Daniel Whyte is a born-and-bred Territorian. Wanderlust took him from the Alice Springs bush to the ski slopes of Canada where he met his wife, Leanna. The couple now call Darwin home.
“You can take the boy out of the Territory, but I’ve realised you can’t take the Territory out of the boy.”
Daniel loved the carefree days of his childhood growing up in Alice Springs. But after finishing high school followed by a stint in hospitality, the travel bug hit, and Daniel piled his few possessions into his ute and drove down to Melbourne.
“I was 18 and wanted to explore new horizons. I wanted different, and at the time city life appealed,” he said.
While Daniel enjoyed his time in the big smoke, new adventures beckoned and after three years he swapped the city streets for the ski slopes in Victoria, then the Rocky Mountains of Canada.
While working in the alpine town of Jasper he met his wife-to-be, Leanna, a loving partnership that would see the couple move to Ontario to be close to Leanna’s family, travel the world (including road trips across the States and throughout Europe) and return to live in the Territory twice.
“Our first time back was in 2011. Leanna came over on a working visa and we spent nearly a year in Alice Springs. It was such a great experience,” said Daniel, now 36.
“We did a lot of camping, going off road and exploring the MacDonnell Ranges. It’s strange because I wasn’t the outdoorsy type when I was younger, but I looked at home with different eyes when I returned.
“I like how the Territory is a bit rough around the edges. Our dog would chase roos down the side of a hill at the back of our house and Leanna would say she’d never seen anything so Australian.
“I guess you can take the boy out of the Territory, but I’ve realised you can’t take the Territory out of the boy.”
Despite the ease of life in Alice and the beauty of the natural environment, wanderlust hit the globe-trotting couple again and they headed back to Canada after travelling around Australia and New Zealand.
It was another five years before the couple returned, this time to Darwin in the Top End, which they’ve now made home.
“We’d been talking about going back and we felt Darwin was the best place. Some of my family were living in Darwin too and it just felt right. It felt like home,” Daniel said.
“There are so many job opportunities here and it’s a really safe place to live, especially during these COVID days.
“The Territory is an amazing place to be because it doesn’t matter where you come from and what your background is, the people here will accept you and give you a shot.”