By Cynthia Clampitt
“As I sped over the soft earth, the wind in my face, the colors crowding in around me, I felt fleeter and freer than I can ever remember. Such is the liberating quality of joy.”
You could read Waltzing Australia by Cynthia Clampitt and thoroughly enjoy a great travel book. This highly recommended journal is full of the history, the beauty and the mystery of Australia. In fact, if you suffer from occasional wanderlust, you should keep this book on your permanent library shelf so that you can escape into the various parts of Australia whenever you wish! I personally would visit Tasmania more often since Cynthia immediately captured me through the stories of her travels there.
But if I told you only about traveling through Australia, you would not be prepared and perhaps not realize until it is later in the book, that there is a very personal story being told. It’s about one of our present-day female role models we should share with our children. It’s about a gutsy woman who, while being in a successful corporate career realized that it was not what she wanted for her life. She wanted a writing career. Leaving the security of her corporate role, she first chose to fulfill a lifetime dream. She spent six months touring Australia!
There is little that Cynthia writes about herself, but when she does add those personal comments, such as the one quoted above, I urge you to stop and consider those words about your own life—Can we say that we experience “the liberating quality of joy”? Let your heart decide whether Cynthia has a special message for you that will run throughout this book... If so, then sit back and enjoy waltzing along with Cynthia as she tests her limits, especially physically, and in many other ways!
“My spirit seemed to vibrate...in sympathetic response to...innocence, the fierceness, the solitude...I studied them a while longer, smiled...”
This lengthy journey covers approximately 20,000 miles as Cynthia toured Australia. The book has been easily divided into parts of the country so that you can hone in on that section if you are fortunate to have a few weeks to travel to a specific spot. It is written in a travel diary format that provides broad strokes as well as daily activities of events. There will be information about the history of the location being traveled, notes on wildlife as well as the land and water displays. To give you a taste, I’ll share with you just some of the details that show the variety of information and that were especially interesting to me:
- Nearly everybody knows the old song about the Kookaburra. It is the largest member of the kingfisher family and is best known for its rollicking “laughter.”
- Wages were once paid in “rum.”
- “Beyond words” can only be used to describe the beauty of the rainforest.
- Everything, including cars, the weather, life...is referred to as “she.”
- The riverboat postman on Hawkesbury River carries not only mail, but food, medicine and even people!
- Captain Cook traveled along the coast naming bays, islands and landmarks. He “peacefully changed the map of the world more than any other single man....”
- Rub a large stone...in the fertility cave to become pregnant, according to Aboriginal legend!
- The Stirling Bells grow nowhere else in the world other than the Stirling Ranges; each of the seven varieties has its own mountain, growing nowhere else in the ranges!
- Tasmania’s Wallabies are only 2 to 3 feet and they grasp fingers to eat out of your hand.
- Wombats have short necks, making it impossible to look up, so they beg for food by trotting up and staring at your ankles.
- Tasmanian devils owe their names and reputations to the insanely wild screaming/choking/snarling/roaring sounds they make for normal conversation!
- Sydney’s opera house cost $102M, raised mostly through lotteries.
With that last I must stop. There seems to be one overlying theme about Australia that is readily apparent. People are happy, friendly and proud of their country. People open their homes to strangers. When a car or bus is broken down, everybody stops to help. I love the Australia that I read about in Waltzing Australia by Cynthia Clampitt. I was 18 when I, too, thought of traveling to that country. If I never get to, though, Cynthia has given me a taste of that “heaven” that I missed. Perhaps you, too, have a dream...
“I wondered again, as I have wondered before, why this place moves me so. I am drawn to the remoteness, to the vigor, the fierceness...and its spirit whispers to my spirit...”
G. A. Bixler