The Beginning of the End

About a week and a half ago I booked a three week trip up the east coast of Oz. On Saturday my journey began. If I had limited Internet access before, I have even less of it now and I’ll most likely be doing this all from my iPod as I didn’t want to bring my laptop. I don’t really know how the format of the photos works either so they might just all be at the end. I don’t know.

Right. So. My trip.

My first stop is Byron Bay just a few hours drive from Brisbane. This place is magical. My friend recommended this cool hostel just under a kilometer from the center of town. It’s basically just a big commune to be honest. Most people are living in tents and most people came for a few days and are now going on months, one guy over a year. It’s not like other hostels either. Ya there are dorms but because most people are in the tents it’s a very hippie feel. I actually feel like I’m at the Oregon Country Fair every day. There’s a really relaxed energy in the air and it’s not like other hostels where people just party and get crazy. People here party but it’s never out of hand. Mostly people are just really chilled out about everything.

I’ve been staying in a ten person teepee the last few nights. Yes. A teepee. It’s amazing. Byron is a really funky place. It reminds me a lot of Oregon but with a real beach with water warm enough to swim in. Maybe that’s why I’m so partial to this place. Anyway it’s so beautiful here. There’s a lot of nature and art around here. In fact, my hostel has an art gallery next door with a recording studio. There’s a small lake here and a forest around. There’s also a great pub next door that’s a lot of fun. The atmosphere is unreal here.

I arrived around 11 am on Sunday, dropped my things off, showered and went off to explore. I didn’t really know what see or do so I just started walking. I found a market down the road with delicious food and beautiful crafts. It reminded me a lot of the Saturday Markets in downtown Portland. It was unbelievably hot though–upwards of 80 with high humidity. It was such a change from Sydney with its downpour and flood warnings. Coldest summer in 50 years…After the markets I went to check into my room and put my stuff away then headed to the beach for a bit. When I got back in the evening they were having a big farewell for a guy who’d come for a week and stayed for fifteen months so there was food, drinks, music etc. I met a lot of people that night from all over the world–the most unique place being Mauritius. After everybody ate people started playing guitar and drums and we basically had a big music circle in the common room before heading to bed.

Next morning I woke up at 530, yes, morning and took a shuttle up to the lighthouse near the easternmost point of Oz to see the sunrise. It was early but it was so worth it. It was too cloudy for the sunrise really but I got some great photos and it was still really beautiful. I came back, slept, then headed off to explore the area. My friend lent us his car and another friend and I drove around to explore. We were going to go to this other commune retreat place called Rainbow Temple where another friend lives but we ended up making a three hour detour to this forest we found on the map. It’s supposed to be a national park or something so we thought there’d be somewhere to park and walk around. There wasn’t. It’s basically a one lane road through a forest where there are a few houses spread out. It’s gorgeous around there though. It’s so green and there’s a small river that goes through there. My friend and I decided were going to start a yurt commune out there. Not even joking. Anyway…afterwards we went to get ingredients for a giant curry our friends were going to make. We all helped cook by chopping, washing, peeling, cooking etc and made the biggest curry I’ve ever seen. Everyone only put in a dollar or two, which covered the expenses perfectly and everyone had enough. I had a huge bowl of curry and rice and so did everyone else. I couldn’t believe there was enough to go around! It was a good feeling pitching in and eating for two dollars. I love the sense of community here. If I didn’t have a deadline for America so soon I’d definitely spend a lot more time here, maybe even a year haha.

Tonight I’m heading to Brisbane for a night before going to Fraser Island to camp for four days! I’m really excited!

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