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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flowing to and through KL

I woke up this morning, in Kuala Lumpur. I got here yesterday evening, after an 8 hour flight from the Gold Coast. I didn’t have a place to stay, as I wasn’t too bothered with pre booking something. But once I eventually found somewhere to stay, after an hour of traipsing around China Town, I met an English girl, who I went and had dinner with. It was so nice to have some company. But all evening, she spoke only about herself and her travels: 3 whole hours!! (I feel bad in saying this, because other than that, she was a lovely girl, but still..). So I sat and listened and listened and ate and listened and ate some more. For those hours I totally forgot what I was actually in the middle of doing and what brought me to be sitting there listening to her telling me how drunk she had gotten and how many men she had been with. Hummm. She definitely got my mind away from all that I would have otherwise been thinking about, which I guess is what I needed.

But everything had been going great and I was feeling so confident in what I was doing. There was no panic. I was chilled-out and relaxed. I didn’t start to feel in doubt or panic, until I got back to the hostel, checked my emails. I read an email that really struck a cord. Too much. It was the wrong time for me to have opened it. I was too tired, I wasn’t able to deal with it and so I should have left it alone. But I didn’t. And when I read the email, which said that I seemed doubtful about what I was doing, I panicked. I thought to myself: Oh no.. if I’ve been coming across as doubting this step that I’m taking and therefore not sure about what I’m doing and so lacking in confidence, then what on earth is going to come of me when I get to India? I started thinking that to have doubts, was to not be able to deal with what’s ahead. I felt weak because of this. I felt I suddenly had to explain myself. I felt I had to now convince people that I’m not doubting going to India and that I’m strong enough to deal with this. So I started rethinking my mannerism and retracing my feelings from the point of leaving Caboolture to arriving in Kuala Lumpur.

I realized that I had been feeling strong within myself. I had put my reason for coming across as doubtful, down to the risk that's involved. So for me to express to the world, or in a telephone conversation, how excited I am or how sure I am that this is the right thing I’m doing, seems to be setting myself up for nasty fall, if this doesn’t work out. There are parts of me that doesn’t want to be too “airy-fairy” about living out a dream in the real world, because the reality can feel so different than what we had hoped it would be in our hearts. To have a realistic approach when living a dream, always makes those encounters or situations that come your way which are less “dreamlike” and therefore difficult challenges - that are always possible to overcome, no matter how hard - easier to handle. A realistic approach in my mind makes the dream in my heart more precious. It makes everything beautiful and all that happens becomes a massive plus. So expect nothing and everything will be a bonus, if beauty is all we choose to see.

I can’t be sure about everything, and I don’t want to be sure about everything. I’m not going to dwell on the doubts, such as work and finances. That’s actually as far as the list goes! But I’m going to take all that I can from the certainties I do have. I can be sure that this step was going to happen sooner or later and therefore is simply something I must do. I can be sure that I’ll feel if I want to make it work. And once I want to make something work, no matter the effort it takes, I know I will. I’m sure that I couldn’t be in a better place with in myself, to handle this. I’m also 100% sure that I’ll rise to whatever challenge I may encounter.

All these certainties I couldn’t feel last night. Even though, as I relived my day, whilst lying in this hot and dirty hostel in Chinatown with the fan zooming all night and with noises surrounding me that were gross enough to turn my stomach, everything really has felt so good and there wasn’t, at any point, the fear that I was doing something wrong. Everything was flowing. Until last night. It all stopped. I wanted the home front to know that I was sure about as many things as I was able to be sure about, in this uncertain world we live in. For me to feel the need to convince others and to maybe even seek their approval through justification, felt suddenly to go against all that I’ve taught myself: which is to NOT convince others, because I know myself inside and out. It was quite the opposite than what I wanted to do last night, in my moments of despair.

Eventually I got to sleep and had amazing dreams. It was so nice! I was so sure of everything. I then woke up and felt so excited! I had butterflies! This was the day! It was only 5am and I had only slept 4 hours. But I didn’t care. I wanted to start the day! And all the things that were playing on my mind before going to sleep last night, had vanished. I didn’t feel I needed to let everyone know that I’m okay. Because I know that I am. This post this morning, was needed for myself, to put last night into perspective. And I have. I was actually able to laugh at myself for reacting so foolishly to something that was said in an email that was meant with so much good intention. It’s amazing how sleep can clear the mind!! The world was, and always will be, such a bright place.

So, with or without doubts. With or without certainty. Everything will unfold as it’s supposed to. It’s going to be amazing, whatever the outcome!

Replaying the tale

As I’ve been winding down this trip since staying in Caboolture, each day was so inspiring and I learnt something more about my trip and about myself and about life in general. I knew I was ready to move on but at the same time I knew my time was running out. Therefore I was trying to distance myself from this Australian world but also I was trying to savour each day and all that it was giving me. So there was a “tug of war” going on: the pushing, or rejecting, was to gear myself up for the next step and pulling, or embracing, was to suck as much goodness out of the richness of my surroundings and the peaceful environment I found myself in. This was a perfect balance to create my own reality that is stable at all times. The combination or the sum that comes from this “tug of war” has made me as prepared as possible for this change. And now it’s starting.

When I get to where I’m going, I’ll once again look at myself and I‘ll see myself from 2 particular stages: I’ll be in the place I set out from 9 months ago and I’ll be in the place where I‘ll have landed myself. This will show me the route that’s been taken, and Australia will be highlighted along the journey as the country that gave me an incredible amount, of everything. Adventure, culture, love, friendship, knowledge of nature and environment, spirituality. It gave me an appreciation for this country that is even stronger than I first had, 3 years ago. It gave me an understanding for the reason why people sometimes don’t “see” the world as being one with incredible opportunities but instead they “see” the world as being one full of danger and fear that causes them to not properly “see”. It gave me the drive and the urge to go to further countries where an appreciation for where I am can ALWAYS be felt and not just when the day that it’s time to leave. It gave me clarity in seeing that, no matter where I am, putting myself first and staying true to my own needs, will always support me and serve me in everything I do.

Australia has been so many different things me: the stepping stone, the trampoline, the starting blocks, the runway. Ireland holds my water, my essence, my ground, my roots. Ireland is where my foundations are on which Australia has started to build. Ireland is where my seed has been sown and Australia has been the stem that will now make it possible for me to blossom. It has been the much needed warm-up that has gotten my heart racing, in order to avoid any injury. This is an endless list when describing what this country means to me.

My general view of this country, which can be felt by anybody who is open to it, is one like this: It’s a place that offers freedom in the western - often suppressed - society where people are being invaded, possessed, steered and restricted by the speed and chaos of the world. The distance that lies geographically between them and the rest of the western world, makes one not too prone to the influences that are put upon us. In certain parts and on certain levels society will try to invade, possess and steer their people, especially as they look at the far busier and similarly other rich worlds that aren’t within close proximity. They will try and follow suite. But not everyone in this vast country has to. Because of the simple reason: it’s a VAST country. People can escape and be free. People can reject that poison of consumerism, materialism, possession. They can control their own lives instead of society controlling it for them, if they so choose. Freedom on whatever level a person wants, can be experienced. A taste of this can only tease you and make you beg for more. And when that happens and you know you can have that else where, then you can be sure it’s time to blossom, to branch out, to go to higher grounds.

Having this view of Australia, not only supports but maybe sums up my reasons for feeling blessed by these perfect 9 months. So, as I’m signing off, the tale here is done for now. The world awaits my presence as there are still many more lessons to be learnt, experiences to be lived and fairytales to be written.

A Subconscious Goodbye

Today, still Friday, I could see it all so clearly. As I tried to remain stress-free and push all the bad thoughts, of things that could go wrong, to the back of my mind and so to be able to deal with whatever was to come my way in a calm and confident manner, I was able to see how the different parts of this chapter had gelled together so perfectly, to create all that I’m able to be doing at this moment in time. All it gave me has been, and still is, supporting what I’m aiming for. I’ve come full-circle, unintentionally. I started in Caboolture, I’m ending in Caboolture. Everything almost too perfect for words. This amazing Australia. I was here today, but I’d be gone tomorrow.

Hang on a minute! That doesn’t make sense what I just said: I WAS here TODAY? Doesn’t that mean, as I sit here in Oz and write this, that I’m already living in my future? I just used the past tense of the verb “to be” to describe what I’m doing right now! That’s not really living in the moment, is it Niamh? No, it’s not. But it confirms so strongly what I just stated: I feel like I’ve already said goodbye. There it is. I have. My mind has already left.. Today I was here in body, but not in mind. And my spirit? This was somewhere in between my body and mind. At certain moments in my body, as I perceived the world and my surroundings and at other moments in mind, as I prepared myself mentally for the new chapter that’s about to start. And that’s why I felt so strange.. all day long!! Yes! That’s it!

So I felt like I wasn’t totally a part of this world anymore, this Australian world. Everything was happening around me and I had to instruct myself almost to keep my brain in action, just to get myself from A to B - which could have given home the impression that I was feeling low or doubtful when I rang them on the phone! But I wasn’t able to engage too much in anything. I just stood back and observed the world that I would so soon be leaving behind. It was almost a video clip. And I was making the movie. All day long, I was the outsider looking in. And so many little things I was seeing. Things that usually wouldn’t be seen, because they would be so normal. Today, they weren’t normal anymore.

This is the movie being replayed: I sat in the doctors waiting room to pick up a prescription. A woman walked past with an envelope in her hand, that had massive letters on it saying: “State of Queensland”. Then, as I sat on the train I was seeing the school kids everywhere. Little Australian children, all in those typical Ozzie uniforms with those cute little hats and with that gorgeous accent that sounds 10 times nicer when coming from a child. As I later walked around Brisbane there were young Australian teenage girls everywhere, all so beautiful, all so similar, all so ”typical” Australian. The chain stores or shops that are only known to Ozzie land , were suddenly everywhere, like “The Cheesecake Shop”. Also the houses were drawing my attention; those houses I love so much: Australian bungalow type houses or “little house on the prairie” type houses . It was like I was seeing everything for the first time again. Was it a new appreciation because I was leaving? Or was it me trying to savour everything that Australia is? Was I comparing it to European countries, just so I would be aware of where I was, as my days or even my hours here were numbered? Why was this happening? It was most probably was a combination of all these questions.
Follow-up to come..

Just say "goodaye"

I’m sitting on the balcony right now of a hostel near the Gold Coast Airport. It’s Friday night. Tomorrow morning, I fly and leave this beautiful country. Who is to say when, why and how I might or might not set foot on Australian red soil again. Nobody can know.. But for now there are many I DO know and I’m more than happy to share what it is I’ve become aware of.

It’s dark, it’s humid, it’s nice. I went for a walk just to check out the place, and all I found were drunken kids and surf-shops. Australia. I thought: My last impressions? Drunken kids and surf-shops? This location is near a place called Surfers Paradise (those who have travelled in Oz, have definitely heard of it, as it’s a tourist “hotspot“). It’s somewhere I’ve never been before but I’ve heard stories about how amazing it’s supposed to be - in the daytime that is. I’m sure the sea is a clear bright blue colour. I’m sure it’s as pretty as a picture and I‘m sure the surfers dudes are hunks and the girls are all models with blond hair and amazing tans. But, from what I can see, I’m not too impressed. I strolled around in search for something, but didn’t know what. And so, I found nothing. Nothing that would be of any interest to me. It felt so strange: this amazing place, my last night, and not an ounce of anything.

So, as I sit here on the balcony with loud music blaring in the background, coming from the pub downstairs, and from the one next door and from the nightclub across the road, I’m feeling as if I’ve already said goodbye. I realized this as I was strolling along and a dude walked by and simply said: Goodaye”. I smiled and that word echoed in my mind: “Goodaye.” A word I’m not likely to hear anytime in the foreseeable future. He said “goodaye” to me, and I was saying goodbye to his country. What a contrast. It made me suddenly see myself from the place I set out, 9 months ago, which was Ireland. I could feel the distance I had travelled, in both space and time. And now, this was still me, having done all I had to do in Oz. I set out in April, without any expectations as to what I was going to do or how long I was going to stay. It was an open door that would reveal so much and the only “plan” I had planned was to go with whatever came my way. And today, I found myself suddenly at the end of this chapter, rich with so many new experiences through which I’ve grown in many different ways.
More to come..

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Travelling deeper

This is a follow-up on the post “putting the puzzle together”..

Living for a reason.. Travelling for a reason.. What’s yours? What’s mine?
Our own choices, we can take what we want from every moment we live, from every opportunity that comes along and from every experience we have. You are the one who gives meaning to whatever happens.

When it comes to travel: If you choose, travel can give you 2 things at once, which can be so overwhelming. Firstly, it can give you the world, it’s all there served on a platter. Secondly, it can give you self-development. For me, being overwhelmed by both, is why I needed a time-out here in Brisbane. I stepped away from the world of travel for 3 weeks. Stepping away, made me see that it I AM really all about development of the self, as that’s what I’ve subconsciously chosen. It was a path that started before leaving Ireland, so intensely, so it was bound to keep me close: Developing the self even more so than I already have done.

When I first travelled, never did I stop to reflect, always was I going as fast as possible to see as much as possible, within as little time as possible and on as low a budget as possible. Of course, amazing experiences I had, when I was here, there and everywhere, a few year ago. But I wasn’t aware of my actual reason for travelling. Or, come to think of it, I may have simply had a different reason for travel: to see the world. And that’s where I was convinced it had to stop. “Isn’t that enough already?“ I felt greedy to think that I could possibly have more of that travel, if I really wanted it.
And of course I compared my life to that of friends, and I felt that too much beauty and amazement had already been experienced by this individual, and therefore it had to stop somewhere. These were the words of the “world”, the words of judgement, of rationalization, of reality and therefore these words were the sound of “gospel”. When really they weren’t. Everybody’s individual word, that comes from their hearts, is personal and THAT’S gospel, because it’s true. To follow suite, is not our truth and “gospel” loses it’s meaning.

So, back on track: If you choose, travel can go so much deeper. And this is what I’m feeling now, as I’m changing course ever so slightly. It’s amazing to see it like this. As my eyes were opening so wide, I suddenly compared myself to others who had never had these opportunities in life. And the gratitude I felt was so intense. It was gratitude for always following my own needs and for being the traveller, or always trying to be the traveller - for as long as I wish. Feeling this gratitude I was brought back to the way I used to travel: I never stopped. I therefore never realized that travelling really does reveal parts of yourself that would otherwise remain undiscovered. Those parts of inner depths. I always found that if I stopped moving, there would be parts of the world unseen. And weren’t these parts of the world the most important thing? Wasn’t that what travelling was all about? Back then: yes. Now: no. For most travellers the answer “yes” would be the one. But my answer is “no”. Because, now, to stop is to maybe choose to not see certain parts of the world or of a country and to make peace with these parts remaining unseen forever (for example, the time I’ve spent here in Brisbane, I could have spent in parts of Oz that I haven’t yet seen). And now, to stop is to see certain parts of yourself that would otherwise remain unseen. And once you see all that’s inside and see what the experience of being in that certain country, has given you - without taking into account the tourist trail which everyone is “supposed“ to follow - the memories, the friendships, the lessons, the breakthroughs, then all is put into perspective and it can be, once again, time to put yourself out there in the world.

This is what I’ve done ( and it’s why I’m analyzing so much): I’ve given to myself, and I’m now in the position to give to the world once again. And, when relating this to travel in general: You have seen inside what you have, and now know what you to offer the world. And that’s where the breakthrough happens: Because now, you are wide-awake to all that’s in the world and all that it can offer you. You now know how to create the balance: to give to and to receive from the world. It becomes almost a relationship that’s flowing. An appreciation can evolve from both sides.

To see things like this, makes me feel so lucky. I can’t put it into words. To be right at this point, in my life, is amazing. However, it’s debateable if “luck” is the right word. Maybe Grateful? Most definitely! Grateful in every sense, but still aware that a person is the one who creates their own experiences by simply opening the eyes and seeing and then closing the eyes and feeling. By acting out what is felt through what is being seen in the world, makes certain things happen. And therefore “luck” is suddenly another word for seeing, feeling and then acting. So, for these senses, I feel an unimaginable sense of gratitude.. How amazing!

Putting the puzzle together

This is Niamh, Analyzing...

The time that I’ve spent in Brisbane, may have felt, or may have come across, as me being in a selfish frame of mind. The writing I’ve been doing, about making the choices and about all my emotions and about all that I want.. Me, me me, it all was about me. But come to think of it, this whole blog has been along those lines. These past 3 weeks, it’s been more so the case, I reckon. To think of how I’ve been living here in Brisbane; I have indeed been focused on myself. Because there simply was no one else to focus on (apart from trying to make a trip back to Ireland, at the end of February). In many ways I needed this time, to put things into perspective..

What I just picked-up from this paragraph I just wrote: Putting things into perspective, needing to focus on oneself and therefore travelling selfishly??? Bringing up this subject, actually leads my mind towards something I’ve only come to realize, so recently, about travel. People can have many different reasons for travel. Most would say they travel in order to “find themselves”. Or they might not phrase it in such a way, but would instead say: “to grow as a person“ or “to broaden the mind“. Others may have reasons like: “to become independent“, “to see beautiful places” or “to experience the culture”. So many reasons, and most people would never be able to just give the one reason. Instead it’s a combination of a few, with one that overrules. The reasons so different, but all with one thing, or person, should I say, in common: and that’s the self. So some people would say - and my ears have seriously picked-up on people saying these words: “the young adults that are travel-oriented, are acting selfishly“. Selfish? Why? Because it’s all about their own needs and what they want? Because they leave loved-ones behind, family, friends, work, everything? Because they have the goal of becoming so many others things than they felt they were, in that moment of departing from the home front and saying their goodbyes at the airport? Because they leave without thinking of all the people who will miss them? They leave and it SEEMS they wouldn’t even look back and it SEEMS they would never long to be with them, if only just for one day. But how untrue it is to say that travel is an expression of selfishness, even when being posed with all of the questions above. This would mean that living in general is a selfish act, if we follow the chain of the reasons for doing anything in life: which is to feel love and to be happy. Everybody simply has different means of getting to feel and experience those things in life that they value and makes them feel alive.

As I’ve been putting things into perspective, I’ve been seeing things so clearly. I’ll backtrack a little to: The reasons for travel. To travel for an extended period of time with the obvious reason of discovering the world. But if you choose, it’s also to discover yourself, how you can position yourself within this world, what it can offer you and how it can stimulate you and your life. But in order to be in the position of discovering what the world can offer you, don’t you first have to discover what you can offer the world? Doesn’t this principal work along the same lines as: Before loving someone else, you have to love yourself. Before respecting someone else, you have to respect yourself. Before sharing your experience, you have to have lived the experience yourself. Don’t these principles all work the same? So, this makes me see that: Before knowing the world, you have to know yourself. Before seeing the world, you have to SEE yourself. And before giving to the world, you have to give to yourself.

So: If you’ve offered and given to yourself, by focusing on all that you’ve learnt, seen and felt, then you’ve truly seen yourself and then you can see what you can offer the world. You can, in that moment, offer the world what it needs, because you will be able to link the 2 together: the link between what you have to give and what the world needs to receive.

This then leads me to create the next link, which is: The link between selfishness and travel. Is there one? To say travellers are self-centred, is also to say that anybody in the world, whether traveller or not, are selfish in acting out all that they want. Going to college, buying a house, having children. Doesn’t it all come down to the same thing? Isn’t it in actual fact selfless to reflect on your journey, your travels, your experiences? Because you know it will not only serve you but also those who you come into contact with. If “passing-on” and sharing is your dream. Then the act of travel, gives inspiration to pass on. The act of reflection on these experiences, gives passion to pass on. The act of “putting into perspective” how your choices have followed through and effected your overall journey, gives strength to pass on. So selfishness should not hold anybody, even the traveller, in it’s power.

So, to put the puzzle together: Whatever the reason is for travel, it is never of a selfish nature. If so, this would mean living in general is selfish (this is a topic I could analyze for hours, but I won’t bore you with that!!) When travel is taken to another level, it becomes, or has always been, the passion for which one lives. With an open-mind and an open heart, it can not only serve oneself but also every place and person that is encountered along the travellers journey. If travel becomes a life, and if the reason is to share, then the world will work in ways to support that life. Travel will then flow, it will become natural, without any doubt or fear of it ever ending. Because it simply will BE, in that moment, which is a moment that lasts forever (as now IS our “forever”).

The next one goes a little deeper, if it grabs you, read on..

Getting it sorted! Part III

Getting it sorted! Part III

Too much was going through my head over the course of the past week and it reached it’s peak, Tuesday afternoon. Why? Well, I was running out of time. The courses I was choosing between, were all starting on the same date, they were all putting pressure on me, through their emails, that I needed to make up my mind as they only had 1 spot left and they were holding it for me! I got the point of nearly being in tears, because I was so torn between these 2 courses. I wanted both so badly. Then I had panic attacks, I was feeling sick, my bowls were reacting too (sorry for the details). At that point I really needed someone to come along and say: “Niamh..just go for this one or that one!.” But there was no one. So I had to do it by myself. And it was almost like I was incapable of making a choice. I nearly wanted to do absolutely nothing, just for fear of choosing the wrong one. But I suddenly thought: if both are wrong, then both can’t both also be right? If I want them both, then what does it matter? Both are amazing experiences, if that’s the approach I have and if that’s what I make them out to be.

So, I had to stop thinking, book the course I first planned on doing. I paid everything in full so there was no going back. I then had a minor breakdown. I closed the door and was feeling so sick with fear, doubt, regret, loneliness. Every emotion, not of the good nature, was rushing through me and I was going into overdrive almost. But I calmed myself down and then I felt strong and contained enough to book the flights. I was on a role, so I had to keep the momentum going. Again, another minor panic attack struck me followed by a sickly feeling once again which was accompanied by some fear, doubt, regret, loneliness - what a familiar pattern this was turning out to be! - I got over it just as quick as the first attack and everything became clear. The fear had been replaced with relief, the doubt had been replaced with certainty, the regret had been replaced with gratitude and the loneliness had been replaced with strength. And the sum of all of these emotions: Excitement!! Everything felt amazing. This was what I needed. This was really going to happen!

The beauty of this whole process, I discovered only this morning, was that I did it all on my own! Nobody has influenced me - even though yesterday I wanted to ring somebody, anybody, for their influence or input, as I wasn’t able to think or see clearly anymore - nobody has coaxed me, or persuaded me. I wasn’t told what would work out better for me in the long run or what would suit the person I am. I did it all myself! And since then I haven’t shared my enthusiasm or plans with hardly anybody. Those I have shared it with, their reaction didn’t meet the enthusiasm I felt on the inside (except for one or two people). Even this fact hasn’t effected me. It didn’t make me doubt that I was making a mistake. Nor did it make me want to convince them that what I’m doing is amazing - because I know myself what’s real and true. I know all I need to know so I don‘t have to convince others. This was such a reassuring feeling revealing that what I’m doing is for all the right reasons; which I feel that are right ones for me. This feels so natural and normal for me (apart from the 2 minor panic attacks). It’s just another step that I’m taking.

What exactly is this step? Well, I’m going to be leaving Oz and I’m heading to a place I’ve wanted to go to for quite some years now. My next stop is India!! A place that really is calling me. I’ve known for months it was going to be the place I simply had to go to. Since I was in Cairns, in July, it’s what I’ve been aiming for and working towards. The hours on the farm, were all in aid of this adventure. And when I got to Thailand in December, I knew that India wouldn’t be too far off. And it’s not. I’m going sooner than I expected. At the same time, it’s what I had hoped would happen. And another reason for me hoping it would all happen soon was that “long term planning” is something I don’t really do. And therefore this step simply had to be fast. In July I had January or February in my head but thought in reality it would take a lot longer to sort everything out. But 2 weeks is all it took and I’m leaving on Saturday morning! That’s it!

The 30th of January I’m flying to Kuala Lumpur. I spend the night in the city and on Sunday the 31st I fly to Cochin, in the state of Kerala (south east coast), where I’ll be picked-up from the airport, brought to my accommodation and Monday morning I start the course! The course is to be an English teacher in foreign countries. It’s provided through Tesol, which is an American language institute, giving English teaching courses and job placements in just about any country in the world! I’ve wanted to try this for years, and I’m finally doing it. I could have chosen from so many other countries, but with me only being able to think and dream of India, there was no question as to where I should do it. The course lasts for 3 weeks. Afterwards there’s a few weeks off and then we should get offered a job placement of a certain amount of months, depending on personal preferences. I can’t believe sometimes how it’s worked out. Really I can’t.

In some ways it’s a lot to be dealing with: leaving Oz for good, going to a place so overwhelming and diving into the world of teaching straight away.. All within the space of 3 days. I can’t believe it. But I’m not scared or anxious. I feel pretty stress-free and am still chilling out here in Brisbane, as my last day in Oz will soon be starting. I’m just taking each experience as it comes. I’ll deal with each one, as it comes along, and everything will follow the path it’s meant to follow and I’ll happily go along that path, being grateful and feeling blessed for all that comes my way!

You can sure I’ll be keeping you posted on how the next few days go!!

Getting it sorted! Part II

Getting it sorted! Part II

The next step.. How and when shall I get to that beautiful place? Do I want to get there so soon? Do I want to leave Oz already? Should I maybe look for farm work and stay in Oz for as long as possible? Do I want to leave this beautiful land, 3 months before my visa expires? Aren’t these months to be cherished? Isn’t this year in Oz a once in a life time opportunity? Couldn’t these months have given me another short and very sweet Ozzie adventure? What was the rush? Why did I feel the urge to leave, so soon, so suddenly, so strongly? Was I running? Was I convincing myself that Ozzie-land wasn’t for me and would I then come to regret never giving it a proper chance when it comes to settling here, getting a sponsorship of 2 years and becoming a resident? Was I fooling myself?

(Oh my god, as I sit here, reminiscing over my Australian times, the radio has just started playing my all time favourite Ozzie pub song.. by Jimmy Barns! That’s freaky. This song was also the last song I heard when I was leaving Oz the last time, back in September 2007.. This was when I was in Darwin, I left the pub, while they were playing this song and 2 hours later I was at the airport making my way to Singapore. And now it’s being played at this very moment too. That’s freaky..)

Sorry. Just got a little sidetracked there. What a beautiful coincidence that was!!
So, the questions as to why now leave Oz? Too soon? Too rash? Too precious? Too misunderstood? Too sure? Yes, I was too sure. I was too sure that this was my time. I only became too sure, once I had I considered every option: I considered staying for 1 more month, I considered working for 3 more months, I considered going for 1 month and coming back for 2, I considered staying for as long as possible. Everything. I very quickly came to the conclusion that my heart was no longer wanting to do farm work. Also I knew that getting residency here in Oz, wasn’t what I wanted. Australia is so beautiful but there are other places that have different things on offer and I want to experience them. I need inspiration, I need to go and feel the challenge other countries can give me, by just being there. Australia doesn’t give me that. By coming to Brisbane, I somehow seemed to have landed myself in this perfect spot, to wind down and thus going further a field felt like the only thing I COULD do. It felt like the most natural and normal thing to do. It was the only way. Do you know the feeling: Whenever you get something into your head, and it’s so stuck, that you can’t possibly see what else you would do with your life other than follow that thing that has gotten into your mind, that had its source within your heart? This is really what it was like. This idea, it had to happen. And it was.

I knew that never would I be ecstatic to leave Oz, a beautiful place like this that has given me the world, literally. Never. So if I leave now or in 3 months time, I’ll still not board a plane as if being delighted to get away from this place, nor will I not have to be dragged onto the plane by the air hostesses, kicking and screaming - I actually don’t even think they do this..;) This was the realization that pushed me along.

2 weeks ago, I had already started to set my plans in motion, even before I had made any kind of definite decision. I figured: Just in case! So I applied for the visa and got vaccinated. I made enquiries, I checked-out flights, I contacted certain people. I thought it best to be prepared and if I wasn’t going to go through with it, then no harm done, but if I did decide to go for it, then I’d be in the position to act fast.

2 days ago, Monday afternoon. I got the visa!!! Wooohoooo!! I was delighted! I couldn’t believe it! I could actually make this happen. The next step followed: What to go for? This country that’s calling me, has different opportunities. And I wanted to have options, but gave myself maybe a little bit too many, which swamped me and made the decision as to what to do once I get there, all the more difficult.

2 full days of sitting behind the computer.. Monday and Tuesday.. Weighing up the pros and cons.. I was choosing between a few different courses that would possibly give me the prospect of a job, after completion. So questions such as: What does each offer me? What would I prefer to do as a job? What do I want and need most, at this moment in time? The answer to this last question was simple: At this moment in time, I need to be sure that I have a chance to keep on travelling, if that’s what I feel I have to do. I also need to be able to look forward and see the world as an open door through which I can walk and I have to see that whatever is on the other side of that door, it will always give me the experiences, the unknown, the travel and most importantly the inspiration. These things I wanted so badly to make my own. That open door. I had to make it a priority. And I figured once I have my priorities in order, the rest will fall into place.

Just one more to come, to conclude the story..

Getting it sorted! Part I

Today, the 27th of January.. Yesterday, the 26th of January. I woke up and knew it was going to be a big day. I wasn’t at all wrong. It was big in the sense that I had to finally make a decision. And it happened! But easy it was not, I can tell you. After days of deliberating, hesitating, doubting I was feeling all the more torn, distraught, excited and confused. I contemplated to the point of not knowing what the word contemplation actually meant.

It seems to be the thing I’m doing the most: Making decisions. But everyday, every single person on this earth has to make choices and live by these choices. So why do I always seems to struggle when it comes to this “thing” in life which leads me to where I want to go; the “thing” being the decision making process. It’s because the choices can be pretty major, when I realize or try to figure out what the consequences of my actions could be. So every decision is risk. Life is risk and we’re just playing the game..

What did this particular “decision making process” regard? Well, I’ll go back a few weeks and tell the story from the start (oh no, here she goes again!!). I arrived here in Brisbane around the 9th of January, feeling tired, relieved, happy, calm, settled, excited and eager. My days were gorgeous, the weather was hot, the surroundings so peaceful, and the company was perfect. I had my own room, double bed, books, journal, swimming pool, sun and hours of time to enjoy it all! Everyday I practised yoga and really got inspired by just about everything. One day flowed into the next. And with so much time, what else was I to do, besides be so happy, but process all that had gone on over the past weeks and months. As well I was able to figure out what my next step would be and how best to approach it and make it a reality.

The options were endless in my head. Each day, the visions would float around, teasing me almost, with what I could possibly experience. They were driving me, motivating me. Each night as I would watch tv, I wouldn’t actually be tuned-in to what was on the screen, instead I was dreaming: I was everywhere in the world, except in the sitting room sitting on the sofa next to Wayne, as the commercial-breaks were trying to convince me that their product was the best. This world, this world, this world.. So many different approaches and lifestyles to sample. This one I was currently experiencing, was one I felt, in the bigger picture of my life, that I had sampled a lot of. And I didn’t want it to become too much and then for the appreciation to disappear. But which lifestyle did I want more of? I knew the answer to that all along..

But.. Before deciding when and how to get to that beautiful place I’ve been dreaming of, I had to decide whether or not Ireland was calling me at this present time. The end of February is my godson (!!!!)Cians christening. The past weeks, I did nothing other than try to figure out if I was able to travel to a beautiful continent as well as visit the beautiful family back home. Would my finances allow it? Would my time allow it? Would my conscious allow it? I was so close to my dream becoming reality, that to risk losing it by returning to Ireland for a visit - due to either losing my motivation as well as finding myself low in funds - was something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to live with. Days went by and I was bending my balance in every which way it would allow me to bend. But it wasn’t flexible. Not by a long-shot. So. When it comes to decisions in life, I started to see that even though we can want so much in life, we can’t have everything all at once. And to make one thing happen we have to fully focus on it. Or else we go through life just dreaming and talking but never acting and so the decisions can remain unmade and things are never seen through.

I posed myself with the question: Do I want to go home, at the end of February to visit for a while? Of course I did. So much so, that it was keeping me from my sleep. But was I able to go home and still follow through these visions that I would be having as I’d sit and watch telly each night? The answer was simple: No. So, I then asked myself: could I live with myself, if going to Ireland would turn out to be the reason for me NOT having that dream come true? I’d have dealt with it, but it would have been a missed opportunity..

Last week I felt that my dream was so close. I could almost reach out and touch it, feel it, see it. It was right there. I was making it happen. And because it was all happening in real life too, as the practicalities slowly fell into place, I was so sure that this was my time. It was not yet my time to visit Ireland. I had to face facts. Plans needed to get underway. And for these plans to start taking off, I had to contact home and break the news that I wasn’t coming back at the end of February for Cian’s christening. I really wanted to do everything in my power to get back for that special occasion. But the circumstances just weren’t allowing it, not yet anyhow. I had to follow this plan through that was almost taking place, my plan, but not until home knew what I was facing, I wasn’t yet in that plan.. So I put my idea and myself “out there”. And of course, they were so supportive and understanding! It was so amazing. That kind of understanding struck so much inside of me. It was almost heartbreaking to suddenly say that I wouldn’t be back just yet. And that came as a shock because I’m not homesick. Not at this point in time anyhow. But I still felt awful. Usually when big decisions take so long to make, it can be relief when they’re made. Instead, I felt the opposite! I felt like I was letting everyone down, and myself too. Because I had my heart so set on it. But everything soon settled and there was no more guilt and I didn’t feel selfish for choosing to pursue this dream. I knew it would be fine.

This was only the beginning.. More to come!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Soulful Living

12 Days Later- I sit on the porch at Trish and Eds’ place. I contemplate, I think, I rationalize each day.. Deciding where to go and deciding what to do.. The opportunities, the places, the options. Endless may seem the list in my head, but once it comes to following them through, it can come to a sudden stop and the list is empty. Or it can seem too full almost, that clear vision has gone. And all is blank..

Each day I question and perhaps find the wrong answer, or I answer without realizing that the question doesn’t fit or even exist. Each day I practice what I want: Which is: the art of “moving” in my mind, before getting geared up to move in the physical sense. But, no! Hang on, I’m not trying to move in my mind. That’s what I have to avoid because it makes my vision too blurred and the options fade away and the “list“ becomes blank, even when I’m wearing contact lenses. So the art of “moving” - within, and therefore soulfully. Does this reveal what I need? Or is it deceiving me?

To be in this world, in the manner we wish and therefore to move each day, requires action. Prior to these actions, once must make a decision, or else the action will never be taken. So, as I practice the “art of moving”, here on the porch in Brisbane, I venture inside, each day, so I can eventually venture outside, into the big wide world, once again. Physical action that comes from the soul is what I’m aiming for. So, if I create a chain in my mind and follow this through: For my eventual actions in the physical world to have soul and to be heartfelt, it needs a decision that is also of the heart and thus of the soul. And as I already mentioned: to take action, first a decision has to be made. The chain goes on: A decision can only be made when someone has a particular intention And if one wants to live soulfully, that intention needs to come from within. And that’s where it all starts, it’s the source. It’s where I practice the “art of moving” - within. So is this a simple and short summary of what soulful living is? Is it the chain we have to follow: The intention can be so deep, but it’s brought into the awareness, which leads to the decision that you make. This decision is then in the mind, so it becomes possible to take action and the movement follows flowingly. All this is with so much feeling as they are wholehearted actions and so they possess all the security within themselves, because you know what you’re doing is coming from somewhere deep. You know it’s a passion, a dream, a desire, or whatever beautiful word you want to give it. And with that security there is never a worry or a doubt that the decision which was made, after finding out what the intention was, could have been influenced by the distractions that were possibly brought on by just being in this world. It’s real, it’s pure, it’s your truth.

BUT…(There’s always a but!!) When there are different things that will fill your heart, and when you feel that life is only happening right here and now, then what direction is the right one? What if you want so much but are forced to prioritize, because of certain circumstances, and could end up hurting others? What if, no matter what the decision, the thing you decide NOT to do, makes your heart feel like it’s breaking? The fact that turning your back on a certain thing, led you to feel heartbroken, is a sure sign it was a heartfelt intention. Which is great reassurance when it comes to self doubt as to whether or not you are following your heart, in the first place. So whatever you decide to do, feels wrong. But, if every decision will be the wrong one, then can’t every decision also be the right one? If I feel like I can’t win either way, then can’t I choose to feel like I CAN win either way?

When it comes to soulful living, I know the chain I must follow through in order for the actions to become apparent. The heartbreak should stop, or it already has, as I’ve realized what I must do on this journey. The next step is finding out whether or not everything will fall into place. If it’s meant to be, it will be. If not, all is not lost.. Or nothing is lost. And that’s when the vast amount of opportunities that this life offers us, goes from feeling overwhelming to feeling like a blessing. Because we never stop living, we never stop dreaming, choices still need to be made.. And it’s, again, up to us to take action, when it’s decision-time and we are again presented with opportunities.. So, we happily follow the chain once more.. And on and on it goes.. It’s constant and never really stops.. What a whirlwind of emotions it brings about, as the heart is touched with every choice you make.. All by practicing the “art of moving” within. Wouw!

No matter what the outcome, there is behind every event, situation, circumstance or action, a hidden meaning. And not until we follow things through, we can find out what it was and learn that lesson. To use the word “outcome” isn’t really fitting, when I relate this “mumbo-jumbo” that I’ve just written, to my own personal decision-making process. Because I don’t know where I eventually want to be or what I eventually want to do. Or, actually I do: I want all that I’m doing right here and now; which is living soulfully and truthfully and living for moment whilst being detached from the outcome. Me having just said what I said, actually answers everything I’ve been asking myself about what to do or where to go, and what action to take: I’m already doing what I want, so needn’t do much more!! And besides the fact that the outcome doesn’t really matter to me at this stage in my life (as I’m living my dream as I sit here and write), there’s nothing that lasts forever, everything comes to an end, everything is temporary and changing constantly. And that’s the beauty of it. It’s the mystery of life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

bright-eyed Brisbane

By this stage, I had been on the go since Wednesday morning, hadn’t slept too much, hadn’t seen many beds, and the journey from Sydney to Brisbane was an overnight one, taking 14 hours. So I was starting to feel the a little tired. I was still loving it though. And, in the meantime, I had managed to contact Wayne and check if I was able to stay with them for a while. And, of course, there was no problem whatsoever!! How cool! Just the thought of having time to chill-out and reflect, was making me excited. That train journey was probably the worst overnight journey I’ve had - in terms of CHILLINESS!!!! Well, never have I been on a train that was so cold. The air-conditioning was on full-blast. It was like a freezer. How is a person supposed to sleep, being so cold??!! Everywhere they tend to put on the “freezer” overnight, but this was painful. So I hardly slept a wink. But other than that, it was all well and good. We got to Brisbane at around 7am. So I hung out for a while, waiting to catch the train to Caboolture where Wayne was going to pick me up and bring me their little place of paradise.. By 11am I was suddenly where I had set out to be..

What a journey it was. When I left Swan Hill, I didn’t plan on coming to Brisbane. It was actually pretty far from my mind. But somehow this is where I’m now at. How great is that!! I managed to push my state of transition as far as I could, both money-wise and body-wise.72 hours on the road, not having a real destination. But somehow it led me to reach a place that I needed so badly. So when I arrived at the house, on the Saturday morning, the 9th of Jan, it had been 72 hours since leaving Swan Hill. But it felt like a whole lot longer, if I’m honest. The things those days on the road brought me to experience, was brilliant!! It was more because of the people it got me in touch with again. I got to see Shane and Darragh, then Janice, and now Wayne (as Trish and Ed are working in Western Australia for a few weeks). And it didn’t stop there, because since being here I’ve seen Keryn, who is close friends with the 3 members of the Doyle-clan here in Oz, and who I hung out with quite a bit when I first got to Oz, back in April.

You can imagine how happy I was to get here last week. Everything looked so much brighter and more beautiful than I remembered it to be. It’s amazing how things can fall into place so well, and really so easily. It’s the way in which you approach certain things I suppose and also what you make of it. When things manage to fall into place, we can never know for how long they will “hold their particular place”. The place can either shift or the “thing” will feel itself shifting, once again. It’s unpredictable. But never to be feared. Everything always works out. I’m not going to say “in the end”, because that finalizes things too much. Instead, I’ll just put a few dots behind that phrase and leave what ever comes AFTER the things that have worked out, up to time, as it will reveal all, as always. And so: Everything always works out….

Suddenly Sydney

Suddenly Sydney

12 hours later, on the morning of the 7th, I found myself waking up on the bus just as we were approaching this metropolis of Sydney. The buildings and skyscrapers were starting to ring some bells. Things were looking familiar and suddenly I didn’t want to go off the bus.. Oh no.. What was I going to do, and where was I going? Everyone was dropped at the central station. Including me. Oh no, why couldn’t the journey have taken another 12 hours? But there was no point in me thinking like this. I had made the choice to go to Sydney, now I had to get my ass into gear once again and ask myself what I wanted. Did I want to stay in Sydney? Did I want to leave? Did I want to book into a hostel? (By the smells of me.. yes I think I did..). But really I still wanted to stay on the road, and I wanted to avoid the hostel.. Especially in the heart of Sydney, where you find mainly the backpackers who party every night and are so in holiday-mode, its not even funny (listen to me.. you’d think I’d never partied before in my life.. haha).

So being at the station, I checked if there were any buses heading anywhere interesting, up the coast maybe. I went to the office asked the dude behind the counter if there were any trains heading to Brisbane..? Why? Well, I suddenly had a epiphany (the one I had been waiting for last night in Melbourne, now suddenly made itself known: a little late, but all the same it was still very much welcomed!). I thought about going to Brisbane, and visiting Trish, Ed and Wayne! Yes, that would be so good! Being in transition was something I was loving, but knew it would have to end. And what better to place to head towards other than a place where I knew I had peace and quiet, where there were no backpackers and where I could sort out my head and my life and process all that had happened the past 6 weeks? Was it the beautiful Sunshine Coast?

Well, this dude at the station, said there was a train at 4pm, and the tickets were 50% off!! Oh wouw..not only had a had an epiphany but now this was also a sign of what I had to do. He told me to make up my mind quickly. Okay, I said, I’ll be back in 10 minutes.. I walked away, and sat and was thinking for a minute. What to do? I hadn’t even asked Trish if it was okay for me to stay. And I couldn’t get hold of her either. Could I really be so cheeky and just presume I was allowed to stay? Or could I just book the ticket with an open-mind and feel okay with the uncertainty of maybe not being able to stay at her house but instead maybe staying at a hostel in the city of Brisbane? Yes, I thought. Yes, I’m totally fine with that. It will work out either way. I went back in to the ticket office. I asked if they still had the special offer to Brisbane. And they surely did. But for some reason, it was a little too soon to leave Sydney so I asked for the following day. And, what do you know, they had the same offer!! I was delighted! I had 36 hours in Sydney. This was great. It would give me a chance to catch-up with my cousins Shane and Darragh, who are living there now. Haven’t seen them in so long, so meeting them that afternoon, after I booked a bed in a hostel in Chinatown where I had 31 “roommates”(!!!), was a real bonus.

That afternoon I got a call (this was Thursday the 8th by the way) from my dear angle Janice, who I shared a house with in Cairns. And, once I heard what she had to say, I realized why I felt I needed to stay an extra day in Sydney. She was heading down to Sydney, from the Gold Coast, the following morning! She was arriving at the station at 7am on Friday. I was leaving Sydney at 4pm on Friday, so we would get the chance to hang our, for 7 whole hours!!! I was so excited. Couldn’t believe the coincidence. I hadn’t seen her in so long and neither of us had planned to be in Sydney so randomly. But somehow we were meeting! The rest of Thursday was the best. I didn’t do much, I hung out in Chinatown, I was writing my heart out and savoring the vibe and energy this fast-paced city was giving me. I was so happy to be there, and just as happy to be leaving too.. But only after having spent 7 precious hours with Janice the following day. And that’s what they were. They flew, went far too fast, but we both took so much from that meeting. It was simply the best!

I got the train at 4pm. I wasn’t too sad as Janice waved me off. I just knew how lucky I was to have met her that day. It was another bonus, on the whirlwind journey I was making.. As suddenly I found myself arriving in Sydney, I also found myself leaving again. A brief but brilliant encounter

Maybe Melbourne

I hadn’t slept much the past week, as my subconscious was making me aware of all that I had to do and of the big change I was going through and thus keeping me from my precious sleep. I also knew that the next week wouldn’t offer me the chance to catch up on those lost hours of what I could only hope, should be 40 winks.

So I was knackered leaving Swan Hill. Even still, I felt like I had to either stress out about not having a clue what I was doing. I figured that might make me see things clearly or it might force me to find out where I wanted to be. But, that’s just silly business and it was a little bit much at that moment. I had to take one step at a time. So, what was happening? I had just left someone who had formed the center and focus of my life for the past 6 months. But I was feeling fine, tired but fine. But it was almost like I was trying to grieve and feel sad, but I wasn’t. I felt bad for him of course. But realized I had already grieved for the closure of this chapter when I was in Asia (this I’m only realizing now by the way, as I’m looking back). So I was trying to feel sad, just to prove that I wasn’t heartless. To who was I trying to prove this? To whoever was around, which were just some random school kids heading down south and some country folk hopping on and off the train as they went about their business. What do they care? So was I trying to prove it to myself maybe? Probably. Either way, this was so silly. So I told myself to “cop on” and get real! I didn’t have to prove anything to myself or to these strangers on the train! Instead of wasting time and energy trying to feel sad or trying to stress-out, I sat and I wrote lots of stuff whilst gearing myself up for the next step: Melbourne!

A 4 hour train journey and I was at Southern Cross station. With so much baggage, it wasn’t even funny.. And the weight of it!! When I was in Thailand, I left a lot of my stuff in the van, so I didn’t need to burden my back with unnecessary clothes and books. But I now had to bring all my belongings, all that was important to me in the world, with me wherever I was heading, which is only normal I guess. But it took a little bit of getting used to. Anyway, at the station I went to my favorite spot: The food court where I sat next to the Sushi counter. This is where I sat before going to Confest too, as I waited for the train to take me to Swan Hill, 10 days previous. Now I found myself back there, but my spirit was a whole lot lighter and my backpack a whole lot heavier!!

I sat and ate sushi and drank green tea for hours. And I was having the best time ever. Making phone calls enquiring about some stuff, ringing some treasures and being so excited by the unknown. I was in a state of being in transition. The state I love so much: Neither here nor there, not settling into a hostel for the night, but just waiting for an epiphany, or an sign or a feeling telling me where I should go. I sat there for hours, then made my way to Starbucks. Here I had wireless internet, so 4 whole hours later, I was still there and still in transit. I was “sorting out my life” with a few clicks on internet. Well, actually that’s what I wanted to happen, but instead I got totally swamped by all the opportunities and places (both in and outside of Australia) I was seeing on the net and all the different flights, prices and journeys I could be doing. By the time they were closing and had gotten kicked-out (with a belly full of tea and a head full of questions), it was 7 pm and I still had no clue where I was going that night or what I wanted to do. It really was exciting.

The epiphany I was waiting for never came, nor did the sign (I probably missed it, as my head was stuck in this cyberspace, getting lost. So I asked myself: What did I really want at that stage of the journey? Well, I knew what I didn’t want, which was to have to go traipsing through Melbourne in search of a hostel. I wasn’t in the mood. I was exhausted. I knew I wanted to stay in transit. I loved the feeling of not having to put my bag down for the night and settle in some where. I wanted to remain on the road. So, it was 7.15pm by this stage, and I knew there were overnight bus services heading to Sydney.. Humm, Interesting I thought.. It wouldn’t cost me too much, I wouldn’t have to venture out into Melbourne (it was too chilly down there by the way!). I knew the bus was leaving at 8pm. I had no ticket though, and usually you have to reserve a seat beforehand. Thankfully, me being both the nuisance and the lucky person I am, after some phone calls to the head office of the bus company and some minor alterations in the seating, the bus driver got me a ticket! 20 minutes after I decided to get my ass into gear and try make my way to the south east coast of Oz, I’d made it happen!! How happy was I! I had a pretty good night sleep too, considering I was on the bus. Melbourne, is now a thing of the past, it was yesterday..

My perspective

To follow up on the last post.. This goes more deeply.. Maybe explains things a little too much. Feel free to skip..

Speaking from the outsider who’s looking in: Isn’t it so easy to stay in a situation and ignore what you know in your heart to be true, just for fear of what the majority of people, or one person in particular, might think of you? Their opinion could change as you take certain actions, all because they are in disagreement. So the routine continues and sometimes that long, drawn out, expressionless face is staring back at you, on too much of a regular basis, as you look in the mirror. But you don‘t know why. You ask yourself: is it work? Is it lack of space? Is it lack of energy? You have no clue, so you carry on. And the reason why you don’t have a clue, is because you don’t take the time to sit and ask yourself these questions. Why don’t you ask? For fear of what you’ll see as, deep down, you already know the answer. It’s there, but once openly recognized, it can’t be denied any longer. And also, when you’re in a certain environment, you can easily forget what you have, what you own within and the happiness it gives you when you are in touch with that. It’s never until you place yourself outside of the situation that you realize why the face was so expressionless and why you felt so drained and why you would cry for no reason. However there was also a sense of calm, when you would cry. Never a sense of anger, despair or resentment towards anybody in your surroundings. It was towards yourself and for ignoring what you knew to be true, just so you wouldn’t hurt anybody else and just so you would do what others felt happiest with. It’s only now you can say that these are your reasons for crying, your reasons for feeling drained, your reasons for not smiling from within. The tears would happen without anything happening around you. It was almost like they would come out of nowhere, there was no explanation. Were you going mad? There was nothing “wrong” in your surroundings and nothing really occurred, so this made you realize, once you had stepped away from the situation (and headed to Asia and started to rediscover yourself), that it was you and it really wasn’t him. As the cliché goes in all movies or tv series: “It’s not you, it’s me”, it really did apply to you deciding to go it alone again.

Now, speaking from me to you once again: Yes, deciding to go to Asia, showed me all I knew. It gave me the answers I was looking for, OR it made me ask myself the right questions to which I already knew the answers. This is when I realized things between the2 of us were going to change, they would never be the same. Not after the people I had crossed paths with and all that I had learnt by opening my eyes to what it is in life I wanted next. I didn’t even WANT things to be the same again. Ideas and longings were starting to bubble up inside of me, I couldn’t switch them off any longer. And if I had chosen to go back to the same living circumstances as before I went to Asia, then those bubbles inside of me would have burst. I didn’t want them to. They made me feel so alive!

In my writing, it may have become clear or apparent that I hardly gave Jason a mention, as I typed so eagerly about how beautiful and wonderful my trip in Asia was and also about the amazement I felt at Confest. This is not out of disrespect towards him, but it was instead me writing about how things were happening and expressing how overwhelmed I was with the brilliance of every situation I came across, of every person I spoke with and of every event that came my way. And during all of this, he simply wasn’t there. That’s why he wasn’t mentioned. It wasn’t due to me not thinking of him, or of me being heartless and leaving him behind as I ventured out and threw myself into different experiences. I was writing simply how things were between us. And when I say “between us”, I can mean to say that there was indeed a “between” in between the 2 of us. A distance between and a view towards life from different levels. That’s all.

This distance; it happens so often and it can be sad. But, no, actually I’m not going to call it sad or shameful. And this is not me trying to justify things or trying to paint a beautiful picture in the hope of me being the most “outstanding” of the image I’m sketching, really it’s not. I’m only saying how I see it now and felt it then. The way things have planned out and the way in which we got to live together, I’m going to call: an amazing adventure, a lesson I’ll cherish forever, an experience I’m blessed to have had and a reminder to ALWAYS be and act how I feel on the inside. I’ll not be sad but I’ll be happy that we were apart of each others lives. I’ll not be angry at how the other deals with the situation, but I’ll understand and learn from this. I’ll be forever grateful for all the opportunities that he presented me with. On the other hand I’ll never feel guilty for how much was offered and how little I, in the end, chose to take. I’ll never feel like I’ve done wrong by following my heart and I’ll be aware that, whatever happens down the line with our friendship, I did everything I could to hold our bond close to my heart. No matter what others may say.

So, at the train station in Swan Hill, on the 6th of Jan, I left. I couldn’t look back, I just walked away. Not heartbroken but aware of the step I was taking. I couldn’t tell him where I was going, or what I would be doing. I didn’t know myself at that point either. We would remain in touch, that’s all I could say. From a distance however..

This was the start of a few crazy days.. more to come xx

Breaking away

After Confest things started happening pretty quickly. I felt they needed to start happening, so I simply made them happen. On our last morning at the festival, which was the 5th of January, I needed to leave. The festival was over and the urge I had to get going, in whatever direction, was huge. It had been an amazing 9 days, but the end of it, hadn’t come a moment too soon. It was time to hit the open road. It was time for me “to make like trees, and leave”. This was me, this was my time once again, this is what needed to be done.

We first of all headed to Swan Hill. The drive took us an hour or so. And out of all the hours we traveled in the van and sat next to each other like that, this was probably the one I’ll not soon forget. It was a strange 1 hour. I knew it was going to be the last time, and so did Jason. I hadn’t a clue where I was going or what I was doing. So we both had no more words, it was just a silence between us. It was so nice. Jason and I had done all we could in order to go our separate ways, on as good terms as possible. I didn’t feel the need in procrastinating (which is to postpone and drag out the inevitable). However, it was up to my to be strong in saying: “bring me to the station”. Especially when I could have stayed in the van until I knew where I wanted to go. He wanted me to stay until I had a plan. But, no, it felt so wrong being suddenly in his space, his van, his “home”. I felt to be too much. Even though for 6 months it had slowly become also my “home” and my space.

We got to the station, I asked the girl behind the counter, when the next train to Melbourne was. It was the following morning, I had just missed the 2nd and only train to the city that day, by 5 minutes. I couldn‘t believe it. After a time of sitting by myself and contemplating I had to start persuading myself to be reasonable and adaptable, and that’s when I decided to NOT just get on a bus to any random town where I’d have to book a hotel for the night and make an extra long journey to get to Melbourne. Instead I booked a ticket for the following morning and was going to stay another day with Jason. In a way this made things a little bit trickier as the inevitable was put on hold for another 24 hours, but I knew what I wanted and, once my ticket was booked, there was no going back.

Why Melbourne? Well, there really was no other place of any significance to get to from Swan Hill. I knew that I had to get a place where I had options again. Somewhere I could catch either plane, a bus or a train to wherever.. without any restrictions. I had to be in a place where I could branch out even further. A place I could “base” myself and have time to be by myself and think of what my next step was going to be and where it was going to take me. I booked the ticket and felt amazing. It felt so good to know I had made the decision and stuck to it! This was the easy part.

The difficult part came the following morning when it was time to say goodbye and catch the train. It brought up a lot of different feelings. I was closing a chapter of my travels, of my Australian adventure, one that had abruptly come to an end.. All my own doing, so feelings of regret I didn‘t own. I knew I had done all I could to maintain the bond we had built-up over the past 6 months. But still, I was breaking away from the security he offered me, from the van that I had helped make into a “homely” environment since the very beginning, from the adventures we still could have had whilst touring around, from job opportunities offering me the potential to spread my wings even further, throughout the months to come and most importantly, I was breaking away from a dear friend who I grown so close to since we first set out on the road-trip back on the 26th of May. He still would have happily given me these things, for as long as I wanted.

So I was well aware of what I was leaving and breaking away from. It didn’t stop me though. Was I totally unaffected? No, not totally. But was I heartless, seeing as though, in the midst of feeling many different things, a sense of freedom and adventure was starting to make its’ presence felt? Was I made of stone, because I had no tears to cry? I walked away not knowing what the next weeks were going to bring, let alone the next 24 hours. I didn’t know if or when I was going to see Jason again, I didn’t know if I was making a big mistake by venturing out alone with no sense of direction, I basically had no clue. So why no tears Niamh? I’ve thought about it many times, since then and have concluded that the sense of freedom overruled all the other feelings. It’s the feeling I love the most. That’s why I had no tears to cry. At that moment of stepping onto the train, I knew so little of how I was going to put myself “out there“ in the physical world, after leaving the spirit of Confest and leaving Jasons‘ stable environment, and it didn’t phase me in the slightest. So the physical direction I was taking was unknown, as I walked away. But on the other hand, I knew so well the direction I was heading for, both mentally and emotionally. This to me felt more natural and secure than any amount of stability in the form of “things” people claim to need in life, in order to be happy.

Why would I choose to let materialistic things keep in me a particular environment that no longer brings out the side of me I like? It’s all well and good to try and live your life based around things that are certain, so you never are faced with the unknown and you always know what next month will bring, or hope to know. Yes, I’m aware we need to sustain ourselves. But does security and work really offer ALL that a person can need in life? It doesn’t offer me, at this moment in time, what I want or need. I knew this for a while, but never found the courage to act on those feelings.

But now I finally found that courage.. More to come xx

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This really is the last one - At Confest

The festival continued, and one day rolled into the next. I felt like I had found a new home. I had found my people. I had found a lifestyle I wanted. I had found people who could teach me the things I wanted my life to revolve around. There were people who were so worldly, yet so content with the bare essentials in life. They knew the difference between the materialistic world and the world were primitive life offers so much peace, harmony and bliss. They had experienced, learnt and seen so much to know that the basics is all we need in life and true souls are what give us that feeling of being so happy, just by being alive. It was truly amazing to feel this.

I came across some of the most beautiful people, who I connected with instantly. People I had never seen before, but felt drawn to. I met people who saw me for who I am. Strangers who would give me a hug and tell me I’m beautiful. Strangers who would give me one look, one proper look, deep into my eyes and see what I had been connecting with throughout the past year. My spirit, my soul. They could see it. I was so sure.

Every morning I would wake up in the van, jump out of bed, and go to meditation classes and then to yoga. Then I would walk around the grounds (which would take easily a few hours) with my writing book under my arm, taking in the peace. I would sit for hours and write whatever it was I was wanting to write about. Or, more to the point, about what I was dealing with at that moment, and thus what I was dealing with throughout the entire festival: the big “mystery” regarding my next move in this wonderful life. I was dealing a change of heart, when it came to being with Jason. I was dealing with what I was faced with each day at Confest - which was the beautiful inspiration to evolve so much more than I already was and to start touching the lives of people who need it, by just being in-tune and connected. I was learning so much and the inspiration I got from the people I was meeting, was overwhelming. I was almost bursting at the seams, just from being alive.. Wouw! All the while, dealing with breaking away from the chapter of my travels I spent with Jason, ever so slowly and ever so gently. So some heartbreak along side an enormous amount of joy. Such a contrast, such a difference. But Confest really was the best place for Jason and I to deal with what was going on. As I had so much strength and was so connected to what it was I was wanting from life and I was able to stay in my own truth. This is what I needed.

It was a week with many different emotions. I was trying to focus on so many different things and trying to cope with the paradox within myself. I had hours each day, where I wanted this life to be mine. I felt like I needed to learn more and this place was bringing that eagerness to evolve to the surface. So much so, that I also realized my eagerness to evolve was being either put on pause or prolonged because of me wanting and “needing” to do the right thing by the people close to me. Throughout the week, I realized I had forgotten so many things, in the haste of life or maybe in the confusion of trying to be happy being in the position I had put myself in over the past months. So many things I knew all along and had worked so hard on learning and developing since before coming to Oz, I had pushed to one side. But Confest made me see them all once more. It probably wasn’t here at Confest where they first started to reappear, but on my trip in Asia too. It just became all the more apparent in this environment as well as through the people I was meeting. I couldn’t and, more importantly, I didn’t want to ignore them any longer. I knew that I didn’t want to put those special things to one side anymore.

No matter how busy life were to get or how many worries I could bring on myself, throughout my week at Confest it became so clear that I needed to be, I almost daren’t say it, selfish. There’s a time for giving all that you can in life, in order to do right by others. There’s a time to show appreciation and to show gratitude. But if showing this appreciation and gratitude means that you forget all that want from life and all that you know in your heart to be true, then won’t there come a point when you say: I can only go so far, this is it, this is me, this is all I have to give. Doesn’t there come a point when you say: here is where I have to stop giving because I’m taking too much from myself by trying to do the right thing in other peoples eyes whilst being aware you’re doing so wrong in your own eyes. To be selfless and therefore to give to others, a person also needs to be selfish. How can you give to others wholeheartedly when you haven’t been giving to yourself, wholeheartedly?

This was probably my main issue, my main lesson. I was confronted with all that I knew. So I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t scared. I was relieved. I was free. I was bursting with love for life. I had energy. I had given myself the confirmation I needed. So I knew what I had to do. I was so strong, because I had witnessed it all, everything on the inside, as I was sat with a guy called Sam who showed me or simply confirmed what I already believed to be true. I have it all within me. I’m the only one who can do something with it, so it’s also up to me to take action and to make things happen, with confidence and self esteem.
This lesson started on the 1st of Jan 2010. What a revelation and what an amazing gift..
How blessed I felt..

I know this reflection has run somewhat deeper than I expected. But I can’t really apologize for that. I needed to share it. And Confest so much more than a hippy festival where people love to take their clothes off and jump in the mud. It’s an environment where people, if they are open and willing to learn, are confronted with the core. It can be life changing, or in my case, it can be the confirmation that’s needed in order pursue the dreams that can be made reality.

I’m so so grateful for having gone to this festival. It was emotional, it was eye-opening, it was painful at times, when dealing with reality, but it was so amazingly beautiful all the same. Really it was. I’ll never forget it and who knows one day I’ll go back or I’ll my paths with cross with some of the special people I met there. But either way, it’s filled me up and, as I’m trying to contain my excitement as I type these last few words - so I‘ll put it very subtly, I’m ready to share all that I have seen. You can take that whatever way you please J..

Love you all lots, Thank you for reading and just simply for being you xxx

Nudity - At Confest

The topic I would love to shine a little light on, regarding Confest, is one can’t be ignored and one that can be pretty confronting or daunting for some. When I speak about the hippy style of living, I should also refer to what is so natural and so earthly, is nudity. There was quite a lot of it, if you compare it to the amount of nudity you would come across when going about your daily routine or just simply being in this busy life. However the majority of the people did wear clothes, but probably 300 people were nude all the time. With so many events, there were also quite a few where being naked was required. This was, at first quite a challenge I must say. But I didn’t shy away. Listen as the story evolves.

From day 1 we were camping with the organizers of the "naked bikeriders". These were 2 guys, Marty and Micheal, who have been organizing bikerides in the nude for years now, and 2 times a year they "strut their stuff" at Confest. So they go around the grounds of Confest and everyone participating in the "bike tour" has to be nude. How much fun!! Besides camping with Marty and Micheal, there was also a friend of theirs, Mariah (for America) and Marty's son, Oscar. We formed one big happy (hippy) family after the first day, which was great. But to stay on the subject I was aiming for: Micheal was a proper nudist. Naked 24 hours a day, for nearly the whole 9 days (except at nights when it got chilly and he had to put on some clothes, much to his disappointment I might add..haha).
My first impressions on arriving at Confest and we setting up camp with 2 naked guys, was probably good for me. That way, I was faced head-on with the extremists of the festival go-ers and so nothing would startle me. Not even when Micheal caught me off-guard, hugged me as I was resisting to tendency to look down.. This hug made me let go of my paranoia, I got over it and pretty fast too! What a great guy!

So, after this introduction, did I decide to go nude? Yes I did! To swim, to have mud baths. This is when you get covered in mud from head to toe and then lie in the sun waiting for the mud to dry, to then jump in the river and wash it all off, in the hope of having cleansed your skin and detoxed yourself of all the toxins from the inside out or to discover - in my case - that natures mud really only dried my already dry and sun-beaten white skin. Hummm. Not to worry. The others times I got my gear off was to shower in full view of everyone -I might add that the showers were worse than the showers I came across in Thailand - they were hoses hanging off random trees in and around the gum trees providing cold water only.. It wasn’t the first time though for me to shower like this. So all was so so well!

To backtrack and tell about the first time I got naked out in the open; It was on a random evening with our fellow-camper, I mentioned earlier on, Mariah. The two of us were in a crazy mood and went off cycling around the grounds of Confest. We started out just innocently going for a ride. But softly we started to sing and chant. Soon this evolved into us howling like wild animals, singing like madwomen and chanting our mantra’s. There was a storm brewing at the same time and it was also around dusk. The atmosphere inspired us to go a little bit more naturally insane. The sky was amazing and the feeling in the air was one of so much relief, after the sun having beaten down on the Confest site for hours on end. We were feeling so liberated, as we continued to chant. All the while the storm got closer and closer and the sky grew darker and darker and the black clouds approached as the sun started to set. We hopped off our bikes, took off our clothes, jumped in the river, swam to the other side and climbed up on to the riverbank. This led us into a field where we danced, and sang and howled. We hopped and skipped and jumped, with bare feet and bare bums.. It was a feeling of freedom, never to have experienced before. This feeling grew even more when our chanting and howling caught on to other crazy folk who sat by the riverside, not judging or being critical of us letting ourselves go so spontaneously. They heard our singing, joined in and our voices got louder and louder as we were trying to compensate for the noise both the wind and the fresh raindrops were making. Mother nature tried to drowned out our howling but we were louder. We weren’t beaten by the forces.. It really was amazing..

The sun had then disappeared and the warm raindrops started to fall and refresh our skin, so we jumped back into the river, swam across and continued spreading our madness across the festival. The howling and chanting continued with our bodies covered up again. Then we created some more mayhem, at the market place: People were sheltered from the rain, but Mariah and I weren't. We were still on such a high, and knew we could spread it and let the other Confesters feel the same sense of freedom we were experiencing at that moment. We stood in the middle of what could be called a "square" and got everyone together, through singing and dancing. We awaited the storm to get more intense and we wanted the rain to fall heavier from the sky. We wished for thunder and lightning. And it happened! With that storm, the excitement grew and grew and people were loving it. We were on such a high, and so was everyone else. Mariah and I had made our point by this stage, our presence had been felt and we had left our mark. So on the high we were still feeling, we hopped back on our bikes and cycled to camp through the storm, feeling absolutely amazing, and satisfyingly exhausted.

This experience was one of the highlights I reckon. And it gave me the confidence to get my clothes off, anywhere at anytime.. Only at Confest of course.. Don’t worry, I haven’t become a nudist suddenly, after having had this experience. It’s just a feeling of being totally comfortable and confident in my own skin. There is no shame.. As we are all the same!!

My reason for staying - At Confest

My first workshop I went to, was called: the spontaneous choir. I’m not a singer. I can’t hold a note. So I was a little reluctant to give it a go. But it wasn’t actual singing, I soon realized. It was more bonding with the whole group, through chanting, sounds and humming. Then the workshop took an interesting turn.. And we were bonding is a different manner.

This is how it went:

Imagine having your eyes shut, and walking in a “train-line” of people: your arms stretched-out before you, holding on to the person who walks in front of you. The train is going at a snails pace, but it is guiding you. The leader of the train is guiding the train through a tunnel of people. There are 200 people in total. All happy and fulfilled and open to new experiences. As the train continues, as your eyes remain closed, as you hold on to the person in front of you, you pass by the people who are creating the tunnel, the people who are creating the guidance for the leader of the train.. As this is happening, each individual that is creating the tunnel is doing what they have been told to do by the leader of the train. They have been told to put their hand on the shoulder of every person who is participating in this train, as they walk by ever so slowly, and to tell them: “I love you“, or “you’re wonderful“, or “you’re amazing“. So as each person who takes part in this train, receives a hand on their shoulder and a whisper is their ear from every person who is forming the tunnel through which the train is passing. The train is moving slowly but constantly. There are 200 people to pass by. Your eyes are still shut. And because the train is moving, the hands you feel on your shoulders and the amount of times you hear the words: I love you.. Seems to be countless and it’s consistent. The words and the feel of the hands, are endless. They keep on coming.

The people forming the tunnel can witness what receiving this “love and affection” from 200 complete strangers in such a short amount of time, does. They can witness how they are growing in confidence, they can see the joy they are feeling, from being told how much they are loved and how wonderful they are. And the people in the train are feeling exactly that. They feel they are truly loved, they are growing 2 feet taller because of this and they feel so special. For them the eyes are shut, which makes the sound of “I love you” and the touch of the strangers hand with their shoulder all the more intense. It hits home and those in the train are all the more blessed.

This experience for me, was truly amazing. I participated in both the train and I formed part of the tunnel. First I was in the train. I was overwhelmed. My eyes were shut, I hadn’t a clue where the train was leading. But this didn’t matter. All I was aware of, were the voices, the many different accents and more often than not, I was aware of the sincerity of each gesture. With every person who said: “I love you”, my smile grew bigger and bigger to the point of
being sore. I had no other way of expressing my happiness, only through my aching cheeks. I thought I was going to burst. But I still had so many more people to pass by, that I had to contain myself. And this is when I went beyond. I was taken away from the “scene of the crime”, I was brought to a place of peace. I was almost in a trance. I was being filled with this energy, this amazement, this beauty. It was so so intense, because I truly believed and therefore felt - if this is me being naive, I really don’t mind, it was so probably because of my naivety that this experience felt so amazing - like all these strangers really meant what they were saying. And no matter how low or high your confidence is, it’s a lot to take on when 200 people tell you how amazing, how beautiful and how loved you are, all in the space of 15 minutes. Overwhelmed I was.. once more.

Afterwards I was flying. This was on the first day of the festival. That’s when I knew I had to stay to feel some more of this love.. I had to feel so much more of what that “tunnel of love” had just made me feel. Dire Straights’ song, “The Tunnel of Love” now suddenly has taken on a different meaning for me! How beautiful!

For any of you who are getting bored, with all my enthusiastic talk about peace and love, I understand. You can tune out. But for those of you who like to read about nudity at Confest, check in for some reading..

Workshops Galore - At Confest

The spirit was awakened in me.. Well and truly.

With so much harmony, peace and love, there wasn’t any need or desire for loud music. Anything amplified was very much frowned upon. There weren't any concerts either. So how was the spirit spread and what were we all doing, throughout 9 full days of bliss? Well, everyday there were workshops on offer. These were in the form of lessons, teachings, meetings, discussions and gatherings. Everyone was free to participate in any event they wanted. No experience was required, no knowledge was asked for.. Just an openness to learning and growing. (All these events were for free by the way, we only had to pay 70dollars (45euro) to enter the grounds on the morning of the 29th..and that was it for 9 days! I couldn't believe it!)

Throughout the week, I felt like I was in a school. It was amazing. The workshops and events were all spiritually oriented. For instance there were meditation and yoga classes, reiki lessons, chakra healings, massage classes, hypnotherapy, rune-card readings, lessons on crystals and their purpose, belly dancing, music lessons, chanting, meditative singing, intuitive healing, story telling, self defence classes... and so much more. Can you imagine how much I wanted to do every single event? Can you imagine how excited I was by the absolutely everything! I was so overwhelmed. I wanted to know everything there was to know about ALL OF THESE THINGS! But, there were only so many hours in a day.. And our main reason for going to Confest, was for Jason and I to spend proper time together.. So I had to stay calm, collected and just do those things I really wanted to..

Besides these workshops, there were drumming sessions on every night, until the early hours of the morning. There was body painting, art sessions, poetry readings (I actually got up in front of 15 people and read some of my poems - which was nerve wrecking but uplifting too, especially afterwards when people came up to me telling me how much they loved it and wanted to hear more.. I then became known as the “poet” at Confest, that was so special!). There was also a bush sauna, a bush mud bath and a silent disco.

This, I have to share more of with you. This silent disco was so crazy. I’d never heard or seen anything like this before. Why and how was it silent? Well, because it’s such a tranquil festival, amplified music is banned. So for those who love their trance and techno, there was a room where you could “retreat” with a set of headphones. Through these headphones you could choose to listen to 3 different channels, all with different styles of dance music! Can you imagine what it looks like when you walk in?: The room is silent, there are around 10 people on the “dance floor“(which is just dirt by the way.. not even soft sand), everybody is in their own little world, with head phones on, dancing their hearts out with their eyes shut so they can take themselves away to the nightclub in whatever part of the world they wish themselves to be, whilst imagining the crowds of dancing maniacs and laser beams. The atmosphere of the nightclub was all in the mind. Because the only way for the silent disco to work and serve it’s purpose was if you were to let yourself be taken away by your own imagination and thus the power of mind. You had to let yourself be transported to another place in order to become one with the music. Once you took the headphones off: it all stopped. You stepped out of the nightclub and back into the bush, back into the world of Confest. All was silent again, except for the drumming sessions that could be heard off in the distance. Well, this was me anyhow and how I experienced it. What a natural trip this was!

There's some more to come ..xx

From the beginning - At Confest

A word of warning!!!

The next 5 posts (!!!!) are about my amazing week at Confest. I couldn’t stop myself as I was reflecting on how that week went, what it gave me, what I did and what I learnt. It was a place and a week that inspired me so much, I felt I had to put them in writing. I hadn’t intended on writing so much but I really wanted to share this with you. So what am I warning you for? Most of what I’m about to write, is about love, peace, harmony.. and the words “beautiful“, “amazing” and “experiences” are words I’ve used far too frequently, but I had no other way of expressing how “beautiful” and “amazing” these “experiences” were.. ;)

From the beginning - At Confest

To CONFEST is where I went, on the 29th December. With Jason. A last minute decision. I hadn't a clue what to expect from this festival, I knew it was going to be running for 9 days, but didn't plan on staying for the whole duration. Not until the first day was over. That's when I realized how amazing the place was, how unique this festival was going to be, how much it could offer me and how lucky I was to be given the chance to experience being in such a special place. So, we decided to stay for the whole 9 days..

BUT, this led me to being disconnected from the world. As the festival was out in the bush, there was no phone signal, no telephone boxes, no internet. This was the reason why I was silent for 2 weeks. Seeing as though staying there for 9 days was unplanned, I hadn't thought about contacting home BEFORE I left civilization, to let everyone know I wouldn't be in touch until the 5th of January. So nobody knew where I was. Panic! I was feeling so bad about that, as I knew people were expecting to hear from me, especially seeing as it was over the new year period - the time to definitely get connected. So luckily, on the 31st of December, in the afternoon, I managed to get a lift to the nearest town, 45 minutes away, where I found a phonebox, called Auntie Trish, who would let my nearest and dearest back home know that I was okay and out of range for a very long week.

After clearing that up, I’m now back and reflecting on the Confest experience. Which was “out of this world”. I mean this in every sense of the word too.

We arrived at Confest on the morning of the 29th. And what is it all about? Basically it’s a festival held on a site, that’s a couple of acres of land, far far away from anywhere - so in the middle of the bush - where around 2000 people, all camping, come together as a community 2 times a year - a week over the New Year period and a week at Easter. Jason had told me so many stories about this festival, so I was well-prepared for what was waiting for me. And it’s just as well too. Because this was a proper hippy festival and had everything that can be associated with the hippy-lifestyle on offer to experience. It was an alcohol and drug-free event, so any highs that people were wanting to have, they would have to be natural. And they were - it’s what I felt from day 1.

The spirit I felt when I was there, was so amazing. The people I met, were so unique, so open, so accepting of everyone. Everyone was considered a friend, nobody was an outsider, everyone was welcome and thus greeted with smiles. Just the feel of the place, was something I've never experienced before. I think I felt it so strongly because of the amount of people who were so grounded, so open, so connected to everything and everyone and so loving towards every soul at this festival and I could see this approach towards people created an intense height of positive energy from which each individual was all able to feed. This energy everyone was feeling, was being returned and made to expand just by the acceptance of that smile. This led to everyone being able to experience a feeling of being high, of being unique and of being loved; whilst being in a state of natural bliss. This is how I experienced it.. Wouw!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A belated 27th and 28th of December..

Two whole weeks and not a peep from me. Such a silence that feels has lasted for way too long. It was a silence I hadn’t planned, I silence I didn’t intend on creating. But somehow the events that occurred and the speed at which each one came about, forced me to be silent..

My last reflection was in Kuala Lumpur.. As I waited to get the bus to the airport. The plane awaited me that evening and was transporting me across many many miles, through a few different time zones, to be in a country I had grown to love but somehow didn’t feel so comfortable returning to.
My month in Malaysia and Thailand had brought about so many different emotions, revelations and adventures into being. My eyes had been opened in ways they had never witnessed either myself, the world and the people in it, before. What am I referring to? Well, for example: The way a person can place themselves in a certain world and the way that certain world can take on that particular person. Everything that has over the years has led me to see the traveling-life so differently. I always knew how amazing it was. But now, I’ve come to realize it even more so, due to the easiness and confidence I felt in being grounded - even when that particular part of the ground I found myself on, wasn’t “my own”. To be “one” with the world and with the souls in it, really does mean that anywhere can feel like home, because there really is no difference. Being one, is being the same. I’d felt this is other countries but never in countries where I’d be in the minority, where I would stick out in the crowd because of my hair and skin color. This time in Asia, I still stuck out in the crowd, but I didn’t feel it - I felt to be the same. I’d heard this expression before and thought it to be a cool way of seeing the world. But it’s not like a switch you can turn on, when trying to get to that mind-set. Something has to have changed within the minds eye to truly not feel or see yourself as being different in a culture so unique. Throughout the past year and a half, something did change in my minds eye and being in Asia I really was able to feel it. It was like I was putting into practice all that I had learnt and discovered within myself. It was truly an amazing feeling and I never realized when I was learning so much over the past year and a half that even my travel experiences would benefit from this adjustment. I’m ever ever so grateful.

So flying back to Melbourne on the evening of the 27th of December, to arrive on the morning of the 28th, was somehow different than I expected it to be. I expected to want to go back, I expected to be happy to set foot on Ozzie soil once again, I expected I’d be excited to be around western people again. Instead, every step of the journey, was one I didn’t want to take. I didn’t dwell on this fact however, as I knew I had to return to Oz - even if it were just for me to figure out that it was time to move on - and I was basically shocked by how I was feeling once I got to the airport in Melbourne. I was feeling how I should have felt when I stepped off the plane in Malaysia. I was feeling like an outsider. I was feeling dumbstruck at the sight and sound of all these Westerners - I know this might sound so silly - and because of the fact that this sounds so silly it’s also why I was shocked by the voice in my head that wasn’t liking the fact that I was blending in with the Westerners and speaking the same English language!! What a strange world.. Or maybe: what a strange way for me to suddenly feel and look at the world. The Australian world..

This feeling didn’t last too long. It didn’t scare me away. Nothing drastic came of it. It was simply whacky to witness it. From the airport in Melbourne, the city centre was the next port of call. Throughout the journey I was adjusting again to the normal buses, the normal speed at which they traveled and the normal road behaviour. Then at the station: the higher prices of food, tea, Internet, train tickets. Wouw! What a difference.. But within an hour all was good. Even though I still longed to be in Asia.

I sat in the food court at the station, as I had the whole day to wait for the bus that was going to be taking me to Jason. This food court sent me into a zone of some sort. At that stage, I had been traveling nearly 48 hours, without having seen a bed, so I was a little delirious too. I was in a zone and often I had to remind myself of what city I was in, or even what country.. And every time..O yeah.. Australia.. Okay..it’s okay Niamh.. This is good.

But really it wasn’t too good. I felt so lost, and sat there for 3 hours solid, writing my heart out and dealing with the situation at hand. Which was: What was I doing for the next week and for new years? Yes, I had booked my ticket to Swan Hill to go to see Jason. But things had changed, I felt they would be different and so we both kept an open mind when it came to us being back together again. It was an afternoon of feeling lost, wrecked but also one of feeling so easy and peaceful.. It was me just sitting and writing and I loved every minute of it. I didn’t want it to end. I was in the zone, my own zone, where I wanted to be. Maybe I didn’t want to deal with the real world as I felt so secure by myself. Maybe I didn’t want to loose the high I was feeling after an amazing month. Maybe I wanted to savor that feeling and share it only with those who wanted to share in my joy and not with those who might resent me for having had that amazing opportunity..(that I created by myself by the way.. so why should I feel guilty? A person makes their own experiences, lives their own life and everyone can make happen anything they really long for). Who was to know why I didn’t want that afternoon to end. It could also have simply been because I was in the food court right beside the sushi, that was coming out of my ears accompanied by green tea.. Hummm..

So I got to Swan Hill at 10pm. Jason was waiting at the station for me. The sight of the van.. White Myvan.. The adventure van.. The van that had been my home, with Jason inside, who had missed me. And there was Niamh: loaded up with a new “tan“, slightly longer hair, new stories to tell and some new inspiration and drive to go for the things she’s been longing to get from life. What a change.. And because of this, we needed to spend proper time together. We needed to reconnect and find common ground once again. A month isn’t a real long time to be apart, but when so much happens and a person starts feeling things that were there all along but had chosen to ignore them for so long, then a month can bring a lifetimes worth of changes with it. In some ways that’s what happened to me. So Jason and I decided at the very last minute to go to a festival near Swan Hill, in Moulemein, called Confest. It would be the perfect environment for us to spend time together, to learn and to grow.

This was on the morning of the 29th. Such a rash decision. And such a dramatic change. Going from Kho Phangang on the 26th, down through Malaysia, onto the plane in Kuala Lumpur, getting off in Melbourne, then hanging out there for a full day, then on to Swan Hill, straight into sorting out the ground on which Jason and I was were trying to walk upon together, and to end up at the hippy Confest, out in the Ozzie bush. All this within 3 days, without any sleep.

How does it all evolve, and does this festival bring out things that I haven’t yet discovered about myself..?? Catch up later for some more..