Friday, 9 April 2010

never go to work again

click here to see why I'm never going to turn up for work again ...


why do we do it? A question I ask myself sometimes, especially when it is time to return to Melbourne. What began as kind of an experiment borne out of some deep desires has turned into something more. We yearned to experience something of freedom and mobility, of slow and stress free, of a more intimate connection with nature. Yurting was the only possible option, so we took it. One year later, we are not the same as when we began.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Colin say before “I don’t want to work anymore” For something of a workaholic that is major. Perhaps he has just replaced one obsession/passion with another. I think it is deeper than that though.

It is not that we dislike our urban lives, it is that we want something different/more. In yurting we have experienced another way of living and being. The deep desires that we initially struggled to identify and express when we began dreaming of yurting have been fully awakened. The fulfilling of these desires is elusive, the desire continues to grow the more that it is experienced.

That leaves us in a frustrating place. Like eating one piece of chocolate and looking longingly at the rest, knowing that you have to wait to have another piece. The desire grows, the eating is sweet, we savor the taste, appreciate the piece we had, look longingly at the rest, anticipate eating more and wait and wait.......desiring and dreaming.

It feels like we are in the waiting time. We’ve had some chocolate, we look forward to some more, but what we really want is the whole lot all of the time. But now is not ‘the’ time. We have family and business commitments and responsibilities, not to mention financial restraints, we are not free to indulge. But oh how much we want to!

So, one year in, our yurting adventures have awakened us, enlivened us, surprised and delighted us, and they have left us yearning, dissatisfied, disorientated and impatient. We can’t have what we really want (yurting more of the time) and we are not prepared to give it up, so where does that leave us?

So once again we head back to urban life, take a deep breath, and plunge into a different rhythm. We’ll be swept away in rush and hurry, busy and tired, stress and worry and with it excitement and opportunity, purpose and contribution.

And dreaming will sustain us through all......Byron Bay in July calls.......

Shades of Grey

I think we must look a bit odd. The three of us are sitting in a cafe, busy with the lunch hour rush. Everyone is talking or eating; it is busy, noisy and somewhat chaotic. Groups are coming and going, chairs are being moved, it is someones birthday. And the three of us are all sitting in front of lap top computers, each in their own world for a while; Colin working, me writing and Johanna surfing the net. We came here specifically to do this, together yet alone. The large glass windows overlook the sea, you get a view up the coast and the coffee is good.

As I stare out I see shades of grey. The sky is grey/blue mostly covered with low lying clouds, the sea is grey/green with white caps of surf all the way to the horizon and the sand is grey/brown. Grey and muted. Every now and then the sun blazes through transforming the landscape with light and warmth. Today has felt a bit like that, muted grey with a periodic burst of sun.

We packed up this morning, set for the day. The beach, of course, was our first destination. Colin went for a surf, Johanna and I for a walk. Then Johanna donned the 3/4 wet suit we bought late yesterday at 30% off and had her first surf for a while. She loved it. We should have got the wetsuit earlier in the week. Of course this just may mean she will be happy to stay for a bit longer!

Surfing done, we took the bikes off the back of Pat and followed the coastal path, first west , then east. Johanna had had enough 15 minutes in. I love riding; the feel of the wind in your face, watching the world go past, thinking your own thoughts, some solitude for a while......the very reasons Johanna dislikes it. She’s bored after 10 minutes, with no one to talk to and no interaction. She continued reluctantly, pedaling off in a huff. I ignored her, Colin, ever the peace maker, played the fool. She complained, “Dad stop making me laugh I’m trying to be angry” His reply, “Well you’re not doing a very good job of it” Her giggles lightened her mood and she roared off leaving us behind.

On our return she said “well I’m ashamed to say I enjoyed that, riding fast is fun. If you want me to ride fast you just have to make me angry”

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Big Name

Today was my last day of company from the kids. Zac left at about twelve.

Nanny and Pa and Dad's Aunty Claire came up today at about eleven and we had morning tea then went out for lunch and had a drive around.
They left about half an hour ago and now we're all sitting, using our laptops. Me, on dad's old laptop and mum and dad on their macs.

Mums uploading some photos that she took today, dad's working and im writing this. One of the photos that mum is uploading onto her computer is of my name that i wrote in massive letters on the beach this morning. It lasted from about ten untill three o'clock which i thought was pretty good.
It took me about half an hour to do it because first, i wrote it which wasn't very hard, (i wrote the letters about two times as tall as me) then i made them all block letters. And then i went and coloured them all in, which took a long time.

When we stopped by the beach with Nanny and Pa and Aunty Claire we got there just in time too see a wave creep over it, Now it's gone forever.

I'm still Trying to convince mum and dad to let us leave on Thursday or Friday, because i want to get back and catch up with all my friends, (and see a movie that came out while we were away, that i really want too see) but they have their minds set on leaving on Saturday, it's alright though i'll keep pushing them untill they let us go on Thursday (or Friday at the most)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Chasing the Setting Sun

Yesterday we headed West, hugging the coast, to Torquay. The surf beaches along the way are truly beautiful - wide, open, long stretches of sand and surf dotted with clusters of black bobbing surfers astride their boards. The Rip Curl Pro Surf tournament is on at Bell's Beach, we had thought to stop and watch for a bit, but the cost was a bit steep for a family of 6 and we were due to meet friends for lunch anyway. We caught up with the Inders (long time family friends) who traditionally spend the Easter Weekend camping at Cumberland River with friends. As always, it was good to catch up. On our return to the car, Colin and Zac did a double take as Kelly Slater walked past. While name dropping, they also spotted Jarrod Waite at the beach the other morning!

As the sun began to set that evening Rachel had us all searching for the perfect shot for her media project. She had cajoled Zac into posing - her aim - surboard in hand, on a lookout point with the sea and setting sun behind him. Finally 13th beach provided just the right spot. Mind you, she had already rejected a few possibilities and we were racing against the setting sun. Things were getting a bit testy, she knew in her mind what she wanted and was not satisfied with anything less. But her perseverance paid off. I managed to get some pretty good shots myself (the setting sun that is, not Zac) Her comment after the successful shoot - "sorry guys for being a bit of a bridezilla back there"

We celebrated success and our last evening together eating out in a cafe overlooking the Ocean Grove Surf beach.

This morning started early with a surfing session for Colin and Zac. I accompanied them to try and get some surfing shots.

Later, with an eye on the clock we drove into Geelong to drop Heidi and Rachel at the train station. Heidi had to be back in Melbourne for work and Rachel was keen to get back to catch up with friends and pick up urban life after a couple of weeks away. True to form, Rachel realised as she stood in the queue to buy a ticket that she did not know where her wallet was!

Monday, 5 April 2010


The light illuminates the time, 2am. Colin waits out the front of the caravan park. Zac, Heidi and Rachel have just arrived. A delayed flight and a long wait for baggage (thanks Tiger Airways) have meant a 2am rather than the anticipated 11.30pm arrival time. The caravan is dimly lit, the heater on and milk warming on the stove for hot chocolate. The table supports a massive 1 kilogram easter egg. The welcoming embraces are as warm as the caravan, genuine pleasure at all being together. We sip hot chocolate and Rachel tells us some of her Central Australia stories and a couple of bad jokes. We smash the massive chocolate egg and savour the taste as Zac tells us of heavy traffic on the way down, speeding drivers and of having to swerve to avoid an errant driver. Colin and I are thankful and grateful that we are all together and safe......

It is late morning - some of us having been surfing, some cycling and some sleeping. We have all eaten a cooked breakfast and are lounging like lizards in the warm sun. Zac lies half in sun and half in shade, snoozing. Rachel approaches, snuggling up to him the way a cat or dog moves in and demands affection, moving his arm to embrace her. He is accommodating. Next Johanna sits at his head stroking his hair. He is patient. Oh to be a big brother so loved!

Early evening approaches. We have all been to the shower block (very ordinary!) and are clean and sand free. Soon the caravan will fill with the good smells of fine food cooking. Colin will be creating some wonderful dish to surprise and delight us all. (smoked salmon and snap pea pasta tonight) The kids are sitting around the table playing a game of cards. Later we will all play a game together, probably 500. It all feels familiar. We have settled into our Yurting rituals, our other home........

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Home and gone again

Another first this time around was a return home overnight yesterday. It was kind of disorientating to be home for one night. We returned Bella to her family, washed and dried clothes and packed the surf gear that we obviously didn’t need in Daylesford. The plus side though was how easy it was to leave this morning. We just parked the caravan, still hitched to the Patrol, outside our house and all was ready when we woke up this morning.

Colin, Johanna and I have set up in Ocean Grove today, done the grocery shopping and had a quick look and walk along the beach - blustery is an understatement - despite the sun the wind was cold and blowing a gale. And there were people swimming without wetsuits - madness!

Colin is cooking dinner now, the smell of coriander wafting and filling the caravan. He has been inspired by a recipe of Jamie Oliver’s via podcast. It smells divine. Besides dinner, we are looking forward to Zac, Heidi and Rachel joining us later tonight. Rachel arrives back from Central Australia this evening, Zac and Heidi will collect her up from the airport and then drive down to Ocean Grove. Johanna is also looking forward to a visit from the Easter Bunny tonight. The next couple of days will be filled with kids, chocolate, surfing and photography, something for everyone.

Friday, 2 April 2010

why not?

It’s late Thursday afternoon, Good Friday Eve. The park is a hive of activity with groups of families arriving for the traditional Easter break. The afternoon light is magnificent. We reckon we scored the best spot in the park, the view from the back of our site looks down over a vast freshly cut expanse of grass with gums and Jubilee Lake on the other side. There is a small group of kids rollicking on the ‘oval’. The early teenage boy has only jeans on, handstanding, throwing and kicking a football, thoroughly enjoying the freedom of being away and apparently carefree.

As I looked left to the playground where Johanna and Bella are also playing carefree it reminded me of my younger days ... seemingly endless summer days mucking around with friends. And I wondered about the end of carefree living and the onset of responsible seriousness.

We all remember our high school teachers, at least the characters. And some we remember because they were exceptional teachers. One I had, Mr Pearce, was my year 10 maths teacher. He taught me to always ask ‘why?’ It was never enough to say what had to be done to solve a problem; he would always push us to explain why. Just when you felt cosy by regurgitating a rule, he would rock the boat by demanding you explain ‘why’.

‘Why’ has always been the seed of unconvention. And now I wonder if one of the keys to regaining carefree living is to ask ‘why not?’ And by carefree, I do not mean in the literal sense, that is, with nothing to care about. I mean the frivolity of joy - and I glance up and see Johanna and Bella rolling down the grassy hill. Who’s rules say that life has to be lived devoid of childlike frivolity. Social norms are very weighty. When we are teenagers we are told not to give in to peer group pressure. But who is telling us as adults that the Jones are a bad influence.

There’s lots of dreaming in Jonestown. But not often the courage to ask why not? Its after dinner now ... Maria rode into town and bought ingredients for minestrone. We were just about to do the dishes, when she says, ‘I’m going for a walk around the lake before it gets dark, want to come?’ Why not? The dishes will be here when we get back. There’s a metaphor. (Actually Maria had a better plan, “Johanna, why don’t you and Bella do the dishes?”)

Some ads make me laugh audibly, must be cause they are aimed at my profile! Anyway, the ones that make me laugh these days are the 4 wheel drive ones, ‘bad things happen indoors’. Make me giggle every time. Conscious of how stupid the proposition is, I reckon ‘bad things happen in the city’.

So we go for a walk ... beautiful. And now I put the kettle on and wait for the football to begin. I’ll sit here in the yurt with the headphones on looking at the animated live site and Gerard et al on ABC. I’m hoping Fev is at his foolish worst and the blue baggers get the points. Beautiful.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Autumn Days

Today was a beautiful autumn day in Daylesford, allbeit a bit cooler than Melbourne. We spent part of the day in Woodend. We picked up a friend of Johanna's (Bella) from a pick up point half way between Melbourne and Daylesford and then proceeded to Woodend for a bit of lunch and a peruse of the shops. As usual, Colin closeted himself away in a cafe to work. The girls bought some cheap earrings, ate sausage rolls from the bakery for lunch followed by fudge for dessert and then spent an inordinate amount of time in the teddy bear shop.

Later in the day, back at the caravan park, they took a canoe out on Lake Jubilee, collected fire wood, built a raft out of sticks and just had fun doing kid stuff. It was lovely to see Johanna having fun with a friend. This is the first time a friend of hers has joined us. Often she is alone with Colin and I and it's just not the same!

There are other things that are different this time too. This is the first time we have been bush - Johanna commented on how much she loved being surrounded by trees and bush, like being at Grandma's. (bush block in Tassie) This is also the first time that Colin has had to spend considerable time working. Unlike Dec/Jan which are traditionally quieter months, March/April finds work in full swing and consequently much more time is needed. We are still experimenting with the best way to manage this.

Johanna and Bella have chosen tea - the spuds and corn are in the fire again for tea tonight. I think a major attraction is the toasting of marshmellows which comes later. Colin is fiddling with the fire, as blokes do, and the girls have taken themselves into the caravan to get their fix of technology (nintendo's) The sun is dipping low casting long and beautiful shadows, brilliant yellow and green colours on the lake and trees. As the sun sets though the temperature drops markedly. Time to rug up a bit.....