Updated: Apr 14
Hobart, Tasmania. Pristine land, clean water, pure air, friendly happy people. Haven’t found a single thing to dislike so far. Having one of my absolute favourite experiences; travelling to places unknown, and finding them to far exceed all expectations.
And another 3+ glorious weeks to go.
Oh, America, how lost you are. Land that goes to stupid lengths to protect the unborn, yet fiercely protects laws that make it easy and increasingly common for the already born to be gunned down, in their own schools.
Stunning Tasmania. Swan river; hundreds of black swans, poppy fields growing 51% of the world’s legal narcotics, cherry orchards, rose gardens, wild flowers, hops, wild beauty everywhere, lightening fires, a heartbreakingly brutal history, some brave, some cruel beyond imagining. And this was just day 1.
It’s summer in Tasmania, and it’s snowing at Cradle Mountain. Spent a wonderful day at the Gordon river, learning so much. Feeling a lot of affinity with this land, although the terrain is very different, could have something to do with my ancestral links, Scots convict/peasant class. Visited Sarah Island, had to be one of the most brutal penal colonies ever. Having read about horizontal trees I was delighted to find them in existence. Happy bunny here.
2 weeks in Tasmania already, and I haven’t taken many photos, because hardly a single one I take does justice to what my eyes are seeing.
There has been the gift of spending several days with good friends and now I have another 11 days of solo road-tripping... another favourite thing to do.
Darned golliwogs are sold everywhere, and hardly an actual person of colour to be seen.
The whitest powdery sand and most aquamarine sea.
So much road-kill, these poor precious creatures are nocturnal and either lumbering or bouncy, so easy targets for anything 4 wheeled.
Driving the back roads suddenly the pavement ends and I find myself on endless gravel roads,(no schedule, no worry).
I am in shock over the UK election and the rest of the news I feel bound to ground myself with daily.
I will never again hear the word Tasmania without an explosion of 1,000+ beautiful images... coupled with the emotional knee-buckling reminder of what we humans are capable of.
Life in technicolour.
Facebook can be such a strange thing. I just unfriended, (actually blocked), someone who truly thought they knew me deeply from the selective sliver of ourselves we all share with each other on there, and consequently decided to provide me with some (unsolicited) spiritual guidance. We had met, she attended one of my workshops a long time ago. It started with lots of shared videos/memes etc. on Messenger, which I actually never look at regardless of who sends them. This then devolved into advice on how to feel and be. She believed she could deliver me from my unwise and unenlightened self. Wrong; Ms Imperfection still thrives.
I am almost 68 years old, often silly and misguided, impetuous and flawed. After this long life of living I personally conclude that my faults are vital; they keep me in check and connected to the world at large. Those frequent, cringe-worthy realisations of being wrong are not weaknesses, they are humanising. Actual friends are the ones who know all these cracks and warts and remain genuinely fond of each other, regardless of how ridiculous we can all be.
There is something I find particularly irksome about spiritual superiority, it can be far more insidious, judgmental, invasive and galling than the common old garden variety differences of opinion... even political. At least those exchanges are potentially enlivened, and eye-to-eye. Once someone claims the spiritual high-ground there is simply no more dialogue, you find yourself dealing with some other human, ethereally wafting around, exuding sublimated arrogance and self-righteousness. And yes, absolutely there are great spiritual teachers on this earth, but from what I’ve experienced they let you seek them out, not the other way around.
You have changed she said… but no, I haven’t, in truth I’ve always been confrontational and opinionated (sometimes clumsily so). These very traits have kept me alive, and have fuelled this life I love. So no thank you, I choose to be the imperfect edgy me rather than floating around in some, (to me), insipid woo-woo "everything is beautiful" soup.
These are challenging times, and about to get even more so. Indignation, fear, sorrow, outrage and anger need to be alchemised into energy and action… unless we believe passivity is a superpower. For some it may well be, and to those I say a very sincere: good for you.
Life is messy and sometimes very scary, to get through it some of us will confront, some will rant, and some will meditate. But for heavens sake let’s not judge each others' way of coping. My absolute least favourite aspect of new-age thinking is the presumption that you can dictate to another how they should “be”.
A sincere thank you to that ex-“friend”, for the provocation to more closely examine that rather confusing, creepily insidious, sense of invasion by such seemingly well-intentioned presumptuousness.
And never to be forgotten; if everyone likes you you’re not being seen.
Just needed to vent.
It really is like nowhere else here, shades of NZ, but the bird noises and glimpses of strange shy creature are very different from there even. I’m learning to silence that little voice that says “do you really want to drive that far out of your way?”, because not once have I regretted doing so. And there really are almost no people, I have been completely alone on most hikes, at even at the most well-known spots. Beautifully kept trails, and my trusty little rental car is the perfect chariot. AirBnb have so far been been cosy and excellent, this one is right next to where penguins nest, so will be visiting them at dusk.
Last time penguin watching. When we saw them in NZ it was from far off, and because they were rare, the area was cordoned off. Here you can get really close to them and people being people, many were doing exactly what they were told not to. The poor little creatures looked really stressed out as they were trying to get back to their nests past all these gawking people with cameras, and little kids jumping up and down yelling excitedly, (naturally). As they say, there really is no such thing as eco-tourism.
I’m beginning to think it’s unfair how you Aussies are hogging all the cutest, cuddliest animals, plus the funniest, loudest birds... and you can only find them here.
I got to cuddle this pademelon, (a kind of a wallaby you only find in Tasmania), because the woman I am staying with rescues and hand raises them, until they are old enough to be released. She drives around at night and takes the babies out of their mothers pouches, who have been killed by cars. This is what she spends her AirBnb money on. She currently has four wombats and four of these pademelons. I have known her for less than one hour, and I love her. She’s one of those angels on this earth.
I confess to having traveller hubris. Although it makes zero sense, I harbour the delusion that I am going to be the very 1st person to discover some gem of a place at any moment. Throw in there a hefty dose of snobbery, of course I label myself a traveller not a tourist. I take organised tours, but in general resist being with any "mob" (although as a tourist you are automatically part of one whether actually with one or not). Went to historic Port Arthur today, and it was interesting but not nearly as much so as everywhere else I've been in Tasmania. It was packed with people, and the guides seemed very scripted.
I've just been so lucky and able to find solitude and empty beaches and trails pretty much everywhere else. When you find yourself completely alone somewhere it is so much easier to keep feeding the fantasy that maybe no-one else knows about it.
And what does it matter anyway, because who else on the planet is snuggling with a wombat called Hugh right now?
Next cuddles will be with my angel grandson. Flying to Chicago Xmas day, and travelling back in time to arrive about the same time as Santa Claus.
Dora. Cheryl, (my AirBnb host who rescues marsupial), found her in her dead Mama's pouch weighing 49 grams. Was told she'd never survive. Hand fed her every hour until she developed enough. Now 13 months old, and very much thriving. Never tell love what it can or cannot do.
Struck gold again, view from my AirBnb room on Bruny Island. Furthest point south, wilder and more rugged. You get here by ferry only, and the roads are not all paved.
My 1st visual was 2 black swans bobbing on a pea green sea. Captured a photograph with my mind’s only.
Found another overcrowded Tasmanian beach (not). Took a glorious hike. Tomorrow taking an adventure cruise around the most rugged coastline, I think that just means it’s fast and bumpy.
Always save the wildest for last.
I also learnt that my new favourite creatures name, when in a group, is a wisdom of wombats.
Could’ve been the very best day in Tasmania, although there have been so many they’ve been almost impossible to measure. And Sagittarius rising does tend to believe that the experience of this present moment is the very best, (or worst), ever. At least this one does.
The adventure boat trip was around the coast of South Bruny Island, the most rugged and furthest southerly point of Australia (nothing between us and Antarctica). Apparently called “Adventure Bay” after a ship, but it lives up to the name anyway. It was a wild, wild sea, which I don’t mind, got a little soaked but was prepared for it.
I am now back in Hobart, a gorgeous city, and went to the MONA today, at the recommendation of many people. Very famous ultra modern museum that’s full of supposedly impressive installations. Have to say it was quite yawn-ish, and the only interesting things were also very dark and disturbing. All very clever and technically well put together, but it did almost nothing for me. There wasn’t a soulful moving anything, not like South Bruny island. Nature wins hands down, yet again.
I love it here, there is almost no Xmas fuss... I'm sure there is for individual families, but can't feel any of the usual commercial hype. Also, no McDonalds (I have been told there are 3 on the whole island but haven't seen them), no KFC or Starbucks, or any of the other "let's make the world one big generic blob" horrid franchises. What a delight!
Chicago in 2 days.
Leaving Tasmania in a couple of hours, flying backwards in time to America. This will be my longest Xmas day ever, with 20 hours of it spent at 30,000+ feet. See you, my California tribe, early January 2020.
Thank you, Australia, for the warmest welcome, your humour, the freshest air, the quirkiest animals, and all the cauliflower cheese pies.
Sydney, and my much loved and missed friends down there in the smoke, as I fly over all the devastating fires, so close yet so far. My heart aches for you.