“there are no shortcuts to any place worth going…”
keen to get out of the city, we headed off to palm beach and camped outside narrabeen at a chain camping park (gag on the prices and gag on the corporate feel of the campground), the sunset was lovely and so was my ice cold pear cider and reading sesh, but this kind of camping is not our thing. we escaped to the blue mountains from there and spent 3 amazing nights and 4 glorious days going into the wild where campfires, awesome food, a bush walk with cliff side lunch and dream catcher work shop with our lovely friend, yona who we fell in love with during our festival weekend in alice springs back in may. our campsite was a dream with the whole area mostly to ourselves aside from some day hikers and a random encounter with an indian penguin, a german, two iranians and a french woman on our last night where we shared some drinks and a way too hot, ridiculously large fire…and taught four different cultures the art of roasting marshmallows. i can happily say that the time spent in the blue mountains…relaxing, working out, stretching, reading and listening to music has been the highlight up to this point. we are loving life!
packing up camp early on a monday…yeah, monday…i think…days have started to disappear and splatter together like a jackson pollock painting…we headed into katoomba to the grocery where we packed the esky (cooler) for the next weeks travels, making this sweet old scottish mans life with our adventure and clown car lifestyle…what a gem…we headed out to do a beautiful 7k hike through wentworth falls and the valley of the waters, gullies, etc. i stupidly and randomly decided to tether into my aussie phone data hot spot only to find a “hi” text from a person who has my heart back home who hasn’t been in contact in awhile paired with another, yes ANOTHER, email attempt from the ex who wrote me on new years eve 2012, who made a follow up attempt a month later, to which i ignored both. why must the universe always be laughing at my expense?! i suppose i should feel lucky…without humor, life is pretty boring and mine is certainly far from that. but after my incredible weekend in the australian wild, must i be slapped with reality so hard?! i have mentioned before that when the past calls it generally doesn’t have anything new to say. so to the ex who keeps reminiscing on the lame 10 months we spent together, most of which he slept through, move on man! embrace the concepts of disney’s feature film ‘frozen’ and let. it. gooooo. to the person who has my heart still, after all this time and all these years of ups and downs, the roller coaster ride of the unknown, you better have more than “how are you?” to follow up your “hi” with…when i decide to finally respond…but you should know, you still get me. every time. pulling at them heart strings.
pulling my emotional baggage together, laughing at my life, we headed to lake macquarie to stay at a campground (which we have grown to hate after our spoiled days and nights in secluded bush bliss), meeting weirdos after we decided to stay one more night to do our washing (i was down to no under garments or clean socks left), heading in to explore newcastle and loving the beach and the attractive surfer selection on the water, finding the library for some wifi catch up, enjoying a froth at a cool bar on a quiet street. eager to get further north and see what our beach bum life has to offer our cold southern winter souls, we kicked off early the next morning, me heading out on a beach run along lake macquarie, australia’s largest salt water lake, alicia enjoying some zen time for a beach yoga sesh. escaping the dodgy caravan park and its creatures, we found solace in hat head national park where wallabies and kangaroos greeted us to help ignite camp set up motivation. a cheeky possum got a bit too close to our food supply, but we prevailed and conquered the swooping mag pies became a nuisance as we quickly made breakfast and set off for a bush walk. the lookout we hiked to gave us an incredible gift. as alicia and i parted ways, i set myself up looking over a cliff face with the crashing ocean below to do some abdominal work, push ups and squats. as i was crunching up, eyes closed to the bright australian sun, calm and relaxed, i heard an intense splash echo off the water. opening my eyes, i found a ridiculously large fin crash down onto the surface. it took me a minute to realize that the wetness running down my cheek was a tear of pure joy as i got to watch a gorgeous humpback whale, dance for me and play on the water…BEST WORK OUT EVER! no photos, just memory…a beautiful life experience to cherish. we decided that a night outside of brooms head would do us just fine. finding yuraygir national park in pitch black darkness was a worry, but also incredible with the stars guiding our way. setting up camp like the champs we are, we heated up leftovers and spent some time reading and catching up on writing…i turned in early due to the mozzies attacking, but we awoke the next morning to beautiful sunny skies. also welcoming us to the day were roos of all sizes including an awkwardly uncoordinated joey who entertained us thoroughly while we sipped hot coffee and ate brekky.
we made some quick stops at southwest rocks to enjoy the small beach town quaintness that we had been missing since the days of robe, apollo bay and lorne on our great ocean road adventures. feeling like kids again with icy poles consumed beach side, i documented the colours of nature with my canon and we were off to the next destination. we hit coffs harbour at sunset, saw the beach and the giant prawn, left wind blown and tired on our way to our byron bay destination…where we knew we would fall in love and never want to leave.
and fall in love we did…booking accommodation in the arts factory hostel in the camping area referred to as the jungle, we met the most beautiful humans that will surely remain lifelong mates. we met two american guys that showed us the ropes of the bay and hearing of work opportunities in brisbane, pulled us back to the city sooner than we had wanted to see what jobs we could sort out and what brissy had to offer us for a couple weeks. i had a mate that a friend from the states connected me with via the book of face when i was gearing up for my travels to oz and was finally able to meet him in person during our first few days in brisbane. he and his lovely housemates hosted us with open arms, insisting we don’t camp in their yard, but get cozy in the basement, allowed us to dry out our camping gear after the rains of our last night in byron. exploring our surroundings after landing jobs at a carnival commencing later in the week, a music loving sloth greeted us in the awesome neighbourhood of west end where delicious coffee was a constant mission of ours and positive messages were always a pleasant find. brissy wasn’t so bad…or so we thought…