Perceptions

Life is funny at times… the little things that you seem to miss from day to day. The sunshine for one, the familiar faces of customers coming and going, family and friends (even the ones that irritate that something deep within you), the wild life and mother nature’s beauty of rolling mountains and the tall shadows of the trees. All of those things that you take for granted….. I miss them all. Life is different here in Victoria (well…the suburb I’m currently in). There is very little nature (I’m no longer in the country), only concrete and brick buildings, the homes squashed and packed like sardines. The weather is cold and miserable, the colours so dark and dreary – black, grey, brown. Where is the colour to brighten up those hard days of torment that you see on people’s faces?

The lack of smiles, expression, joy and happiness as you pass them in the street. It’s so miserable, people don’t want to look you in the eyes, make contact… Why is that? Is it, fear of someone seeing the truth within, have they just given up on having or being something more or has society created an attitude of conformity – where everyone just follows the one in front, not questioning the outcome.

Yesterday I saw two homeless people – one guy he was just sitting there outside of Coles with no expression on his face; a numbness of despair, he was holding up a $10 note, just staring at it, it’s like he didn’t know what to do with it, not believing that someone gave him money – he was disengaged, deserted his body – the soul and spirit had already left (hope gone). And then at the train station this older women, her cheeks were red from the cold air, with no shoes wandering around disorientated, devoid, a lack of hope within her eyes, she seemed to have abandoned and resolved to the fact that this was her life, it wasn’t getting any better.

Heartbreaking to see, everyone just walking on by, not even noticing – like neither of them even existed. People blind by choice, not wanting to see, not wanting to acknowledge that this is what our society has created. Homelessness!!

 “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say you did not know”

William Wilberforce

The public seems to have their own perception of homelessness, as being an older man or women with a drinking or drug problem who sleeps in an inner-city park or street. However, it’s more than just that. Homelessness can affect men, women, and children from a wide range of backgrounds. It is often masked by the fact that people experiencing homeless move from one temporary solution to another, making do until they can find permanent accommodation.

The hidden homeless as they call it – move between the homes of family members or friends, stay in refuges, boarding houses, motels, caravans and even cars. Uncertainty can take an enormous toll on a person’s self-worth.

If you would like to know more about homelessness and how you can help please click on one of the links below:

https://vincentcare.org.au/?services=about-homelessnessunder-housing-and-homeless

https://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/about/homelessness-statistics.

https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/community/health-support-services/social-support/Pages/help-homeless.aspx

Day 6 – Junee To Melbourne

My last day of traveling from Queensland…. And what a journey it has been; of discovery, trying new things, meeting new people, catching up with old friends, learning more about Australia’s history and enjoying the solitude of just being with me.

Today I stopped at Albury for brunch at a little café, near the train station, wonderful food, everything organic, fantastic service. I would recommend this to anyone passing on through.

I didn’t have too many stops today as:

  1. The weather was crappy… rain, hail and shine. Wouldn’t be able to enjoy the scenery or the exploring
  2. I was over it all – especially the car, continuously slipping out of gear, extremely frustrating. I couldn’t stand driving it anymore.
  3. Tired, so tired…. Rest, sleep is what I need

Stopping every 1/2hour to pee was getting a little crazy; apparently it’s all part of the change of weather, my body adapting. So much joy in that! There were metal seats – ooh not so friendly for the backside, icy cold. Then the plastic seats, they weren’t as bad – ooh and how can I forget the natural whatever they are called, where there’s basically a hole in the ground – the deep dark abyss of the unknown lurks beneath you as you go about your business. How can that be right?

One of my favorite memories was pulling over on the side of the road, trying to find a tree to pee behind, while it was pissing down with rain – hoping no one stops to check on me (which of course they did). Jumping from one foot to the other, hoping I didn’t pee my pants right there, wishing they would hurry up and leave. And the relief once they did……

Catching up with another primary school friend as I arrived in Melbourne was entertaining to say the least. All in good fun… discussing my love life with one particular male was humorous in all its form- the craziness of one’s mind and the lack of remorse, being screwed up as it comes or should I say screwed about, as he screwed plenty of women around in that short span of six months. Leaving a bitter taste in my mouth and him behind in so many ways. Sadness washes over me as I see him as nothing more than a lost child, not willing to heal his past, just sweep the hurt and unresolved issues under the rug, as many people do, as I did for many years.

Finally, I arrived in Hoppers Crossing at my Uncles place – a warm welcome as always. Love these two dearly. Car due back today, only they won’t get it until tomorrow as it’s getting late and I don’t chose to fight the crazy traffic in Melbourne.

Day 5 – Orange to Junee

What a cold night it was… down to 1 degree in Orange. Luckily the hotel I was staying in had heating, electric blankets – heaven. A late start today as I sleep in, that never seems to happen, but I certainly needed the extra few hours of sleep.

My first stop was for breakfast in a little town called Cargo, The Café – Timber Tales. A beautiful ambience as the fire burned, homey and very welcoming. A place I would recommend to anyone passing through this small town.

Cowra was big on all things Japanese – the Japanese POW camp, grave sites and of cause the Japanese Garden and Culture Centre, which I visited. A beautiful garden, fall of colour, waterfalls and plants native to Japan. I took my time as I strolled through the garden, sitting soaking up the sun, trying to find that little bit of warmth, as I was cold down to the bone. The Culture Centre displayed many a great things, paintings, Samurai swords, Japanese dolls and so much more. A time well spent.

Next I traveled to Cootamundra where I took the time to wander through their Heritage Centre – full of local history – wartime, aboriginal culture, trains and about their local hero – Bradman.

The day started out sunny and bright but quickly turned wet and a little dreary the further south I traveled. Lucky the heater in the car was working. The closer I near Melbourne the more nervous I am becoming. So many changes are taking place, still no regrets or tears for that matter. I just know that this move is right for me. Where will I live, how soon will I be able to get a car are just some of the questions that I’m asking the universe. Trying to keep my focus strictly on the now, on the moment, enjoying been in the present and the adventure before me. The rest will be here soon enough.

My next stop – Junee, where I headed straight to the Licorice & Chocolate Factory- Yum! Another place with a fantastic ambience, fire burning, food cooking and people enjoying their meals. I chose to make my own Rocky Road – now that was fun, I got to choose what I’d like in my rocky road, then comes the fun part where you get your hands dirty, mixing all of the ingredients together with the chocolate. They encourage you to lick your fingers and enjoy the flavor of the chocolate. Next I attended the licorice factory tour, sampling was allowed. And we played upright licorice bowling, now that was fun – I tied first with one of the other ladies. Next door was a museum of vintage cars which I explored also. Railway Square was next on my list – I just love the old historical buildings. Then it was time to locate my accommodation for the night.

Day 4 – Coonabarabran to Orange

One thing I have to say when it comes to staying in Motels….. the walls are way to thin…. from screaming children, snoring, being able to hear the conversations and the couple next door going hard at it. Lack of sleep is bound to happen. With the lack of sleep I’m off to a slow start this morning and planning a way shorter day.

It felt long a long drive today, even though it was probably one of the shortest days i’ve had… open roads with just trees, dirt and plenty of dead animals along the way. Dry country in much need of water. As I get closer to my destination I can feel the change in temperature, the rains falling, gently hitting the windscreen and the heat does actually work in the car. Very excited about that.

Dubbo… I walked the main street of Dubbo, explored the Old Goal, creepy, eerie sensation, I wouldn’t like to be there at night. They had displayed the hangman’s equipment, talked about how people were executed, and the life within the goal; it was horrible.

Moving on to the Shoyoen Japanese Gardens…beautifully done. The fish were amazing, as they reach the surface, expecting a feed, mouths wide open as if they were speaking to you; I’m sure if I had listened closely I may have been able to hear them. The colours of the plants, trees and flowers were amazing – the colours of autumn were all around Dubbo and not just in the garden.

A quick stop at Big W to buy a thicker jumper and some thermal socks. And finally a Chai Latte. Nice and warm, warming my very core.

Onwards to Orange…. the country of wines. As you drive into Orange, the first thing I noticed was the amazing colours of the autumn leaves all around. Oranges, Reds, Yellow and browns – so much colour. I found myself at one of the many Art Gallery’s here in Orange – a little bit of culture never hurt anyone. Some fantastic work and others looked like any child could do it. The use of colour and lines were the main focus of one artist, interesting. The bright oranges, reds and aqua were what drew me in.

Time for some wine tasting, so I headed out towards the mountains, where less than an hour ago it was snowing. So bummed that I missed it – hence the icy cold winds. So I visited this gorgeous winery and did some taste testing , I found only a couple of the wines I actually enjoyed and walked away with a bottle of their Cherry Liquor. Visited the local lake on the way back into the main street to find accommodation for the night.

Day 3 – Kempsey to Coonanbarabran

On my travels I have meet a few different women, who I have been able to share parts of my story with… each one of them has walked away feeling inspired, hopeful and looked forward to the changes that they themselves could make in each of their own lives. That in itself was encouraging to me, as I never saw myself as being an inspiration to others, just by following my own heart and changing my life; completely starting over with nothing other than what I could fit into the hired car. It felt good.

As I journeyed to Port Macquarie at 5.30am I could see the sun on the horizon, it was in different hues of pink, blue and orange, so beautiful. I knew I needed to get to the beach to watch it continue to rise. It was well worth it, as the sky grew brighter and brighter – i got colder and colder, the scarf and beanie came out along with an extra jumper. It was a magnificent view all around, walking up to the lookout watching the waves crush against the rocks below, not sure as to what direction to look as it was breath-taking.

I decided that i would go inland to Tamworth which turned out to be a very long drive. I drove through Wauchope to Walcha – and what a journey that was. It took me through Cottan-Bimbang National Park which was 60km of tortuous bends and curves. There are over four hundred plus bends along this section. The scenery however was spectacular.

Finally arriving in Walcha, I noticed numerous sculptures on the streets, from human forms to a phoenix, and other forms of art. That was the highlight for me in this small town.

At Tamworth I visited the Big Golden Guitar where I had the opportunity to speak to one of the volunteers. She kindly shared her life story with me and how her strength and courage allowed her to leave her abusive husband – Inspirational Women. Through the encouragement of this women I then visited the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame…

I am enjoying every aspect of this journey, the driving, the exploring, meeting new people, singing loudly and rather badly, allowing the wind to blow through my hair (as it is no longer, long enough to get knotty) and the beautiful countryside, which is in much need of rain. The hills and mountains, the open paddocks, horses, cows, sheep, goats and even a few llamas, so much to see and take in. The roadworks however was disappointing as its everywhere, a plague that seems to spread from one state to the next. Frustrating to say the least.

Coonabarabran is one of those smaller towns that turn out to be a surprise, full of little treasures. Crystal Kingdom – a museum of gems and fossils found throughout Australia, some beautiful pieces on display. A great place to end a rather long day, even my fingers are complaining as they begin to swell. Taking a stroll down the main street where I discovered this gorgeous park full of color, some historical buildings, the clock tower and that there were no coffee shops left open (I’m going to have to wait for that chai latte until tomorrow).

Coonabarabran

Day 2 -Ballina to Kempsey

I started my morning exploring part of Ballina, Shelly Beach, the Big Prawn, the artwork, and the waterways. Enjoying a stroll along the beach and around West Ballina where I found a little cafe hidden away; they made the best chai latte that I have tasted in awhile.

Before leaving Ballina I had the chance to catch up with a very old friend and his wife. We were 11 the last time we saw each other, that’s 36years ago – feeling old or what? I was nervous, and talking too much about not much of anything… rumbling on as one does. It was great seeing him, he is still that gentle soul from primary school.

Next stop – Grafton: a beautiful historical town, I love the old buildings and churches, enjoyed a relaxing moment at one of the parks, very tranquil.

As I continue on my journey.. I do a little reflecting… someone told me before I left, to take a box of tissues, as there would be tears. Only there are none….. I’m not running from anything, I’m not leaving anyone behind, I don’t regret my decision or have any doubts as to what I’m doing. This move feels right for me…. so why would there be tears?

Anyway.. I’m enjoying the journey and exploring everything along the way. Sealy Lookout – spectacular views, a short bush-walk and its where you’ll find the Tree Tops walk and its where my shoe broke. Another pair of shoes to say goodbye too.

Coff’s Harbor – The Big Banana Fun Park, how that has changed – I watched the Candy Maker making some candy, Checked out the large snake on the roof of Reptile World, and of course a photo of the Big Banana itself, enjoyed a ice cream and met Max.

Nambucca Heads – a quick stop to enjoy the magnificent views from the lookout before heading to Kempsey for the night. I enjoyed a wonderful meal at the local Indian Restaurant before heading back to the Motel.

Day 1….. Delayed

My day started at around 3am, where i hopped out of bed, showered, packed what was left, moved what needed to be moved and packed the car, 7:15am I’m ready to go. I say goodbye to my sister, dad and Jay, get behind the wheel of the car and start the ignition… only nothing happens…… nothing, the car won’t start, bugger, flat battery. Dad hooks the battery up to a charger, 1/2 hour later still nothing, 1 hour – just as dead. Phone Rent-a-bomb and speak to Con. He doesn’t understand, as the car was checked over a couple of days ago. RACQ was called, a 2hour wait… I’m starting to get a little antsy here.

In the meantime, my friend has arrived to move into the house I was staying in, surprised to see me still there. Getting anxious as i wait, wondering if I’m doing the right thing, doubt slowly starts to slip into the mind, but only for the very briefest of moments. I quickly push that aside. I want this, its been delayed for a reason, one that I may not be aware of.

Everyone around me is impressed at how I’m handling this, remaining calm (well on the outside, inside is screaming many profanities). In the end Dad puts a new battery in and I’m on my way to Currumbin to one of their stores to get the car checked over. Its 2.30pm by the time I leave their store, however I’m finally on my way to Byron Bay.

A great drive, with the wind blowing through my hair, music pumping from my speaker, and a smile finally on my face. I’m actually doing this…… I’m moving to Melbourne. It’s not exactly how I had pictured the beginning of my trip, I expected more of a…..carefree beginning, less stress.

Byron Bay, I have arrived -such beauty. I head straight to Fishermans Lookout, where I take a deep breathe of Byron’s fresh air, listen to the waves gently breaking and watch as the suns rays push through the clouds, I walk to the top of the lookout and observe mother natures astounding blessings. A moment of clarity before getting behind the wheel once again.

Ballina…. I’ve made it to Ballina, I have found a motel for the night ‘Fun n Sun Motel’, where I ordered a pizza (with a gluten free base of course). Exhaustion has seeped into my bones.. 6pm and I’m falling asleep sitting up. The day has finally caught up to me. Early night….. What adventures await me in the morning.