sharing recipes from one generation to the next
There are lots of things to like about blogging, but when it’s all said and done, for me it’s the wonderful people you “meet” people from all around the globe, interesting individuals of many ages, ethnicities, faiths and interests. And so it is with travel.
The spectacular scenery is a major draw card in the regions we are visiting, but the characters you meet add depth and meaning to what you see. Often they unwittingly challenge your lifestyle choices, force you to appraise paths you’ve taken for yourself, but mainly they enrich your travels and your life.
We shared a bottle of wine one evening with a woman of my age who’d raised and educated her kids in a camel drawn wagon on a continuous trek across Australia. She was well versed in survival skills. She knew where to find water in the desert, nourish herself with bush tucker (wild plant food) and navigate by the stars. She lovingly cared for her camels with the skill of a vetinarian. She’d work in pubs and roadhouses, on cattle and sheep stations doing any job that was asked of her to earn a few dollars to fund her onward journey. This amazing lady is still itinerant, bitten by an undying wanderlust and love for the remote parts of our beautiful country. She’ll never live in a house on a suburban street, she will never know the stresses of conformity and I’m just a tiny bit envious of her!
We have been mirroring the route of a young couple and their 3 children who have taken 14 months off from their settled life to travel around Australia. For the past 9 months they’ve travelled our vast country’s least travelled tracks and roads. They have a natural awe of the wide open spaces and an abhorrence of crowds. The kids were a joy to watch at play, spending hours chasing one another or collecting leaves and rock, no electronics for these kids, just a few basic toys and a bike and ball. I never heard the kids grizzling or whinging, they were happy and well adjusted and especially loved toasting marshmallows on a stick over the campfire. Jaci and Steve, the parents are keen photographers and bloggers. You can join them in their travels at their wordpress hosted blog http://www.caravancampingoz.com
Phil was way past retirement age for city workers. He’d been a shearer, a roustabout, a stockman, a truck driver, tour guide, never staying in anyplace long enough to put down roots, but going where the next work opportunity led. He knew cattle and the land like a man knows a lover. His eagle eye spotted camouflaged wildlife and birdlife unseen by us.
Phil was a man without judgement. He accepted what was, and this attitude made him a trusted friend to the indigenous people. He’s been inducted with indigenous secret men’s business, sensitive knowledge held by tribal elders and rarely shared outside community. Phil showed us sensitive rock art sites and explained to us their significance to the local people, without overstepping boundaries.
We’ve recently been camped beside a charming elderly English couple and their equally elderly pooch who now call Australia home. Obviously of limited means they’ve escaped to the north to avoid the bitter winter down south. They are content to enjoy the warmth and watch the test cricket broadcast on the TV. They rarely stray far from their old style caravan, content with a simple life and simple pleasures.
My admiration went out to the couple in ther sixties spending 6 months travelling many thousands of kilometres around Australia on a motorbike with sidecar, towing a small trailer that was a pop up camper. In their kit they had chairs, table, bedding, kitchen equipment, clothing, food, water, cameras, everything they needed to make their rugged journey. In my opinion they were doing it tough, and making my journey look cushy in the extreme.
A handsome young wide-smiling indigenous guy in Broome made us laugh and left us feeling optimistic, despite the negative media reports about endemic violence, alcohol and substance abuse. His unsolicited offer of help led to a brief encounter of the most heartwarming kind.
Then there are all the people from our own state Victoria who came for a visit and only returned home to sell up and relocate. Instead of heading north to escape the cold, they now head south to escape the tropical wet with accompying humidity and cyclones. While singing the praises of the local area and climate, they seemed oblivious to the irony of their lifestyle aboutface.
A young Englishman from Nottingham and his girlfriend engaged us in conversation one day. They were taking advantage of Australia’s extended travel visa option for those who work in remote locations which allows travellers to stay two years, not just one. They loved Australia’s beauty, but were suffering terrible homesickness, missing friends, family, the pubs and gentle drizzling rain. This short encounter impressed on me what a fickle breed we humans are.
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