October 16, 2013
LIFE UPDATE: EAST COAST LIVING
The past month has seen a whole lot of change for me, with the end of my working holiday visa and real life Perth routine and the beginning of my pseudo-backpacker holiday up the east coast of Australia. I'm loving the liberation and uncertainly that comes with this type of traveling, although I do miss my man ... and do appreciate the financial security my savings are providing.
I finished up my job with CGG at the end of September, after politely declining their offer to sponsor me in a payroll/accounting position. While flattering that I could pick up something so unfamiliar so quickly that a large company was willing to pay me to do it, I wasn't into the idea of progressing down a career path that I ultimately had no passion for.
Since my tourist visa was up I had to leave the country in order to reenter on a tourist visa, and as it happened to be Tom's birthday week, a trip to Bali was in order. Probably the best thing a government has ever forced me to do. Between Seminyak, Ubud and Gili Trawangen we had some amazing times, but I do think we tried to cram too much in- there was just so much to see! A few more days would have made all the difference, but alas, Tom had to get back to work.
[Post with more photos coming soon - I tried to edit them and ended up with bright blue lines streaking though all my snaps!]
In a ridiculously fast turnaround, I left Perth again the day after we returned from Bali and flew to northern New South Wales, where I've just completed a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) in The Channon, in the beautiful mountians inland of Byron Bay.
Permaculture is basically a theory of sustainable agricultural design that tries to work with nature to restore soils and yield food, as opposed to working against natural forces like standard monocropped industrial agriculture does.
The course had us learning a lot of practical skills while giving a major review of earth systems as well as details more specific elements of agro-ecological design. All this is making me antsy to either start building my homestead now or to sail off and help to terrace the mountainsides of Haiti to more efficiently trap water. But PSYCHE I'm moving to one of the biggest cities in world instead. I just never make any sense to myself.
The Permaculture movement began in Australia and the institute I studied at is owned by the protege of the founder, Bill Mollison and not far from his original farm site. The people there came from all walks of life and quite a few have flown in from different corners of the world solely to take this course. It's really reassuring to find that most everyone- as opposed to other super hippy folks I've worked with- seemed to have their head screwed on straight. While a lot of radical (but ecologically sensible) ideas were being thrown around, the intention is ultimately to integrate permaculture ideas into mainstream society and the greater world as opposed to keeping it a fringe movement.
Its also comforting how well I got along with all the other students and what a fun weekend we had during our course, exploring the area, going to markets, and hanging out on the beach in Byron Bay. I think it's so much easier to be myself when I'm within a community of like minded people, and I really just never found those people in Perth.
[That said, I have yet to find others who occupy that space where alternative ideas are welcomed if backed up with peer-reviewed scientific studies. Microwaves give you cancer? Cooking with coconut oil will turn you into superman? Sure people... now prove it.]
I've been feeling silly from time to time about uprooting all the good things Tom and I have going in Perth and starting fresh somewhere else, but both for my career and for my personal relationships, Perth just isn't the place. I mean, there isn't one place to find rennet for home cheese making and even kale, the trendiest of superfoods, is incredibly hard to come by. If that's not a sign I don't know what is.
While I'm feeling so inspired every day on this recent journey, it's also overwhelming when we have New York all planned out for this coming year, and that I need to get a job where I can learn a living, but I want to start changing the world ASAP and that probably requires travel or a long term farming internship where I'd be away from Tom for a while... However, I'm starting to open my mind to the idea that it's my journey and I'm the only one I need to answer to. Of course I factor Tom in (probably too much sometimes) but we've agreed that wherever we need to go - New York or otherwise - to both be content is where we need to be. And if I need to work a part time job at a Brooklyn co-op while I volunteer part time managing some urban agriculture projects? Totally cool [I try to convince my super over achiever self] - it's probably more effective than pushing paper at some nonprofit that ultimately doesn't really do all that much.
I'm taking another course as well, Applying Permaculture Theory in Sustainable International Aid, at a nearby Permaculture demonstration site, Djanbung Gardens, where I've just arrived. I've arranged to volunteer at Djanbung for the week between my courses so I can ride with my inspiration and get a bit of hands on experience. After all is done I hope to go to Byron Bay for a a few days before heading up the coast and seeing if I can work on a beachside farm somewhere near Cairns so I can tick off the Great Barrier Reef before I leave Australia for good.
I hope to be back in Perth by mid-November, and can't be back too much later as there's a lot to square away before our lease ends December 7th. Like selling the contents of our lives...ya, there's that. Plus I just want to be able to unwind after this whirlwind of working and traveling, and say goodbye to the beautiful little nest we created for ourselves.
I'll be heading to Melbourne for Christmas to see Tom's family, then leaving straight for Japan! Tokyo for new years, Nagano for snowboarding, and whatever else our amazing crew gets up to in six weeks is sure to be epic.
Finally, FINALLY, I'll be back stateside on February 2nd. Ready, Set, Mark your calendars!
~the nesting nomad