There comes a point on a holiday when the focus changes abruptly. The anticipation of new destinations, and the enjoyment of the journey fade into to past. Now there is a goal directed singlemindedness; you are heading for home. Being homeward bound has its own particular rythme. A long day’s highway drive is punctuated by toilet stops at dreadful service centres with petrol stations, food outlets and parking frenzys.
Or perhaps a digression with a short detour off the highway to a bypassed country town, sleepy but for the smart coffee shop an enterprising local provides as a welcome alternative to the service centres. The Pacific Motorway, which travels up the New South Wales coast, also has ample shady Rest Areas along the route with good toilets, and places to picnic or stop briefly.
At the end of the day, pull in to a motel, go for a walk to stretch the legs and find the local pub or club for a meal. Highway hotels have a certain utilitarian sameness. They are places to bed down before the next day’s haul or temporary homes for workers of various descriptions.
But when I unlocked the door of our room at the Rosebourne Gardens Motel at Woolgoolga there was something different about the sameness. Instead of the overpowering smell cheap air fresheners designed to masked years of accumulated stale smells, a there was window open to the fresh air. On the table a small glass plate had Cadbury Roses Chocoates, perfect for the weary chocoholic traveller. Little by little I saw small details that spoke of thoughtfulness.
At reception I found Karen and mentioned that the hotel had a lovely feel. Her face lit up. “You noticed” she said. She, in partnership with her husband John, took over the motel three years ago, and have worked hard to build it up, adding their own special touches like pretty pot plants, a refurbished pool and some pet friendly rooms. Noticing and appreciating can sustain you when the sight seeing is over.