On the path of a meaningful life

Texts, photographs and videos by Claire B.

Sustainable buildling and light habitats. to transform the act of building and rethink our relationship with living things.
Transition tales. towards an ethical, sustainable and united future.
Travel dispatches. discovering the world between solo journeys and life experiences.
Creative approach. photographic work and videos.

25 July 2017

Coming back to Australia

Boat crossing from New Zealand to Australia and set foot in a known land.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia © Claire Blumenfeld
DISPATCH

The cargo ship is rocking on all sides and my stomach is threatening to regurgitate the little I swallowed a few hours earlier. I feel the boat banging against the waves. The sound of water crashing violently on the containers at the front of the boat emits a dismal sound. The sea appears at the height of my porthole and my mind panics. That’s it, it is the end. But no, the boat continues its crossing in the rough sea, trembling under the power of the waves. I have been at sea for almost three days. I left New Zealand to go to Australia. But rather than taking the plane because of my sinus infection causing me terrible pain in the skull while on flight, I decided a month ago to make the crossing by boat. Three days at sea to reach the continent. Perfect for resting, enjoying the passage of time and chatting with the crew. This is what I had imagined. In reality, the crew being made up of Russians and Burmeses speaking very little English, the exchange was very limited, the time was very long and the storm unleashed on the second day left me with a strong seasickness.

Fortunately, Australia finally appears and I land in Sydney at 6am on Saturday July 1st. Customs officers disembark on the boat to ask me a few questions. A dog sniffs at me (along with my luggage and my bicycle) to verify that I am not concealing illicit substances. Bleached from all suspicion, I leave the boat. Setting foot on a stable and again in Australia overwhelms me until I realize that the freight port where I have just landed is fifteen kilometers from the center. Having no desire (or stomach) to cycle, I call a taxi who drops me in the center around eight in the morning. The streets and the atmosphere are familiar. When I left Sydney a year ago (after my stay in Japan in 2016, I spent six weeks in Australia before joining New Zealand), I never imagined coming back a year later!

I walk around the city and take a night bus to go directly to Melbourne where Sophie, a young woman I met in Dunedin in New Zealand, kindly agreed to host me for a few days. Here I am back in the city where I was born where I spend five quiet days with Sophie walking around and preparing for the rest of my trip: joining Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in South Australia where I found work via a spontaneous request sent a month ago. Arkaroola is located in the desert and I must first reach Adelaide, the regional capital of South Australia.

DISPATCH

The cargo ship is rocking on all sides and my stomach is threatening to regurgitate the little I swallowed a few hours earlier. I feel the boat banging against the waves. The sound of water crashing violently on the containers at the front of the boat emits a dismal sound. The sea appears at the height of my porthole and my mind panics. That’s it, it is the end. But no, the boat continues its crossing in the rough sea, trembling under the power of the waves. I have been at sea for almost three days. I left New Zealand to go to Australia. But rather than taking the plane because of my sinus infection causing me terrible pain in the skull while on flight, I decided a month ago to make the crossing by boat. Three days at sea to reach the continent. Perfect for resting, enjoying the passage of time and chatting with the crew. This is what I had imagined. In reality, the crew being made up of Russians and Burmeses speaking very little English, the exchange was very limited, the time was very long and the storm unleashed on the second day left me with a strong seasickness.

Fortunately, Australia finally appears and I land in Sydney at 6am on Saturday July 1st. Customs officers disembark on the boat to ask me a few questions. A dog sniffs at me (along with my luggage and my bicycle) to verify that I am not concealing illicit substances. Bleached from all suspicion, I leave the boat. Setting foot on a stable and again in Australia overwhelms me until I realize that the freight port where I have just landed is fifteen kilometers from the center. Having no desire (or stomach) to cycle, I call a taxi who drops me in the center around eight in the morning. The streets and the atmosphere are familiar. When I left Sydney a year ago (after my stay in Japan in 2016, I spent six weeks in Australia before joining New Zealand), I never imagined coming back a year later!

I walk around the city and take a night bus to go directly to Melbourne where Sophie, a young woman I met in Dunedin in New Zealand, kindly agreed to host me for a few days. Here I am back in the city where I was born where I spend five quiet days with Sophie walking around and preparing for the rest of my trip: joining Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in South Australia where I found work via a spontaneous request sent a month ago. Arkaroola is located in the desert and I must first reach Adelaide, the regional capital of South Australia.

Friday July 6 in the evening I leave Melbourne for a new night bus trip. It is the second in the space of a few days and it is tiring. Adelaide appears in the morning light and the bus drops me off at six o’clock am at the bus station in the city center. The stores are closed and it is too early to reach the Youth Hostel where I have reserved a bed for the weekend. I wait painfully on a sleepy bench for hours to pass.

After finally dropping off my bike and stuff at the youth hostel, I spend a quiet day strolling through the city. Adelaide is smaller than Sydney and although the city center does not have much charm, I appreciate the atmosphere that emanates from the place. The Botanical Garden is very pretty and the Central Market full of animation. People are walking in a loud hubbub in the middle of fruit, vegetable, cheese, spices, clothes, hardware and other stalls and this makes me curiously think of my trip to Brazil nine years ago. Same atmosphere, same smells, same items. A pretty painting painted on the wall at the exit of the market catches my eye. It says “If you want to view paradise simply look around and view it”. Words full of wisdom that instantly permeate my mind.

I buy a blueberry-coconut smoothie as well as a mixture of potato, lentil curry, cheese and Quinoa salad and enjoy the food sitting on a bench in a small park under the sun. It is very good but quite filling and bathed in the heat of the sun, I almost let myself fall into the arms of Morpheus. The fatigue of last night’s bus ride is starting to be felt.

Tomorrow, Sunday, Amy and Greeny (two members of the Arakaroola team) will come to pick me up and take me to the resort where I will spend five or six months working. I wonder a little how this experience will unfold and how life will be in the middle of the desert. I hope to be able to save enough to travel a few months in Australia and then join Asia where I plan to do a long bicycle tour through different countries. But for now direction the Outback and the Australian desert!

Friday July 6 in the evening I leave Melbourne for a new night bus trip. It is the second in the space of a few days and it is tiring. Adelaide appears in the morning light and the bus drops me off at six o’clock am at the bus station in the city center. The stores are closed and it is too early to reach the Youth Hostel where I have reserved a bed for the weekend. I wait painfully on a sleepy bench for hours to pass.

After finally dropping off my bike and stuff at the youth hostel, I spend a quiet day strolling through the city. Adelaide is smaller than Sydney and although the city center does not have much charm, I appreciate the atmosphere that emanates from the place. The Botanical Garden is very pretty and the Central Market full of animation. People are walking in a loud hubbub in the middle of fruit, vegetable, cheese, spices, clothes, hardware and other stalls and this makes me curiously think of my trip to Brazil nine years ago. Same atmosphere, same smells, same items. A pretty painting painted on the wall at the exit of the market catches my eye. It says “If you want to view paradise simply look around and view it”. Words full of wisdom that instantly permeate my mind.

I buy a blueberry-coconut smoothie as well as a mixture of potato, lentil curry, cheese and Quinoa salad and enjoy the food sitting on a bench in a small park under the sun. It is very good but quite filling and bathed in the heat of the sun, I almost let myself fall into the arms of Morpheus. The fatigue of last night’s bus ride is starting to be felt.

Tomorrow, Sunday, Amy and Greeny (two members of the Arakaroola team) will come to pick me up and take me to the resort where I will spend five or six months working. I wonder a little how this experience will unfold and how life will be in the middle of the desert. I hope to be able to save enough to travel a few months in Australia and then join Asia where I plan to do a long bicycle tour through different countries. But for now direction the Outback and the Australian desert!

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