This time last year I sat the hubby down and said “We need to talk”. Ominous words. I then blurted out “What-would-you-think-if-I-quit-my-job-and-we-sold-the-house-and-we-travelled-around-Australia-for-a-year??”. He gave it about 10 seconds thought before saying “Ok, why not?”.
And here we are, a year later, living at Uluru. Or more specifically, sitting in the freezing cold, in a campground, in a camper trailer, with a horrendous cold, with the nearest chemist 500kms away, missing my couch, tv, walls and consistently hot shower quite desperately. Living the dream.
We have been on the road for 5 months now, and most weeks, days, evenings are fabulous. But then there are some moments that are sniffly, snotty, sucky, cold and miserable. And when I could really use some codral – original formula thank you very much, if you like your codral with speed – and who doesn’t? (speed as in pseudoefadren – but also speed of the timeliness variety would be nice, rather than a 10 hour round trip for cold and flu tablets).
What a bloody whinger hey? Ok – some good stuff.
Cool mums and fire trucks
I am pretty new to the whole waiting by the school gate-introducing myself to school parents thing. So I took the safe approach and acted all resectable-like for a few weeks. Given we were only here for one term, it really would have sped up the process of finding some kindred spirits if I had shown my true colours and strutted in with a flashing sign on my head saying…
Anyway, alls well that ends well. We all found some buddies here (and we’re going to miss them!). AND….
So many people come to Uluru talking about their “bucket list”. Well, last week I got to tick something off my bucket list, when we were invited to a party…at the FIRE STATION. There was footloose. There was a disco ball. There was dancing with cool school mums. There was a fire truck. And did I mention there were firemen???
And please sign me up for the next edition of Yulara firies calendar. Pretty please.
NRL comes to Uluru
I love my footy. And by that I mean I love(d) Andrew Ettinghausen (showing my age here), Brad Fitler, Sonny Bill Williams, [insert raft of good looking guys in small shorts over the years – etc]. And in between appreciating the footy players, I picked up a bit of an appreciation for the game too.
So yay, one Blues State of Origin victory (and hopefully one more to go) – which we had to watch from the laundry of the campground with 20 queenslanders who were sitting on top of the washing machines. And yay, the Yulara Perenties who played Alice Springs, when the NRL (NT development division) came to Uluru. Featuring a guest appearance by Leo who made his NRL debut as Yulara-ian ball boy.
Takeaway – not from Ayers Wok
Some of the best takeaways from our time in Uluru have not come from Ayers Wok (possibly the best Asian stirfry restaurant name ever – but sadly not the best Asian stir fry) but from having lots of time to kick back and really use my noggin (for something other than corporate law – yawn) for the first time in a while.
I managed to dodge gainful employment during our time here. Not because my prospective employers couldn’t physically drag me away from being a lady of leisure, but because the systems, office etc that I was going to help out with weren’t up and running before the school term finished (and let’s face it, they really would have had a hard time getting me out of the hammock). People keep asking my hubby what I do all day. He tells them my brain occupies me. Which makes me sound like a crazy lady. Which is sorta what I have become left alone with all this thinking time. But one the best things about this trip, is not only seeing new places, but having the chance and the time to think about ways of living other than our standard city rat race MO.
With our house sold, our stuff ditched, and living in a tent on wheels, we are already on the minimalist-ish, slower life, work less, stress less bandwagon. But with all this time, and nothing else to do, I have found even more outlets for my previously unknown inner hippie.
(Cask wine and library books – practising extreme frugality)
I have been reading loads about living more simply*. One that really stuck with me was “The art of frugal hedonism” which is about consuming less and spending less, which means you need to work less, which gives you more time to do fun and enjoyable things. SO completely and absolutely on board with this. Funnily enough – this book was recommended to me by the very same taskmaster that cracked the whip to get me to work my arse off for more than a decade. Ha – bloody – ha (if only whip cracking taskmaster had discovered this ten years ago!!)
I then read another one (The art of free travel) about a family who travelled the east coast of Australia on bikes and foraged for food. Ok – too far. This just made me feel like a lazy bum for chugging around the country in our diesel guzzling land cruiser and heading to the IGA for supplies. But good on them.
All these hippy/greenie/peasant notions have spurred me into some highly unusual (for me) activities.
As the Real Housewife of Uluru, I have been in charge of dinners lately. I made a meal (whoa) without meat (!!!) – pumpkin soup (not from a can – but from actual pumpkins), did weird things to kale, and even brewed up some tumeric, coconut latte.
I not only rode a bike for the first time in 15 years, but I lugged the world’s biggest almost 5 year old behind me around the whole of the rock. (And then had to lie down and read a lot to recover). I then far less strenuously hooned around the rock on a Harley. Which totally counts as a frugal exercise when you can hitch a ride with your Harley hooning hubby.
At one point I even sewed up a hole in my leggings – with actual needle and thread, not a safety pin. This was not so much because of frugality but more because the nearest leggings shop is more than 500kms away, and it’s freakin freezing and I need my leggings hole-less (whole? unholy?)
Forget hippie – FFS I am practically Amish.
I then started reading a book about drinking less, but thought “Whoa, steady on, that’s enough self-improvement for now”, and slammed that one shut pretty quickly. Plus, we had just booked a farewell gift to ourselves. The “Sounds of Silence” dinner which is an all you can drink (and eat – but, whatever) event on a dune at sunset looking at the rock. Pure hedonism but most definitely not of the frugal kind this time.
Our time in Yulara is something we will remember forever. We will also probably be really annoying forevermore and find ways to drop into conversation, “Well, when we lived at Uluru.…”.
It is also highly likely that I will frequently mention that time I went to a party – at a fire station. With firemen (and awesome mums). And rode in a fire truck.
But now it is time to hit the road again. We are heading north for sunshine and crocs. Hopefully some hippy/Amish/consuming less sentiments will continue. It’s one thing to subscribe to a minimalist, anti-consumption lifestyle when there is nothing to buy and no where to shop. Let’s see if we can hold firm the first time we see a target (or liquor land). We will certainly give avoiding Target a red hot go. I am more realistic about the consuming we will do at Liquor Land…
See ya rock! Some other lovely memories
We saw rain on the rock – which only happens a few times a year.
Gem turned 5. And got picked up from school on a motorbike and was also hooned around the rock to celebrate.
And of course -there was quite a bit of this.
* On the flip side, I have also been reading and listening to loads of stuff on far more complicated living – politics, artificial intelligence, what are the jobs of the future, markets, economy, investments, property fluctuations and all kinds of things that I have realised I am really not missing out on here in my unemployed, no fixed abode, alternate reality. But interesting to observe from the sidelines/ frugally hedonistic parallel universe. And it may come in handy one day to not have let my brain rot, or hippy-ify, entirely. .