Gypsy Life

For last 5 weeks we have been doing what most people do all their lives, or at least aspire too. Live in a big, well maintained and electronically connected house, with pool, gardens, Netflix, unlimited wifi and views to soothe most souls. But not ours.

We’ve walked the other side of the fence for too long now, bathing in free waters and basking under Australian skies. The body was first to complain of walls, humming electrical currents and toxic chemicals….headaches, gut complaints and lethargy not to mention a very distinct lack of creativity and motivation. Its been years since this has occurred…….so with another 7-8 weeks of house sitting to go we did what every human should do once a month……..go bush.

For us it was Inskip, South East Queensland beach territory.

 

For the first day we soaked in salt water, laid on grass (and sand), listened to the gulls and drew on the beach until the moon cast shadows on our tracks.

The next morning, after copious amounts of chai around the fire, we all fell into laughter about absurd happenings….. kids farts, adult farts, men in sarongs, mating dances of wild birds and games that only kids are good at. Its these moments I realise that our family thrives. Our hearts burst open with gratitude.

 

Just a few days in nature an we are ready to serve again….food, love and life to all.

Much metta, hope to see you on the road soon.

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We, the Gentle Believers

I realise that our lives are not like most although I am seeing a rise in people leaving behind mortgages and stressful jobs to chase dreams. I see them under shady tress in parks, basking on rocks during full sun and dancing on hilltops while the blue moon swells. We, the movement of gentle returners are going back to a simple way of living, connected to the ebb and flows of natures guidance. We, the movement of gentle believers, ride out the storms of life with a sacred breath and open heart.

We know there is more to life than the infinite cycles of birth and rebirth, more than the daily cycle of wake, work, eat, sleep. Attached to nothing I am free to follow my souls desires and what I chase is freedom….but what is freedom?

Last year, while travelling in Morocco we met some permanent South American gypsies who were filming some of their adventures. At the end of each short clip they ask the same single question to people they have met. “What is freedom”

At the time they filmed us we had just come through customs (8 hours) and was camping with several other crazy western travelers on the concrete compound of boarder control waiting for first light as no-one spoke English,  there was no GPS and we had no idea of what lay ahead.

What is freedom he asked?

Holding up my portable toilet bucket I answered “freedom is being able to shit when I like, where I like.” I guess the gypsy life had me in her grasp because all I could think about was being to free to move, to explore. Now, some 18 months later and freshly off a Satipathana {Vipassana} course I have a new concept of freedom. Freedom for me is being able to follow my souls desires or at least its needs when it arises.

So if you are wanting to feel free and happy I guess you need to find your deepest souls requirements and I doubt that a huge house, new car or plasma TV would make the list.

For people who know me {us} they would understand already our trust in the divine, in having the ability to uproot and leave behind what most cherish and value. For those who don’t then the story is simple – stressed out life turned to 5 years retreat on indigenous forest lands, sold everything, traveled everywhere with family in tow, and returned to Australia not knowing what to do. Now I listen to the wisdom’s that come through meditation and live in love and service to mankind, earth and all beings, finding balance between work, rest, play and family.

So back to this attachment thing. What is attachment? Anything that you feel you cannot lose or live without is attachment. Your watch, excess clothing, emotions, children, house, money, sex, food…….the list is endless really but for now I seek balance and commitment. I commit to letting go of all I can on any given day because the further I go into spirit the less I realise I need and this list includes emotional and non material apsects also.

How much of your life is simple clutter? How much are you willing to sell, give away or return to earth for the sake of happiness? For the sake of freedom.

My top suggestions for happiness.

Do a Vipassana course

Get rid of everything you can part with, downsize, sell off, work less

Help others and be in service once a year

Love and let go that which doesnt bring lightness to your life or the life of others.

With loving metta.

Bus Pod Communities – an alternative for travelers who seek some sedentary time on the land.

Living in a bus (or between 2) suits us perfectly. We travel and work when we want, fluctuating our efforts in line with our expenditures or adventures. There are challenges, like any alternative way of living but mostly I miss a permanent garden, dry spaces during long periods of rain and somewhere out of view from the world in general.

Luckily we have found one spot on the Sunshine Coast of Qld that provides us with most of the things I desire most but the gypsy in me calls at night. I hear her tantalising secrets of far off places, urging me to get the wheels rolling……get exploring.

Living in big green bus gets you attention and many people with similar lives share their stories with us. Most say the same thing. The travel is great but the stop overs can get difficult.

Lack of privacy, lack of clean water, dry space and a place to grow some food are the major drawbacks.

Thinking of these things an idea has begun to manifest. I would love to start a little movement within communities or on trust land. BUS PODS – or vehicle pods. Small structures that support a vehicle driving up alongside and camping alongside for a few weeks or a season. Enough to grow some vegetables, sweep the cobwebs out and maybe make some friends.

Id love to know if anyone has this on their land and if so does it work? Do you lease it out or swap for work?

If not – why not?

I understand the many pros and cons of the idea, like any community there would be some degree of negotiations but next time your clearing a little land or buying for that matter think of the people who could benefit and how much you and your land could benefit from such an exchange.

With much metta and hope.

Life on the Road at any Age

He was the first person to say “gidday” and the last person to leave camp. For this ‘ole timer’ life on the road is not about how far you go, where you park or what style of van you pull but about who you meet and what your willing to stand up for.

I met, lets call him Jack ….. just west of Jackadgery (Grafton), a couple of weeks before the Christmas rush. His warmth overshadowed the harshness of his appearance, worn by the elements of our extreme weather and a tough existence travelling the back roads around Texas (Australia) as a young man.

It was early morning and our introduction to each other covered a broad array or topics from social standards, sexual harassment, employment benefits, raising children to eating bush tucker, escaping the ‘law’ and solo travel. We did all this in about 10 mins.

His latest home is small, basic and wirery, a little like himself but under the exterior lies many a story and an open heart or for the van an open floor in sections. He renovates on the go, resourcing from whatever he finds and tries to buy as little as possible, except for the tobacco he rolls every few minutes.

The chair I sat on while we talked was made from an old milk crate, his kitchen scavenged from commercial dump sites and his bed the remnants of what looks like should be at the garbage tip. I was too scared to ask.

I call him Jack because his story was so interesting that I forgot to write it down. It also seemed insignificant at the time. Our exchange was of mutual admiration as we waffled on through the haze of late afternoon sun and smoke.

He left home when he was 16, a swag he made in one hand and a bag of groceries his grandmother gave him in the other. Its all he had. He walked for the first 3 years, picking up work in cattle, gas and railway stations. He believes even now if people want to leave the cities to escape the madness of working just to own a home (that is stuck in one sterile place) then there are opportunities galore.

Jack believes you learn to let go of things you once held important on the road.

“She takes it from you but gives back a freedom you wont find elsewhere.”

He finds it hard to communicate the experiences of his life but knows his happiness can be shared by anyone, willing to give up takeout food, designer clothes and luxurious beds. Waving his scrawny arms and exhaling a puff of smoke, I let him off the hook with answering anymore questions to get a tour of his home.

Inside everything has a purpose, gas burner, small fridge, cupboard for clothes, some archaic music stereo and some pictures. I couldn’t see any food with exception to a bag of dirty half sprouted spuds in the corner and some noodles in an opened packet on the table.

The only time Jack became elated was when he told me about the photos on his wall. I had found his weakness. Memories.

He talked about his past love of cars and an old friend whom he no longer talks too, pointing to each car and old friend as he shares.

Freedom for Jack is about not being a slave to the system that pushes you to work all your life to own things. Things the planet cannot keep making. Things that slow you down.

Travel safe my friend and see ya at Texas some time.

 

 

Transparency within the Dream

To live a dream, you first need to know what it is you desire.

How to do it depends entirely on what you dream for.

I only know the path we chose and it was one that lead us to let go of everything we owned and had once worked for……I think this path is easier than trying to acquire more. If you dream of driving a Ferrari and being waited on hand and foot for your retirement then this story is probably not for you.

But if you dare to find happiness in the peace of each days sun rise then read on.

Recently I saw a post by someone who has in the past inspired me to give more openly. He was asked by someone how he survives if he earns no money…….was he on the dole? They wanted transparency in his actions so that they too could live as he does. They were inspired but doubtful they could live in a similar way.

He replied with some offence that his monetary affairs was no-ones business and that he lived with little money or exchanged work for goods. I too am often asked what do we do for money and most times try to avoid it but how can I be promoting a life of freedom and happiness if I don’t tell you how we came to be.

 

 

 

It starts like any other “normal life” school, work, some more schooling and some more work. Family was gifted to me and while I raised our girls, my husband continued to work. A lot. What we earnt, we spent. The holidays were never long enough and our spirits never content. We decided to change our perspectives and our location.

We sold our renovated Sunshine Coast house and bought a farm, hand-built a home and carved out a magical existence relying heavily on the food we grew or animals we butchered. We connected to land and ourselves but the mortgage was still there. Several people who had come to stay with us on the farm as helpers mentioned a meditation course. Vipassana. Both my husband and I sat the course and our lives were changed forever.

We sold without hesitation, everything we had worked for, became vegetarians and left Australia with nothing more than a backpack each. Two adults, two preteen girls.

The money we acquired from the sale of our farm set us on a global journey to help others and in the process help ourselves but it doesn’t take travel to change a person, nor money, but the freedom of enslavement to a system that kills the spirit.

Removing yourself from the habitual working every day, week in, week out to obtain more things is what set us free. While having a new plasma, car or home might give a quick fix….no material object can fill the soul.

Yes…. we still need money. We have not found a community or new world that nurtures or provides a platform of free-living so we work (occasionally) or volunteer at spiritual centres or get the dole (occasionally). At the moment we are finishing a mobile bus café that will hopefully provide a little income to support out gypsy way of life and keep us completely out of the government system. with the ability to still help others. The more I learn and teach our children about the fundamnetal requirements for life the more I hope to remove ourselves from dependancy of any monetary system……food, shelter, land and peoples are our focus.

The world cannot support our increasing population if we continue to live as we do now. I often wonder are people too ignorant to see that our children will suffer if we continue to impart such materialistic beliefs upon them? Or are we just selfish, stubborn and greedy without forsight to imagine a planet and our minds in the next 50, 20, even 10 years if we continue down the current path.

I believe we are born free but have been too wiling to accept the voices of others instead of listening to our own, instead of listening to the voices of our great indigenous ancestors. We have forgotten how to care for ouselves and our families as they age. We have forgotten how to heal and how to connect with the energies of the land.

Lets start changing ourselves so that we can change the world for the lives of those to come.

 

Much metta to you all.

 

 

 

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.”

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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Water to Oil – our bus break down

We had one thing in mind for travel and our year to come – head north to warmer weather, and see what flows.

After leaving The Planting Festival (Woodfordia) about the only thing that flowed was the water into the oil of our bus. We immediately thought the worst. Money and stuck in one place.

Just days before our bus break down we were in a state of confusion about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. The last year aboard although an amazing experience, was also a disappointment for many reasons. Mainly by our own expectations. Social interactions for our children, small community connections, tending a garden and growing food, clean water and pristine environments were all lacking.

Amazing how the synchronicity of life steers you on certain paths and at times stops you in your tracks. I can be pretty stubborn and sometimes it takes massive shifts to make me adjust my mind-set.

Driving back from the festival we headed towards Pomona, needing a couple of days to adjust the solar and gather supplies. We had arranged to camp behind the Vipassana centre, adjacent to a state forest, on land owned by a couple whose address had been given to me while on my last meditation sit. The land is just 10 mins bike ride out of the town of Pomona with loads of firewood. Just perfect. When I had called the owner he had said how strange it was that he had seen our bus go past a week earlier and he knew that we would call and that we would stay. He had mowed an area in preparation.

We drove our massive green bus through the townships watchful eye, past a small school and onto a narrow dirt lane, lined with eucalypts and kangaroos. About 100 meters down the road an alarm sounded inside the bus and our dashboard lit up. Something was wrong with Gypsy Green. Water and oil light on, alarm still shrieking we ambled into a cleared area beside a small dam and  parked her up.

Long story short'(after hours of investigation and dismantling the head) when the bus had its motor reconditioned some 80,000km ago someone had forgotten to tighten some small toppers. These had slid off into the head and clanged around, metal on metal until they wore their way through the side. Not a total rebuild but when your dealing with parts this big its in the thousands. Even if we have the money….its times like these when you have to access what lifestyle (home) you live. We still come out way cheaper.

Its been over 6 weeks now since we arrived here and with the freedom of moving at will forcible removed from us we have settled and found a strange sense of peace. Its feels like a homecoming, a welcoming from the universe to say its OK to stay still.

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We have met the most amazing people, mingled with the wildlife, started a garden that Adam would be proud of (sorry for that reference) and felt so invited by the community. It’s all we were looking for in our travels overseas that was missing.

I am certain we would have kept heading north, searching for that perfect place, if we hadn’t broken down. Sometimes the searching can be fun but mostly it just blinds us from the real beauty of the moment, the place, heart or face. We simply cannot see what makes us happy let alone live in a manner that allows that joy  to permeate into our daily routines and lives.

We will be on the road again real soon (thanks to Paul our new best diesel mechanic friend) but our adventures will be a little more planned as of now. Perhaps a festival in Townsville, winter over WA next year or weekends (weeks) away exploring new lands. Besides I have invested some decent amount of love into an amazing garden so will be back and forth to keep it evolving.

What ever we choose, we will do it because we have the freedom to choose and not because we are lost in the search, driven by a longing or craving for something. The older I get the more I realise that everything I want is already inside me….I just have to remove all the shit to see it.

There are so many of us on a search for the right community at this time in the world when really I think we need to start with our own self community. The relationship between our own mind, body and spirit.

It’s nice to find myself happy and in one place long enough to be able to share it with others. After 5 years retreat in the forest and one year abroad, we are stationary and we area happy.

I hope you find happiness in your own home, your own heart.

Much metta.

 

 

 

 

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.