The Art of Living with Boys on a Bus – the Carmody’s

Pulling into the Scotts Head car park to check the afternoon surf, the first thing we saw wasn’t the waves surging in after last nights storm but a white 81 beauty complete with slanted windows and 3 very brown boys.

I had to say hello. Although they were parked up in a quiet caravan park I could tell the bus was home.

Aaron and Kylie have been living between Australia and Canada for the last 6 years, storing all their possessions in a container while away. They bought their bus about 2 years ago with plans to do some Aussie travel but 6  m onths ago fate had its own plans – everything they owned was stolen from storage. Returning to nothing but their faithful retired school bus, the decision was made to jump aboard and see where they landed.

They didn’t go far before finding their idea of paradise.

“It feels like we are on permanent holiday” says Kylie as she swipes another load of sand from the chair before plonking beside 3 salty boys.

I reckon you can tell what’s important and most used by people who live on buses from what sits on the front dash. For the Carmody’s its surf wax and chandeliers.

Aaron and Kylie’s change of lifestyle was forced upon them in a way but from talking with them for the afternoon its pretty obvious it suits them just fine. Kylie explains how she used to be attached to so many things, little treasures and art pieces for the home, how they looked and what they owned but now she has come to accept and appreciate the minimalistic life.

“you can’t fit much on a bus and there is definitely less cleaning, clothes and shoes to worry about”.

All three boys had something to say about their bus life, especially the youngest but all three agreed it s just amazing. Kylie keeps them pretty entertained with games and beach walks and they attend the local primary school.

Beau (4) – into body art, makeup drawing and dancing.

Asher (8) – into “nothing” then smiles a lot and states art and writing.

Jye (11) – into biking, surfing and soccer.

The idea of freedom seems to be easier than living it for many. So many times we are told…….aaaahhh your livin the dream….but its no dream and its very doable. You just have to be willing to trust and let go of most things you think bring about happiness…..shoes, vases, cupboards of clothes, massive TVs and THINGS.

Serioulsy just look around and see what you can live without and sell it, donate it, make a difference in someone elses life.

Attachment to THINGS is what holds many people back but when you create space in your life and your body for love, freedom, creativity and happiness…then it all flows.

The Carmody bus is simple and set up for caravan camp grounds. It’s a great example for people who still want main stream schooling while getting the most out of life and the surf.

I asked Aaron my favourite question….what is freedom?

“Roaming free. To be able to do whatever you want…when you want.”

“Freedom is what we are doing now”

Kylie blushed and was quiet for a while then finally answered, “Oh my gosh, do people have a hard time answering this?”

“I guess options. Not being tied down. Having the choice to move.”

K-and-A-12

The lack of space (or your own room says Jye) and privacy definitely outweigh all the positives for this close-knit family.

The Carmodys are about to pack up and head to families over the busy Christmas holidays but I am sure you’ll see them back at Scotts Head next year.

 

 

Happy travels.

 

 

 

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The Art of Living on the Road with The Clancy Swains

I meet some pretty inspiring people on the road. Some live in trains on the side of the road while others haul old caravans filled with kids, pets, relics and potions with horses that know their path.

It’s a growing movement. People who came to the realisation that our earth and our hearts cannot support our current style of living and patterns of consumerism.

This story and the many to follow are about people who live their lives on the fringes of society, those we find in tents on beaches, abandoned warehouses and the backyards of friends in a refurbished delivery van, those that most often want to simplify their lives and show others that there are alternatives to how we live.

They are normal people, your ex-neighbour, brother or daughter, some have metal illness, some are on a spirtual path. While some look feral, go naked or join communities that ineviatbaly disovle, most are just everyday common folk seeking a change.

I want to bring you their stories so that you may open your mind to the art of living.

This story is about Malinda, Darcey and Thyme Clancy Swain

I met them under a large newly erected marquee, Brunswick Heads, Australia. Malinda was rocking their son to sleep but I couldn’t help but introduce myself. Their bus had caught my eye (how could it not) and I just to ask of their life.

They had a similar stories to ours, work, property, realisation, sell and now live in a bus. Their smiles told me all I really needed to hear but these are their words.

Admitting that there still challenges to life without still walls, both Darcey and Malinda agree whole heartedly that their life now is much happier than before.

“buslife challenges appeal to us more than a mortgage and are outweighed by the joys”.

Malinda and Darcey spoke about the paradox of the abundance that comes when you live with less, allowing the smaller things to bring about happiness. For Thyme I could see in every action (or inaction) his joy for the closeness he feels with his parents and the loved shared between them.

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As we have discovered, you start to see the beauty in simple things when you make room for them in you life. For this beautiful couple the simple joys are family, love, stillness and creek swims.

Its early days for Malinda and Darcey, having bought their bus only 3 months ago in SA. They plan to travel north as far as they can, as slowly as they can for the next year or so, pursuing their interests in rewilding and natural learning, overcoming various social judgements like dumpster diving, not working too often and smelling a little sometimes.

They are not on benefits, shop only when needed and live off the interest to a home they once owned….I couldn’t smell them much either.

The bus is simple, very simple. With exception to the oven but maybe I am just a little jealous.

No frills cutlery holders and reclaimed throw-outs for furniture. There are freshly picked herbs lining the window, messages for self, written on glass and a view that changes almost every day. The sink was a green bowl filled by running water – luxury.

I asked the Clancy Swains a question I love to ask everyone I meet on the road ……… WHAT IS FREEDOM?

Malinda “having choice how I spend my time and having the ability to actually go with the things I choose.”

Darcey “having time to spend with Malinda and Thyme…….(long pause and thought) It’s a deep feeling inside that comes from the solar plexus…….like when you breathe fresh air”

Tell them I said hi when you see them. You can’t miss the yellow school bus complete with flashing lights.

It was a joy to meet you Malinda, Darcey and Thyme, your lightness filled my heart and inspired me to not buy take away food again.

Darce,-Mel-and-Thyme-7

Much love on your journey.

 

 

On the Road Again

I love the township I am leaving for now, the sweet sisters and brothers I have met, the children that have shared their laughter with my children. In love I leave and in love I will return but for now I need to listen to the calling of my heart and my land. What I wouldn’t give for a quick coffee with friends from my favourite Spill da Beans though. (I don’t do coffee on the road – can’t afford my addiction).

It’s a hard feeling to describe, ITCHY FEET. He’s a crafty bugger. Creeping around my campsite for weeks now, sneaking into my days. He’s been teasing me with flashes of red earth, forest green and cleansing waters. What is it exactly that creates a yearning to move, to be somewhere not visited before, to discover something unseen, connect with life and self.

I cannot really justify travel right now when I look at our world in chaos but travel makes me stronger. It makes me more available to assist others and makes me more grateful for everything. Travel also stimulates me to teach (natural school) the girls differently. I allow my reinvigorated sense of wonder of our world to flow into my daily teachings and often I come up with more creative ideas.

With travel, comes guilt (justification of time, resources and money) but since completing my first Vipassana course some 4 years ago I know that in service ( helping others) I can tip the balance in my favour………or at least level the karmic playing field.

So here we are, packed and full of excitement. Destination unknown and money dwindling. Time no real concern. The itchy feet are about to be set free to walk on new lands. Australian lands. After 12 months of global travels in 2016 I can honestly say there is no place like Australia. We are so truly blessed. We have an indigenous spiritual culture that surpasses any other for its ability to connect with nature and self, for we are all one, of one energetic source.

Australia and her lands are magnificently harsh and expansive, surrounded by a coastal vegetative strip that seems to nourish, support and soften her wilds. This sets her apart from most other countries. The openness of Australia’s land has shaped my psyche and in line with her expansive quality I too hope to expand my beliefs, my knowledge and my connection with its people.

Travel sets me free to bring me home.

I truly hope to see you on the road and in my home (bus). May we all connect and share our stories, love and food, under the stars, our ancestors, our families.

Metta and safe travels.

 

 

A Day of Natural Learning

There are so many ways to educate a child and whether you choose to natural school or pay for private education, lets face it, the pressures these days are high.

I’m not about to sit here and write how I believe I have found the right way or even an easy way, for each day I question my motives, my beliefs and my failing energy levels.

One thing I have realised, the less time I spend worrying the better we all are. The better my family are, the better I am and the better my children seem to learn. Above all when the stress of learning becomes a way of life, a love, then the more happy and balanced we become and the more time that seems to become available for learning or planning, creating or playing.

A recent day of learning for us that ticked many boxes was inspired from a dream. I entered into a book and became the colour blue.

Take a book that your child is reading or one that they like the cover of. Open to one page randomly and either read that page to your child or allow the child to read it aloud. Now let them draw or better still, paint the feeling or mood that page and its words create. Discuss possible colours and their associations (red – fire – anger, blue – water, calm) and perhaps our chakras or what paint is used in hospitals or your local dentist. You could talk about the style or different paint strokes and how they reflect the mood they want to create. Short and sharp or soft and flowing. Its endless….do one with your kids also…its amazing what transpires.

Hang your paintings proudly and perhaps they will inspire some shared reading or discussions.

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Learning is easier when you’re smiling. Good luck.

Another Week of Living

Natural learning for my two daughters has become more about living and enjoying life to the fullest as a family than about how much you do or worrying about what level they are at.

I used to feel like I never did enough for my children in regards to their education. Enough maths, enough science or enough history. Now I realise all we need to learn is all around us and within us.

Learning lies within the stories told by elders, the walks you take at first light in new forests or the recipe you follow to prepare a balm with ingredients you grow or collect. Learning lies within life itself and having the ability to bring each moment into an awareness that suits the specific age of the child you hope to awaken. Along the way we often discover that we are the ones slowing down our children’s progress…….they will show you what and when they are ready to learn, we just need to be there to steady the foundations.

The last 2 weeks we have spent in the garden, making balms and lotions, swimming and camping with friends. We had a birthday, shared some worms, listened to the owls at night and created music. We have cried a little, watched parents drift apart and start the journey back towards each again. We have bled and marked the time on the moon and discussed how the cycles of seasons can affect us, the animals and what grows in the garden. We learnt some limitations of our bodies and the effect of too much weight on a rope. We learnt that good food fuels our body better than shit food.

We learnt that true friends are sacred, valuable and something to treasure.

What haven’t we learnt that’s appropriate for the last 2 weeks in our life?

Hope you are all learning as we are and realising that life changes just as quickly as we think we have mastered it.

Much metta.

Learning Naturally

Taking responsibility for the schooling of a child is no easy task. My hat goes off to every educator that wants to better the life of another individual.

For years I have followed or been guided by other people’s curriculums, ideas, standards and rules when considering the type of education I wished for my children. We have tried a lot……including government public school (big and small).

From this point forward though, I totally trust my own intuition that I can raise the level of my children’s mental, spiritual and physical well being to a point that will bring them and the world happiness.

I trust I can listen and attune to their needs in order to foster a natural environment for learning and life….for all they need, lies within…….I just have to hold the space and allow the learning to flow.

I have been keenly watching a woman (on fb) recently posting her 100 days of home schooling. It seems that most people home school until the teenage years come along. What happens then? There is so much information and resources aimed at the younger ages for home schooling and lets face it – when your young and life is new, most things are stimulating.

So what to do when your kids are reaching that age when a simple request is met with a face that resembles a rejected pug dog (no offence to pugs)? How do I instil a sense of wonder and excitement for learning and life when minecraft and apps rule the world.

For the next year I want to show you how we operate our schooling life. A realistic documentation of life’s daily activities with the aim of getting my kids one step closer to surviving and enhancing this world.

Id love to inspire you but more so Id love you to inspire me………

Day 1. (F – Female)

Breakfast.

Last week of a 2 term public school trial for my youngest (F aged 10)

Write about our day of natural dying (F 13)

Garden and prepare lunch

Read fantasy novel (F13)

 

 

 

 

Taking Life – 25 years on

Written by a soul well-known.

I think of you often, the life I took with a mind too immature or aware to realise the suffering of all involved.

I did not know that I would feel you in my bones, growing with me in memory. You come to me in dreams, in thoughts when talking to my older daughter, her awakening unfolding fully now. What do I say to her, to you, the sister in circle who asks.

“Yes I have two daughters (but I want to say I have more)”.

three

What we do call it when a women decides to abort a child. A sin, an injustice, a moment of unknowing, a decision or mistake or just life, a nessessary action to maintain a certin quality of life. As always, its different for every being. For me its a guilt that never dies. Back then it was just what happened.

Before I met my current partner, before I had the strength to stand up fully for myself or see the totality of certain actions, I fell pregnant and had a choice to terminate or go it alone (or so I thought). Young and apparently in love I believed I would be cared for, married off and raise a family on a little farm down south.

How naïve and foolish. Yes it can and often happens this way but for me it wasn’t further from the delusional truth I sought. I was hit from all sides. My lover left, I was too  ashamed to go and tell my mother or father and the upstanding soon to be apparent in-laws talked me into making an appointment to see a family counsellor. They had connections. One, a well-known surgeon and the other a local nurse of 30 something years. I was heart-broken, without a home of my own and I valued their opinion. I trusted them as social elders when in fact I should have trusted myself and no-one else.

“Your so young and its a shame our son cannot see the relationship through but you’re welcome to stay in our house while you recover”.

The deed was done. My child was gone. Returned to the darkness of waiting to be reborn.

I talk of this sadness now, not only to release some of the burden I have carried for what feels like an eternity but to let mothers, sisters, friends and all those in a position to educate our children know – respecting and understanding the preciousness of life is something that can be taught……..not all are born with this realisation.

The decisions we make and actions we take flow constantly towards what we will become.  That being said, I don’t hate myself for what I did, I was truly unaware, lost in a world that placed a higher value on social conformity than life. I am not that being any more and have not been for years.

Through the DNA exchange and the energetic processes of a child unborn, I carry a message, a prayer of hope that all parents talk to their young about life, the essence of creation, formation and growth. Talk to them about listening to their own hearts and following the voice inside that desires to be seen, heard and loved.

I send metta to my child, the life I took and give healing metta to myself.

I send metta to any child, any women struggling with the mind, the turmoil of decisions.

I send metta to all the sisters of the world that felt they had no help, no other choice, no nest to birth and went through with a termination.

I send metta to those that judge the action of another for you are unknowing yourself.

pamona 3

 

Goodnight sweet child, I let you sleep for under stars and full moon rains I let you go to live another life. You are not mine to mourn for nothing belongs to me and never will.

 

 

 

 

 

Are we really ‘Livin the Dream’ or are you just not living yours?

 

As the bus shakes and rumbles down a coastal road towards the beach we watch afternoon workers crane their necks to glimpse in wonder (or horror) at our antics. I presume they are thinking, who is inside and what are they doing. How is it possible that this barefoot earthern garbed family is ‘livin the dream’ when I am just finishing a 50 hour week.

It comes down to choice and your belief system. Money helps when setting up but its not essential for the journey.

If you are prepared to live without expectation and without a pension – youll make it happen ……..but it’s not all beach and green smoothies. Sometimes we hide in the back of industrial estates, under the cover of scrub next to 3 other intrepid campers or just right in the thick of street life and street lights. I post all the good pics because that’s what I want to remember – that’s what I focus on – that’s what I hope to inspire you to look for. An alternative to the cycle of work and ownership. Search for the calm, search for YOUR dream and love every other day in between as much as possible.

Life is so much more interesting if you get involved with it.

Our last little adventure was through the stunning northern rivers. Humid forest, coastal beaches and plenty of vibe but plenty of people too. After being disappointed with the lack of free coastal camps we headed inland towards Nimbin, Mullumbimby and Kyogle. Although the amount of free camps didn’t improve the acceptance to us being parked did.

Luckily or for some maybe unlucky people we landed in Nimbin the day of the nude bike ride which calls for a “cleaner, safer, body-positive world” with a particular emphasis on cyclists’ rights. The girls and I sat in the main park eating our green vegan spinach pie, playing Yahtzee, watching hairy balls and pink nipples jiggle in the breeze while my husband managed a jam with Lewis Walker and a couple of his side stars. Our clothes stayed this time but feeling the draw next time round.

Some of the highlights of our trip was a brief stay at Bochow Park – although it states no camping we had a fabulous time for a few days near the river. Great toilets and gas cookers (even has a little power point near the cookers for a quick phone charge) and council garbage pick up. The kids loved looking for little amber coloured crystals by the water.

Bochow Park – Goldcoast hinterland

We visited the Hare Krishna Consciousness centre outside of Murwillumbah again for their Sunday food and kirtan and we are also considering a short volunteer stay here in the near future – thanks to some delicate nudging by one of our friends, Jasmine.

The next site was the highlight of my trip (except for my time on community in Kyogle with Tamar – story to come). A brief stay at Mount Wollumbin

A local lady directed us here for the kids to explore the rock pools and slides and soak up the serenity but be warned, I think 50 hikers in their cars drove past predawn to climb the summit. There is a no camping sign here but we didn’t see it until the next morning.

We headed back towards Brisbane yesterday after a few weeks away on the most scenic drive – highway 13 –  amazing rock formations, forest and contrasts so that we can spend the next couple of weeks finishing off our bus transformation.

Solar installation, bar fridge, shelving and top-deck for night sleep outs under the stars. For now I am in love with how the bus is coming on.

Happy travels and much metta to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coincidence, Krishna and Aussie Scrub

Farm sit done we hit the road towards southern Queensland to register the bus – I’ve heard its easier there.

Tall, dry barked eucalypts line the highway, one we have driven many, many times before. It all seems so different this time round though. The trees seem greener, water ways clearer and roadkill evidence of a healthy environment. These perceptions a grateful side effect to overseas travel.

Rambling down the highway I laugh to myself in remembrance of how many times a European person avoided my eyes, chuckling each time I mentioned the Aussie bush. Bush in Europe means your vagina so I use ‘scrub’ a bit more now days although it doesn’t seem to do the density of our forests any justice.

Toilet stops, ocean swim, fuel and green grass adventures – we look for our first camp – Northern Rivers just before you enter into Yamba. No toilet (quick wee Ok) but the area is clean, pretty quiet and beside the river. There were about 4 other campers here.

Campsite location

Light rain and warm temps motivated the mosquitos to join us for breakfast which we collected from our immediate surrounds – mangoes, strawberry guavas and waragal greens to which I added some eggs. My daughter is into wild crafting and all things survival so her skills of seeing the edible amongst a bare patch is tested and appreciated often.

Early start (toilet needed) – we headed further north. Brunswick was only a few minuets drive off the main highway and well worth the stop – swim, boat love, people meet and expensive delicious food treats.

The kids made camp on a blanket I had thrown under the shade of a massive Poinciana, slicing open a watermelon with newly gifted knives from their Pop while I made some green mango salad left over from this mornings harvest. My husband and I talked about a dream to live aboard a boat maybe at a later date as we watched a gorgeous little cat sway from side to side in direct view from our bus.

Right at that moment a man dressed in loose shorts, pin striped business shirt and broad rimmed hat approached the girls and began talking. I gave him a min before wandering outside to join the conversation.

“Thought Id introduce myself as you looked like home schoolers too”…..”I’m Peter”

I checked out my two daughters – one was recording specific notes and diagrams about various animals tracks you might find in the grasslands of outback Australia – the other artfully filling a page with dreamscapes and visions.

“yeh we home school, my names Tamika.”

For the next half an hour my husband and I chatted with Peter and found an instant connection. He had natural schooled his kids for ALL of their schooling and when his son turned 15 they had bought a catamaran to live on as they were looking for a challenge. Yes – its was the exact cat we had been eyeing for the last hour. If it wasn’t for the pressure and time restraint of registering the bus (as well as a rotten painful tooth) we all would have jumped aboard his catamaran and become his crew for the next week or two.

We said goodbye to Peter, feeling our paths would cross again sometime, cleaned up the remains of the watermelon and bounced our way towards the highway only to miss the turn some few hundred meters later. Dammn – oh well – the view was all new from this higher bus aspect and the northern rivers area is just so beautiful with its majestic mountains and energetic forest gullies.

A thought came to us once we neared Murwillumbah that just one year ago a friend had taken us to a Hare Krishna joint somewhere in the hills near here. We stopped in town for a couple of quick supplies and decided without a GPS or inside knowledge it was just too much trouble to find directions out the Krishna Centre.

No more than 5 seconds later 2 freshly shaven robed young men rounded a corner and slammed into my husbands shoulder. They hugged, chatted and smiled their way into our souls in a heartbeat. Yep – they were from the centre and would happily escort us out. I love a good energy line up (mainstream coincidence).

Sunday sees the Hare Krishna centre open its door to everyone for a vegetarian feast by donation and music accompanied with various teachings, dance and chanting if you wish.

Situated in the beautiful Tweed Valley in far northern New South Wales, about ten kilometres from Murwillumbah, the Hare Krishna farming community, New Govardhana, embodies this yearning for a gentler, simpler way of life. They have an amazing timetable suited to families, backpackers and spiritual seekers – yoga, WOOFing, camping, day visits, farming, school, festivals and much more.

Hare Krishna Centre Northern Rivers

Goodbyes said to our two new monk friends and butter balls exchanged we made the slow long walk back to the bus. TIP – don’t take a 12 tonne vehicle to the centre – it wont get across the bridge but the river is excellent for a freshen up.

We slept alongside a river this night – not the best camp at all but our minds were not on finding an oasis. The journey home to the Sunshine Coast went uneventful and rather quick.

This week – modifications, teeth pulled, curtains and home schooling.

I believe nothing is by chance and the life we lead is determined by the life we lead.

Love to all

 

 

Starting Again in Australia

 

Homeschooling done, Valentines just remembered (oh well) and one green bus sitting silent on the farm, waiting for us to board. The plan is to get the next Gentle Revolution registered before the end of this month and hit the open road again.

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Our goal is too open our hearts and see where life draws us.

After returning from a year overseas and no longer owning land here in Australia we needed somewhere to house our limited amount of personal effects and physical bodies. A safe haven to withdraw and maintain our families health and sanity while still enabling us to move at will. It also means we are free from mortgage and debt. Working, volunteering and exchanging our experience to fuel our lifestyle (and bus).

We decked out a bus in England last year and loved it but the whole time knowing we would sell it and almost ALL we had accumulated in 12 months of travel. Our attachment to the bus was not strong and letting go was part of the journey.

Based on our last bus make over we had some ideas for new and improved designs. With a larger bus we have room for a simple open plan living – unlike many of the new age caravans and camper vans on the road today and at a fraction of the cost.

First things forst remove the chairs and install some walls that will become the kids beds and our rear main bedroom (luxuary)

Our budget was about $1000 so we hit the skip bins and industrial estates.

 

Crates (after removing nails and sanding) became bed bases and shelving.

We used the old seats, stickers and paneling to make new seating and splurged on a kitchen bench top that wasn’t made of lasts this time so that I might have better chance of cleaning the spills.

 

The traveling conditions in Australia are so varied depending on the area that you wish to go. We don’t have plans to circumnavigate the coastal length in one year (maybe 5) or test the mechanical capabilities of the green machine on the Gibb River Road. For now we will concentrate on farm stays, festivals and friends who need a hand, lapping up the warm ocean waves and our amazing inland fresh water retreats so our bus doesn’t need to be a 4WD example of brilliance.

We did however agree that the old colours didn’t suit us – say anything about my ego?

 

Pain spraying 12 meters of bus in 45 degrees and rain did prove the most difficult and annoying task. The spray gun shit itself every hour or so with the heat and the first coat peeled after rain – we started again and prepared the entire bus a second time. Job done.

As usual the more we think about things the more we start to feel we are not ready – so 3 more days and in whatever state the bus is in – we are off.

Furnishings will come. Fridges may never come and a bucket with ‘elements’ written on it will do for our toilet right now.

The simpler the life I create and the less I surround myself with, the more happiness I seem to attract. The things that make me happy. (Family love, life and earth)

Less clutter – more room – its simple. The more space I leave, the more my life is open to change and accepting life’s flow.

I am happiest when life is simple and connected to earths natural rhythms.

If you want us involved with your project or land this year just let us know. We prefer to volunteer than work for money and want simply to connect, assist, love and evolve. Send us a little bit of info and dates so that we can plan (just a bit) our year ahead. Together we can make a difference in the lives of others and our earth. 

You might want to to even join us for a while????

Onwards and upwards towards no place like home. HERE and NOW.