When we left Brisbane in 2019 I felt a sense of loss, I was very excited to go back to Tasmania because that is where I know I belong but we’d had a fantastic 4 years and made so many friends. As we drove away I made a pledge to visit a couple of times a year to keep contact and maybe do some racing. 3 months later there was a global pandemic which threw that plan out the window so when we entered the city it was just shy of 2 years since we’d seen our mates. Brisbane welcomed us with pouring rain which made the going quite slow as we crept along the highway with the other afternoon traffic. We reached our friends David and Teneale’s beautiful house in the late afternoon and had just enough time to unpack our things before we got back in the van and drove out to Grandchester for my early birthday dinner at my favourite restaurant Homage. Dinner was outstanding (as always), we had three courses and enjoyed every bite.

We woke up the next morning and spent the entire day doing nothing, the weather was average and the house made us feel like we were on some kind of holiday in France. When you live in a van you begin to develop a huge appreciation of basic things in your old life that you just took for granted, things like sitting on a couch, having a shower, and not having to walk outside to go to the toilet. That night we made pizzas and David cooked them in their wood fired pizza oven, honestly they were the best pizzas I’ve ever had. On Saturday morning I got a lift into Mount Gravatt to meet up with my allied health workmates from my old job at Tricare. We had a coffee and pastries for breakfast, caught up on the past 2 years, and I grilled them a bit about a career in allied health as I think my passion in nursing might be gone. Jess surprised me by bringing me back my wedding dress which I’d lent her just before we left. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it but it’s nice to have it again. That night (Saturday) we met up with some of our cycling friends and had dinner and drinks at the Breakfast Creek Hotel, things got a bit rowdy and Matt and I both had a large number of beverages but it was a great night.

On Sunday I woke up feeling fantastic which was very surprising given the amount of drinking the night before so I was fresh as a button to go to brunch with my friends Punam and Cherie. It turned into a long brunch because we had so much to catch up on but it was just lovely and I felt like we just took up with our friendship where we left off. I ended up getting a lift into Toowong with Cherie because I was meeting Matt and his uncle for lunch just around the corner from her house at the Regatta which also meant I got to catch up with her partner Calan. Lunch was delicious and it was nice to chat with Matt’s uncle and find out everything he’d been doing since 2019 (a lot), the weather was just beautiful and we both felt very content sitting in the sun outside our favourite pub.

Matt and I had another lazy day on Monday but in the evening we went out for Vietnamese with our good friend Sarah and her beautiful little bulldog Mia. Tuesday was my 32nd birthday and I woke up to cards from Matt, my parents and brother, and my sister, and a box of chocolates from David and Teneale, needless to say I had chocolate for breakfast! Matt and I then took the van to Ipswich and dropped it at the Delica Garage for our long awaited install of the long range fuel tank, we also somewhat impulsively decided to get new wheels and bigger tyres as the little ones had been annoying us since we lifted the van a couple of years ago. We caught the train back into town and went to the Lego Exhibition in the museum. For lunch we went to Lune and had an amazing croissant. That afternoon we got back on the train and went back to Ipswich where we picked up the now much more hard core looking van, on the way home Matt surprised me with my birthday cake which we took back to the house and put in the fridge for dessert later. Following a quick rest we got back in the van and drove back to the Regatta for my second birthday dinner at The Boatshed. Things went momentarily downhill when after wondering where our friends Chantelle and Ash were I realised that I’d sent them to entirely the wrong restaurant on the other side of town. I felt so bad but they drove back 45 minutes into town and we did end up getting to have dinner together along with Andrew and Geraldine. It was such a great birthday and I’m so glad I got to have it in Brisbane!.

Wednesday was our second last day in Brissy, we had coffee on Mount Gravatt with David in the morning, did some trip planning, and I then left and caught up with my friend Huddy. We spent the day together, eating chocolate, catching the River Cat, and finished up at his house where we hung out with his huskies, picked up some groceries, and then Huddy made me and his wife a delicious dinner. On our way out of Brisbane we had one last catch up with my friend Cheryl in Macca’s as she was heading to work. Matt had arranged to stay the night parked out the front of his mates house in-between Brisbane and the Gold Coast but we had a bit of time to kill so we went and watched the new bond film before driving down. Huge thank you to all our friends that took the time to catch up with us, and to David and Teneale for hosting us for nearly a week, it was so appreciated and we had an amazing time.


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