A couple of weeks ago I went on a three-day solo road trip to Jervis Bay on Australia’s South East Coast. Jervis Bay had been on my list since my first backpacking trip in 2014, and I was very excited to discover this pristine natural area.
Where stay in Jervis Bay as a local
Experiencing nature was the drive of my solo road trip to Jervis Bay. I wanted to walk in national parks, smell the breeze of the ocean, walk barefoot on white sandy beaches, and maybe spot humpback whales.
I started my road trip from Wollongong, 80 km south of Sydney and drove a rental car for 110 km through beautiful hills and the rural towns of Berry and Nowra. Jervis Bay lies 15 minutes drive from Nowra and stretches along the Jervis Bay National Park and the Booderee National Park with spectacular white sandy beaches and dazzling azure water.
Why stay with locals in Jervis Bay – Stay with AirBnB
After staying with the locals in Cairns, I was keen to try out a homestay in Jervis Bay and booked my Airbnb private room. There are not many people living permanently in Jervis Bay though. Most of the houses are holiday houses as people live in Sydney or the surrounding towns and come to Jervis Bay for a nature escape on weekends. During school holidays it’s a trendy place filled with families and kids.
Experience a welcoming home
The house I stayed in Jervis Bay was beautifully surrounded by a large garden with old Eucalyptus trees, flowering plants and a patio on the backyard where I had my breakfast in the morning. At the entrance, a huge Staghorn Fern was hanging gracefully on the wall of the house.
My host Irene told me it was 35 years old and had survived a couple of moves already. As I entered the house I was impressed by the minimalist decorations, the pastel colour paint of the walls reflecting the azure water of the sea and the sand colour of the tiles were perfectly matching the outdoors and so welcoming! It felt as if it were my own house!
Enjoying the kindness of your host
I love to stay with locals because it allows me to enjoy the comfort of a real home in a very personal way. It gives me time to learn about my host and for a short time belong to their family environment as if I were a family member. Private accommodation is an excellent way for solo travellers to experience the local culture and local food.
Stay with locals to me means belonging to the family environment and also be prepared to fit into any life situation that occurs. I enjoyed going shopping, cooking local fish and having a fabulous dinner together with my host.
A family-like welcome
Irene told me about her current family situation and the upcoming family reunion. A loved one lay in the hospital in his final life phase. On the following day, I met Irene’s brother and his loveable dogs. I enjoyed the dogs; they were so cute and friendly to me.
Witnessing the loss of loved ones at my host’s home
My Airbnb stay was gorgeous even though sad events occurred. Irene’s dog Lucy died. The vet established a severe illness and decided to put her to sleep. This is the place where Lucy was buried in the backyard of the house. How sad for my host to experience this loss in such a delicate family situation.
Empathising with the feeling of losing a loved one
On my departure day, when I got up, I had the feeling something had happened. The telephone is ringing a few times early in the morning. When I walked along the azure corridor holding my luggage in hand, Irene came towards me and told me her father had peacefully passed away in the night. I couldn’t help filling my eyes with tears hugging her and standing silent close to her. For one moment I went through the same feelings I had experienced when my father died.
I could vividly remember the strange feeling of void and light all around me. An unfortunate moment, indeed, but death is very much part of our life, and I don’t feel like labelling it as a negative experience.
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