I WANT to talk about Albany.
Albany has been dubbed many things; a tourist hotspot, a retirement village, a backwards country town.
I for one, thought the best thing I could do for myself after high school was to leave Albany in the rear-view mirror of my car and head towards the promises of the big smoke.
Recently I met someone who is convincing me of Albany’s beauty, after I complained there was nothing here for me (sorry Mum).
They aren’t doing this consciously, but their efforts to show me beautiful things around Albany have been noted.
Last weekend, we drove to a secret spot out near Frenchman Bay (maybe it’s not a secret anymore).
We watched the most stunning sunset dip below the horizon, the tracks of our footsteps the only evidence of human presence.
I had a Nicholas Sparks moment.
You don’t get that in big cities.
A few weeks ago, we explored a 4WD track I had never seen nor heard of before.
Panoramic ocean views, fresh air and crystal waters made me feel a newfound sense of peace.
You don’t get that in the hustle and bustle of big cities either.
Albany gets a lot of lip from people, particularly young people.
We say Albany doesn’t give us massive shopping centres, or grand food halls, or big festivals and events.
#confession: I say this sort of stuff a lot.
I constantly complain there is nothing to do, everything is the same, nothing exciting happens.
But I’m looking at the negatives, aren’t I?
Am I bothering to look at the positives?
Albany is a unique place and I think if we take a more positive approach to it, we can make it better.
So instead of just complaining all the time, I pledge to actually go out there and explore.
Albany is renowned for its scenery, and that’s what it does best.
Albany knows how to put on a heart-melting sunset, a beach with clear turquoise waters, a warm spring day that requires only a light cardi, not a jacket or coat.
Have you ever taken the time to look at the Torndirrup National Park coastline?
It is rugged and dramatic, dangerous and beautiful.
You can walk through bush full of wildlife and escape the noise of town, whilst listening to the crash of the Southern Ocean against the peninsulas.
There are stunning lookouts and walking trails at Jimmy Newells, Stony Hill and Bald Head, to name a few.
While the weather has been quite horrific, technically spring is on the way.
Did you know there are more than 50 places in Albany alone, to get something to eat or have a coffee?
50! That’s insane!
That doesn’t even include all the cool little places throughout Denmark and Mt Barker, which really aren’t that far away.
These places are always changing their menus too, so really, we have more than 100 places to eat, as some places are just like new after you haven’t visited in a while!
All you need to do is stop and take in everything around you.
Albany has a lot of known and hidden beauties within its town lines.
My challenge to you is this: find an untouched spot of nature or a place of special meaning to you and take a photo.
Stick it to your bedroom wall or mirror and when you next go to complain about how lame Albany is, take a deep breath and look at that photo of serenity.
Remember Albany’s beauty.
Let me know how you go.