To the east of Melbourne lies an area called Gippsland, known in particular for its rolling hills and farming communities. It is also the place my wonderful roommate, Hannah, calls home, and she took me to visit—a two-hour drive and a total about-face in terms of landscape. If there is anywhere to fully escape from the city, this is it.
Hannah assured me that the sea of hills we passed were usually a vibrant green, that the drought in the area had turned them a less-becoming brown. But to me, the ubiquitous straw-colored fields played into my sense that I had arrived at the archetypal bucolic scene of stock photos and oil paintings. When she led me up a windswept hill behind her home to an abandoned farmhouse, complete with creaky doors and a view that stretched to the distant ocean, I knew I had landed in either a classic novel or a 1980s coming-of-age film.
Hannah took me to her favorite beach, only half an hour away, where verdant cliffs fall down to reaching waves. It was chilly and cloudy, with persistent wind, and I once again felt transported—this time to Oregon. When we reached the beach I realized how mistaken I was, however. The sand, thick and rich, was large grained and a uniform beige. But the true shock was the water. It was warm. Bath warm, pleasant warm, far warmer than the air. Plunge-into warm. Which is, of course, what I did.
Thank you, Hannah. I’ll be back.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Bailey is a comparative politics major at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Her academic interests stretch across the social sciences, from history to geography to criminology, and, of course, to politics. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Bailey is an devoted ultimate frisbee player and can't wait for Australian Rules Ultimate. When she's not on the field or nerding out about population growth in various countries, you can find her singing along to the best of the '60s and '70s and/or working to capture life, place, and person on camera. She is ready and eager to dive into life at a big university in a big city, all in the wonder Down Under.</span></p>