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Sunday, December 13, 2015

When Even the Gypsies Settle

gypsy
ˈdʒɪpsi/
noun
  1. 1.
    a member of a travelling people with dark skin and hair, traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune telling. Gypsies speak a language (Romany) that is related to Hindi and are believed to have originated in South Asia.
    synonyms:RomanyRomchalchaigitanogitanatzigane, Zingaro, Zigeuner,
    zingana, didicoiMore
  2. 2.
    informal
    a nomadic or free-spirited person.
    "why should she choose to wander the world with a penniless gypsy like me?"
    synonyms:RomanyRomchalchaigitanogitanatzigane, Zingaro, Zigeuner,
    zingana, didicoiMore

So why did I spend so much time in Port Stephens??? 
- you ask.


































That's why!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tasmanian Angels


When you and your mate randomly find yourselves on the same flight, you know your adventure is off to a great start!

And our plane didn't even crash, so it really was!!
(Although I think the rest of the plane were quite confused when I knelt down and licked the ground on arrival)


Hobart greeted us with some awesome things to lick. and with some exceptionally inspirational new friends.


And great parks.


After a midnight Kmart run to get a $9 tent and $4 camping matts, we were all set to hitch out into the abyss


We were constantly stupified by how easy the trip was and how friendly the locals were.




Some of our rides even doubled as tour guides and took us to explore hidden wonders like the Tasmanian equivalent of stone henge.



Even people in a hurry were happy to give us a ride and go out of their way to make sure we went in the right direction!



And after 8 rides, we eventually arrived at Lake St Claire, the start of the Overland Track


We camped out for the night and woke up to a world of wonder.



Only minutes in, I found my first living echidna (the rest of Australia's roads are paved with dead ones)


There were fresh water creeks everywhere! 
(So it probably wasn't the best idea to be carrying 4 litres of water each)




At the start of the trail, when we were still newbs, getting used to hiking and pack lugging, the happiest part of the day was arriving at the evening's huts.



But as we got fitter and adjusted to the freezing weather, the best part was starting the day because the trail (like the weather) changed every few meters





Georgia stupified by endless beauty
We climbed to great heights.


And explored beautiful valleys.








Every day brought with it encounters with people from all over the world who had many lessons to teach and adventurous escapades to share.
While it was horrible to keep saying goodbye to people, the best part of being the only people walking in the wrong direction (winter is the only time you can hike from South to North - so we did) was getting to meet everyone heading the other way.


Every day we awoke to new adventures






The better parts were done barefoot.


But some days the chicken wire paths cut your feet open or there were other reasons to wear shoes...






After 5 days of mud and sweat and tears we finally reached the end of the overland track


And we got rid of the rubbish we'd carried along the trail
(not bad for 15 meals)


The day was drawing on and we were quite excited for a shower so we decided to hitch to the closest town. 

We wound up in Queenstown, which sounds lovely but...



No, we were very very very glad that we survived the night in the random town (I don't think the legends of cannibals and hostilities are as made-up as they sound).
And we were even more glad that Canuck eventually picked us up to help us escape! 


In truth it was one of the best hitch hiking days of my life!
It might have taken over 2 hours to get the first ride, but when we stepped out of the first car, Georgia and I both overflowed with zest for life and basically stepped straight into Pat's van.

 Pat was a chef and volunteered at a YWAM base, so he had a whole guest house to put us up in and prepared a three course meal to go with it.


We left Sorrell in style


And continued to be taken in by legendary human specimens.


We explored more and more wonderous places




And were gutted when we finally had to hitch towards the airport.


We arrived in Launceston with time to spare and after exploring the gorge and making a plethora of wonderful friends, we hitched to the airport faster than we should have.


Being early has its perks though, we both secured window seats and got complimentry airport meal vouchers. 

They wouldn't let me on the plane without shoes (and I'd checked my only pair in with my luggage) so I had time to construct these from cardboard and hair ties.


Our plane was delayed by an hour... then two... then four... and when it got to the point that we'd definitely missed our train from Melbourne to Sydney we got quite perturbed

We argued for ages with Virgin staff about making an alternative arrangement for us to get home, but because we weren't catching a connecting flight, they said it wasn't there problem.
We were sentenced to arrive in Melbourne at 1 am with nowhere to go and nowhere to stay and no transport to Sydney.

And then, against all odds,  Toby came through for us.
He walked up to us and handed us a 5 star hotel booking, with taxi vouchers to get there and back, meal vouchers, and new plane tickets direct to Sydney for the morning. 


We love Toby!!!


And we quite like Virgin.


And just like that we were back in Sydney.
Straight from the snow to a heat wave!


We stopped to find snacks for the train ride to Newcastle and found a $20 note in a fruit basket....

And then, as I hitched the final 50 km home, I got picked up by the first car that passed who just happened to be my good friends Liz and Pengu and they just so happened to be heading to the beach :)


It was the perfect end to a perfect trip.
Everyone's heard of Tasmanian devils - but I think it's the Tasmanian Angels that are far more prevalent!!