Island of Wind and Fire

As I sit at my desk researching where to go, a message pops up from Kiwi: “Look at this and love me forever”

I opened the link and before I knew it I had clicked “book,” bought flights and had printed out a map to pinpoint the places we would visit in Lanzarote. AirBnB camper van won me over!! (Thanks again Kiwi) 

We stepped off the plane to be greeted by the heat of the sunshine. After a lot of running around the airport bus stops, we were finally on route to meet our home. Max met us on the edge of town, and drove us to his village. He showed us around the van (Juanita) and gave us the kind of maps that only pin-point local hidden treasures.

We set off on the open road - we soon realised this was quite literally “the open road”, as Lanzarote only has one road!  

The next few days are now intertwined into a timeless haze. We judged our days by the sunlight, and our hungry bellies. It also took us an entire half a day to realise that the reverse gear was, in fact, working - so a bulk of that time was spent pushing the van backwards.

We hiked through local vineyards, which were laid out with lava rocks, to reach craters of the volcanoes; We lay on beaches watching kite surfers play with nature; we adventured to the top of the tallest peaks; discovered caves and green lakes. Every turn was a new wonder, and a new species of cacti!! It was the exact healing space I needed. Who knew that an island so small could be so powerful. 

We stood there, at the top of what could have been Mars. The only thing bringing us back to Earth was the long windy road, caressing the curves of the volcanic peaks. Feeling the high winds and them forcing you not to be able to hear anything else, was strangely soothing and meditative. 

The drives along the vast road were blissful; watching the sun break through the clouds that were moving at a million mph, creating a dance of shadow and light on the red and black surfaces of the volcanoes. Wind in hair. Music playing. Avocado being eaten. 

The Sunday market came highly recommended. Markets are our weakness. We gave ourselves 1 hour - we took 2. Colours from every stall; trinkets, woven baskets, lava jewellery, spices, dreamcatchers, everything and anything. Whilst trying to pull ourselves out of the labyrinth, we found ourselves in the front garden of an artist. The phrase “one mans trash is another mans treasure” was taken quite literally. 

Every night was a new view from our home. Night one we were joined by other vanies, along a beach coast. We had the stars blanketing us and in the morning a white sand beach adorned us with the clearest of waters. We stripped down and ran carelessly across the rock pools. Night two was another beach, this time we had the company of a silhouetted sailing boat. The seas were rough, as was the landscape. The morning was spent running up a sand dune to bow down to the volcanic peak that shadowed us. Night three was atop a cliff with the ocean singing us to sleep. It started to rain as I began to prepare our dinner. I couldn’t resist, as we waited for the water to boil, I stood at the rocks edge, waves crashing beneath me, with arms flung open…looking mother nature in her star filled eyes and told her I loved her. 

Just when I thought my breath couldn’t be stolen by her anymore, sunrise came. A beautiful painting before us: shades of pink squares filled the space in front as the sun reflected his morning shine over the salt farms. 

I have said it before and I will say it a million times again; my heart beats for a life on 4 wheels. Stripped back, nature as your neighbour, using intuition as a 6th sense - I think the snails got it right :) Take your home with you and stop where feels right.

Sailing the Aegean Sea

Think of the Adventure, Paris text me! Never tempt me with the ‘A’ word. It’s something I can’t resist. So there I was, packing to leave to sail the Aegean Sea the next day on a great adventure of a lifetime. 

4am, sleepy eyed we headed off, out of the port on my uncle’s sailing boat. We had our coffees, breakfast and played a few games of eye spy and before we knew it we were passing Paphos. “Last chance to get off” said my uncle. No way. Turning back is not my thing. We sat in silence, starring, as the final piece of our motherland faded into the horizon. Knowing we wouldn’t see land again for a long time. 

The next 28 hours were spent rotating between eating, sleeping, sailing and playing games. The heat mixed with the pills we took (to prevent motion sickness), made us sleepy so most of the journey is a little hazy. 

The sea sprayed over us. Droplets teasing our lips, landing on them softly. Another 19 hours before we can immerse ourselves in her. 

When nightfall came we took it in shifts to be watchman. I couldn’t wait for my shift. 4am-7am. Excitedly I went upstairs to swap with Paris. 

In the darkness I could make out Paris’ shadowy figure pointing upwards, I went and sat next to him and looked up. We both sat in silence for what didn’t even matter how long, because nothing existed right there and then apart from the millions of stars that were above us. I have never in my life seen stars like these. They wrapped around us entirely, horizon to horizon. Nothing in their way, no far away light pollution to stop them glowing. 27 falling stars we counted between us. 

He stayed awake with me for a bit as we fell into deep conversations about life and feeling mighty. With that setting it seems that, that is all you can speak about. Eventually sleep took over and he slipped away into dreamland. I made myself comfortable and star gazed. Slowly stars started to disappear and blacks were turning to blues. I searched the dark horizon for the crack of light. 

There he was, taking his time to rise up. There is something so humble about watching the sunrise over the waves, with nothing but water surrounding you for miles. 

I sat watching his grandest production that I have ever seen. Slowly he painted the colours back into existence. Filling the air and my mood with warmness. I spent the next few hours blissfuly watching the waves.

2 hours left, and the first sight of land broke the blue views we had had for the last ages. It was the island of the red castle, Kastellorizo, our destination. 

After we docked, Paris and I went to explore the heights of the tiny colourful island. We walked up through the miniature streets and then up 400 steps. He made me promise not to look at the view until the top. Now, I know they say it’s the journey and not the destination but my goodness were they wrong about this place! 

The views from the top of the island were…unimaginable. I can’t put it into words. The sun was setting behind the peaks, islands clustered together, the world looking like the most perfectly painted picture. It all seemed at grasps length.

The walk back down was peaceful and full of awe, taking in the ever changing view for as long as we could before eventually the black sky once again covered us. 

We woke up and crept over to the other side of the island. This was to be our first dip in the sea since we left Cyprus. We all treated it as a ceremonial event. Taking our time to appreciate the heat on our skin before diving into the cool depths. Plunging in was a dream, a dream completed with a dozen playful turtles. 

Rhodes was our next stop. Setting off early again and sailing another 12 hours, this time with the company of another two sailing boats. We arrived late at night and took a stroll around the old castle. Merchants filled the walls, selling fabrics and laces. After a well deserved crepe we wondered back to the harbour. I needed to pack and be up early for my flight back the next day.

It wasn’t until I was on the plane that I had some time to reflect on the past few days. A little smile spread over my face in silent bliss. Another bucket list tick. 

K’gari Island

The second I stepped foot on Fraser Island I felt her energy run through me like an electric shock. There was something magical about her. I knew every grain was sacred, every wave powerful and every breath of her air I took seemed to kiss my lungs like no other air before. I needed to know everything about her. 

Luckily Pippies Beachhouse in Rainbow Beach, blessed me with Brett, our guide, who’s passion for the island ran pure through his veins. Every word he spoke about Gari was from his soul and inspired me to want to delve deeper into these beautiful indigenous myths. 

The natives of the island are called the Butchulla people. Gari was a sky spirit who helped to build the land. Once they were finished she became tired and took a seat on one of the rocks in the ocean to rest. As she looked back onto the island that they had just created, she fell in love. She asked if she could stay. Yendingie (the mighty God’s messenger) said he would grant her the wish, so long as she became part of the Earth. Gari agreed and chose to become the sand island. Yendingie created lakes that were specially mirrored so that she could look into the sky and still connect with other sky spirits. He created laughing waters for her voice and animals to keep her company. Her streams are special as they have pulse waves which beat up-stream. This is believed to be her heartbeat. 

Gari means paradise and the name matches perfectly. 

Our days were spent driving across the vast sandy beaches of the island, climbing up and down rocky hills to discover beautiful pools and swimming holes, and walking through the many rainforests on the island. After an action packed day we would float down a natural lazy river before heading back to camp base to all help with cooking a family dinner. Our group was a perfect mix of appreciation for the island and partying and singing into the walky-talkys. 

Three wonderful days were not enough but luckily Rainbow Beach is just as amazing, so heading back to the hostel  and being reunited with our friends and our van was not so bad. Our last 24 hours were the best way to end a beautiful week. We raced to the top of the Carlo Sandblow to do some final sand boarding. We braved the cooler temperature to watch the sunset behind the lakes and harbour, and were joined by some of our friends who played music while we welcomed the milky way into the night above our heads. 

Saying goodbye was hard. This had been the longest we had stayed anywhere since leaving Melbourne in our van and we hadn’t connected with new people like our rainbow family, in a long time! They are the kind of guys who you don’t have to speak to in years, but will always have a space for you on their sofa…and we have our guitar bracelets!! 

Thank you Pippies, the staff who are so wonderful and Brett who strengthened my connection to the beautiful Earth. 

Dream Taster

I’m usually one to dive head first into my dreams. Following my gut instead of a travel guide. I have had this one dream for so many years but the universe doesn’t think I’m ready for it and I need to listen.

I have wanted to live on the freedom of wheels. Just me and the road. No route, no plans, just go whichever way I want to. It’s not my time yet though. Soon, but not now. 

After a year of living in Australia I had a weekend free and enough money to get a little van with Pete. This was my dream taster. The first time I wasn’t diving in head first, but instead getting a teaser of the first thing on my bucket list! 

We decided not to have a destination or a map with us but just to follow the Great Ocean Road and stop where felt right. We woke up at the crack of dawn to pick up our van, after a few hiccups we were on the road, already singing too loud and nibbling on our snacks. It felt so comfortable and familiar. This is what I have wanted and I was loving every second. 

We stopped at some towns; Lourne, Apollo Bay, Princetown and Port Campbell just to name a few of the bigger ones. Having not done any research meant that a “wrong” turn always turned into us discovering something beautiful. We came across a beach covered with stone stacks, a rainforest filled with koala bears, lighthouses that towered over the bluest ocean, endless landscapes and beautiful people. 

That night we searched from a lookout point called London Bridge, all the way to Peterborough, to find a suitable spot to camp up for the night. With so many ‘No Camping’ signs we figured if we were going to the break the rules we may as well break them properly and chose the most stunning lookout point we could find. Once parked and deciding it was worth the telling off, we relaxed and got onto the roof of the van. Our bellies full of savoury crepes, drinking cool white wine we watched the sunset under the covers. Truly magical. Just the sound of nature filling the air. 

We were woken up by the heat of the sunrise so we set off for an early start. Feeling adventurous Pete’s gut lead us to a dirt road. I was convinced we were leading down a driveway to a private house but it ended up being my favourite wrong turn! The road lead us to a wonderful eco conservation centre which housed rescued animals. 

We were the first visitors of the day so we fed the animals their breakfast. Sociable chickens gathered around to get their share of seeds, the peacocks were showing off their hypnotising feathers, alpacas were making us giggle so hard that our bellies hurt and the dingos lining up for a back scratch. Each animal’s personality quickly showed at the sign of food. It was the best way to start a day. Experiencing the wonderful work they were doing at the park and how much they cared to create a mini eco system. We both left smiling more than we already were.

The rest of the day was filled with more adventurous turns, crazy landscapes, viewing the 12 apostles and yummy food cooked by locals. No chain stores, no fast food. When the sun started setting again we started for the long road home. 

I was back in the city for a whole 20 minutes before I started missing the movement and the freedom, turning with ever curve of the road and feeling mesmerised at the views. I couldn’t sleep that night. The feeling that the ceiling was too tall and the bed was too big kept me stirring. 

I’m more eager now, than ever before, to live that weekend, full time! 

Farm life

Cardwell. The smallest town that has had the biggest impact. 

I am currently in Bali and not feeling 100%. I find that when you are away and you become ill, you miss home - and strangely instead of missing London, I miss Kookaburra. 

I remember the day we arrived, straight out of our cocoon in Melbourne, where things were comfortable…big cities is what I am used to. Lots of people, art, constant inspiration everywhere. And suddenly we were there, in a town that consists of two streets and a handful of shops. We bought some drinks and headed to the end of the jetty. That was my first sunset in my new home and I watched every single sunset after that. All 112 of them. The sky there seems like a grand production with the sun, the moon and clouds dancing across the blue backdrop every night

It was easy to settle in Cardwell. We had the most basic of needs and the happiest minds. We had our shelter, family, pets and jobs. Kookaburra is where we called home, Leonie (the owner) being our mamma and Rod our dad! Typical ‘good cop bad cop’ parents who always made sure we were happy and asking how they can improve our time there. We lived in a bubble of a perfect scenario and did so for four months.

Before leaving for the farm, I had heard an endless amount of bad experiences and horror stories, so it was natural for me to be nervous on my first day as a banana farmer. After a few weeks of getting used to the physical work out in the heat, I enjoyed going into work. It was everything you want. Working with your friends, outside all day amongst nature and creatures awakening your body and muscles, all whilst earning a generous salary. Best of all, everyone is in it together and you help each other along - sometimes with advice but most of the time with banana cookies!! Slower days were often spent playing pranks on other teams in the paddocks and singing out loud and dancing while bagging bananas. I will never underestimate how lucky I was for those months at Bushes banana farm. 

Relationships in small places form quickly and deeply. I fell in love with (almost) every single person in Kookaburra, especially two girls who will forever be in my life now. We were there for each other through the lows and the countless highs and have created a bond that will be hard to break! Romance comes easily when you live on the beach, with the rainforest behind you and nothing but open ocean ahead. Fireflies dancing at night and kookaburras singing in the day, weekend trips to the most beautiful swimming holes (plus one tough hike across an island), and then crazy themed parties every Friday which ended up with dancing in the tennis courts or chalk drawing on the jetty. 

The most difficult part was, of course, saying goodbye to all the beautiful people. I still haven’t fully let go. Days like today make my heart hurt a little but I don’t wish to go back. Sometimes memories are better left as just that, and I am positive that I truly lived that experience to the fullest. 


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