Southward bound..but not too far!!
9.9.18 - 19.9.18 20 °C
Travelling with Audrey and Pearl...
To see us when we set off from home on an Avan Adventure, you would be hard-pressed to call us the Travelling Light Team. What with a big 4WD (Pearl the Pajero) full of stuff and dragging our small but packed van (Audrey), we feel quite cluttered. However, compared with so many of our fellow Grey Nomads, we are positively minimalists! We are delighted with this manageable little home on wheels. This is our fifth trip and, so far, there have been no mishaps. Unlike our first four trips where we managed to break our jockey wheel, flatten our car battery, almost lose the van coming down Cunningham’s Gap and had several scares with backing... caravanning is not all sundowners and sitting around a camp fire you know!!
Travelling with Furry Friends..
We’ve decided that travelling with a hairy sooky old dog and a fluffy timid but bossy cat is akin to travelling with either small children or elderly relatives. All groups have specific and intensive needs. We are happy to fulfil all of their needs of course but it means that Jen & I rarely do anything at the same time unless the activity is pet-friendly! Gracie is really a breeze. She is happy to disappear into a dark hole in the Avan if we are stationary and only comes out at night to circle the tiny van many times as she considers all the sights and sounds through the windows. Muffie is a serial sook and frets if we are out of sight for more than 30 seconds... catering for her is a full-time job but we love them both.
We are excited to report that, here in Coastal Northern NSW, there is a chain of Caravan Parks that are dog-friendly (we never mention the cat!) Reflections Parks are scattered all down the coast. You are probably wondering why we are staying in Caravan Parks this trip instead of finding more ‘out of the way’, free or cheap camping sights.. simple answer.. there are none or there are very few near the coast which is what we have been wanting to hug so that we could entice the fish onto our lines. It’s great though to see how many people travel with their beloved pets. There are even Dog-Friendly beaches close by these parks as well.
Chasing Fish and catching none..
We hadn’t booked anywhere when we set off south. Our only plan was: Find Pet-Friendly Parks and Find Fish. We have achieved the former at a spectacular spot on the Brunswick River. We only stayed one night because, even though it was idyllic, the main Pacific Highway was less than 150 metres away.. busy road that! Only the pelicans were catching fish there anyway!
Next stop: Shaw’s Bay, Ballina where we were able to enjoy both the enclosed Bay full of mullet (tragically only to be caught in nets) and the mighty Richmond River flowing into the ocean. This was where we made a concerted effort to hook a fish or two.. no luck but a local elderly fisherman took pity on us and gave us his catch one morning: one juicy bream.. a slab each for lunch! We lingered there for 4 nights.
Last Stop: Beloved Byron Bay. Who would have thought there’d be a pet-friendly Park AND beach within eyeshot of the Byron Bay Lighthouse!! The Park borders the Tallow River which flows out onto Tallow Beach, south of the lighthouse where Howard (Jen’s beloved Dad) fished with great success each time they came to Byron in the day. Suffice to say, no fish but a flood of great memories and a howling gale that sent us homeward a day or two early. Gracie was missing her concrete and garden and Muffie’s little legs were worn to a frazzle.. one week on the road.. a record so far with Pearl and Audrey..
Reason for the Title of our Blogs..
When we first reflected on what our muddle of words sent out to our readers should be titled, we came across “Travelling Light”. This was partly because we were trying to pack 6 weeks worth of undies etc into cabin luggage sized bags (remember our time-lapse video of packing.) That was over two years ago when we spent idyllic weeks meandering around France and Italy.
We really were thinking beyond the Practical aspect of travel and wanted to reflect on how we operate Environmentally and Spiritually.. it takes some discipline to move beyond the everyday but we try..
I, personally, have been accused many times in my lengthening life of being a ‘scatter-brain’ (the first person to Have this revelation was my Year 3 Teacher, Mrs Eileen Mallett, a very astute older teacher who had trouble keeping her eyes open all day.. she even had the gaul to pass this observation onto my Mum who happened to be a life-long friend!) It has, however, usually been used as an endearment (I think!) This unfortunate characteristic means that stilling the mind, and therefore, the heart and soul can be quite tricky. But, I am convinced that, to truly and deeply connect with God and all of His glorious creation, one must learn to ‘be held’ not just ‘to hold’. To be ‘enchanted’ is switching gears from labelling, describing, planning, organising to just ‘being’.
Jen is a ‘different kettle of fish’. Her mother’s observations of her from a very early age (birth maybe) was that she was Vague. When I first met Jen all of 34 years ago I marvelled that she could spend extended amounts of time not talking. I would often say to her ‘a penny for your thoughts’. She became quite concerned that she wasn’t thinking anything! How could that be?? I think Jen is more able to allow and to taste the awe and wonder of life because she can stop and Behold! She perfectly connects with God’s creation through her gift of photography.
What have we done and how can we fix it?
One of the advantages and challenges of this retired life is that we have more time to consider not only the world within but also the world around. What a shambles we are in through our desire to make it all easy, fast and time-saving. Remember how excited we all were when cling wrap was introduced to the world..’What did we do before Glad!’ it has occurred to me that, over my lifetime we have gone from very little packaging, throw-away plastics, non-returnable bottles to dumps full of anything and everything.. we truly are a ‘throwaway society’.
We rather liked the pointed labels on the bins around Byron Bay... when we throw something into a General Refuse Bin it simply and sadly becomes Landfill.. how many more acres of rubbish can this planet sustain?
Jen was reading the other day about a family who have committed to having nothing in their General Refuse bin each week. When we examine what’s in ours it’s all packaging from whatever we buy.. it’s a challenge. I’m sure you have some good ideas.. would love to hear some.. we are using homemade wax cloth wraps instead of Glad Wrap for starters as well as trying to remember to take our Keep Cups with us when we leave home in case the desperate need for a coffee hits us as it seems to have hit most Australians judging by the number of Coffee Nooks there are about.