Sending Love From Down Under

Dear John,

By the time you get this letter, I’ll already be on the other side of the world. Promise me that you’ll feed the cat every day and don’t forget to water the tomatoes in the front garden. I’ll think of you while I’m hiking in the Outback and I promise to let you know which way the water in the toilet bowl spins.


Dear John,

I’ve been here five days so far, and still no kangaroos. The woman at the car rental counter warned me not to drive at night on account of the kangaroos, camels, buffalo, and wild pigs I would surely hit, but the only animal I’ve seen other than lizards and birds was a lone dingo that trotted up to the side of the car looking for a handout this afternoon. Also, I can’t even tell you which way the toilet water spins because every toilet in this country is equipped with water-saving dual flush devices and they don’t work anything like our toilets back home.

We’ve been flying for nearly two hours now, and all I can see below is miles and miles of desert without a road or house in sight. There are dry lakes and rivers down there, canyons deep and wide. I wonder if Minnesota will look like this someday, millions of years from now.



Dear John,

I’m enjoying the tropical weather here in Queensland and the beaches are beautiful despite the fact that they’re all infested with crocodiles. The rainforest lodge where I’m staying pumps water straight out of a stream for the toilets and showers. They say people have been drinking this water for thousands of years, so we ought not to worry about getting sick from brushing our teeth in it.

It occurred to me today that the leaves have probably started changing back home in Minnesota. Don’t forget to rake them out of the street when they start falling and do the road in front of our neighbor’s house too if you have time.


Dear John,

Sorry it’s been a while since I last wrote. I’ve been in New Zealand for nearly a week now and it’s rained nearly every day. There are so many sheep here – I don’t think I’ve seen so many sheep in my life. I always thought that New Zealand was so eco-conscious, but everywhere I look there are sheep clambering around on nearly vertical hillsides and not a spec of erosion control in sight. The rivers are running brown due to all the rain and I drove by several places where they’d recently clear-cut forests for even more pastureland.


Dear John,

New Zealand turned out to be pretty cool after all. There are caves with glowworms and geysers and hot springs. It finally stopped raining when I got to the Bay of Islands and I saw dolphins and seals while I was there. Yesterday, I drove back to Auckland along the Kauri Coast and saw the largest remaining kauri tree in the world; they think it is 2000 years old.


By the time you get this letter, I’ll probably be home in Minnesota. Give the dog a hug for me and I’ll tell you the rest when I get back.