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Finding Nowhere

August 27, 2015

As soon as the sun rays lifted above the horizon it set fire to the earth, bringing swarms of flies and making you sweat from every crevasse. It was 5 am, and as I unzipped the swag a lone fly came to greet me, the first for the day. They stick to every surface on your body- eyelids, lips, nose, and inside your ears- everywhere they shouldn’t go, they do.

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Coffee was on and I managed to pester Him enough to wake and rig the boat for our day of exploring and fishing. We only had a brief window where the tides would allow us to launch and retrieve the boat from the shore, so timing was relatively important. As we drove over the crusty red dirt and into the white powdered sand dunes, I couldn’t help but notice the pristine coastline stretching as far as the eye could see. Not a soul in sight but each other.

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He backed the car to the edge of the water as it lapped peacefully against the trailer tires. I unhooked the tinnie and started the motor, throwing in a stupid attempt at a little donut before picking him up from the shore, and off we went, into the bluest of blue waters, towards a glistening horizon, on a journey for finding nowhere. It was at this moment I felt truly ‘alone’- at peace. Just us, the only humans for as far as the eye could see, alone with the big ol’ blue. I thought of how some might call this moment one of ‘calmness’ but it couldn’t be farther.

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The ocean tides were strong, gushing out to sea; birds overhead were screeching to one another; fish were flapping about as sharks pushed them to the surface as their morning meals- this place was ALIVE. There was even a vicious looking sea snake cruising by, and turtles mating in the distance.

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It was uplifting, the thought of it being just the two of us, completely alone in this giant blue world. It was liberating. The gorgeous day continued as we found reefs and rocks leading us to some pretty awesome fishing. Ocean fishing is new to him, but even with the wrong gear we managed to score a decent catch throughout the day. Watching the enormous tides turn from our tiny tinnie was a breathtaking experience. We were simply fluff in a washing machine, being thrown around as waves broke in every direction. Not a lip of wind yet we were flung across the big blue like a dandelion– it was time to get out of there.

Returning to camp as a sunburnt cherub, I was a changed soul. My mind was opened and from that day on the water at Cape Leveque, I became scarily addicted to the feeling of being without humans, and oh what a glorious feeling this was.

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Only in solitude do we find ourselves; and in finding ourselves, we find in ourselves all our brothers in solitude -Miguel De Unamuno

Diary Road tripping

Finding Peace – Making My Australian Van-Life Home

August 17, 2015

Making Australian van-life home and finding peace

Nothing. Nothing is what I had, and yet it was what I searched for most. Vast emptiness was my dream, and the land- Outback Australia- was now my home.

‘Home’. My suburb was a sparkling speck on the glowing orange horizon. The window was down and my feet dangled in the humid Queensland breeze as we drove as far as we could away from everything we knew. The first few days were tormenting, traces of humans stalked us at every camp we made. From the low hum of ACDC blasting from a shitty ute across the fields in which we pitched, to ciggie stubs and XXXX cans littered on the croc riddled river bed. We needed to go further, we needed to find Australia- the land, the wilderness, and the outback.

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Anxiety and frustration tangled with excitement and curiosity as the first few days flew by in a heartbeat. I had my tasks –swag set up and damper prep, as did he- fire, chairs and wood collection, and without exchanging words we worked like ants at each glorious sunset.

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North-West Queensland was unlike any country I had seen before– the land was harsh and dry, the dirt was a patchwork of rich red that pierced through fields of sharp rocks and dead grass, and the sky was a dull blue haze with not a cloud in sight.

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He drove in silence, simply following the highway, as I was lost in my mind daydreaming about what great discovery lay ahead. We camped in dry creek beds and at the edge of fields off the highway, constantly aware of a human presence lingering. With every dirt track, we veered off the road in the hope of driving to ‘nothing’ but were continually met with fences, closed aboriginal land and sacred grounds in which we could not cross. Where was this vast land we dreamed so much of?

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As I sat, defeated, on a derelict park bench overlooking the Gulf of Queensland, I realised that my expectations had drowned my experience. It felt as if my great adventure had consistently been so far from my reach, and that whole time I had been simply chasing my exploration of a lifetime. That was it, the last straw- this was not the life I wanted yet I had nothing to go back to. Maybe it was the bottle of Chandon I was drinking, or the fact that I turned 22, but that day I let go of all control and expectations. I was already on my journey, and it was goddam magical. My great Australian van-life home is complete.

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Diary Travel Tips

Flying Free: Travel after University

August 17, 2015

So, all your friends have already flown the coop while you slave away for your fourth and final year of studies. They’ve managed to score ideal post-grad jobs already, or started travelling to places you can only dream about. Finally, its your chance, classes have finished and you’re done. Free. Only, by choosing to live without a housemate in your last year your bank account resembles the crumbs of fluff in your empty pockets. This is how I found myself. How could I possibly itch the bug of travel after university?

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Throughout my childhood in Far North Queensland, Australia, I dreamed of working on the dive boats – a simple and pure life, in the water and under the sun, and now my chance has come. I’ve packed up my entire life, said farewell to the closest friends I have ever made, and convinced my boyfriend to follow me back home to the Northern Beaches of Cairns.

One tiny hatchback stuffed to the brim with homewards, clothes, trinkets, eventually a bike, and a heart full of ambition to live out simpler days of no exams or assessment pieces in sunny Far North Queensland.

The next day, I landed a job with a highly reputable company doing day trips to the Great Barrier Reef, and my job was to ensure every single person on that boat got in the water and had an incredible time. I would take non swimmers, non-english speaking swimmers, and somehow convince them to grab hold of a floaty and let me guide them through my back yard of vibrant corals and curious fish. It was an amazing experience with a wonderful crew, but the days were long, really long; and with a fixed amount of pay for the day, it didn’t matter what time we mored up at the marina, it would still be another hour of cleaning, stocking, and filling up ready for another sunrise start the next day.

A few months passed and I began to get restless. Days off were scarce and my bank account wasn’t appearing to reflect my hard work and passion for this dream job, not to mention my relationship was hanging by a thread. Turns out, sleeping every chance you get doesn’t make a nice environment for romance.

Restlessness turned into rage as I realised I was once again, stuck, unhappy. Then it hit me- my mom was on the West Coast and we had never been. Both of us, Luke and I, had a raging desire for adventure and getting off the beaten track, so we decided to pack it all in and head across Australia to reach the West. 18 months later we arrived in Perth. 18 sweet, incredible, life-changing months and unfathomable experiences later.

If you’re lost, confused, and your friends seem to be the only people with their shit together, maybe its time to look for your own future, and realise nothing is permanent. Every decision you make can take you closer to finding peace with your life. Many nights were spent curled up in a ball regretting everything and comparing my world to everyone else’s, and even now I wonder if this is right for me. Don’t let comparison confuse your goals and dreams. Graduate, get your piece of paper, and do what you love until you find something else to love. And if travel after university is all you want, then get a job (or many jobs) in the industry to make this happen. Figure out the rest from there 🙂