It has been so fun to have my mom here in Australia, especially for Mother’s Day!

Over the past seven months, I’ve had a handful of visitors coming to see me in Byron Bay, but the past couple weeks have been extra special because my mom and brother, Jason, have flown out from California! My mom got here about a week before Jason because he was still finishing up his final exams for his second year of law school at USC. Jason arrived to Brisbane (about two hours north of Byron) on Saturday, and we drove another hour up to the holiday paradise of Noosa Heads for a few days of surfing and relaxation. Our accommodation was actually inside the national park there, making it the perfect location to access the beach and nature trails!

Making do without any waves isn’t too difficult with scenery like this.

On Sunday (Mother’s day!) we went for a nice breakfast then checked the waves... only to find Lake First Point. Almost the entire time I was in Noosa for the surf festival in March, the waves were firing, so I was hoping for a repeat score, but no dice. I felt especially bad for my brother because he hasn’t surfed in ages thanks to his demanding law school schedule, and of course due to the fact that California saw its worst winter for waves in decades. With surfing out of the question for the day, we decided to hike through Noosa National Park, which was not a bad alternative at all. There was not a cloud in the sky, and although there were lots of visitors, there were huge empty stretches of beach, perfect for sunbathing and swimming. In the evening we checked out the local beer scene at Land & Sea Brewery and in proper Australian style, I bought me mum a beer for Mums’ Day!

Sunset cruising, Queensland style!

We weren’t too worried about not surfing on Sunday, with swell on the horizon for Monday and Tuesday, but Monday rolled around and yet again, it was flat as a pancake. We figured the next best thing would be to rent SUPs, and Jason and I even managed to get our mom onto one! She grew up in Illinois, and although she’s lived on the coast for about 30 years, she’s never really taken to water sports. However, she does yoga every day, so we figured that with her core strength and balance, she would be fine on a huge SUP during a super calm day... Well, after a couple spills and some practice, she got her bearings and really enjoyed herself! So watch out Cardiff, you just might be seeing Janet dominating the lineup this summer. At this point, we accepted our fate, and concluded that we would most likely not be seeing waves for the duration of our Noosa trip. We went for a lovely sunset cruise on the river for our last evening in Noosa, and made plans to do some kayaking the next morning before heading south!

OK, So, imagine this, but like, twenty times windier. So windy that the guide couldn’t even get a proper photo of Jason and I on the *literal* struggle boat. Luckily, mom was in the guide’s kayak, so she could sit back and enjoy all the cool birds and trees.

The photos on the kayak website showed happy tourists rowing through picturesque, calm waters, giving us the impression that this would be sort of a “lazy river” kayaking scenario. Well, that was a rookie mistake, as everyone knows that information on websites does not always give the whole story. We showed up to the kayak launch area, and immediately realized we were not in for the easy, chill morning that we expected. We launched into an open lake that was whitecapping and windy as heck, and battled currents and waves as we followed our guide. We finally made it to the beautiful spots that were pictured online and had an adorable picnic on a tiny island in the middle of the Noosa river, but then it was time to head back through the windy lake of doom, so our fantasy of a mellow morning was definitely over. Although the scenery was beautiful and the whole experience was fun (yes, even crossing the lake), we all agreed that was enough kayaking for the next twelve years. More power to you, river activity junkies, but I’m going to stick to the ocean stuff for now.

Now we’re back in Byron Bay, and although I already showed my mom most of my favorite spots last week, now I get to show them all to Jason too! It feels surreal to be able to show my family my life over here, introduce them to all my new friends, and share the magic of this place that I am currently calling home.