Touching down. Within five minutes of arriving in Ballina I was questioning why I ditched a seven hour bus ride to Port Macquierie for the convenience of a detour through a small old town on dumpy water (albeit I’m spoiled by the sight of the clear blue along the golden beaches at this point.) However, after wondering the main strip in search of a pot of Coopers and an internet café the nostalgic feeling of small town swept over me. Perhaps it was watching a couple of people in the shops greet each other as if they were family or after settling into Hotel Henry Rous for dinner where “everybody knows your name”, I glanced around and immediately thought ‘Cobourg’. Small town pride emerged and I started to see this little alcove for exactly what it was: people proud of where they live, the comfortable warmth of calling it home. Even though this is not a tourist destination I am finding some sense of relief in sitting in the drifts of NSW listening to Aussie blokes talk about their day “in the town”.
I’m about to grab the bus to Byron Bay and I can already tell that Ballina is lost in the shadows of its beachy, surfer, tourist-driven neighbor, but there is a real down to earth life here and for the four hours that I’m spending here, I feel like I am back at home.
CBG, I miss you. But it is a lovely thought in knowing that small towns are the same anywhere you go in the world.