How do I write on five months of living in another country in one blog post? Do I even try? This is something I’ve been asking myself for the past three months. Maybe if I had written one right then it would be easier now. The thing is, I don’t think I could have, even if I wanted to (Several uncompleted drafts have been saved). Oh I write all the time. I’m like that weird poet who sits in the dimly lit corner of a pub scribbling down his thoughts and observations. But, sharing my life publicly when things are changing every day is difficult to do, nearly impossible. And I’ve wondered if part of this journey is letting go of updating, relying on people who aren’t actually here, telling people what I’ve been up to…Honestly I came to the realization awhile back that nobody really cares. So now I just do what I do if it feels right for me, not out of obligation. I finished a book recently, a memoir of a woman’s life growing up in Africa. She ended it by saying, “this is not a full circle. It’s life carrying on. It’s the next breath we all take. It’s the choice we make to get on with it.” I thought it was cool how she told her story up to a certain point and then dropped it off like that. Because she’s still living it. So, what’s been going on is a lot. And a lot I can’t explain but wish I could share and a lot that is personal growth, stuff that everyone goes through no matter their location. I’ve decided it’s time to share again but what you’ll read and hear are only fragments of what actually happens living and traveling abroad for an extended period of time. Maybe when I get home and we sit down for a cup of tea I can explain everything I’ve seen. But I think mostly this is just for me. It’s just life carrying on. It’s documenting the raw, beautiful, surprising, broken human experience onto my heart.
To sum up Australia: after spending a good chunk of time working in the acupuncture clinic I road tripped across Australia from Brisbane to Perth, just 2,700 miles of driving, at the least. The first few days of the trip were pretty, actually gorgeous: rolling hills, thick forests, coastal cliffs, and wineries. But the further west the more desolate. Driving across the nullarbor highway was not much of a thrill. You could see for miles. To the left and right was just rugged soil and scrappy bush. I saw more roadkill than live animals. It’s the longest, straightest road I’ve ever been on, maybe even that exists. It’s like driving across Kansas for three days straight, back and forth. During this road trip I managed to damage the landcruiser’s roof, resulting in devastating financial crisis for a backpacker (along with the broken engine incident taking place a month earlier). So I got to Perth in the winter season and had no choice but to stay there and work until I did anything else. Thankfully I found an amazing place to stay and a few decent jobs. I only wish I had more time to spend with the people I was meeting in Perth but, feeling restless, it seemed that the time for me to see other things had come.
Last week I took a small road trip to the South. On the first day we drove to out to a point to see the blowholes but what we ended up seeing were whales, three of them making their way across the vast ocean. From on top of the ridge we could clearly see their silhouettes under the water. A couple of them breached, showing the white patches of skin. I was in heaven there. It was magical. After that we drove to another beach called Elephant Rocks, named after their massive size. The water looked clear, inviting, and was cold from winter. But I stripped down and eased into the water (nothing is as cold as glacier pools in New Zealand or jumping in the ocean in the middle of winter in Boston, so much to the Australians disbelief, I managed ok ;). That feeling though, is one of the best in the world. Being in the Indian Ocean made swimming there even more special. The weekend was filled with driving around and seeing a bunch of stuff. Western Australia is known for their wine. There are heaps of small vineyards to go into for tastings, usually cozy buildings with fireplaces and local art. One day during the drive I accidentally drove up to a lookout called windy Harbor. To me it felt like the end of the world. Isolated, no one around for miles, kangaroos hopping through the bushes, wind running through my hair. I’ve wanted to experience something like this, a place that feels so far away it’s like you’re the first one to find it. My time in Australia over those five months was full of temporary shifts in temperment. Sometimes I laughed, sometimes I was depressed, sometimes I was shocked with what life was bringing me, and sometimes all of that put together brought on tears. Trying to make sense of it then wasn’t something I could wrap my head around, I just knew I was doing the right thing, that I was in the right place. Now I have left Australia and am experiencing completely new smells, people, sights, and perceptions. So grateful, my heart is getting fuller.