7 August, Mitchell to Charleville – Outback Queensland

The last 24 hours have been very interesting.

I decided to go to the camp fire at the caravan park last night. A few people were still there at 8.30pm. I sat next to a couple from Norway and Finland (husband and wife). We talked about our lives. They told me they had a friend in Sydney and that is why they came to Australia. They are doing a journey around Queensland with their teenage daughters. Apparently the kids want other kids, there are many older people traveling. We talked about our societies. The wife Mary indicated that she found her people cold. She really noticed how warm and friendly Australian’s are. I did point out a few issues here, taking off the gloss slightly. I also mentioned that when I traveled the world people were very kind. I feel it is universal. However I could see her point coming from Finland. I felt it was the climate, often in cold climates people tend to be more closed off. In the warmer bigger countries like Australia and the US people can be much more open. I think you even get national personality types – extrovert and introvert. Australians and Americans for example I would put down as extroverts. We are in wide open spaces and get around a lot, also Australians travel a great deal. I think New Zealand is similar most of the New Zealanders are out in the world then in their own country. We talked about children, Mary pointed out that she had concerns about kids using technology, being on computers all the time, these are universal worries I feel for parents in this modern age. She spoke of her childhood and how things were different. She had concerns about the times she is in. She gets pressure from her daughter to give her what she wants. She felt guilty for not giving her. I said to her sometimes giving is not giving, it is good for kids to not get everything they want. It is more about her following her heart and telling her child she loves her but no. love is not giving everything, love is actually saying no if you feel that is your truth. We also talked about marriage. I let it drop I’d been married and they both were surprised. They thought I was a lone traveler my whole life. I explained I’d been in relationship for 17 years. The husband Doug dropped a few clues indicating his wife was strong minded. I laughed saying what woman isn’t. I know so many strong minded women where the guys just do as they are told. I explained to both of them to express how they feel and look for solutions so both can win. To make sure no resentment is there. Mary at some point asked him to get her a pen, he said no and she went and got it. I could see the triumph in his eyes. I tried to explain it is good for both of them to be honest to each other. Sharing power I feel is the key to a happy marriage.

We spoke of the state of the world. They also shared concerns about what is happening. Doug mentioned there had been a massacre in Norway where I think around 30 people were shot dead. We talked about violence in society and violent video games. We talked about the media and the focus on violence. I did say to them don’t follow the news, just follow your own life experience. There is violence in the world but there is also kind acts, that tends to not hit the news. I feel to just be the change yourself. Try not to judge the world, there are many great people out there. We spoke of the future, I feel there will be changes in the near future. I was thinking about the Mayans when Mary mentioned them and 2012. I was surprised at the similar thoughts. I told her I feel there will be change next year but not doomsday, I believe we are going to go through a transition. I said if it looks unstable, just be positive. Try to do your best in life. Don’t worry about the future.

They said I have friends in Norway if I wish to come. It was so lovely drinking white wine with them, staring into the fire as it burned down to embers. Sharing out thoughts exchanging ideas and life experience. I really love that.

Anyway I went back to my tent. I did notice the few people who had been by the fire had trickled away. I remember a point in the conversation where I became aware of others listening to me speak. I did say there was negativity in Australia and as I lay in my tent I hoped I hadn’t offended anyone. I remember thinking I just want to bring joy to people in this life. I don’t want to create any negativity. I remember the feeling of going home coming to me. This to me is connection to life or god if you like. I don’t see an entity that looks down on me I experience this intelligence as love. I see it as nothing else. Anyway for a long while I focused on going home. I actually asked please make sure I am on the right track, I don’t want to be speaking this truth if it is wrong. I just want to speak from my heart with the intention of doing good. Then I asked this god, source, life whatever, if I am on the right track send a person to me in the morning and make it clear that it is a sign I am doing what I am here for. With that I hugged my hot water bottle, feeling a little drunk actually and then fell asleep. My sleep was much warmer with insulation beneath me. Getting better at the ol camping routine.

Anyway, the next morning I wake up and it is quiet. The sun starts to beat down on the tent I feel so hot, so try and cool down. I don’t really want to get up but it is becoming like a sauna. So I start to pack up my tent. Big job let me tell you.

I packed, stuffed, shoved, ordered, fit all my stuff into my little car. My god it is no mean task. Full on trying to get it to fit, can’t just shove it in, it has to be organized. I found myself really working on finding places for things and remember where things are, as I am getting exhausted doing it all.

Anyway, I get some cereal and milk and sit in the driver’s seat, all the stuff in the car. I was feeling exhausted. Actually I was contemplating on men. How much I respect and admire what they do, how they take on the physical work. We women can sit back and go he’ll do it. I really saw myself in their shoes and noted how physically exhausting this was. I am not in great shape but I am sure I will be on this trip.

A sat in my car, a woman I’d met the day before came to me. She says she wants to encourage me in my work. She then said of herself ‘I have a close connection with God, God speaks to me and I feel to give you this.’ She had two apples in her hand and she popped a $50 note into my bra. I smiled and felt so surprised. She wouldn’t let me say no. She said she would like some information on what I was talking about yesterday. I actually shared with her group about Byron Katie and the 5 questions to help people inquire into negative thoughts. She told me her daughter Jennifer was depressed. I said I’d be happy to give her information. She told me where she would be. She left and I sat quietly in the car reflecting. I actually had tears in my eyes, I did cry. I was touched that this money came. I was wondering how much was in my bank. I was deeply grateful and wanted to give her something. I had this beautiful candle stick holder in the back of the car. Just that morning I am thinking I want to give this to someone. She was the person I felt to give it to. I pulled out all my stuff, more effort, exhausting. I found the folder with the printed copies of Byron Katies work. You can go to www.thework.com if you would like to follow up. I just marveled at how the help comes to me. I also marveled at her earnestness telling me she speaks to god. She wondered if I did. I said I have a deep connection but I am not religious. I said I feel love is the guidance. I told her about my night wanting to go home, I didn’t think to tell her about the sign I’d asked for. I just explained that I want to see unity in the world. I want us all to come together, I wish for happiness and I feel pained at the way the world is. I just let it out and I felt the passion.

Anyway, after breakfast I drove to where she was. I gave her the candle holder and hugged her and the others with her. I then went to the loo (toilet) and was thinking I should tell her about Dorothy Rowe. I recorded a speech of Dorothy’s years ago on depression. I told this lady about her and she took down the information. I then wished them well.

It was when I was driving that the sign came to me. I remembered what I had asked and most definitely had been given a sign. It filled me with joy and wonder. I just want to make sure that I am authentic. I am checking myself all the time.

Anyway the drive through this beautiful country was amazing. I looked at the gum trees so deeply part of my life from childhood. I saw the wild country that stretches to the horizon. Thank god no road houses, or shops or frequent towns, just open space with no government, no work and no worries. I love the freedom I feel as I drive. I then saw a group of goats cross the road, I stopped to let the last one cross, the goat was uncertain if it could go I waved it to go. It did. I then drove a little further and an emu crossed the road, it was quite a small one. I then laughed to myself at the guy in the town of Miles telling me emu’s run 200km per hour to find out they run 50 km, which is not bad (quite fast), but emu’s are not equivalent to very fast trains.

I put on music and thought of the distraction of technology. I then decided to drive in silence. I will practice being in silence without stimulation. I just looked at the red soil on the side of the road, consciously taking it in. I thought of the song about this sunburnt country and could understand why they called it sun burnt. The GPS is great I can get an idea of how far towns are. This lady’s money helped put petrol in the tank and also ended up paying for the next caravan park. So I put it to good use.

I passed a road train – 3 carriages, they sway as they drive, they are big. I thought back to 20 years ago when the road was half sealed. In Queensland the roads were particularly bad, you would have two wheels in the dirt and two on the bitumen. Today I was to overtake with all wheels on the bitumen, it does get your heart pumping but I have the acceleration to either get past or hang on the brakes and pull back in. All good.

I charged up my phone using the inverter (plugging into cigarette lighter) which was great. Then came into mobile reception. I had messages. My mother had called. So I had a chat with mum. She new I’d be in and out of contact, she is good with that.

I drove into Charleville and looked for the caravan park I was to stay at. The school I will be teaching at is giving me two days of workshops. They have booked me in 3 days at the local caravan park. So I am here a day earlier which is good to rest and start rehearsal.

I booked into set up my tent. Much faster getting it up. One part of the earth was very hard, like a brick so I got the caravan park guy to help me hammer it in. Deep down I feel pride as a woman, I don’t want to be perceived as feeble, I am conscious of the discrimination around women, but at the same time I am also aware that men love to help and I will deal with my slight insecurity there. It is fine to get the help. I had a woman watching me set up a tent. I guess there is novelty being a woman on my own. Most are in couples.

I went down to the information centre got a coffee. It is called Cosmos and there is much space information there. I will go back tomorrow and have a deeper look at the information. You can see all the stars out here, just a carpet. I saw a shooting star last night. The skies are so clear really beautiful. Whilst I was there I booked into go on the Bilby tour. The Bilby is a rare marsupial which looks the size of a small dog, but with very big ears (like a rabbit), it has little hind legs like a kangaroo and a pouch. It apparently is related to the bandicoot and not related to the kangaroo at all. I was surprised to learn this. When I went on the tour they went onto explain they were nearly extinct although they have brought them back from extinction to now around 100. Apparently two amazing men, a zoologist who looks like the guy out of ZZ top and a older gentleman, you would expect as a government bureaucrat got together. Apparently the older guy was a part time roo shooter. When they formed this partnership he became a conservationist. Apparently his wife died and he felt captured by this passion to save the Bilby. He and this guy ended up raising (nationally) money to build a 5km square fence to protect the Bilby’s. Their numbers have been decimated by feral cats (big problem), pigs, eagles, dingos etc. So these two guys created a protected zone and they are now coming back. I had the privilege after the movie to go to an enclosure out the back to see 3 live Bilby’s in captivity. They have a tail with a white tip and it is quite stiff as they move. They don’t hop but you can tell their hind legs make them move slightly differently from a 4 legged animal. They have a long snout for ants I am guessing. Really beautiful they were. I felt tears in my eyes thinking of these men and there dedication. I thought of the business people focusing all their energy in making money rather than focusing on saving our beautiful planet. Apparently Peter the Zoologist went on to save more species. He realized he could make a difference and the success of this project spurred him on.

At the caravan park I had met my neighbours and had a good chat with ones to my right. The husband was former defence (navy), he said he had moved on from that and he also felt we need to make a difference. He saw the Bilby’s as well. We talked about the world and he also saw problems with this generation. He reminisced on how life had been when he was growing up in the 70’s.

I received a visit earlier from a lady I met near the kitchen. She invited me for a drink. So I went and met Ruth and Robert. Robert is a retired farmer who has a property near Albury (Victoria) at the base of the snowy mountains. He had back trouble from all the lifting and his son had taken over the family business. He had a belief in a guy called Twiggy who is a mining magnate and he admired the fact that this guy wanted to compensate aboriginal people by building schools etc. He had the belief that young people needed trade skills. I could see his point as the world is currently, aboriginal kids are no longer living indigenous lives and many will be bored out in the country. I am sure apprenticeships would make them happy. He talked about Rio Tinto and how they were paying lots of money to aboriginal communities to mine their land. I felt for the aborigines and the extraction of mining deposits.

I tried to find a middle ground with this man but I also knew I had to talk about the reality of the world. I explained to him my peace work and the importance of clowning. Which doesn’t bring in much money but it is what I love. I explained to him I’d been trained as an Economist and I understood that capitalism had been extremely successful, which it had. I could see his point about the early settlers and how they worked the land and how far they had come. I have been trying to place myself in their shoes to understand the white Australian history more, with respect. However, the times have changed and I feel today most people are not happy at work, I also see degradation of nature, kids who are idle and focusing on television, violent videos. He also had made earlier comments about the young people and the fact they don’t have anything to do. He reflected back on his own time (he was around 70). So he was a country guy in the agricultural sector who believed in working the land and had sympathy for the miners. I understood that I may confront him but went ahead and told him my truth. I explained to him that I had worked in up to 400 companies and I didn’t find one person happy. I said many are working long hours today and there is not much loadings. He felt that unemployment was the biggest problem and people with skills weren’t prepared to work in lesser jobs. Whilst there is probably truth in that, I explained to him I’d been offered $20 an hour to work as an analyst. I decided no because it drags the industry down. I went to uni for 3 years there was no way I would accept lower wages. I also told him I walked out of an $80,000 job as it was a toxic workplace and there was no quiet space to work as an analyst. I couldn’t get the job done and management expected people to work when sick. This was unacceptable. I saw this as a reflection of lessened unions in workplaces and the dismantling of conditions. I could see him reflecting but he soon brought the conversation to an end. I knew he would as he felt confronted. However, I felt to give a version to him that he may not be used to hearing. I felt okay within myself and I do respect where he is coming from. They work very hard on the land and they are doing it for something they believe in. Yet the planet is being destroyed, I explained this to him. He told me he was tired and that was the cue to leave.

So now I am back in my tent typing it up. What a day. Full of experiences. This trip is proving far more than I expected. The number of people I am meeting is large. I am getting a feel for what people are thinking about and their take on life.

So this is a big blog. I hope you like reading. My shoulders are very sore. So I may stop now you can rest too.

It is a beautiful night here in Charleville. I look forward to experience what tomorrow brings.

Have a beautiful sleep and dream big dreams, know you can make a difference put your energy into something really worthwhile. You are worth it, you are incredible and know you can be and do anything. I am learning this and I will also do my best.

Love and peace,

Susan

 
Mohandas Gandhi

“Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”

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