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).


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.

A Day Before My Road Trip

Wow what a Thursday it’s been – I was up and out of the door at 7am. My journey to the Sunshine Coast was rather smooth, not too much traffic, a bright sunshiny day and all is well. I met some friends (all of which I’d like to say are a part of my soul family) at my favorite café in Landsborough – Henry & Co. Hugs all around, great company and time to leave…… time to say goodbye. Little emotion going around however no tears… so that’s fabulous, no wiping the mascara off that may have provided the look of a couple of black eyes.

Next I head to Burpengary to drop off my car- it’s time to say goodbye. She did me a great service over the last 4 years, she saw me cry many a time, laugh, scream and then there were my moments of frustration and calm. For a car that cost me $200, she was a real blessing. A little sad to see her go.

Time to pick up my rental – this is where the fun begins – 12noon was my pick-up time, only the car was not ready, wasn’t even in the system, so some phone calls and yelling from the receptionist its ready to go. To my surprise in was a little hatchback, a Getz (I thought I was picking up a sedan of some sort), so I hop into the car…freak a manual (I haven’t driven one of those in almost 20 years) and the smell…. Oh my God, it’s horrible, not good; smells like someone released all they had in their stomach – vomit. Oh really, so the car …is a little disappointing. Oh but wait it only gets better….. So I slowly drive off, with a few little hiccups trying to adjust to a clutch, wow a manual. Oh I forgot to tell you – it’s on empty. Hahaha….. Oh my goodness. Waiting at the lights, about to take off and the cars not moving, OK it’s not in gear, so we put it in first and keep going only to have the little hatchback to slip out of gear as I’m driving and here I thought I forgot to put it into gear, Nope.. It’s slipping as I drive and to top it all of…. The radio does not work!!!!! Nor does the air conditioner or cigarette lighter (guess I’m not plugging in a charger anytime soon).

However, I’m still grateful for this little car that is going to get me to where I need to go – Melbourne. And that it’s not costing me a cent (to which I now understand completely as to why!)

My next stop…. Optometrist. In October before leaving the Sunshine Coast I decided it was time to get my eyes checked. I picked up my glasses; however something was not quite right. You see when I put on my sunnies; I felt like I was standing extremely high, and when I took a step, I missed the step. My reading glasses I couldn’t even see the computer screen clearly; I had to move in closer. So I decided I needed to go back to see my Optometrist of 20 years. And sure enough the prescription was too strong. It seems my right eye doesn’t want to cooperate with my left, it needs a little retraining. So…. new script on its way.

Beaudesert… my next appointment with my job search provider, running a little behind time, however all is running smoothly. Now Rachel has been absolutely fantastic…. With fuel cards in my hand, and awaiting approval for accommodation and food expenses, I’m making my way home to find some way of removing the stink from the car. I found an upholstery cleaner I had sitting around, so I sprayed… everything within the car. Now it’s a waiting game till morning. Fingers crossed; otherwise my essential oils will be unpacked and used extensively.

Dad has just left to pick my mother up to come for dinner… oh yeah. She’s emotional, sad, and everything I don’t want to be around right now, I want to enjoy the moments of happiness and excitement of stepping into something unknown and new. I would once feel guilty over her reaction and her emotions, taking the responsibility as my own, but now… freak that… she can have her shit all to herself. I am not responsible for her emotional upheaval, or reactions or anybody else’s. I am only responsible for my own.

7pm and I’m ready for bed, nodding off at the table is a big give-away that I’m a little tired. Still lots to do, however tomorrow is just around the corner, so I leave anything else for then. So today I will pack up the car (taking less than I anticipated to) and begin my journey to Melbourne. Byron Bay will be my first stop.

A New Journey for Me

What a journey it has been over the last couple of weeks. As you may recall I flew to Melbourne last month for a second job interview……. Well…… ‘I GOT THE JOB’, so now; there’s a new journey that begins.

I delayed telling my family, as I wanted to soak up the positive feelings and allow myself to acknowledge the huge change about to take place, the accomplishment and impact of this move. HUGE! I’m moving to Melbourne……. Excited to say the least; a little hesitant, overwhelmed by the enormity of this move and just how it will effect my life. One I have been searching, believing and hoping for; for a very long time. It’s finally here and it’s up to me to follow through and live a life I’ve always desired to have. I can be a new version of me.

I am moving forward into a new adventure, a new creation of me. I am so looking forward to this new beginning. It has been a somewhat ….. smooth transition for me, no freaking out, and no second guessing, keeping my mind focused on the NOW and not too far into the future. Focusing on what has to be done now… I’m still at BP for a couple more days – training my replacement (my brother), packing and repacking, removing the old – preparing for the new. I am leaving here with very little belongings – I decided it was time for a fresh start, no longer in need to carry around with me any baggage from the past. I have allowed myself to release the luggage I’ve been carrying around with me for some 40 years. My belongings now fit into the boot of a car. This in itself was an accomplishment, one I’m not quite sure how I achieved, however it feels fantastic.

I’ve been looking for a transfer car to travel in, as my $200 car won’t make the trip (another of my assets going), it’s been hard to know who to trust on the web, and the hidden costs they don’t tell you up front and so on. I am determined to have my travel buddy booked by the end of the day(a vehicle booked and waiting for confirmation, unfortunately it was not the van Ii had hoped for but a sedan; guess I’m sleeping on the back seat). A new hairdo (i got my hair cut off to my shoulders), my wardrobe reduced to a ¼ of what I had, cancelling, suspending accounts, trips to the op shops (saying goodbye to what I no longer need), appointments – eyes, naturopath, access consciousness session, and saying good bye to those who have been a part of past and now preparing for a road trip to Melbourne.

Emotionally…… I’m ready for this, no regrets, no doubts, just a knowing that this is my opportunity to have more, to have my dreams fulfilled, no sadness of leaving anyone behind, my children see me moving as an opportunity to visit Melbourne (my grandsons first flight…ha-ha), no sense of missing anything or anyone, I am only responsible for me and my life. I can truly say for the first time in my life I am carrying no one else’s burdens, concerns or shit. It is truly just about me. My life is MINE! No responsibilities except to myself! It feels bloody fantastic.

I leave on Friday (4 more sleeps), I will take 5-6 days to travel to Melbourne, taking my time, reflecting and releasing anything that may surface along the way. Finding that freedom within me, having the music loud as I journey, singing like no one is watching, stopping and exploring parts of Australia I am yet to discover. Enjoying the life I am living (a great big sigh). So please …. feel free to follow my journey as I go, I will be posting pictures and blogging along the way, sharing my adventures. Here’s to a new journey.