For more than half of my life, my birthday has always been the same. The ground pillowed in snow and the billowing of frozen air shutting people in their houses until the whispers of spring finally started to arrive. My February birthday in the U.S. brought indoor birthday dinners and as little contact with the wet white as possible.
Then came this year.
Not only was I turning 22, an age haunted by the ever catchy Taylor Swift lyric, but I was also abroad in Australia and in a place that almost never saw a single flurry, especially in a summer of record heat.
I was lucky, while I did make the trek from Cleveland to the Gold Coast alone, I was Australian by birth and had family only an hour away by train to help me celebrate, and oh did we celebrate.
First came the actual day, which was filled with a children’s serenade of happy birthday by my two small cousins and my favorite meal prepared by my aunt and a night filled with joy and family which I will never forget.
Then next came the adventure. As my gift for my 22nd, my aunt had gifted me with a weekend trip to Byron Bay with her, a place of beautiful beaches and a mountain lighthouse.
The first thing we did when we got to our rented apartment was change and head to the water. The beach was beautiful with waves just big enough to hit you in the face and a riptide that could eat you hole but yet we enjoyed every minute.
It was while laying on the beach, both of us with our heads towards the land that we were surprised by the tide, making for a surprising cooldown and towels dried by the sun now soaking. It was after that we decided to walk back and relax in the pool, stopping of course at the bottle shop for some ciders on the way.
As my aunt explained to me, when a first timer comes to Bryron Bay it is mandatory to visit the lighthouse on top of a hill. So true to form the next day we decided to take a hike to the lighthouse which on top of a small mountain/large hill. It was on this hike that we made an error and hiked up the large hill next to the lighthouse and back down so that we could hike up the hill that the lighthouse was actually on.
Lets just say that I didn’t think that I was really out of shape until we started hiking up the first mountain but by the time that we got to the second hill, my legs were on fire from the continuous steps and beating heat. By the time that we arrived to the top where the lighthouse was, it was after noon with temperatures rising above 90 degrees farenheit.
We were both so tired and sick by the time that we got to the top that I don’t think that either of us really admired the lighthouse but I did get a picture of myself at the top, knowing that I wanted to document just how wrecked I was and the photo does not disappoint.
When we got back down to the beach we had a quick dip in th water and headed off to the next destination, The Crystal Castle.
Even before I traveled to Australia, I knew I had to make it to the Crystal Castle, a place full of buddhist relics, giant geode, and the most serene energy that I had ever felt.
I was not disappointed.
Still clothed in my bathing suit underneath my most hippie skirt, we went into the grounds of the crystal castle and basked in the good vibes and beautiful scenery around us.
The grounds were full of buddhist relics, most surrounded my coins as offerings, and giant gorgeous geodes.
It was the perfect way to end our day and trip, a geode in every corner and the wind breaking the heat and rustling the trees.
At 22 years of age, I don’t think I will ever have a birthday as wonderful because it was filled with family that I finally had the chance to know and love, adventures that seemed unfeasible, and some hilarious stories that are wholly ours and true to my family, never boring.