And again it’s been way too long! But I finally feel the tendency again and have the opportunity again to scribble something down about the last month, month and a half?
At the moment I’m sitting on a pillow in a cozy, arty living room in a half open house build on the slope of a hill in picturesque Closeburn, a collection of a few houses about 30 minutes from Brisbane. I’ve been wwoofing for a little more than a week now at this place and it’s become a bit like home. Approximately three weeks ago I met Franziska (or Franzi as we all call her) when I was in a surf hostel in Yamba. We decided we both wanted a change from regular travelling and so made up our mind to go wwoofing together. We contacted no less than 18 hosts in the Brisbane area as we heard it would be difficult to find a spot. Over the next few days we were contacted by about half of them and could choose between a few hosts. In the end we went with the first host that accepted us enthusiastically and without too much hassle and we’ve been very lucky. Randall, a forty-ish filmmaker and his arty friend Tinuviel, (yes as in from The Silmarillion), a dancer, welcomed us and after some getting to know each other chitchat we went to a local festival (The Winter Solstice Festival), tried some Indian chai, admired some local characters (especially one sixty-year-old hippie with shining -stars and planets- leggings!) and met some of their friends. It was a very nice start to our stay here!
The next day we started work around 8:30, digging holes for shed foundations. As you can imagine this was pretty exhausting and afterwards a little painful because I didn’t handle the maddock particularly well. Besides digging a lot of holes (in which Franzi was much better, quicker and less annoyed than me) we have planted many little trees, done a lot of mulching, cleaning, some building and painting jobs and baked some lovely fresh bread. We eat pretty healthy here as most things come from the garden and we try to make the lion’s share ourselves. Tinuviel and Randall are both good cooks and love to experiment with new ingredients and recipes. I’ve learned a lot of new vegetarian recipes already and tried many new things like halva, poppy seed cake, and roasted pumpkin with rosemary. We usually get up at 7.00 or 7.30 for some yoga and then eat breakfast, followed by work till 12.30, lunch, some more light work or relaxing and then dinner around 19.00. I had to get used to getting up early again and also the physical exhaustion was pretty major in the beginning after ‘lazy travelling’ without too much hiking for the last month. But now I’m getting used to it and I feel healthy and sleep very well. Besides working and eating well we have been to a veggie barbie, dinner party, garden party/performance night and yesterday we had a lovely, sunny day off and went hiking up Mt Warning. Great views up there and after the hike we (me, Franzi & Tinuviel, as we dropped Randall at the airport at 6.00, he’s just left for Japan for two weeks) went to the beach and ate at an Tibethan restaurant in West End. It’s quite relaxing to get some roots for a while and not move around my increasingly heavier backpack for a while. Silly as I am I do continue picking up things, I’ve just bought a top and skirt for 7$ at a garden sale!
I’m not sure where I want to go next, probably somewhere near the Bundaberg region for some work in fruit picking. Though, it’s maybe a bit off season.. I think I need to work for maybe a month or six weeks in order to afford what I want to do next. The plan is still to travel up to Cairns and after that I’d like to fly to Darwin and then make my way down through the Outback, to Uluru, finishing in Adelaide. But we’ll see how it goes! If I’ve learned anything here it is not to plan too much.
I’m aware this post is already too long, but while I’m at it I’ll add a little about what happened since Katoomba. Wow, that feels so long ago! After Katoomba I went back to Sydney, Cronulla Beach to be precise. I stayed in work hostel, got my RSA and started asking around in local restaurants for a job. I did find a few places that seemed promising but it was all a bit too much at the moment and I decided to leave Sydney. My last days in Sydney were nice, meeting up with Ali & Hayley I met in Melbourne and going to a great dress-up circus themed birthday party. But I was glad to leave, Sydney didn’t feel right at the moment and the anonimity and vastness seemed to add to my homesickness. Anyway, next stops were Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Yamba, Byron Bay, Nimbin, and Surfers Paradise. In Bellingen I met a German girl, Sabine, with whom I travelled for two weeks and after an extra weekend at Coffs Harbour I met up with Franzi in Byron Bay and moved on to Surfers. I did some beautiful hikes (Dorrigo National Park, Cape Byron), hitched (to the NP), saw dolphins and whales (Byron Bay), tried something ‘magic’ (from hippie-tourist-heaven Nimbin), did my first surf lesson (I could stand up quickly to my own amayement, the difficulty is more related to picking the right wave), discovered the television series The Inbetweeners while waiting for the rain to stop in Yamba, and was bored and lazy in awful Surfers (don’t go there!). Much more to say of course, but these are some highlights! Time to move a little closer to the fire again and join in with conversation, I’m sure I’ll post again at least once before I’m back. The vague plan for now is that I’ll be back somewhere in October!