On this day back in 1985 I paid my $20 to leave Australia.

My final couple of weeks had been full of contrasts. From Surfer’s Paradise, I took another overnight bus and arrived back in Sydney at six am, having driven through Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Newcastle. It was misty as we drove past the Hunter River with ground fog and clear skies above. After a night back at friends house, I took the train to Katoomba in the blue Mountains. I walked through town to the cliffs which are just spectacular.

The acoustics on the cliff path were excellent. I could hear people approaching way before they came into view. The look out points are stunning, up above the valley and forest that stretches out as far as you can see. It is amazing that any of the early settlers found a way over the mountains and into the centre. One look out gave beautiful view of a rock formation called “The Three Sisters”. Further along the path is a scenic railway, skyway cable car and revolving restaurant.

It rained on the train back to Sydney and the weather reflected my mood. I didn’t want to leave Sydney or the friends I’d made there. But my visa was running out and my return flight to the UK was booked. I took my final overnight bus journey back to Melbourne and spent my last few days in Australia back with friends where I’d started this amazing year.

I spent an afternoon with relatives. My grandfather’s eldest sister, Alice, had emigrated to Australia in 1910 and Rene was her daughter. Rene and her husband Max were in the seventies and had no children. They are the end of that family line.

I can tell by the tone of my journal that I was really disinterested in these last few days in Australia. I was very sad to be leaving.

I had a few days stop over in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore before my final flight back to London, to winter and to a family Christmas.

“What would I do with my life now?”