Sitting on the old station platform in Railton wasn’t a likely spot for a revelation on aging, but there I was . Willow was on her lead, chewing on the grass, and taking in the whole scene.
We had found ourselves in Railton in Tasmania’s North-West, the place they call the Town of Topiary. This being because the streets are lined with impressive displays of immaculately shaped hedges representing all manner of objects from animals to trains.
The great thing about this town is that there is free camping by the old platform. We parked up for three nights as we enjoyed the town. Although the station is long gone, the tracks still service the cement factory down the line which has been there since the 1920s. Every day, there are multiple trips carrying the cement load to the depot in Devonport.
From the safety of the van, Willow enjoyed watching the carriages roll past before the town returned to its calm. This meant we did have to time our expeditions outside so not to coincide with a freight train passing!
Railton boasts a service station, pub, post office, and a takeaway shop. We grabbed a good burger from the shop for one of the night’s dinners, however as our usual routine, we prefer to cook our own meals. I designed our campervan table so that it could swing outside so that we can enjoy some outdoor meal prep.
One unexpected highlight of our stay was discovering that the van parked next to us was also travelling with a cat. Trevor, a nearly 15-year-old kitty, was living his best life on the road with his owners on a new adventure.
Many people assume that we started travelling with Willow when she was a kitten, but this isn’t true. She was about 4 when we started, and just like Willow, Trevor’s story shows that you’re never too late to start.
It was really nice to chat with Trevor’s family about their recent journey into van life. It would have been easy for them to reconsider a trip like this based on Trevor’s age, but instead they took a chance and found that Trevor thrived on the road.
I could have found Willow a new home back in 2015, but instead we took that chance together, and I can’t even express how my life has changed for the better since then.
How easy it is for us humans to get caught up with silly numbers. It would be easy to glamourise a road trip around Australia as something one might do in their early 20s. However, I started when I was 31, and have since met countless others much, much, much older than me proving that age is just a number.
I often hear that ‘youth is wasted on the young’, but it’s just not true. The fact is, adulthood is wasted on the adults. It’s easy to fall into this rut of toxic nostalgia, pining for days long gone. Instead, it takes courage to live in the now and make the most of the days to come, because we never know how many we’ve got.
So there we were, the three of us, sitting on the old station platform in Railton. Willow watched the other campers stroll past as she sniffed the air and listened to the birds while the evening took hold. She’s 12 now and I can tell you with conviction that I’m going to make the most of every day with her on our adventure.
* * *
I’m sad to say that this is the last of our stories from Tasmania as we have now crossed Bass Strait to mainland Australia, after 2 years on the island. The good news is that there are many more stories to come as we make our way to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, then Northbound through the desert.