The Day I’ve Been Waiting For

It’s amazing how quickly the utter exhaustion I felt after a 20 hour bus ride from Louisiana, through Arkansas, and into Oklahoma (followed by a one hour wait for a taxi and a two hour wait for my hotel room) dissipated once I attended the storm chasing tour meeting that brought me to Oklahoma.

This is the day I’ve been waiting for since I first booked the tour, over a year ago. But it’s a day I’ve been dreaming about for many, many years. Ever since I was eight years old and I bought a book about storms from the school book club, I have been fascinated by wild weather.

Understandably, not many people back home have understood the appeal of chasing storms in Tornado Alley, so it was nice to meet my tour group and find there are like-minded storm enthusiasts out there in the world, who are as mad as I am!

We were asked about what we are most excited for during our week long tour chasing storms across the great plains of America. My answer? Everything. I’m looking forward to learning more about the science behind weather forecasting. I’m excited to drive through the open plains and view those vast landscapes. I can’t wait to take photos of stunning storm-filled skies.

Of course, it would be absolutely awesome to see a tornado. But I know I’ll be more than happy just to witness the incredible supercell thunderstorms that produce them. We just don’t get cloud action like that in Perth.

So without further ado, I’m signing off. It’s time to go storm chasing, baby!!!

An Electrifying Evening

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Hello, my name is Julie. I enjoy sitting on the driveway in the middle of the night, camera in hand, waiting for the perfect lightning strike while silently praying it doesn’t choose to strike me. I also have a tendency to get in the car at 11pm to go searching for the perfect location for taking photos of the aforementioned perfect lightning strike. (I may or may not entertain thoughts of becoming a professional storm chaser as I drive.) My biggest talent undoubtedly lies in being distracted almost every time there is a perfect lightning strike, which means the number of perfect lightning strikes I have managed to photograph is pretty much zero. Though I’m satisfied with the photo above.

Seriously though, I waited the whole of summer for a good storm, and there was nothing. First day of autumn, and BOOM! As I write this, a gentle rain is falling, and the air is full of that dry earth smell, which the ground always seems to emit after it’s been thirsty for a prolonged period of time. There’s still the occasional flash of lightning, and rolls of thunder are rumbling along steadily. This is my favourite type of weather in the world.

2 Months Until America

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Today is the 1st of March, which means the start of autumn for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. Not that you’d know it here in Perth, with temperatures reaching a sweltering 38 degrees today. I am feeling absolutely drained, and the air is still very hot and sticky at 7.30pm. Ugh. Looks like I’ll be holding off from pulling out my jumpers and making hearty soups for a while yet.

The thing I’m most excited about which is coming up this autumn, though, is my six week trip to America. In exactly two months from now, I’ll be on a plane, flying to San Francisco. (Well, actually, first I’ll be flying to Singapore. And then, Hong Kong. And THEN, San Francisco.) There are many things I’m looking forward to on my first ever visit to the mainland States, but, without a doubt, the one experience I absolutely can’t wait for is my storm chasing tour, on which I will also celebrate my 30th birthday.

When I tell people about my reason for going to America and how I’ve chosen to spend my 30th, many people look at me with incredulity, wondering what on earth is the appeal of such a tour. Isn’t chasing tornadoes akin to a death wish and risking the prospect of living to see another birthday? It’s true that I’ve signed a waiver that I accept I could die- but, in truth, is this not the very nature of life itself? Certainly, there is no waiver we can sign to guarantee that, when we wake up in the morning, we will live to see out the day.

All we can do is hope that there is still plenty of sand in our hourglass, and make the most of the time that is given to us.