We were staying at Inverleigh, a small town 20km west of Geelong, with a population of approx 1500, on January 26th, Australia Day. Christine and Keith, our couch surfing hosts, were among the organizers of the community breakfast to celebrate Australia day. So we were invited to go along.
This is one of the very best parts of couch surfing, you get to join in with the family and community you become part of for a few days. This is a way of really getting to know an area. Seeing the tourist areas and Australian icons is an important and interesting part of travel but meeting and talking to people is what brings Australia alive.
I went along early with Christine to help set up the hall, chop fruit etc. It is a very friendly community and we were made to feel very welcome. Approx 300 people turned up. Last year was the first time they had run this event and this year more turned up so they had to rush off at one point to get more bacon. The children enjoyed face painting and the jumping castle. When every one had finished breakfast they rounded up all the cubs and girl guides and they sang “Advance Australia Fair” and every one joined in.
It was another of those special moments that happen when you are travelling and I felt quite emotional standing there sharing it with this lovely community.