Well here I am, nearly 9 months into a new life, actually another chapter of my very fortunate life. 9 months ago I left the school I loved working at, in the NSW Southern Highlands, and the beautiful teachers and students, and the beautiful caring folk in the village of Robertson where I was known as the Yurt lady, packed up (or gave away) my possessions and tearfully left the absolutely beautiful Robertson Roundhouse which I had bought, loved working in the rainforest and unique garden, and shared through Airbnb with many folk, to come and share my life in the Ballarat district. I have relocated back to, but still a distance away from Melbourne (where I lived for approximately 30 years). It was fate that introduced us. Music, dancing, laughter and the joy of living life.
My Airbnb was very, very popular and booked out nearly every weekend ( and often extra days when my dear friend let me stay in their farmhouse and cook me awesome meals – thank you Doug). Consequently I would leave school in Mittagong at 4pm on Fridays and drive through Camden to the Blue Mountains.
Arrival at the YHA Katoomba was a quick warm hello to staff as they handed me the sheet and pillow and doona cover and checked me in. By sunset if possible I had raced upstairs, made my bed, left my backpack and headed to watch the sunset over the escarpment. Wow!
Then a quick drive to the Hotel Blu for music session. Dinner there. Back to YHA for a chat or game of cards or Scrabble then sleep. Welcome even if sharing a dorm with young folk from many different countries. Sometimes we talked for hours No barriers common interests instead
Up and on the go Saturday mornings and off with walking poles to spend the day walking in the absolutely beautiful National Park Sometimes with “Sydney Bushwalkers” Often I would team up with David (a fellow ‘single’) and we chatted and encouraged each other on the steep treks (he let me stop and take photos) and shared water with others. I believe in the positive sharing of experiences and how lucky I have been.
Saturday nights were spent listening to music or at the YHA sharing cooking, eating, or chatting with folk from all countries and across all ages. I was in my happy place. My sister worried I might meet some undesirables but the opposite was true… I felt safe.
Sundays were varied. Spent time exploring, photographing nature, making a basket and listening to the Jazz evening at Blackheath. What a lovely group of folk. They knew I had a 2 1/2 hour drive down the mountain to the yurt in the dark and often rain so had me call one of them when I got home safely. Sometimes I went back to curl up in a bunk for the night and headed off at 5am Monday, showering at school. Easier.
In 2018 a new chapter begun and instead of sleeping at the YHA in Katoomba I now slept on the Sydney to Melbourne overnight train each Friday and Sunday nights, about 40 weekends last year. The stories of those trips is another story but let’s say it was well worth it, but lovely to not do now. Arriving at Moss Vale at 5:05am on a Monday morning to a frozen, dead battery, car in minus 3 degrees was not fun. Having dinner with my loved ones at Southern Cross Station was lovely … haven’t had a pint of apple cider since though. Good laugh though.
Nine months later What I arrived to has changed a lot – David (94)) has passed away, so we don’t have FaceTime calls regularly with the others; my job at a lovely school here which was to be part-time changed to full time and I was in transition and said no to full time. I miss the young folk at school and their life energy but now am part of Sing Australia, and dancing and on Ballarat Crafts Council. I spend more time making baskets and having the time and energy to travel, explore places and cultures and meet lovely folk. Gardening has fallen off my daily life as we are on limited tank water but my memory is strong of what I have achieved, my permaculture food producing garden at our family home and the ongoing Nature’s secret garden at the Yurt. 6 months today a beautiful little granddaughter came into my life and even though not in my arms she is in my world
The fulfilment of walking country with indigenous women and experiencing Tiwi Islands and Litchfield National Park and the connections made from this trip means a great deal to me. I am slowly stitching a pandanus basket … slowly but so enjoyable.
My prattling has gone longer than I thought so will bid goodnight, for now
Sending smiles your way