As will happen on the internet, I stumbled on something I was sure nobody else had ever heard of. Way back in the 80s, when the Disney Channel was still the best thing in my life and I was certain it always would be, Disney produced a movie called The Quest. This unusual, somewhat sleepy movie starred a still very young Henry Thomas of ET fame as an American kid who was inexplicably living in a tiny town in rural Australia. This was no Crocodile Dundee, some over-the-top bush stereotypes being sold to the American public, this was actual Australia, the most far-away place I could imagine, an island on the other side of the world full of incredibly strange animals yet almost totally ignored. It was captivatingly strange, yet here was this average American kid not only thrust in the middle of it, but carrying on with a casual indifference like this sort of thing happened to everyone.
On top of all this mystery, this kid Cody was into science. Of course, being the son of a science teacher spending an average weekend digging fossils out of riverbeds or catching tadpoles and firebelly newts while my friends were playing basketball, this kid spoke my language. When things got boring or weird, he wanted to fix it. And of course, girls were at this point in my life were just starting to become something less than gross, and the ones running around with Cody were pretty cute. Adventure in a foreign land, strange cultures and legends, cute girls, creative thinking and scientific rigor… from my perspective, this movie pretty much had it all.
Except a DVD release. Once time ate our only VHS copy and the VCR was retired, I never saw The Quest again, but it was never forgotten. Over twenty years later when I was finally presented with the opportunity to go to Australia, I took the train up to the Blue Mountains and got to look over this strange landscape I’d seen so many times on a blurry VHS recording off the TV for myself. Even now, nearly 5 years after moving to Sydney, my favorite times are getting out of the city and exploring the almost dauntingly huge wilderness. Now I get to be Cody.