’t do those things, normally, you see).
By the time we arrived in Far North Queensland, we already had a pretty decent arsenal of Australian wildlife sightings under our belt.
So far, we’d encountered Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, koalas, dolphins, emus, and echidnas–to name some of the higlights. As far as kitschy animal sightings went, there was just one more big one to check off: the almighty crocodile.
The Daintree River lies about 100 kilometers north of Cairns, in the Daintree Rainforest. It’s well known for its crocodile cruises, which give you the chance to spot this famously dangerous creature–without the risk of incurring its famously dangerous teeth.
Though I am rapidly approaching my 28th birthday and can remember to change my sheets on an (almost) weekly basis, there are a few “not a girl, not yet a women”-era traits I find myself clinging to. Holdovers from the university and backpacking years of my late teens and early twenties that I just can’t seem to shake (not that I’m trying all that hard). One of these is a magnetic attraction to anything “free.”
I was born and raised in Minnesota.
I’ve been trying to explain what that means for the last 5.5 years, but I get the feeling that no one really believes me. “Okay, but does it get to…minus 20?” they ask–as if that’s the end-all be-all of winter temperatures. MINUS 20, YOU GUYS. Honestly, I’m not sure most people can handle that conversation, let alone an actual Minnesota winter.
Anyway, what you really need to know when it comes to my home state is this: we don’t get “snow days.”