Happy to be leaving Alice Springs after a night of car break-ins, distant gun shots, fireworks and the sound of street races all night.. I jumped in the van and headed North! 4 days of a lot of nothing, I mentally prepared myself for some delirious car singing.
After 4 hours of driving with only a short 10 min lunch stop I made it to Wycliffe Will not far from the Devils Marbles and known as ‘The Alien Capitol of Australia”. So quirky it was almost eery this campground! This stay was UFO and alien themed, consisting of unpleasant alien statues, run down buildings with alien art work, newspaper clippings of UFO sightings and signage such as “Femailiens” and “Maliens” for the showers and toilets.
I had been so surprised this whole journey at how much I wasn’t craving the coastline or feeling claustrophobic from not being able to see the ocean. It wasn’t until my Alice Springs friend said that he felt the same. So much so he woke up one morning thinking “I feel like I’m near the ocean”. But this was because we were in fact on the ocean floor. Putting together the Central Australia history of a desert that was first an ocean and the ocean energy we both experienced, it made a lot of sense and that was extremely beautiful.
Waking that morning to practice I was brushing my teeth when I began to hear something very quickly walking towards the van at 5am… Dingo! I again quickly jumped inside and closed the door. I sat in the van and listened to the footsteps snooping around on my picnic rug out side, I decided these steps sounded much larger and hoof like compared to dingo paws.
With my lights off in the van I tried to see outside my tinted windows as I heard the animal walk away at my boot. I couldn’t see anything and after a few minutes I built up the courage to continue my morning routine outside.
Again, I heard the footsteps, but this time they were not in a hurry and not headed towards me. I shone my head torch in the direct of the steps to see a large Brahman! Roaming cattle was common out here, but this big guy was a little lost from his pack. After a laugh at how my reaction would have been if I actually SAW this guy running towards me earlier, as well as the fact life had come to dodging dingos, mice, cattle, and going to the femalien loo, I casually continued on with my day.
With a shorter 2 and half hour drive I managed to complete it with no stop after again spending the morning studying and leaving a little later. Noticing the landscape starting to change and become a little greener as I passed through Tenant Creek, I was saddened once again at the quality of indigenous communities.
Noticing Daisy’s air con starting to make a funny noise – not ideal timing, I finally need you! I arrived to Bank Banka Station. Greeted by the friendliest owners, I parked myself in the non-powered area and was overwhelmed by the 35 degree heat. With a gentle breeze and setting sun, I cooked up a dinner that lovely campers walking by commented on the smell and chatted with interest about what I was making. A few weeks ago I realised I could set my camp table up at coffee table height, which meant every meal could feel like a picnic and I didn’t need to bother with my camp chair! Lazy? Maybe… It did make me giggle and also a little concerned of the mobility in the West at the shock of seeing an adult squatting and sitting on the floor to cook and eat. I had people feeling sorry for me and kindly offer me a chair. To me, I felt more comfortable eating close to the earth than stiffened in a chair and became aware that this was quite odd to others and grew used to the comical comments of: “Do you not own a chair?” “Only a yoga teacher would sit and eat like that!”.
After dinner I walked to the lookout providing a breath taking 360 degree view of the pastel sunset sky and the vast amount of glorious nothingness that google had predicted.
Awaking at Bank Banka feeling a little off from the disturbed cries of the cattle all night I walked to the waterhole. On my return I realised where those disturbed cries had come from all night. Across the road hundreds of cattle were crammed into bared fencing. They were like this all night to await their morning pick up from two large road trains. I watched as they cried, tried to turn back, stumbled over ramps not fit for their feet and whipped onto the trucks where they were confined even more. For the first time ever I actually shed a few tears at how horrific the animal farming industry was. “Live stock” is exactly how they’re treated, but the “live” part of that title totally dismissed. When we are in glamorised, specifically positioned and jazzed up supermarkets it’s hard to believe where the items we buy come from. Blown out at not only the treatment, but how far the cattle would now have to travel to whatever horrible destination (possibly even over seas first!) to be just that, stock. Leaving consumers with stressed, traumatized and who knows what hormones and man altered factors in the meat for humans to consume. And we wonder why we have physical and mental health issues after consuming such far travelled, processed, trauma induced and lack of quality foods. NO good juju PRANA (energy/life force) in that process.
Not even thinking of what the word “station” meant upon booking, I felt devastated for supporting what I had just witnessed. Understanding that we can only do our best with the knowledge we have, combined with unawareness and conditioned perceptions, I focused on the beautiful hospitality I received.
Please think twice at where you source your food and if you could happily watch what I witnessed and feel good about putting the results from such harm and processing into your body. If your body asks for meat in your diet, please source wisely. The major supermarket’s we are so conveiniently accustomed and conditioned to, do not bring their plastic wrapped, shiny foods fresh from their freezers or gardens out the back to stock their shelves… Nothing will change unless we do, start small.
Passing many more sickening road trains I made it to my final destination before Katherine, Dunmara Roadhouse. A peaceful little tree lined set up. I spent the whole afternoon facetiming family and friends.
The next morning I woke at 4 am feeling extremely wired with excitement that it was 2 weeks today until Mango Man arrived and I think I was also keen for a little civilisation after a few days in station land. My wired-ness turned to a feeling of off-ness. My excitement almost turning to frustration because 2 weeks away was not now. Possibly after exactly one month today of very little socialisation, it was starting to get to me. Knowing a coffee would be the worst thing for me today, I made one anyway to hype me up for one last big drive...
After talking to myself as though I was talking to an absolute child to get moving and on the road, I was finally off!
The trees were greener and taller, I could sense and see the desert beginning to meet the tropics! Arriving to Boab caravan park, thankful for them to squeeze me in – the bonus of a smaller vehicle - I stepped out side and experienced another intensity of heat!
I spent a whole week in Katherine, finishing off my assignment and getting a few jobs out of the way so I could be completely present with Mango Man. I arrived in time to meet with the lovely owner of Yoga Bubble who kindly lent me her space for the Hen’s party live stream. I enjoyed a vinyin class after a studio run through and felt the car jolting of the 4 consistent days of driving starting to leave my system in pentacle. That explains the feeling wired!
Saturday morning, I was up early and setting up the tech side of the hens event in the love filled bubble studio. It was so good to teach again for the first time in just over a month - the longest break since my training! - and it felt super special to be a part of my cuzzie Georgie’s day. After class I checked out the Katherine market then went back to my study bubble.
Throughout the week I enjoyed short walks to the Katherine hot springs. I arrived early one morning, enjoying the spring to myself to then gradually watching crowds arriving. Happily floating away on my back I saw the most delightful familiar face walking the path!! Beautiful Franny, a fellow yoga teacher on her second last day of a toured WA trip, just happened to cross paths with me here in Katherine. We had a nice chat as she floated down stream sharing travel adventure highlights and laughed at the timing and place to run into each other!
After 5,521km to make it to Katherine in one month, I was so ready to move on once again after my longest standstill in a ‘big city’!
From Katherine I headed to Edith Falls Campground approximately an hours drive north east of Katherine. Four nights spent here by the most beautiful large swimming hole framed by high cliffs, and a waterfall. With temperatures reaching 39 degrees and not dropping far below 25 of a night time (or I'd say 33 in the van!!), I was feeling the heat!. Every morning I woke early and hiked at sunrise before it was unbearable for this Tassie girl to lift a finger..!
My first morning I completed the largest hike to the furthest swimming hole. Absolute magic. I experienced on foot where the desert meets the tropics, where the old and ancient like energy meets the rich, bright and flourishing… it kind of felt like the polarities of my soul.
Reaching the top hole, with no other soul in sight apart from the slithering tail end of my first snake sighting, I stripped of completely for the most delightful nudie swim I’ve ever had.
Luckily after just re-dressing a group of guys came along from the south on their last few kms of the 55km hike from Katherine Gorge to Edith falls. They jumped into the water hole to shout “Yep, there’s definitely freshies (crocs) in here!”.
Me: “I’m glad you said that after I got out!”.
My days here continued with more sunrise hikes, all pleasant and stunning but rudely disturbed and having me ready to book a flight home from the flies in my eyeballs..!
Starting to acclimatise in the high 30 degree heat and doing my best to not mope around. I officially gave myself permission to twiddle my thumbs and try not to pretend like Ii'mm not missing Mango man to bits to have the strength to journey on sanely. My respect goes out to couples separated during the spicy flu! My eagerness and readiness to get to Darwin is real that I tear up just typing this. So cheers to, as I write this, four more sleeps and 5 more days of being grateful for where I am and the journey I have experienced so far until I go to the airport! But for now, a surrender and feeling into the waiting. And a chat soon to you, who feels to me like a dear old friend reading this. For next time we speak I’d have officially made it to the top end and dipped my toes in the salt waters of the North Coast – the protected from the crocs sections that is…