And I don’t mean it in the Ozzie “How youse doing?” kind of way. I am just over 24 hours away from making the long trek home to the loving arms of Big Friendly, the warmness of good friends and family, the complicated heart pullings of a home city and country that inspires, frustrates, irritates, placates, enrages and draws me, and my life that I left behind. Before I get swallowed and absorbed by the many daily things that swamp a life back home I wanted to reflect on the people that have made this most extraordinary journey what it has been for me. Be warned. It is a long list (and if you are not on it, it doesn’t mean I don’t adore and value you passionately.)

First up I want to name and honour my guy, Big Friendly. I have been loved and supported in every possible way by him, and he made this whole trip possible. He is what makes me a lucky fish. Big Friendly, it has been far too long without you, my hero, friend, confidante, go-to-guy and home-fires-burning partner. Next time we go together.

I want to honour and love my amazing fellow travelers Tandi Buchan and Candice D’Arcy. With them we were the magical Team SA, and we achieved the improv version of Olympic Gold for ourselves. We shared a room at the YHA during Improvention, we shared a room at Patti’s house, and Candice and I shared a room at cousin Nicky. Intense. We played, ran workshops, partied, supported, nit picked, discussed, laughed, jolled, and had the absolute best time ever, and I am so happy we shared it. Magical Moments with Benny the buck toothed Koala, jumping photographs, fetta (that’s how they spell it here in Oz) pies, karaoke (shits me up the wall), excellent improv and the making and sharing of other magnificent new friends. It deserves to be said that doing a trip like this is outrageously expensive and taxing; particularly for these two travelers who had children at home, and I want to say bravo to both of them. We have tons of thrilling work ahead, putting into practice everything we got madly excited by.

The organisers, makers and doers of Improvention are next up. What a phenomenon. Nick Byrne, I have no idea how you got us there, three unknown Seffefrican improvisers on a mission, and you will always be my hero for doing so. Improvention was completely awesome, necessary, amazing, inspiring and wild. Ben Crowley and Cathy Hagarthy, organisers, improvisers, home-sharers, lift-givers, and all round amazingnesses you made us feel welcome so comfortable even though we were jet lagged zombies without a clue, and you both had fifty million things to do. The rest of you Improvention organiser type peeps like Reid, Kathy, Brad, PJ and all the others I haven’t mentioned, I know what you did. And thank you. Thank you performers, workshop leaders and directors. I watched, played, workshopped, slept, ate and loved impro(v) all over again, and more. Last on this list is Chris Allen, who was responsible for Mission Roo, and who completely fulfilled this quest, in style. The reality is, if it wasn’t for Improvention, we wouldn’t have come, and my love affair with Oz would never have happened.

Then it was Melbourne and her magic. Patti Stiles; guru, inspiration, hilariousness, fire maker, bird feeder, Quokka hostess, home supplier, map drawer, advice giver, story teller, love machine, music sharer, tour organiser, and all round most amazing. There are no words to thank you enough. I miss you like an oldest friend. Impro Melbourne; you guys, the whole lot of you are possibly my favourite people on earth. Thank you ALL for love, sharing, lifts (David and Kevin and Katherine and Caitlin more especially), partying, eating and drinking, workshopping, and for Exploding Heads (Myron and Josh in particular) for letting us play with you. Thanks Impro Melbourne for letting us do Jill Bernard workshops with you all, and allowing the Improvention festival continue.

Jill and Eric I love you both so much. You were the perfect traveling hook ups and you were best fun, big chats, total hilariousness, tea (Eric) obsessed, gung-ho, crazy, kind, brilliant, silly, dingo-loving partners in Oz travelingness. Here’s the thing; I have a very good idea of all things Austin, Texas, and no clue about Minnesota. I love your improv, your energy and your insights. Thanks for the big, fat share.

My Sydney week has other special thank yous attached. First up, Ange Hume, for taking in a complete stranger. Thank you most gracious lady. To old friend Heather and even very old friend Jenny; it was amazing reconnecting with you, however brief, and I am sorry we didn’t get to do it again. Next time? I can’t imagine not coming back. The biggest, most loving and delicious thanks goes to The Segerman fandamily for unbridled hospitality – Oz style. Every last thing; delicious food, lifts, tour guidage, amazing open house, smoked fish, fabulous stories, Madiba’s birthday, Celebrity TheatreSports, an amazing massage, gorgeous, warm, loving children and sharing your new home in the best, clearest, warmest way. I love you. But, let’s get down to brass tacks, or salted caramel. I owe you my best gelato experience ever. And that is totally huge. My life is changed by Gelato Messina, in both a good way (best ever) and bad way (there is none where I come from).

Maleny, you are so magnificent. B and R I often felt like you guys were living where I should be. Thank you for sharing that. It was profound.

And now, as I sit and write this in Brissie, on my last full day here in Oz, I thank Wade Robinson and Suzie and Chloe, for taking me in at such short notice and being such gracious, open and delightful hosts. Improvisers of Oz, you are a very special kind of loving somebody. And I love you all right back.