Trip Start Dec 22, 2012
20Trip End Ongoing
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And so... being very aware that it has been a long time since we embraced this “blog” of our nomadic travels, I am a little at loss of where to start.
With one hand putting this concept to the recycle bin whilst the other wishes to share with those interested our stories, I guess I should begin with crumpets.
Its not so funny the things you miss the end of the pond. Baked items are certainly at the top spot of all European traveller’s questioned in our poll. Bakeries often lie and sell pies or worse, fruit rather than bread. Even if they are telling the truth they can ask a ridiculous $8 for a good loaf. Obviously this a tender matter, one I need to get let go of.
Our resistance to this crap consumerism is coming in the form of crumpets and crepes as an oven of our own is certainly out of the question for now. Perfecting the Crumpet is a challenge I fully embrace out here in crocodile country and so far they may look and taste like an obese pancake but I’m working diligently on that.
Indeed, time is one thing we are not short of out here! Well at least until now. Some one very rich once said to me; “There are two ways to be free in this world; To have lots of money or none at all”. I have no knowledge of the first way but in relation to the second I have found a truth in that. This is a country so wild, old and large, you can be close to nature in a rough and honest way.
But of course to get to those place you need a car, and having one has shaped this second act of my time in Australia completely.
From an initiating road trip with my O’ Reily Sisters and Jean from Newcastle to Byron I experienced my first camp fires and free camping here. Being met with their smiles and hugs was a wonderful way to return to the land of OZ. As traveller’s in search of a sanctuary, I loved exploring the region with them, it is a special place full of wonderful characters and beautiful land full of rich, red volcanic soil perfect for farming. Through explorations in market produce Jean and I have tried and met some true delights!
Byron is a great, full power backpacker hot spot; full with happy high hippies and surfing beach bombs. However I was more happy by leaving than staying. Mostly the noisiness of it all, made me feel old and alone. Thank goodness for yoga... and Jean’s patience.
And so with a shiny 4WD and a rideshare in the back seat to share fuel costs, we left New South Wales, heading North, away from the rain. As to the O’Reily’s, there is never goodbyes, only take cares. First we stopped in Brisbane to pick up another lift and to say hi to another amigo from my past Indian adventures, and then we continued on to Rainbow Beach, just close to Frasier Island. We never made it on to the Island, which is the largest sand dune in the world (yes, its massive), but luckily so as we later found out that the 4WD needed fixing!
We dropped the rideshares off, heading for Anges Water where we go stuck into some off road driving fun... Jean even gave me a few driving lessons. YES! This sadly was the last stop for the surf boards as The Great Barrier Reef creates only soft gentle waves from here up.
Like most backpackers out here on this road well travelled, we have stopped in a few beachy resort type places looking for means of getting to The Great Barrier Reef, but on the budget we are all we have been able to do is look out from this side.
In Airlie Beach, we consoled ourselves with an easy 30km walk easy where we got a fantastic look out and saw the islands floating like meringues in the sky. And on seeing this beauty we decided to head northernly at a faster pace to find the means to get to this natural wonder pronto.
And then came the rain. This country is amazing, you can be in desert-like temperatures, then travel 50km and be in a wet tropical rainforest. When it rains here, it really means it, in some places it rains on average 200 days a year, not quite the image most of us have of Australia!
There is a wild, languid beauty in these Tableland’s, just inland of Cairns that charmed and eased my soul. After more 3 weeks of consistent on the run free camping on beaches, National Parks and Highways our rest here in this rural wonderland was amply timed.
After camping one night 12 kms inside the Misty Mountain NP the next morning the car would not start to our terror. After a few hours of reading manuals, hypothesis’s on the problems and inspection, a lovely local couple passed and saved our rainy day. Realising the hard way that we needed better precautions and our naivety we set out to find farm work for Jean’s second year visa in the farms. By the end of the day the only offer we had was to work 2 hrs a day for free accommodation in a holiday park. Given that we rarely pay anywhere we gave it a go, and what a delight it was. Of course nothing was what we thought or planned, but unique characters charmed our hearts and life was a simplicity that eased the weariness from our traveling locks. And again I was made soft with hot showers and kettles. Another highlight was helping to save a parrot who had an injured wing by taking it to the parks owner who is a passionate wild life carer and assisting her with cutting and cleaning the wound. Jean would have been pleased to keep the pet but we would have had a nightmare at customs so we are at least thankful he is in loving hands. We left Granite Gorge with no farm jobs but a whole lotta bananas and avocados; a gift from the care taker there, because, “Its me job to care”. Who would ever have thought we could be this broke and have such an avocado abundance!
And so, the journey continues, as all must; with dreams fermenting under full moons and the music of lapping waves, who knows when or where this chapter will cease. Seven months into this experiment of possibilities, and the only thing I know is the borders I see are mainly created from my own blindness. Loosely in the words of Blake; ‘When the doors of perception are open we see things as they truly are. Infinite.’ No matter how many times I smack my face in that door, being the stubborn yogini ninja I am (in my minds eye) I will keep trying to keep this facet wide open.