Journey to Border Village, a Journey Beyond
The three day journey from Geelong to Border Village was pleasant, I spent most of the time listening to podcasts; This American Life, Stuff Mom Never Told You, and audiobooks; Lost at Sea by John Ronson and The News by Alain De Boton. I find it's one of the best ways to stay alert while driving, a stimulating listen to something that interests me, or else music that I can sing along to! My other trick is to make phone calls (on bluetooth of course, learned my lesson this time, I swear!) and catch up with friends while I'm driving in mobile range.
I had a gorgeous first stop in Adelaide at a friend of a friend's house and was treated like a guest of honour with a beautiful home cooked meal and a big comfy bedroom with ensuite. So grateful for that little respite before the long haul. My next stop was to Streaky Bay, South Australia, which I was told to be a gorgeous little beach holiday spot. I must admit to being very spoiled having lived in the Surf Coast Victoria because I was a little disappointed. Not only was the beach totally muddy and uninviting, the only swimming area, due to sharks, was a small “fenced in” area off the wharf. Like swimming in a cage, yay!
I had dinner at the pub and then went in search of a camping spot. On my way out of town I was driving, only about 50km, when the road had the slightest curve to the right that I didn't see in time and I was too close to the curb and hit it, full on. I had just enough air in the tires and momentum to turn into the next left street and off the road, thank goodness because I blew both passenger side tires, one clear off the rim. Completely flat and I, completely deflated. I don't know if I have the worst luck because this happened, or the best luck because of what happened next.
I was sitting in the driver's seat and just hung up the phone from roadside assistance who told me it wasn't covered because it's an accident, when an older gentleman named Bruce came over from his house and he was so helpful to me. It's a small town and he knows the guy who drives the emergency roadside assistance vehicle. It was after hours though and he didn't answer the phone. Bruce's wife Lynette, drove down to the pub to find him! He said he would be out first thing in the morning. What a relief! Not only that, but Bruce and Lynette were packing for a trip and they were leaving in the morning. So not only my great luck to break down in front of their house, but to do it before they went away! They even kindly let me pitch my tent in their front yard because the caravan park and all the hotels were fully booked. Lynette kept trying to make me a cuppa Milo! I am humbled by the kindness and generosity of complete strangers.
My car was fixed in the morning and I was back on the road by 9am. Crises averted, I settled into the dry, yet cloudy and ominous looking drive towards the Nullarbour Highway. If you're ever planning to drive the Nullarbour, don't listen to anyone trying to scare you. You do not need extra petrol, and you do not even need a map. There is only one highway, and signs the whole way. I used google maps to familiarise myself with the route, but there really isn't any way you can go wrong. There are plenty of petrol stations and places to get food. I had surprisingly great coffee (soymilk available!) at every stop, even the dodgy looking ones =) One particular place of interest I would highly recommend is Harry's Homemade Fine Foods on the Augusta Highway, heading north out of Port Pirie. Nothing to see in Port Pirie, but Harry's would be well worth the drive from Adelaide! I bought a jar of chilled spicy oysters, and oh my, what a treat!
The Nullarbour Highway itself, is quite plain. The colour of the road is nearly the same shade of pale as the earth on the shoulders. The foliage on both sides is high enough and the ground flat enough that you feel like you're driving between two walls. Quite different from the stunning mountain and valley vistas of the Canadian Rockies that I grew up driving around. Finally arriving at my destination at 4pm Central Australian Time (Eucla) 2 hours and 45 minutes behind Melbourne, and 16 hours and 45 minutes ahead of Vancouver, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Border Village has a bit of Australian Roadhouse charm to it. As you pull up to the station on the left, there is an enormous kangaroo statue standing next to a signpost with about 15 signs on it pointing out distances to various cities around Australia. And the kangaroo is holding up, none other than a jar of Australia's favourite spread, vegemite. To me, vegemite tastes like tar made of salt, salt and yeast, and kind of like spreading soup stock on your toast. Yum yum!
I can't think of a more appropriate name for my first outback job on this journey, Border Village. I've left everything I know and feel comfortable with and leapt into the unknown in order to take back my power, to say NO to the bank stealing my life, and to take meaningful action in my life, spiritual growth, and evolution. I've stood on the edge, looked back and smiled at all that I've accomplished and experienced, said a quick goodbye, and then looked forward, briefly - and jumped, open armed, and open hearted. How easy it is to make it sound easy!
The roadhouse consists of a service station selling petrol, souvenirs, convenience foods and some basics like bread, milk and very expensive toothpaste (everything is very expensive, we're in the desert people, come prepared!), a restaurant with quite an extensive menu for the middle of nowhere, a bar with poker machines (I will never get over the giggles at the Australian slang of “pokies”), a caravan park, and oh thank heavens, a POOL!
The manager took me on the tour and we walked past some of the staff accommodation, several grim looking rooms all together in a block, past a double cabin that one of the staff couples shares, and to my room, a bit separate from the rest, providing me some much appreciated privacy, as well as my own little covered verandah space. I could definitely get comfy here! I was most fearful of arriving to disappointment of the living space, and I am elated. The room is of decent size, big enough to do yoga, and I have a queen size bed, side table, wardrobe, desk and small fridge. I even have a kettle! What more could one need!? Aside from having to walk 30 metres outside to the showers and toilets I am more than pleased with this situation.
The only major change I needed to make was to rid the foul and overwhelming cigarette stench from the previous tenant. Oh lawdy! I have never been more grateful for sage smudge, nag champa incense and palo santo. It's taken a whole month, but I can finally open the door and not wrinkle my nose at the offensive miasma of a stranger's fetid tang languishing intrusively amongst my prayer flags and mala beads. Being Taurean I like my surroundings stimulating and comfortable. Salt lamp – check! Yoga stuff – check! Pics of friends and fam next to my permaculture calendar – check! Hahahaha... so far, I am more than happy to call this place my home for the next 12 months. It could definitely be much much worse. Thank you Universe, Namaste.
I would like to share with you this mantra, of which the meaning has become incredibly profound to me as I began this journey.
“Gate, Gate, Paragate, Para Sam Gate, Bhodi Svaha.”
- Gone, Gone beyond, Gone beyond the beyond, Rejoice Awakening -
To me it means, you are standing on the shore, and you are looking beyond the ocean, to the other side. You make the journey, you step beyond the shore, and beyond the other shore, you leave what is behind exactly there, behind you. Beyond there, beyond here, and beyond beyond – awakening!