It has been nearly 5 months since my last update and there is so much to catch up on!
We left Darwin in late October for the Sunshine Coast and travelled down over the course of about four days. We left Darwin in a little bit of a hurry as Stu had a job offer down the coast and we needed to arrive within five days. He got the phone call at about 2pm that day and we packed up all of our belongings into the car and left the next morning at 6am to been our 3500km journey.
Here’s a video I created documenting that trip.
We were headed to Stu’s friend Simon’s home, which he shares with his wonderful wife Judy ( Who at this point I had never met, and now I consider a good friend) & their three children. They were kind enough to offer us their spare room in their lovely house in Currimundi near Caloundra, until we found our feet.
The feet didn’t take long to get found and we ended up only staying with them for one week, after we found a beautiful Queenslander on the gorgeous Bribie Island to stay in with the owner, a lovely lady called Chloe and her Kelpie cross Border Collie pup, Boris.
The location was beautiful and it was handy to still meet up with Simon and Judy at the weekends as Bribie Island is only around an hour away from Currimundi. Bribie Island is a little piece of heaven, a beautiful island off the Sunshine Coast near(ish) to Brisbane, connected to the mainland by a large road bridge and easy walking distance to all your amenities. In fact the majority of Bribie Island is made up of National Park Land. The downside to this being that it is a very desirable place to live, especially for the older generation, and the people and houses are all compacted down to one end. In fact as beautiful as it is, it is known as an above-ground graveyard within the surrounding area.
It proved near impossible for me to find work, being a small place with far more people than job opportunities, plus the fact I definitely feel employers are put off when they see the applicant is on a working holiday visa.
I felt depression creep back into my life whilst living there, which is quite remarkable considering it was such a beautiful breathtaking place. I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to live there, but not being able to find work really took its toll on me. I felt like I had failed.
Eventually after eating into our savings for nearly a month, Stu & I decided it was time to move on. He no longer wanted to stay working a job he didn’t like for a poorly run business and to be honest I was happy and excited to hit the road again.
It was now mid-November, We spent around a week trying to find work somewhere new, basically anywhere in Australia, (although we really wanted to stay in Queensland if possible) and after searching all over the internet on every job website, dozens of emails and phone calls later we found a job working for Manbulloo mangoes who provide Mangoes to Coles (One of the biggest supermarkets in Australia). This job opportunity meant us driving from Bribie Island to a (tiny) place called Giru nestled somewhere between Ayr and Townsville in North Queensland, around a 1300km drive. With no idea where we would stay or what the work would be like we took a chance, packed our lives up into the car once again and took a big dive into the unknown.
I was looking forward to seeing a new place, and meeting some new faces, I was determined that I would make the most of this adventure and pull myself out of whatever rut I had started to fall into.
We decided this time to do an all-night drive, so we spent the day packing up the car, drank copious amounts of coffee and finally we left around 10pm that evening. Around about 5am the next day Stu was getting extremely tired and he doesn’t like me driving on long journeys, (that’s a whole other story though) so we pulled into a rest stop for an hour. He had a nap and I have to admit, I was so incredibly grumpy on this trip. I’m sure any member of my family could tell you that when I haven’t slept I am a very grumpy lady. Public apology to anyone who has encountered sleepy Morv! I felt like I had to stay up to keep Stu awake, so I consumed way too much caffeine and it prevented me from sleeping at all the whole trip.
At one point we were coming over a steep hill at around 3/4am and there was a massive road train behind us, he had been sitting right up behind us for a few kms and then on a blind hill he decided to flash us (we were doing the speed limit), and then begin to overtake us not knowing if anything was coming the other direction. There was a steep drop off to our left, I totally panicked, and Stu slowed down, as we were pretty much forced to. This driver then pulled himself in front of us rapidly and his back end nearly whipped us off the road, I am not even joking, I thought we were gonna get swept off the road, we pulled back and he narrowly missed us by a hair, our hearts were racing as we came over the top of the blind hill and then see another truck coming on the other side of the road. If it had come a few seconds sooner, I swear we’d all have been dead.
How irresponsible. What a selfish act of driving. Maybe the truck driver has children, would they want people to do that to a car with their children or partner inside? He/she put everyones life in danger that night and we were shook up for the remainder of the journey.
Everyone makes mistakes though, so hopefully it was just an error in judgement.
Here’s a video I made of the trip from Sunshine Coast to Giru (via a one night stay in Bowen) where we lived and worked for a month.
We went via Bowen, where Stu grew up as it was on the way and he gave me a quick tour. As we had made good time, we arrived there around about 1/2pm we decided to set-up-swag in the Horseshoe Bay Caravan Park as you are not allowed to free camp anywhere around Bowen such as on beaches etc.
I absolutely loved Bowen! We stayed one night and then the next day we had to drive to Giru, further North. We sussed out where our new work place was and then called up places looking for some cheap accomodation for the upcoming month. The cabins in caravan parks nearby were charging ridiculous rates per week, for the same money you could have rented a 5 bedroom Queenslander near the beach. As Giru is in the middle of nowhere, it’s just off the main highway with a large sugar cane factory works (sugar cane processing stinks FYI) there’s not too many options unless we wanted to stay in Ayr which we did not and we definitely weren’t willing to stay at a backpackers hostel, no offence to those who do, both me and Stu have done it before, but we value our own space and freedom too much now to go back to it (plus, I’ve heard some horror stories).
We managed to find an absolute gem off the highway, a crumbly sign for an Eco-Tourist Park looked intriguing and was only 10 minutes from the mango shed. As we drove in, it was certainly eco – thousands of wallabies everywhere, a little run down but it sat under a beautiful mountain range and was lush and green and more importantly away from too many people. Here we met Fred, originally from Germany, a 90 year old man who had cleared this piece of land with his young family when he was in his 20’s. He was such a genuine, straight up, wonderful man. He told us many a tale of his past, showed us through old photo albums and told us that we were the most respectful, nicest couple he had stay in the park for over ten years.
He had only one caravan available on site, it looked pretty big and had a massive canvas annexe attached, as we stepped inside it was clear it had been empty for a while, it had a smell about it that I still can’t put my finger on, but hey, who cares we thought, we’ll take it! After a fair amount of Nag Champa had been burned, floors had been swept, everything cleaned and dinners had been cooked, it no longer smelt stale, and we had our own little cute pad for the next month.
We also made some pals in the park, all of which were furry. Possums regularly woke me up in the night climbing on the caravan, one of which had made his home between a tin roof and the top of the caravan, which I’m pretty sure is why he crawled inside the annexe desperate for water a few times. It got real hot here, and I’m glad we could help the wee guys. We fed the wallabies and possums mangoes that had gone too soft for eating, and they became regular fixtures at our front ‘garden’. We really enjoyed living here and Fred was excellent to have a chat with each week when we went in to pay our rent. Most of the other residents here were contractors we never really saw anyone to speak to them, everyone was doing seasonal work and was either working or sleeping, which made it such a beautiful and peaceful place. We took some time out after work one day to go for a local bush walk to the local rock slide, and that was amazing.
We worked at the mango shed until around the 20th December by which time we were both so over it. At some points we were doing 70+ hour weeks and getting paid really awful wages, especially since the more you work the more you get taxed. One massive bonus of working there though was the amount of delicious mangoes we got to consume, and we made some delicious mango chutney to give as Christmas gifts, which went down very well with Simons family!
I painted this picture to give to Fred the Eco-tourist park owner, we had many chats about the commercialism of Christmas and as we wanted to give him something, I decided on making him a gift using up some of the paints and canvasses that we have been carting around Australia with us! He loved it. His eyesight is not great so I think he really appreciated the bold lines and colours.
We decided we would go back to Bowen for Christmas, so once again without knowing too much about where we would stay, we packed up our lives and headed to Bowen. Luckily I looked on Gumtree and I found an old advert from September still up, from a guy looking for a housemate in his four bedroom Queenslander. I took a stab in the dark, as it was the 23rd December at this point, I messaged him and he said he would be happy for us to drop in and see him.
Feeling a bit like Mary & Joseph, we did, and he let us move in that day.
We are extremely lucky to live with the aforementioned, Liam, we’ve been on a good few adventures so far, lots of snorkelling, bbq’s and a boat trip. It is so nice to live with someone and have that social aspect there too.
Stu knows his friend Simon from Bowen, as they were a pair of bloody terrors when they were kids, running rampant around the neighbourhood, or so I’ve heard, so Simon and Judy (who’s also from Bowen) were coming up for a big family Christmas. We were lucky enough for them to invite us along for Christmas Day with the whole family which was just lovely and so nice to see everyone again. We spent the day by the pool and the night dancing our butts off.
We organised to meet up with our awesome friends Anna & Trev, who we worked with at TFS the Sandalwood Plantation in the NT, for New Year, and decided to head to Hydeaway Bay. They brought one of their older dogs Buster, their teenage pup Boogie, and their new lil’ baby pup Trip. We had an awesome weekend with them down at the beach, snorkelling and camping.
A brilliant way to bring in a new year!
We were sitting on the beach around 8.30pm on New Years Eve (Saying “Hogmanaaaay” was a running joke at New Years as my Aussie friends had never heard of it before) with a fire burning and two men began to approach us, we were the only people on the beach, so we thought maybe we would get told to put the fire out, but instead they asked if it was okay if they set off some fireworks near us. We were front row seat to a show of fireworks at 9pm, and luckily we had chilled Prosecco to pair it with.
It was so perfect.
Then I had another amazing surprise happen! My darling friend Louise who I met whilst travelling in South America, and with whom I ended up travelling with for three months AND who became a HUGE part of my life messaged me to say she was in Australia and could she come visit me. It was so lovely to have her stay for a couple of days, and really made me realise how many amazing people I have been lucky enough to meet and be able to call my friends.
Stu and I are still currently loving life in beautiful Bowen, and awaiting the next adventure to unfold. I’ll keep you updated.
My observations for 2016/2017
I have had an amazing start to the New Year, which kind of just rolled over from the whole of 2016 being so bloody interesting and exciting.
After we finished work at the Mango shed, I really wanted to get back into my fitness and so once we were back in a place with some reliable fast internet, I started doing yoga workouts with my favourite instructor Yoga With Adriene from the comfort of an air-conditioned spare room. I started to do around 3-4 sessions per week, and I also signed up for Bowen Parkrun, of which I have only done one (on Christmas Eve) as it is so hot even though they do them early in the morning, it was the hardest 5km run I think I have ever done!
Then, Yoga with Adriene created Yoga Revolution which is 31 days of daily yoga videos from the 1st to the 31st of January, I got really excited and signed up straight away. It has been so interesting to do yoga everyday. At one point in fact I wanted to go to India ( I nearly did & still do want to) to do my yoga teacher training. It’s had a wonderful effect on my mind and my body. I like to do it in the mornings and it really sets me up for the day in the best state of mind. Even when I don’t feel like it, I still turn up to the mat and never have I once regretted doing so (we’re on day 23 so far).
You can still do Yoga Revolution at any time, and just work your way through from day 1 to day 31. I really recommend it and you can go as hard or as gentle as you like.
I’ve noticed something that’s changed in my life in the last year too, I used to be a kinda messy/lazy person. I’m not really at all like that anymore, don’t get me wrong I have lazy days, but I love to keep everything clean and tidy, I get such satisfaction from a clean kitchen, a tidy room, a hoovered floor and organisation, it makes me feel more at peace. I don’t feel stressed out about where things are, I can find everything in its place and it’s all clean and ready to go when I need it. I wish I’d discovered that one a good few years ago! I like to be spontaneous, so if someone wants to do something last minute I can just say yeah sure give me 5 and I can easily have everything I need to go ready. It’s made a huge impact on my levels of stress.
I’ve decided not to make any New Years Resolutions. I just know I want to feel good this year like I did the last, I’m not going to define things too definitely by years either as I suppose really there is literally one second between them.
I definitely agree that it’s good to see your progress and track it somehow, so it makes me thankful to have this (slightly neglected) blog on which I can reflect on life, and see how things have changed over the years.
What are your observations of positive changes to your life over the past year? I’d love to hear other peoples points of view!
If there’s one piece of advice I could give, it would be to definitely do things that scare you. They are usually the things worth doing. Follow that little desire at the back of your mind, which seems impossible now, and make steps towards it becoming a real experience.
Much love and thank you for reading!