Whit­sun­day wel­come for chil­dren’s author

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Casey Hawkins nansluck­y­duck@gmail.com

I DROVE a camper­van to the Whit­sun­days in mid-July, with the in­ten­tion of stay­ing a few weeks, and months later and I’m still here en­joy­ing the spectacular nat­u­ral el­e­ments – just one of the perks of be­ing a wire­less work­ing no­mad.

The ocean view I fell in love with when I first ar­rived be­gan to sad­den me, as I felt I was wast­ing my week­ends alone in­doors. I posted a com­ment in the Whit­sun­days Chat Face­book group de­scrib­ing my in­ter­ests and prac­ti­cally advertising my friend­ship to 8000 mem­bers.

I couldn’t believe how many re­sponses I got, which led to an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of walks, cof­fees and com­mu­nity-based ac­tiv­i­ties.

I hit it off with a mum called Kara, who I now hang out with reg­u­larly. We both agreed it can be dif­fi­cult to find your tribe when liv­ing in a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion.

Last week we took to the Whit­sun­days Chat page once more, an­nounc­ing we re­ally wanted to visit Hook Is­land be­fore my de­par­ture. Within hours, a lo­cal fam­ily of four re­sponded say­ing they al­ready had plans to go and we could join them.

The Pat­ton fam­ily was so friendly and ac­com­mo­dat­ing, we couldn’t believe our luck.

When we asked them why they were will­ing to take us, they said they felt lucky to get the op­por­tu­nity to meet new peo­ple, es­pe­cially for the sake of their chil­dren Gabby and Ty­lor. They said when Cy­clone Deb­bie hit, they of­fered their house to four back­pack­ers who were stranded. They spent most of the time play­ing mu­sic and games with the kids, all the while ex­pos­ing them to new cul­tures.

As we glided along the crys­tal blue water, back to where we launched the boat, I con­tem­plated why most of us only treat “our friends” with such kind­ness and hos­pi­tal­ity, when “strangers” have so much to offer.

I believe the heart that marks the en­trance to Air­lie Beach rep­re­sents the Whit­sun­days com­mu­nity as much as the life out at sea.

Visit Casey’s web­site nansluck­y­duck.com.au /noonie, where you can buy a copy of her chil­dren’s book, Noonie and the Miss­ing Bone.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

IS­LAND TRIP: Casey Hawkins and Kara Lod­ders at the site of in­dige­nous cave paint­ings at Nara In­let last week.

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