En Route to Uluru

DSC_0199roadAfter leaving an amazing time spent with family in Byfield, it has been a looong journey towards the red centre. You will never know the extent of the hike until you are on the road experiencing it for yourself… Many free camps along the way have blessed us with ease and gratitude, our sole expenses being food and fuel-believe me, the tanks are chewed faster then the landscape changes. Life on the road is great. This is what it is all about for me. Living simply in nature.DSC_0451DSC_0455DSC_0214Travels in New Zealand a few years ago led us into the back of a station wagon with a gas cooker, cruising along at our own speed. It didn’t take us long to realise car hire was cheaper than dorm rooms and came with the bonus of FREEDOM! It was here that we got a taste for life on the road, cruising along, lapping up the beautiful scenery, saving money for all-important adventures, making coffee, tea and food along the way.

This is very reminiscent of those times, yet somehow more familiar. No planes were boarded, just many hours of driving. Audio books have saved us from getting sick of the eclectic collection of music we have gathered. We begun with Russel Brand’s ‘Revolution’, a fantastic book based on his view of the reality we face in today’s world, as well as simple steps to continue our own evolution towards personal power and freedom. Naturally we were listening intently, he is an intellect with a passion to change the world – it quickly rubs off on you. Download it here : https://thepiratebay.org/search/russell%20brand/0/99/0

DSC_0466DSC_0462 - Version 3Later as we pulled up for the night at a rest stop just North of Winton. I thought of the notion that Russel kept returning to earlier- that we are all one as the human race – atoms in space. The road was wet from afternoon rain when our neighbour arrived; he was driving a road train that was fifty-three metres long. I was astounded and amused as I counted the five, ten metre long carriages and the total of forty-four wheels. It was a HUGE machine that felt so imposing (usually I would be squirming as we overtake these monsters along the straights). Then I became curious and impressed, wondering about the character at the wheel of this beast… and feeling completely connected, at one with each other as we ate dinner side by side in our temporary homes. Appreciation for the little things, this night that brought me closer to the unknown.DSC_0482Long days stretched on as we moved towards the middle of this enormous country. A stop over in Mount Isa proved delightful, and after utilising the facilities of a city-like town and renewing our rego, we found an oasis in nature. A camp for the night! Moondarra Lake felt heaven-sent in the dry desert outback of Western Queensland. We were lone campers and had the time and space to graciously soak up the surroundings. The wetlands stretched far and wide, bursting with bird life and (supposedly) barramundi. You could feel the significance of the place to the custodians of this land; it was easy to imagine Aboriginal people living from the abundance of this little oasis. The pure, fresh water and greenery contrasting starkly with the hot arid lands that stretched for kilometres in every direction.DSC_0509DSC_0496DSC_0506DSC_0500DSC_0517DSC_0491We crossed the border into the Northern Territory and then drove for about 3 hours with a very flat landscape either side of the road, and a mirage at the end of the bitumen. Stopping for a coffee, salad wrap and amazing sunset, we continued on towards Three Ways and Tennant Creek as we headed for Alice. DSC_0548DSC_0679DSC_0564DSC_0601DSC_0589DSC_0595DSC_0599DSC_0602DSC_0615Just outside Tennant Creek, we stopped over night at The Pebbles and re wrote our version of ‘The Dock Of The Bay’ as we sung and played guitar to the moon. After the Devil’s Marbles, I began to understand the sheer number of wonderful rock formations in Australia. The sand was beginning to warm in colour, yet the shrubbery remained thick and healthy. Luckily we had overcast days for this massive mission, which kept ourselves and Nessy Bell cool and happy with the long stints of driving.DSC_0632DSC_0638DSC_0639DSC_0649FotorCreatedDSC_0647DSC_0673 It took us a total of six days to get to Alice, and we were high-tailing it most of the way. Well worth it though, I must say! I am so grateful to live in this country, and to be enjoying more of its magnificent wide brown land. It is incredibly humbling to know the indigenous people lived so closely with the land, from the time before time began.DSC_0708

Heading Home

DSC_0449DSC_0161Before we begin, here is the other half of our house for the next little while. With help from friends and family, we lay a slab and built this little baby over a weekend. Creation can be as easy as putting your mind and energy into a project and trusting in the outcome! (fingers crossed she’s waterproof ;))

Five Nights at Five Rocks

What an event to welcome us into this next chapter of life… Dad had the ingenious idea to entirely book out the campgrounds at five rocks for five nights to celebrate his 60th birthday. Filled with extended family and friends from the Byfield community and beyond, we settled in for a fantastic chunk of quality time together. I’d never spent time at this special beach and it was a welcomed treat to discover its beauty.DSC_0217DSC_0220DSC_0226DSC_0237DSC_0245DSC_0249FotorCreatedDSC_0253DSC_0258DSC_0265The invitation called for each of us to bring something to the table to share with the group. Most of the meals were catered for with a planned menu: a variety of delicious foods from fish curry to rice paper rolls, an endless feast. Guinness and red wine were provided, and we all enjoyed getting merry around the fire in the evenings. We even had the old gas stove/oven up there in the camp kitchen, for the luxury of freshly baked bread… and great ease (minus the transport of course). I jumped on the opportunity to bake a birthday cake and tried a new recipe for a beetroot, quinoa and chocolate cake that a beautiful friend had raved about. I made a simple sweet ginger yoghurt icing, it was delicious. Here’s a link to the recipe, in case you want to try it yourself: http://www.theholisticingredient.com/blogs/wholesome-food/10218301-beetroot-quinoa-and-chocolate-muffinscookDSC_0273Leo contributed the decks, speakers, and set up the DJ booth. He played a brilliant techno set one afternoon that carried the space perfectly. Leo, Andy, Jas, James, Dad and Luke spoiled us with a soundtrack to match our long weekend and dance music to keep us grooving. Jas brought his fire stick, which was well utilised and lit the dark sky with ever changing art. He encouraged any of the kids who were keen to have a go, and was patient and clear with his instruction. I admired him in this situation and his carefree yet careful approach.  April and I had a brilliant time dancing with our hoops and I was grateful for the practise time; this inspired the Hula Hoop making workshop we will run together at Tropical Bloom this year.DSC_0339DSC_0331DSC_0346Andy made Damper with the kids and baked it in the camp oven in the remaining coals of the nights fire. Linda brought a stack of white t-shirts for natural dyeing, we used turmeric and red bloodwood sap and they came out in rich warm yellows and reds. Over the weekend we each made additions to a canvas that Ela had left us, it soon became a beautiful colourful mandala.DSC_0343DSC_0267DSC_0338DSC_0268DSC_0302FotorCcolourreatedBy Saturday afternoon this new way of life had soaked into all of us, complete freedom, living in paradise. Dad had set a bar for himself from the beginning; no less then two swims a day, I happily followed suit and enjoyed the high and the low of each day. Mornings began with group swims and beach hangs, and we all relished in the fresh water creek shower on the path back to camp. Cat and I had a beautiful swim with Indira as the tide was coming in. She bravely ran along the bottom of the sand with water up to her chin, back and forth giggling and spluttering. All three of us were in stitches laughing for ages. Indira just couldn’t get enough of it, absolutely filled with the thrill and excitement.DSC_0283waterrDSC_0281The low tides meant we could climb out to the five rocks to fish, and after Andy brought back a beautiful mackerel one evening the enthusiasm in the group rose. The following day a group of us went to the rocks on sunset with a bunch of fishing rods and an esky filled with beer. Luke caught his first fish and the rock cods were out and about in numbers, unfortunately none were big enough for dinner but it was well worth the adventure.DSC_0374DSC_0376DSC_0383DSC_0389DSC_0396DSC_0399Returning back to camp was always a lovely sight, a circle of camp chairs around the fire offered space and comfort for the down time. Crafts were abundant and it was inspiring to see the women at work; Joan made a wonderful little basket using natural materials she had found at the beach. Trisha made a gorgeous necklace using beads that she crafted from pumice and pink flowers. April was working on a knotted patterned bag as well as her felt slippers, and Sparkle was drawing away.daddyDSC_0336Mum arrived in high spirits with fruitcake in hand, and melted straight into the abundance of activities. She carved an underwater scene into a cuttle fish shell, and before long was brainstorming with the kids about ‘The BEST school ever!’ It was amazing to see the passion filling each of them as they tore the schooling system apart and rebuilt it in their own ideal way. This ongoing discussion also inspired a workshop at Tropical Bloom.

Note: Tropical Bloom Festival is now in its third year and will be a treat for the senses, it has been a delight to be a part of, creating and enjoying this incredibly inspiring space. Leo, with an enthusiastic team of volunteers will come together to create his vision for a Culture, Arts and Music festival. The healing area will be in full power with a huge array of different workshops from yoga to making your own herbal skin products. Cat has been busy getting the timetable organised, along with the market holders who will bring their handicrafts to sell. The weekend will be jam-packed with 24 hour music, kids activities, great food and chai, art installations & gallery, performances and so many more surprises… One not to miss! Find details here: http://www.tropicalbloom.net/

DSC_0355DSC_0359Lindsay and Connor took the gang over the hill to Three Rivers a few days in a row, to swim and surf and explore the neighbouring beaches. On his birthday, Dad drew an enormous mandala in the sand and the crew collected seaweed, shells, pumice and rocks to decorate the massive art piece.DSC_0348DSC_0350DSC_0366DSC_0362DSC_0360The time away was filled with smiles and laughter, co-operation and co-ordination, continuous adventure and living purely in the moment. I didn’t even find time to read, there was too much fun going on. It was a taste of a simple life away from the ‘real world’. Immersed in the love of community, sharing skills and quality time. In many ways I think it was exactly what Dad had wanted, yet a lot more rich and full then any of us could have imagined.DSC_0408DSC_0420crDSC_0433DSC_0442DSC_0447

Itchy Feet

Our feet were itchy and plans were in motion. Eagerness settled in the idea of travelling the world in one big hit…

I was raised by world travellers and as a child adored hearing the ‘when I was young’ stories that led my imagination around the globe. From every day life, growing up in Papua New Guinea in the 60’s & 70’s to European adventures in matching dresses. Stories of the life as a teenager during the upheaval in the north of Ireland in the 70’s to trekking and camping in the Himalayas with monkeys and tigers as a free adult. Naturally I was enthusiastic to step out of my comfort zone and into the unknown world of travel as soon as I could.

DSC_0289The Northern Territory was all in all a welcomed surprise. Andy and I went to visit his rents last May and our four days and nights offered exemplary insight into the multiculturalism of Darwin. An amazing event at the Entertainment Centre showcased a selection of Aboriginal singers and songwriters, who each added their own individual flair to this wonderful show.

Mornings spent wandering around the markets, with smells that transport you straight to Asia. With an extensive array of tropical fruits and exotic plant food I was thrilled with the choice. This city felt refreshing to all the senses.

Kakadu National Park was the true game changer. We visited culturally sacred land formations, with ancient Aboriginal art spread generously across the cave and rock walls. I took it all in with awe, and it humbled me as I began to imagine these people who lived on and with the land for eons.

DSC_0333DSC_0296DSC_0323DSC_0540DSC_0545Heartbeats quickened as we clambered excitedly up the bright orange rock stairs. We sat on the top of the rock formation with a 360 view of untouched foreign wilderness and wetlands, Australia suddenly felt unknown and enticing. Previous plans blew away with the strong cool winds, and the land invoked new dreams of adventure in our hearts.DSC_0579DSC_0576

An extreme abundance of wildlife live along the edge of Yellow Waters, and riding along the waterways by boat allowed us to experience this beautiful natural habitat that is home to many.

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Within one weekend I had begun to feel more connected with the original custodians of this land then ever before. This lit a fire in my heart, a readiness to see more of the country I call home, with hopes to learn from the Aboriginal people and experience more authentic Australian culture.

On returning home, savings moved from the ’round the world ticket’ account, and into the ‘lets buy a van’ account. Soon enough we met Nessy, and drove her home…

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