In the Hobart airport, I exhale deeply as I realize that I can see from one end to the other. It’s been nearly 24 hours since I left New Zealand, in most cases a 6-hour flight away. I am worn down and relieved to see my bike box and the exit door across the hall.
I quickly spot my travel partner Sophie, and David, our host in Hobart. They are there to pick me up, and my bike box fits easily into David’s newer Subaru wagon. They look clean and bright—it rubs off a little. We chat about the city of Hobart, the recent influx of people, and the wildfires. They’ve mostly cleared up by now, but some are still burning near the southern end of the Tasmanian Trail.
As an island, Tasmania holds a heightened independence born from necessity. Conversely, it is deeply interconnected, as islanders must increasingly rely on each other for support. Right now this was clearer than ever. We arrived just after most fires had cooled down, and Tasmania was in a state of recovery with many government workers being pulled from their daily jobs to help communities rebuild however they could.