Three months have passed, and now we are at T – 24 hours about before we leave. It’s Wednesday here in Australia where back home it’s Tuesday. I wonder how long it will take me to flip my hours again…14 of them. ugh.
I suppose I have some “end of vacation” anxiety except I don’t because we are going to Cayman first for ten days to relax and adapt to the time change. Wow…how did my life get like this?
Its like I have been surrounded by unearned privileged and opportunity my whole life, traveling around seeing the planet. I wonder if that is part of my soul-contract – to have these experiences for a reason – i am supposed to do something or learn something from it all.
I have seen England, Scotland, Spain a couple of times, Africa – just the west and north, America (have driven most of it including Alaska), i was in China the first year it opened its doors to tourists, Japan, Hong Kong, South America, Honduras (Rowtan), Costa Rica, Australia, Curacao – all over the globe and yes, I really do know how lucky I am. I have not ever taken one second for granted, even as a child I knew this.
Each foray out into other places always adds to layer of what i understand. but the basic conclusion is always the same – people are generally nice and good and everyone is looking for the same thing, no matter where you travel. Peace, some security, a roof, a decent meal, family, education for children, clean water. From China, to Honduras and Africa, I have seen conditions that maybe we back home would call “poor” in our first world technologically driven experience, but in reality, poverty should be measured according to Happiness not consumer capacity. I have seen families who sleep in one room and who live on floors made of the sand of the beach, whose walls are simple aluminium sheets riveted together that shake in the winds of seasonal storms. But they are happy. The kids, cousins brothers and sisters all playing together on the beach while the parents prepare the fish they caught that day. Once the family has been provided for for the day, there isn’t much else to do but family chores, which the family does together. Teenagers in these cultures seem to have much fewer behavioural issues due to low self esteem – because they have a role, a place and a purpose. They are important – everyone is in these families. There is a balance, from the smallest person to the biggest, that contributes to the happiness of each day for the family. If one person doesn’t perform their role, everyone suffers. For kids, responsibility to the whole family makes them feel important, and think outside of themselves giving them a wider view of the world and their place in it.
Australia is very much like Canada. Politically, we are equally disappointed in our federal and state/provincial governments. However here I see that the government is MUCH more visible to the public. Tony Abbott may be an arse, but he is an arse on TV visible all over the place. Our Prime Minister – Stephen what’s-his-face – is invisible and making some very small minded decisions while we are all sleeping. It’s really obvious that neither system can survive in its current state. eventually, people are bound to get pissed off and demand better communication and decision making elements. It is obvious when you travel that the world is reaching a tipping point in all sorts of areas.
Ecologically we all know we have already tipped and are falling over from one side to another like a catamaran on 12 foot swells, sort of out of control but still able to walk around. It may be hard to tip a boat – but once it is tipped, its really impossible to turn it back again.
It is clear when you travel that the weather systems of the world have changed intensely. Its kind of new thing that now everywhere you travel talk of how bad the weather is becoming globally is pretty much a first line conversation, especially amongst naturalists and divers. When I was young and would travel, a storm or other form of extreme weather was rare and newsworthy. now it is obvious and daily. In Australia, I can see the center of the continent has been absolutely ravaged by the desert over the past 25 years. In fact, over the past five years Australia has been surviving some devastating drought conditions, restricting water for use an for consumption. Some places, like french island, don’t have any fresh water at all. Desalinization is the new click word.
Every continent has its issues both ecologically and economically. Socially, we all seem to be facing the same things, in different forms, but in all cases, the spiritual conversation is stepping up. Religion or lack of religion is always problem. It’s never a positive thing anymore. I don’t think it has been for many hundreds of years in fact. Ironically though everywhere I travel and for the past seven years I have had incredible numbers of conversations with people who speak about things in much more spiritual terms. There is a wonderful absence of small talk and space filling – much more content, connection an communication. Religion is morphing into a common spiritual language that we are able to share that goes beyond the institutions that are, quite literally “man” made. The powerful female energy is showing up all over the planet, and men and women are finding a more sincere fellowship through this more open ere we are at in our evolutionary process.
I asked my husband if it’s just because of the fact that I am “super hippie” that attracts this kind of conversation, but even he believes there is a very visible shift in the global consciousness and awareness – it’s not just me 😉 .
Australia is like Canada on the flip side of the world in many ways. Many of their major cities and the businesses are dominated by Caucasian people of British Heritage. Very much like Montreal Melbourne is filled with multiculturalism. It is inviting to tourists, easy to travel, safe and full of interesting things to see, like parks and gardens, museums and outdoor exhibitions and a constant stream of live music. Melbourne and, from what i saw, Australia in general is a musical place. It is not difficult to find live local music venues every where you travel. Music here is a family event, and one of the most popular musical days of the week is Sunday afternoons, where all over Australia it seem people bring out the families, and the parents get half looped and dance with the kids to a variety of musical styles.
One musical style I did not hear a constant stream of here was blues. Two things to say about that – one is Montreal is a much “blacker” culture than Melbourne. i was even told once that blues is black – and I would never be able to get it right. Even more than in Montreal though, there is a “whiteness” here – if I can call it that and really not to insult anyone, but I know you understand – that makes for some good rock, really beautiful folk and alternative, we even saw some jaw dropping R&B – but the blues was pretty sparse, unless you are one of those that considers Led Zeppelin blues – which I don’t.
Learning a new place through its music and musicians has been the most eye opening of all my life experiences. I mean, everywhere I travel, I have always brought a guitar with me. Guitars are magical door-openers when you are out in the world. Anywhere I would be with a guitar strapped to my back, people would talk to me. It is a door opener and a fantastic social lubricant. But never before have I had a chance to use my guitar to actual jump INTO a culture and be “local”. I knew this was something I would always be grateful for when my new friend Jaci a local jam enthusiast and my instant friend had us scheduled for playing music 4-6 times a week. I didn’t have time to get home sick! – I had to rehearse and especially get my mind back into originals because, in Australia, that seems to be what people ask for! This is totally a reverse of the experiences I have back home where we tend to get lots of requests for old classic standards. Amazingly not ONE PERSON asked me to do a Janis Joplin imitation while I was here – I think I sang Bobby McGee ONCE in three months. However, I DID get asked every time for originals – which always shocked and amazed me, happily of course. Its nice to know people are open to new things and they like a message you are singing about. For a musician, that feeling can be better than money.
I loved Australia – it feels like home except for the stark absence of my children animals friends…yup it’s time for me to go home.
I have met some amazing people here – certainly members of my soul family.
I even met my guru here. Figures, I get truck driver talking, ex-commando soldier eco-farming sustainable zen guy. Actually – it does figure, but I never could have imagined such a thing to be possible. Someone that seems to be hand crafted just for me to be able to hear what he says.
Australia has shown me again that the universe has a plan – and I am definitely in the game. Even when I think something makes NO sense.. just have to wait and most often what began as completely impossible – makes perfect sense in the end.
Happily and with gratitude…wishing you a beautiful day anywhere you are on our beautiful planet.