Experimental Travel Blog

As we’ve learnt from previous blog posts, I’m trying to foster the spontaneous side of my character. I love writing. I have so many ideas and so many drafts that haven’t yet seen the light of a device. Why? Because I’m a perfectionist and I’ve been a uni student for over a decade. Worse still I’m trained in history and have written a thesis both of which are all about meticulous research. This has subconsciously affected the way I blog. So this time I’m writing with no research and no filter. Let’s see what happens.

Sat 27th Dec 2015

Sydney

I’m on a train replacement bus. Good ‘ol NSWTrains have changed my itinerary at the last minute (of course). This is why I got here extra early. Speaking of which, I decided to get on the earlier bus in case they changed it again and I missed my final connection to my destination. I’m not that annoyed really because this feels far more spontaneous. Unless they do this again, I’ll get a chance to enjoy a musing direct trip back home. Afterall, in a few weeks I’ll (hopefully) have my P’s. I won’t know what to do with myself when I get them. After fending for myself for so long I imagine it will take a while to realise that I can get to a from places much easier. I can go almost anywhere I want anytime I want and take anything I want. That boggles my mind. We take too much for granted.
Anyway it’s the day after Boxing Day so the CBD is quite lively. A young man sprints through the pedestrian crossing as soon as the green man comes on, he leaps up towards the wall of a local nightspot and slaps the ‘NO’ in the NO LOCK OUT poster attached to it. He is screaming all the while. I’m in the bus so I can’t hear it but it looks so strange. I think he was excited about there being no lock out rather than being so offended by it that he felt compelled to charge and attack it.

Heading over the Harbour Bridge again. In the direction I just came from…Just went past my place…We’re on the road I’ll be using to travel to and from my new job. My first ever full-time job. My first ever teaching position. It still doesn’t feel real. Next year is going to be completely different from this year (and every year before that!)

Blacktown

I got here 45 mins early. I was only a little bit nervous. I can’t help it. I’m a single upper-middle class Anglo-Saxon woman who grew up in the Shire. More to the point I’ve never been here before. It is hard fitting even my small suitcase into the toilet cubical. A young dad reminds his young son to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone he passes including me as we both approach the turnstile. So sweet.

I’m drinking a really delicious berry smoothie which probably isn’t as healthy as my mind is trying to reassure me. But it is the little things that make a difference. On top is written ‘Safe the World’ which is attached to a power chord. I presume the Mandarin underneath reads more like ‘Save the world’ and is encouraging us to use less electricity?

Unlike Central at least Blacktown station has water faucets you can fit your water bottle under to refill it. I think these modern fancy sinks are part of a mass conspiracy to force us to buy bottled water. Well, I refuse.

Lithgow

A lot of people say that Lithgow is “a hole”. This choice of phrase has always intrigued me. Not a lot seems to happen here and I can understand how young people may be frustrated by growing up in a country town and leave for the city the first chance they get. But I believe in making the most of what we have instead of chasing after something “better”. But I would say that because I’m overwhelmed by living in suburban Sydney. I don’t even come close to making the most of where I live. I’m a city born country girl and yearn to be back living at the farm or on my own small property in a small country town.

I presume I’m on the correct coach. Lithgow was the end of the line and everyone with luggage headed towards the only coach in the coach bay. It was about the right time to stat boarding in order to leave on time. The driver missed my question “does this go to Orange” during our pleasantries and it must have gotten lost in my still intermittent voice.

I’ve started listening to Serial and I am addicted. I probably should be listening to history podcasts in preparation for Term 1. Hey, I’m on holidays.

Sat 2nd Jan 2016

Dubbo

I have seen and done a lot in the space of just one week not to mention been a lot of different places. I didn’t blog during my actual holiday. I was too relaxed and too engrossed in being in each moment and spending quality time with people.

I wasn’t in the mood to do much people watching. I love the vibe of public country transport. There is something about it which makes people connect with each other. There is this mutual understanding and acceptance that we’re all in the same boat so we may as well make the most of it. Being in the same space for long hours brings people’s walls down (whether that be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thing). Or maybe it is the fact that most country people are more open and friendly?

I sat next to a friendly man. He was middle-aged and weathered. He wore his baseball cap and sunglasses for most of his journey. It was one of those moments where I didn’t quite know what to do. It wasn’t a sustained conversation. Every five to ten minutes he’d say something about interesting places he had been. Even though I was looking forward to putting in my headphones, listening to the end of Serial and shifting from staring out the window to knitting or colouring, I didn’t want to stop this connection. In ‘normal’ life it is very likely that we would never speak. Afterall, this kind of thing doesn’t often happen in Sydney so it would be my last chance to have this type of exchange for a while.

That and the fact that I can be so awkward. I didn’t want to eat my Subway because I felt too self-conscious. Eating a Subway is not elegant. I did however get their glorious Devonshire tea now with the option of a blueberry scone! I look forward to this every time I use the XPT. I’m already acquainted with the precariousness of the cup they serve the tea in so after carefully preparing it and nursing it until it was cool enough to drink (which takes a very long time. Unless you have a superhuman sense of self control you can never enjoy the scone and the tea simultaneously) I still managed to spill it all over my white top at the first sip. That was awkward and embarrassing. We parted ways and I took the opportunity to shift into non-conversation mode for the rest of the trip home.

Sydney

Ugh why does it seem to take so long to get anywhere in Sydney? I made it to Sydney but trackwork means that it going to make getting home more difficult and take a lot longer. Its moments like this which make me wish I had someone who could pick me up and take me home. It would be nice to have someone to come home to.

Sun 3rd Jan 2016 

Final thoughts

Almost every largish country town has at least one Subway. When did that become a thing? Don’t worry, as crucial as this observation is, it wasn’t the most profound thought to cross my mind this trip.

I feel a lot better after having a break from living in the city. I genuinely enjoyed and felt the benefits of being out of range with little access to email, social media or YouTube. Let’s see how long it takes before it starts to permate too much of my life again.

The more I travel around the country the more I struggle to get my head around how huge Australia is (and I’ve been to WA many times!) Yet for thousands of years people have not only survived but thrived here. The first Australians respected and worked with the resources available to them. They lived in harmony with their environment. Today we exploit what we have been blessed with and work against nature. Getting back to nature and a ‘simpler’ way of life puts all of this into a healthy dose of perspective. Most of contemporary Australia has more than what we need and mistake our wants as needs. And yet we want more. It doesn’t have to be this way. Let us focus on responsibly using what we have over constant acquisition.

I wondered at God’s power and love as reflected through creation. No detail was spared. Situations like this also help me to appreciate the power of human will. We drove to the summit of Mount Kaputar (a mere 1510m above sea level) and enjoyed a view that encompassed ten percent of New South Wales. This was only possible because generations of people before us had made it possible through exploration and infrastructure.

This experimental blog was a worthwhile experience. I feel a bit uncomfortable publishing it but I will move past that. As I learnt throughout this trip being comfortable isn’t the be all and end all. We don’t learn and grow when we’re comfortable.

IMG_1085Exploring Warrumbungle National Park

IMG_1098The view from our home away from home at Piliga Pottery. The best and strangest place I have ever stayed.

IMG_1117View from the summit of Mount Kaputar.

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