Byron Bay holds a special place in my heart. The first time I ever visited I had only just left my teenage years behind and was newly dating a photographer who worked at a camera shop. He invited me to pack a bag and head to Byron with him for a week, living out of his van. We had no other accommodation and no other plans. And so we went. My friends warned me that a week away 'roughing it' so early in a relationship could mean make or break. But it was that week in Byron; waking up next to the ocean, 'street camping', public showering and living on the beach, talking and laughing all the while; that I fell in love with my future husband.
When he asked me not too long afterwards to marry him, there was no other place for it but Byron. Walking down Belongil beach to say 'I do', cemented that place in my heart, and with the birth of our first son, we honored what had become a symbol of our love by giving Cohen the second name Byron.
I'm reminded of all these things each time we visit Byron. Not matter how much it changes. No matter the time in between. Next month will mark the eleventh year since I walked down that beach as a twenty one year old bride. And my, how many things have changed.
This past weekend we spent a couple of days in Byron as a family, staying at a beautiful rented house with friends. Just out of town and a ten minute walk from the beach, I never once ventured in to town, spending my time at the beach and with the children instead. Sitting on the beach Saturday morning, Dave and the children in the water, I took in the beach at Byron once more. The headland and lighthouse. The trees and tourists. The distinct lack of high rises. The natural beauty. And Byron charmed me all over again.