I like hostels. My mom didn't think I'd be tolerant of them like I was when I was 21, however they allow me to travel to fantastic places, and are filled with interesting characters. Still, if I can't be in my own home, then being in someone else's is the next best thing. Homes are more comfortable spaces, more private, more personal, and more relaxed.
When Michele, my friend and former boss, asked if I'd like to stay with her relative in Queensland, I had to take a few days to respond. I didn't realize Queensland is the giant state encompassing the whole northeast section of Australia where I'd be spending 1/2 my time. Once I was caught up on my geography, I contacted Michael who lived in Trinity Beach a few miles north of tropical uber-resort town Cairns, and finalized the details of my arrival.
Michael met me at the bus stop, and drove me to my new home away from home for the next 2 nights. Apparently I'd earned some good karma because their home was set in virgin rainforest overlooking the ocean. I had to take a photo of the bed because it's the polar opposite of what I'm normally sleeping on in hostels – big, comfortable, clean! What more could I need?
Ok, I don't *need* to go swim in a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the Great Barrier Reef, however it couldn't hurt! Michael, and his wife Ann, treated me like part of the family. They barbecued bacon-wrapped filets for dinner, which were accompanied by potato gratin and salad. Dessert consisted of fresh berries and cream. We ate on the porch with the sounds (and mosquitoes) of the rainforest around us. They had told me about a resident tree frog who hangs around, and sure enough he made his presence known after dinner. As you can see below, he's a VERY photogenic tree frog.