Visit to Australia, 2004: Introduction

Written by Michael Broschat, June 2014

I think it was 1993 when I went to work for Asymetrix, a software development company in Bellevue, Washington. The division I worked for was implementing in software the theories of an Australian professor of computer science who specialized in database design. Terry Halpin, himself, did not come to the United States for a couple years but kept in close touch with the managers. And he had two former students who also joined us. A male whose name I forget (he only hung around for a year) and Linda Campbell (later Bird), who made three visits, I think, each for a significant amount of time.

Linda was 17 when I first saw her (evidently, they go to college earlier in Australia; then again, she isn’t of ordinary intelligence). We didn’t meet until her next trip, and I don’t recall how that happened, but we became good friends. She had an interest in activities outside the office but wasn’t “available,” which discouraged most of the interest from company males. I guess I was old enough to avoid being a threat. Anyway, we did all sorts of things over the months she was in Seattle, and on several occasions she would make me promise to come to Australia to be her guest. Sure, I said. Easy to say, isn’t it?

The company and its product (never successful, as wonderful as it actually was) slowly dissolved into nothingness, and while Terry moved on to other employment in the US, Linda stayed in Australia, found work there, and married. Her husband, Stephen, has been involved with a company or two that has US connections, and they took advantage of that for part of their honeymoon, but I didn’t get a chance to see them then.

One year—2004, already an East Coast resident for a while, I decided it was time to make good on that promise. I was probably inspired by the great success of a trip to Ireland the previous year. I asked Linda when and how I should make this trip. “Well,” she said, “would you like me to arrange it all for you?” Now, I knew Linda pretty well but I had no idea that tour director was one of her skills. We agreed that I would send her more or less all the cash I would have to spend (aside from the airfare), and that she would pre-pay for as much as possible, I taking care of whatever couldn’t be arranged. I think the idea was that having a native handle as many payments as possible was a kind of insurance that I wouldn’t be overcharged. She decided that I should visit when school holidays were on (late September), because they would themselves be going around places on holiday. The general idea was that I would fly into Sydney, spend some time there, rent a car, and pass through some cute places on the way to meet the family near Brisbane, their home, from where we would then go to some other places together. And some weeks later a massive “book” arrived. Linda had not only arranged my every hour in Australia, but she had also documented same, and all I had to do was turn the page on any given day to see where I had to get to by evening.

My own mode of travel is to ask someone what country I’m in, and then wander around. That would not be an option on this trip and, frankly, I was kind of excited. No work at all, on my part. Now, this would be a vacation.

I decided not to take the extensive photo equipment I had taken to Ireland. Besides, I had since acquired one of them there new fangled digital cameras, and it looked to take pretty good pictures. So, my only real luggage was that little camera and a laptop, which I was planning to use to send back reports to my web site. At least the camera worked out pretty well.

Although the pictures have appeared on my web site since 2005, I never got around to incorporating the travel journal, which I had done for the Ireland site. So in this 2014 re-make of the Australia site, I’ll use the travel journal entries and illustrate same with the pictures. I retain the original captions for the pictures, which are specific to the generality of the journal.

It was fun to see these all again and remember what a wonderful time I had. I got to have it all over again.