For a moment in time you exist in this parallel universe; your own secret world. You see places you could have never imagined, and you don’t just observe – you experience. And after a while you find familiarity in the unfamiliar, and you realize just how small you are. You realize just how much there is beyond your own little world. You realize how much more you have to see… and before you know it, you’re hooked. Travel.

Byron Bay, Australia had a way about it that hooked me. From the moment we first arrived, my friend and I felt at peace; it was where we were supposed to be. The laid back vibe of the town, the friendly people and the ease of it all just made sense to us. Shoes were optional, and we found ourselves adapting quickly. We fell slowly into the rhythm of life in Byron Bay.

Byron Bay is a coastal town in New South Wales, Australia. Photo courtesy of Madeline Seiberlich.

Every morning we would check for surf. If there were waves, we would go out and enjoy the sea, and if not, we would make breakfast at the hostel and then go for a bike ride. It felt as if we had biked every inch of the town, but we still managed to find new things daily. So we would explore. We stumbled upon everything from markets to dance parties to wallabies to new beaches. We became very good bikers during our stay.

As afternoons slowly faded into nights we would often find ourselves on top of the grassy hill overlooking the main beach. Every night we would bring snacks and a bottle of wine with us to enjoy the live music that was being performed by various independent artists in front of the ocean. The strum of the guitar and angelic voices would fill the air as days turned to a pink and orange haze behind the mountains. Byron has some of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen, and we rightfully named them cotton candy sunsets. All of this would happen before our eyes as our ears took in the sounds of “Vincent” by Don Mclean, played by one of the artists. Then, before we would know it, the moon would come out and begin to shine over the ocean.

Locals of Byron Bay gather for nightly drum circles after dark. Photo courtesy of Madeline Seiberlich.

After the live music on the hill would end, we would walk over to the next section of the beach and enjoy the nightly drum circle. It was funny how after being there for over a week we would begin to recognize people; it gave us a sense of belonging. The drum circle was filled with familiar and new faces that played lively beats as onlookers enjoyed and danced. Eventually we would wander slowly back down the beach and head back to the hostel to make dinner.

Nighttime in Byron was filled with friends and laughter. It was filled with playing cards, taking it easy and bonfires on the beach. We existed in a world away from our own; we escaped.

According to the Byron Shire Council, Byron Bay attracts around 1.6 million annual visitors. Photo courtesy of Madeline Seiberlich.

Then we would wake up to watch the sunrise, as Byron is all about sunrises and sunsets and do it all over again. It never got old. Each day it only became sweeter and more cherished, as Byron slowly carved itself into our hearts, forever.


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