HOME AGAIN: Kathryn Barnes has been bitten by the travel bug, over and over.
HOME AGAIN: Kathryn Barnes has been bitten by the travel bug, over and over. Jonno Colfs

A DAY IN THE LIFE - Kathryn Barnes

WHEN Elvis Presley died on August 13, 1977, Kathryn Barnes was living in Alice Springs.

Shocked after hearing the news on the radio, she rang her mother to find out if it was really true.

"I told her I'd heard Elvis had died," Mrs Barnes said.

"She told me, 'yes dear, turn on the TV and you'll find out all about it'.

"I said: 'I'd love to, Mother, but there are no TVs here'."

An avid music lover, Mrs Barnes' world was rocked again earlier this year when another favourite of hers, Leonard Cohen, passed away.

"It was very sad," she said.

"I fell in love with him, that voice and his beautiful poetry - he couldn't really sing but his emotion and the pictures he painted with his lyrics I just love.

"He and John Denver are my favourites, both so poetic and so different."

As well as enjoying her diverse collection of music, Mrs Barnes is an avid reader, but her passion is travelling.

"I was born in Warwick, but moved away at 21," she said.

"I wanted to expand my horizons and explore."

She spent 50 years away from her hometown before returning a few years ago to be closer to family.

I've lived in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, the Northern Territory and New Zealand and seen a lot of the country," she said.

"I was a just a little country girl when I left.

"I got myself a job as an Avis Rent-A-Car hostess and worked my way up to be the training hostess for Queensland and NT - that was quite an achievement.

"But I always had that urge to travel, and I'd just leave a job behind and go.

"That always meant having to find another job when I finally returned but, I've always maintained, if you want work, you'll find it," she added.

Mrs Barnes counts Christchurch in NZ as one of her favourite places.

"I could live there," she said.

"It's a beautiful spot, a lovely city. Those gorgeous mountains and the lifestyle was great."

These days, as a resident at Warwick Oak Tree Retirement Village, Mrs Barnes explores closer to home.

"I try to get away in the car whenever I can," she said. "I'll grab some friends and we'll go - to Toowoomba, Stanthorpe, Killarney, Tenterfield, wherever the mood takes us. There's always something to see.

"We're so lucky we live in such a beautiful region and now, with recent rain, it's so green and the roses line the streets. Visitors and friends who come to stay comment how wonderful it is here and I have to agree."

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