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All the In-Between ~ Darwin to Far North Queensland

Wowee it has been a little while. I left you last with tear filled eyes at Edith falls in the Northern Territory. I hadn’t forgotten about sharing my journey I promise… it’s just that it’s taken a good month to be able to type without the eyes filling up too much once again!

I feel like I’ve become the biggest, softest, blubbering mess on this adventure and how good it is to have time to cry. We spend our lives trying to ‘hold it together’ or ‘get over it’ so we can function at work and in daily life, when really we just need to take a break to feel and let it pass instead of allow it to accumulate… these tears eb and flow in emotion waves of pure joy and gratitude from the breath taking raw beauty and experience I am having. They flow in the holding of moments passed, the worry of scenarios that do not exist and the loneliness in deeply missing the ones I love. The welling of emotion from being so far away from family and friends I’ve found arises in two forms. The first form is the helpless of wanting nothing more than a hug and a conversation not through a screen or over the phone. This then generates into a smiling sob, a deep breath, and a presence to how lucky I am to be surrounded by such people. How lucky I am to have beautiful humans to love and return home to.

And then, there is the case of the Mango man. I’m not sure his visit was for better or worse. The extremely tough barrier I built up around my heart to get through our time apart got shot to pieces in those magical two weeks together and I have a feeling that barrier ain’t coming back. A glorious pulsating warmth in my chest that’s raw to touch with thought. From tears of happiness and grief of the memories made. Grateful and excited tears of future plans, to tears of longing for he does not exist in my physical reality.

If only every traveller that I met knew of the touchy wobbly lip on this “WOW YOU”RE SO BRAVE” woman. I think the host of an Air B&B I stayed in at the Daintree Rainforest had an inkling from my swollen eyes after crying in frustration over a broken washing machine…

It’s interesting though, how I feel the need to express and exaggerate that I am sooooo OKAY and that this adventure is everything I have ever imagined and more. When we see emotion being expressed in the form of tears or any out of the general “I’m good thanks” box, we seem to think someone is miserable and unhappy. My heart has never felt so full, I have never felt so alive and OH SO FREEEEEE. I think the fact I am letting myself feel, reflect, learn, and grow from everything that wells up within me is the most empowering and freeing thing of all. So, friends, you 100% have my permission to rest and not feel guilty. And to cry, scream, shake and move your body in the most supernatural way you need… and not feel guilty. Be vulnerable and communicate it with those you need. As yes, we can feel weighted emotions and be loving life at the same time… but it doesn’t mean that being seen and understood in those times of deep feeling, reflection and growth is not needed. Simply having someone to hear you and nothing else feels like a sweet cocoon through that moment in time.

I roughly estimate I’ve easily done over 4,000kms since our last chat! From Edith Falls I made it to Darwin, I spent 3 and a half weeks exploring the city and National Parks. From Darwin I began my journey to Far North Queensland. In a 2WD this meant I had to back track nearly 1,000kms of the Stuart Highway to reach the Barkley Highway to cut across to the coast… the A2 takes you through to the coast, arriving in Townsville. From Townsville I headed as far north as Cape Tribulation. From Cape Tribulation I began the drive south where I practically follow the full length of the A1 all the way back to my sweet little Island home! Here I bring you up to date beach side in Mackay…

Northern Territory The NT felt like a holiday within a holiday. I met my partner in Darwin in perfect timing as throughout the month of August, the Darwin Festival is on. Darwin festival felt like a summer version of Dark Mofo with no large crowds or lines… – much more of an enjoyable scale with its own unique quirk. On the weekends we lived it up in the city experiencing live music, theatre, art, comedy, and accommodation. Along with all the food, drink and Mindil Market sunsets. During the weekdays we explored Kakadu and Litchfield national park and finished our adventures at Dundee.

Kakadu is mostly a park for 4WD, but the little we could access was well worth the visit. We arrived at Kakadu and headed straight to the Ubirr Rock Art site. This is a 1km loop displaying the most breathtakingly preserved aboriginal rock art telling story of traditional aboriginal foods, law, and creation with paintings of up to 20,000 years old – one image depicting a Tassie Tiger!

The next morning, we were up before sunrise to embark on the Yellow Water Cruise I was so spoilt and grateful to receive from a good friend of mine. We watched the most beautiful sunrise on the steaming, croc filled wetland waters that were so abundant with wildlife and an energy so naturally rich. Day 3 at Kakadu took us to Maguk Falls, Daisy’s first and last experience of a 10km corrugation road. It was so worth the slow drive in. The track to the fall was just as beautiful as the waterfall and swimming hole itself.

From Kakadu we journeyed to Litchfield National Park. Here we explored more fairy-tale waterfalls, swimming holes, walking tracks and learnt about the Magnetic Termite Mounds. Our last Daisy van outing took us to Dundee. An enticing fishing destination for Mango man as “having a flick” became quite the unsuccessful hobby over the fortnight… I do have to give credit for the Queenie caught second cast which unfortunately was the peak of the having a flick experiences. Although, it certainly was not the peak of our fishing adventures. We did embark on a fun Fishing Charter from Darwin, but such boating highs were experienced at Dundee…

We arrived at Dundee to the most inviting (croc infested) turquoise blue waters, clear skies and not a breath of wind. We had been looking forward to the boat hire booked for Dundee the following day. Sleeping by the water that night, the wind was blowing quite a bit, but the forecast wasn’t anything extreme for the following days boat hire. We arrived to the boat ramp to meet the man providing the boat. Old mate was hung over after only a few hours sleep and was pretty keen to get us in the water and head back to bed. The NT does not require you to have a boat license. Even though both of us had spent plenty of time on the water, old mate didn’t even ask of our experience let alone if Mango Man had ever driven a boat before…

After explaining to avoid the many “Skull and Crossbones” on the GPS indicating reefs… and to follow the tracked lines to Finnis River in hope to finally catch a Barra we were off. The remnants of the previous night’s blow was still in the air and chopped on the water. The boat was not tiny, but it certainly was not large. On the way to the river, we attempted to drop a line first on an indicated fishing mark displayed on the GPS. During the time of leaving the boat ramp and dropping the line, it was nearly impossible to stand. The wind was gradually building and so was the chop. Deciding it wasn’t a pleasant time hanging in the un-rhythmic rise and fall of the ocean, we continued to Finnis river mouth… a good 20km form the boat ramp. The further away from accessing dry land we got the more extreme the conditions began to turn and the large tide pulled out. We finally looked to be close to the river mouth but with little channel entrance in site. The GPS depth indicator began to drop rapidly and as I held on tightly for my position in the boat at the bow, looking back I saw the propeller kicking sand… Surrounded by cloudy shallow waters, the hundreds of jelly fish around us were visible. While the non-transparency hid any crocs awaiting us to completely run aground… we headed to where the sky met the ocean and found deeper waters immediately! By this stage we were soaked through, pretending one another was fine to soothe the other when really, we were both shitting ourselves. We radioed the hungover man who didn’t seem phased to send us into unknown waters without any indication that the forecast wasn’t all that suited to our boat and intentions… We asked for advice on whether or not we could actually make it into river system with the now extremely low tide.

“Yeah, you should be right mate”.

With the wind still picking up and no promise it would be any more pleasant in the river, let alone by the afternoon journey back to the boat ramp, we made the call to end the day hire after two hours of trying to stay in the boat. I am not one to get concerned on the water. I’d rather go by boat than by plane any day. But in that moment, I was so ready for my feet to safely hit the shore! To keep the bow down and the boat level we had to stick at a certain speed. Such speed meant me gripping for dear life as it was a 50/50 experience of bum connected to the boat, to bum flying in space. Teeth chattering, body shivering, sun, wind and salt drenched… we finally made it back to the ramp. Hilarious to recall. In fact, it was the thought of the story to be told afterwards that had me laughing at the situation instead of fearfully crying in the moment. The next day I was so achy and stiffened from the jarring adventure… we did enjoy the fish and chippies that we did not catch from the local pub that evening, however.

Mango Man left Dundee with no shoes… left Darwin with no wallet… but he had my heart completely.

Saying goodbye was even harder the second time. I am unsure if it was because I already knew what it was like to miss him, or the new rhythm we’d found living in the van together, or knowing it was going to be over 3 months until I got to hold him again.

With Daisy van booked in for a service in a days time, I sobbed my way around the city as everything little thing was a reminder of places we’d been together. I was soooo ready to get out of there and settle back into my solo journey.

Picking Daisy up from the mechanics on Friday afternoon I was disappointed to hear that she needed a new part that wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday… I had to spend 4 more days feeling sorry for myself in Darwin, I successfully succeeded.

I spent the days biding time, trying not to spend money from my unemployed bank account and preparing for a 21 Day Ayurvedic Cleanse. There was only one organic wholefood and produce store I could hunt down in Darwin so, I stocked up in preparation for my cleanse to begin whilst on the Stuart Highway. I pulled into the carpark to find an Indigenous couple sitting by the curb. The woman came up to me and pointing to an Indian cuisine takeaway she hand-gestured through broken English for damper. I let her know that I was just popping in to grab a few groceries and I would get her some damper on my way back to the car. The poor woman probably thought I had gone against my word as I to simply “grab” in a new exciting wholefood store is a good hour of exploring.

My trying to be frugal had me internally hyperventilating at the counter when my two bags added up to $400… I guess being the only organic store in the city meant extreme pricing… Feeling financially defeated from the last few days of large expenses, I felt a sense of surrender and didn’t just buy the woman some roti but splashed out on a dhal and curry feast for her and her partner. Aware I was still soooo much more fortunate than others. It brought tears to my eyes at how extremely grateful they were for their lunch. So much so, the man tried to insist I take his whole 40 cents in payment for their meal. Wishing I could do more for them, I watched as they so consciously savoured the meal and put the lid back onto the container after a few mouthfuls. I suspected they were saving more for dinner or possibly even allowing it to last through to the following day. In reversing out of the carpark, the elder woman so genuinely holding my gaze blew me kisses. I blew a kiss back in return and felt like she had blessed me with so much more than just a kiss of thanks.

Feeling a slightly greater spring in my step, I finally began the dreaded drive back along the Stuart Highway.

Back tracking to the East Coast I stopped by the incredible Katherine gorge on my way back through the region for a night where I was met with my not so monthly cycle and a lot more sense as to why the tears were still flowing – a lot! This leg of the journey was simply to drive drive drive the 2,500kms to make it to the coast. The Barkley Highway took me via Mount Isa to Townsville in 6 days. My body felt horrendous from lack of movement, but I was thankful to finally be on the East Coast, the geographical alignment making me feel a little more at home.

Far North Queensland

I spent over a week at Rollingstone and Bagal beach about 50 minutes north of Townsville. Here the belly of my cleanse began, clearing out more tears, more anxiety over the financial future and a deep missing of those at home. Through this time, I began planning and filming a 30 Days of Yoga series and welcomed via Facetime my new Nephew… and another level of sobs and missing family! He is the yummiest and I CANNOT wait to meet him.

I had booked an Air B&B in preparation for Day 16 of the cleanse. This day involves a tablespoon of castor oil in the morning and then a delightful day near the loo… as you can imagine, I did not want to endure day 16 by a public toilet! With my energy levels naturally starting to lower nearing the end of the main cleansing process, I made my way to the Daintree Rainforest.

Travelling through the many sugar cane and banana fields I took the trip over the ferry to Northern Daintree. My inner child buzzed through the dense tropical fantasy land as soon as I disembarked the ferry. It is the most beautifully protected landscape with narrow roads for minimal impact. It was like driving through an underground tunnel, only the tunnel is built by the oldest Rainforest in the world.

I arrived to my little mint in colour accommodation perched on top of a steep driveway overlooking the dinosaur like habitat of the Daintree. It reminded me of my favourite show when I was very young called The Land Before Time and it wasn’t hard to sense how much so this place was in fact, a land before time. With a Daisy van full of washing, a lack of mental and physical energy I was soooo excited to take rest and not have to problem solve all of those easily accessible everyday living things we don’t think twice about. To pack and un-pack a kitchen, bed, wardrobe, toiletries, or drive to any destination to sleep, shower or wash.

Little did I realise, I had booked a larger version of Daisy, completely off grid, no reception and powered by the smallest of solar panels and battery. This required many rules and instructions to ensure the power didn’t run out and the generator didn't need to be started. Within the first hour the washing machine full of water and majority of my wardrobe blew all the PowerPoints. This meant I had no way of contacting the host as the wifi turned off… I went through all the steps to find that the battery was fully charged, even the lights were on and the water still running, it was simply the PowerPoints. Beginning to test the bottom lip I got in the van and drove to find reception to inform the host.

The lovely lady came to the rescue and reset the powerpoint circuit. Unfortunately, by this time it was dark, therefore I had missed my window for the shower I was desperately hanging out for and my close had to remain in the pool of water for the night until the sun hit the panels once again…

During this stay I continued to film 30 Days of yoga. The next day I put the washing machine on and began filming. By 1pm I had attempted the cycle many times for the washing machine to still not drain. The day before elimination day and I once again fell guiltily into a stream of self-pity in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I cried over the phone to my family as they tried to help solve the none draining machine until we came to the googled conclusion it was broken. The lovely lady returned with baskets to a frustrated Brides who wanted to simply do the washing, shower at ease and starfish in a bed. She so kindly finished my load at her house and apologised that the machine could not be fixed during my stay. Feeling so guilty for how upset I felt when so extremely privileged to have a roof over my head, I understood deep down that these constant tears had nothing to do with the broken machine. They had nothing to do with all the little things that had me sobbing and feeling instantly defeated that normally wouldn’t phase me. It was simply a part of not only the cleanse process but a transitioning and clearing of something so much greater.

There was too an undercurrent of sadness and grief I came to realise that wasn’t all mine. The past 2 months learning and experiencing the lives of our first people. The most connected feeling to nature evoking a deeper sense as to how fast we were harming and moving away from the natural world and moving away from our natural rhythm and state of being. The cause of all the suffering and disease in the collective and the planet felt too large and overwhelming for me to help.

My dramatic washing machine day ended with the meeting of a new friend. The local Ayurvedic practitioner who gave me the most incredible treatment and a connection to a contact to possibly undergo some of my future practical clinic hours for my diploma. The day after cleanse day, she showed me to her beautiful local beach that we walked and her much loved block of tropical rainforest paradise where we trailed our feet along her creek, sipped tea and talked with excitement of our individual plans to spread the wisdom of Ayurveda.

It's amazing how much nature soothes the places you need it most. By the time I left the Daintree my financial worries of situations I had been creating in my mind had eased. It is impossible to feel a lack of abundance when you surround yourself with an environment overflowing with it. The universe was highlighting a relationship it was time to consciously re-program…

From Cape Tribulation I began the drive… home!? I ticked off a childhood dream of snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef then I spent nearly two weeks near Cairns completing and launching the 30 Days of Yoga series before continuing further South. The following week I became unwell. A similar feeling experienced at Flinders Ranges (IYKYK) from either choosing to undergo a large project during a cleanse… possibly drinking water or eating something I shouldn’t have, maybe hormonal, or, the planets were toying with me… I took it easy and very contentedly managed to see the most incredible waterfalls of the FNQ Tablelands and the Corona beer ad like beaches from “where you’d rather be”.

Finally, I was truly feeling in holiday mode. No plans on teaching over the next few months and study on hold until next year. From Mackay I plan to beach bum my way down the coast, reading, relaxing, catching up with long lost friends along the way until I undergo in NSW what may be the most uncomfortable thing I’ve done thus far in life, something that scares me very much, intrigues me and excites me as I’ve been pulled towards the experience for some time now…

I will also be tinkering away at 2023 plans, with the birthing of something infused with my heart. I now see this whole journey and the rawness of overwhelm and sense of helplessness was a calling for many reasons. It has strengthened not only a passion but highlighted a much deeper connection to study the law of nature that is translated through the wisdom of Ayurveda. The feeling of overwhelm I experienced of not being able to help is dissolved in the knowing that the greatest of help I can be is to continue the journey of personal growth, to rest, to connect, to immerse myself in experiences, to be creative, to play, to be inspired, to share, to be still and to love. To focus my attention on the teachings and embody the wisdom of ayurveda. To share my insights and learnings with my community, so we can together experience the inner sparking and sense of re-cognition into all that we so instinctively already know and have simply forgotten over many layers of time.

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