Perth: Couch surfing on my journey

I’ve just been couch surfing with a couple who were great to get to know. I really appreciated how Michele the wife, just loves to help travellers. She said she can’t say no. What I really like is that she leaves couch surfers in her house and goes to work. Does not give a second thought to whether her things are safe. She has an innocent mind and trusts people. We spoke about trust and she saw it as key. Her friends cannot understand how she can let strangers into her house, but she explains that she benefits. She learns about different parts of the world, she helps people by giving them a bed and makes friends. I really love couch surfing as it is a true peace network.

So after Michele and Ron’s place I am now staying with a younger guy in his 30′s. He works as a miner. I asked him about the mining industry. He says he is flown in 8 days on 6 days off. He said he goes underground. What I found interesting about my discussion with him was he used the term about mining about the ‘violence’ being done to the environment. He spoke of ponds that he felt were toxic as a few kangaroos were found dead in them. He is in the Kimberley area. He is there for the money.

He spoke of the blokes at the mining camp, they live in what seems to be demountables. Some blokes were in their 60′s and mining all their lives. He said they have a pub there and some men just drink heaps. I asked if many women were there, he said a few but mostly in administrative or nursing roles. If they worked with the men they would be expected to do the same, no special treatment, they may get hassled. Some blokes if they are perceived as a bit weak or different, they get hassled. He spoke of the need for a person to come and speak to these men about society, life and conflict resolution. There apparently is a fair bit of conflict.

Interestingly this guy was a buddhist travelling to India for a few years. He is a deep thinker and kind person. He is hosting couch surfers to give back.

He bought food and really made sure I was fine. It is so refreshing to see a young guy being so thoughtful.

I asked him about rents here in Perth he said for a 2 bedroom place he is paying $290 per week. Seems high to me. I notice the power point coming off the wall, laminate is bodgy, wire door comes off track, bording in kitchen falling down etc. I can see the landlord is just getting money. He said it was dirty when he moved in. I just shake my head at the greed and how out of reach even accommodation is getting. I was paying $140 for a one bedroom in Melbourne which included gas and electricity. I had a view of nature and it was clean. You have to be working to afford a flat. He is in a block of flats and apparently they can be noisy. The guy downstairs talks really loudly and I smile reflecting on his awareness. Dion is not here much but he said the bills are high. So it is not that affordable. I suspect the mining industry domination here has lifted prices. I found that on my travels through Mt Isa, the accommodation skyrockets as they can afford to pay whatever.

In the morning I was trying to find an employment agency as I wanted to photocopy some material. I can do it for free. I could only find two branches but not near where I am staying in the north of the city. So let that go.

I received a text to pick up my singing flower. I left it clowning the other day. So that changed my day as I had to go to Kensington. I went there and then decided to see what was nearby on my GPS satellite mapping system. I found ancient egyptian society, sounds interesting, so I headed there. I ended up not being able to find this society and noticed an interesting building with wooden doors really large with rort iron handles. It looked more like a cultural centre then a tent shop. I needed to repair my air mattress so went on in. I ended up speaking for about an hour to this old lady.

She was a lovely person and described for me her hard life working. She said when she was a kid they lived in a tin shed and had minimal things. We compared that to today where people live in mansions and materialism is so rampant. She agreed and felt that times had changed. The grandkids don’t play cricket they will end up on computers. She said her daughter was stressed about christmas and she suggested just go to the park. Great idea I thought. It doesn’t have to be full on, just get people to bring food.

We spoke of the times we are in and she saw the changes, she also noted she was always working and worried she would get too old to travel. Had never left Australia. Although she remembered camping at the base of Uluru and climbing the rock. It was wonderful in those days.

Her husband sounded like a live wire, really good at building things and he had plans to build a mud brick house and create a vege garden. I said in the times we are in it is a good idea. She said he grew up on a station in the northern territory and his father apparently was a policeman and had travelled by camel on his rounds. They had aboriginal people at the station and he had very positive attitudes towards them. I thought that would be such an interesting experience. They lived off the land and were country folk. Apparently her husband doesn’t want to retire, yet she doesn’t want to get too old, bit of a dilemma there.

I told her about my life as a clown and my choices to live free and not work all the time. She was happy to hear my story and wished others would do the same. She also saw the crazy lifestyle we are all in and how expensive it has become. The lack of time to spend chatting and getting to know people struck her. People were not as friendly and too busy. I find all people I speak to concur, there is a general awareness this situation is dysfunctional.

Anyway, we had a great chat and I gave her a hug and went further down the road. Blow me down if I didn’t find that job recruitment place and was able to do some research and photocopy. I marvelled at life bringing me to this street. I don’t see coincidences anymore.

So today I’ve been researching mental health and wellbeing. How I can bring peace and clowning into the health stream. I think clowning is fantastic for mental health as we learn to develop confidence, express ourselves, laugh at ourselves (very important) and connect with others. Really important for mental health.

Anyway, that was my day. I am enjoying the couch surfing and will get another place to stay before xmas. I’m invited for christmas so it is lovely to make new friends here. My adventure is becoming more interesting as I open more and more to life and its possibilities.

Mohandas Gandhi

“Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”