Hitting the road again

Every time I go somewhere, I meet all these travellers who tell me things about places they’ve visited in Australia. Places they have loved, places I have never seen and sometimes never even heard of. Astounded with the wonderful things backpackers and tourists have had to say, to show me and to teach me about the place I call home, I have since made it my mission to slowly see Australia. Sometimes you have to leave home to appreciate all that is going on back there, all the beauty, the simple things, the obvious. I’ve done that, and since have had a deep fascination with this island-continent that is my home.

This all started with a visit to Tasmania shortly after my year travelling South America. Tasmania was another place I had never been to and only under two hours away by airplane. After almost a half-decade of talk and intent, I completed the Overland track and spent a week roaming the remarkably beautiful southern island. I later checked in with long forgotten New South Wales national parks and road tripped from Melbourne to Adelaide and back. In the new year I got news on a job I had really been hoping to get, and I wound up moving to Tasmania to work as a guide on the Overland track which I have come to love so much. Months on, the season is over and I am itching to move again. I’ve managed to stay mobile. To not get stuck in big cities or the regular, comfortable and repetitive flow of life. I had thought long and hard about the travel I recently done and how it made me feel, how exciting life can be with only what you can carry on your back, with little or zero planning, living in a state of total open-mindedness, with no restrictions, no limits, in complete freedom. Moving about so that the only place you really ever remain is outside of the comfort zone, away from the stink of the familiar. The crest I have been riding feels far too good to get off, to abandon, to pass up for places and processes that just make me feel bored and less human.

In the spirit of travel and adventure, I have decided to take a flight from Launceston to Perth, check in with a few friends in Western Australia’s capital, friends from long ago and also from recent travel, and then head north up the coast or through the interior, into the northern parts of Northern Territory and then south to Alice Springs where a few friends are working for the winter, and finally east back to Sydney. I’m intending to only use my legs and my thumb, to hitch hike, hace dedo, the whole way – not to use any paid public transport like buses or airplanes in order to complete what will be between a gargantuan 7000-8000km journey through the vastness of Australia in order to get back to the east coast. Yeah, I could have spent a fifth of my airfare to Perth and bought ticket that would get me from Launceston to Sydney in under two hours, but really, what fun would that be? What would I see that I hadn’t seen before? I wouldn’t meet anyone, it would be easy and not difficult. There would be no waiting, no hitching on dusty roads, no tests of my patience, my determination, no satisfying my lust for the outdoors and nature, no outback, no town pubs and no characters, no odd accents, no rocks, no lakes, no eucalypts, no backpackers, no vans, no trucks, no stars, no sunsets, no moon rises and no stories. There would be no uncertainty and no time to stare out to a place you have laid eyes on for the very first time in your life.

I had originally intended to hitch directly across the country from Perth to Sydney, but heading north makes it more interesting, lengthier and gets me into more uncharted territory. Having two housemates and some other friends working on the Larapinta trail outside Alice Springs made an excellent reason for making that the only planned stop along the way. The other things that inspired this trip were traveller’s yarns, globally, camper van graffiti on the inside of Wicked vans that had journeyed all over Australia by people all over the world, having never been to WA and NT, two weeks of hitching and road mayhem with a good mate in New Zealand and a love for the vastness and unpredictability of life on the road.

I haven’t felt this excited to travel in ages. This is one of the first times such a long journey doesn’t require a passport and an airplane ticket worth a few thousand dollars. It’s home, but it’s so new and unknown and massive. I have no idea what to expect and no idea what will really happen or where I will end up (apart from Alice Springs I guess), but this is really what makes it all so exciting. Sometimes it’s good to just pick up your backpack and go for it. 

IMG_1234A long and lonely road through Argentinian Patagonia. May 2013.



New Zealand south island highlights

IMG_6886 (11)Two weeks is not long for a backpacker, but I came here on the end of a half marathon and winged most of it. Like I have told many people along the way, this is one of the absolute few places in the world that as an Australian, I can get to easily (I mean cheap and without having to spend fifteen to twenty-four hours on a plane). It’s been a blast, rekindled many fond travel memories and spawned many new ones. These are some of my favourite experiences.

IMG_6935Outside Queenstown at sunrise today.

I’ve been pretty mobile since I came home from South America, but this was the first proper backpacking stint since. Just raw, mobile, cheap, not giving a fuck, everything on your back and the world in front of you backpacking. It bought back so many memories. Hostel culture, making up ridiculous recipes on the fly that taste amazing, camping, sharing food, repeated conversations, teaching people how to speak Austrayan, hitch hiking, collecting hitchers, campfires, chatting and sharing stories into the wee hours of the morning under the vast blanket of the universe that has been so damn clear and stunning in NZ, leeching free wifi from stores you never buy anything from, sharing said wifi passwords between travellers, sleeping in pine forests or botanical gardens under trees to save money, getting you thumb out, taxing tea and sugar and Vegemite from airport lounges and other places, getting filthy in the bush, swimming in lakes to get clean, looking for places to camp or sleep for free, sharing tricks and trips on places to go, things to do and see, helping one another out, getting wet, drying everything out on the side of the road to the amazement of tourists with money, accents, language, slang, random beers, dorm culture, exchanging music, trading items, breaking things, losing stuff, not caring cause it’s all material shit anyway, comparing the massacre of sandfly bites with others on the road, laughing your ass off, not giving a damn, living outside the bullshit and rules and mundaneness that makes regular life suck and gets you onto the road in the first place. Looking ahead, and never back, being in the absolute raw moment of life and living and feeling so good knowing you’re in it.

IMG_6754 (9)Drying off everything after a 18km return hike to the best view of Franz Josef (Alex Knob track).

IMG_6875 (10)Chilling at the Sound.

Ferg burgers and the Ferg bakery
I’ll admit, if this place existed back home I may say that it is better than Paul’s (if you haven’t had Paul’s well that is just silly). Be it pies or burgers, Ferg knows exactly what is going on, and that is why we’re willing to wait 45 minutes for a feed (no problem, have a pint while you wait). Smashing my first burger (Southern Swine) after the half marathon. Then getting a pie right after. Driving back from Milford Sound at 10pm to Queenstown so we could get burgers at 130am. And it was still packed. Still trying to get through the entire menu, I’m about halfway there. Not to be missed. They’re next to one another so you can really get your swine on.

Bowls of coffee at Patagonia cafe
You can’t beat $5 for a bowl of coffee in an expensive place like Queenstown. Best place for free wifi, friendly staff, good music and of course chocolate and ice cream. Wound up killing hours here and always met other travellers that we sat around with and shot the breeze, sharing stories, and sometimes heading to the kitchen at Base to cook and eat together.

Road tripping
New Zealand has been one of the best places to just get into a car or a van with no plan and go. Forest, mountain, lake, snow caps, endless beauty. Small towns. Friendly people. Hitch hikers and hitch hiking. Costly fuel but totally worth it. Seemingly limitless places to camp or pull up and sleep. Incredible stargazing. Road kill. Having to dodge up to three possums at a time and then having your main concern be animals cause you don’t wanna hit anything else.

Never seen so many people doing it. I thought Patagonia was safe. You can get a lift in a matter of minutes. New Zealand is the hitchhikers dreamland. Though this time we were the ones picking people up – I definitely wanted to return all the favours people have done for me when I was the one standing on the side of a road with my thumb out. It’s mad fun cramming four people and backpackers and food into a small car, making it work, having a laugh, sharing more stories. Unpredictable, helpful, plan-changing, fun.

Total hitchers collected: 9 (Germany 4, Chile 2, New Zealand 1, Israel 1, Switzerland, 1).

New Zealand wilderness and outdoors/hiking
Stunning parks, skies, ancient forests, massive peaks, all sorts of weather, fierce winds, never really knowing if you’re going to stay dry for long, or when the sun will come back, remote huts, getting lost on lesser used trails, walking through dozens and dozens and dozens of spider webs but never getting spiders on you. Being amazed at no leeches. Or snakes. And venomous spiders. But feeling perpetually violated by the ceaseless sandflies. Hoping you see southern lights but still never seeing them. Fiordland deer. Cattle. Possums and rabbits running under your car when you try to dodge them. Silly buggers.
IMG_6705 (3)Wayne on the way up the Alex knob lookout.

IMG_6750 (7)Wayne and I afterwards – a three hour return, not bad. ;)

IMG_6728 (4)Zen out: up high overlooking mountains, glacier, forest, sea level and the ocean to the west.

Bungee jumping in Queenstown
I wasn’t going to do it, but my best mate got me a ticket to do the 43m jump. I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff of the last few years but this was standalone. Awesome fun. An absolute rush and something I will do again. Having your mate that bought you the jump pike, but laughing your asses off about it like mates do and promising to come back and do it together one day anyway. New stuff. Always good. Fuck the comfort zone.

Moonlight shotover half marathon
My first attempt at any form of marathon and the reason I came to NZ. An awesome day with mates, new people, runners, just a good vibe. The race was insane, through rivers and hills with a constant backdrop of beautiful New Zealand. Being blown away by the lads that did the full marathon (42km! respect).

Fox and Franz Josef glaciers
I developed a love for glaciers in Patagonia, and after a few dodgy outings where we didn’t have the correct gear, I invested in crampons and an ice axe. This meant I could go up the Fox Glacier on my own. This was my second aim in NZ. I got up there, quite far up, just a tiny speck on this huge ice field, looking up, down and around at the vast valleys, rock, ice and mountains around. Alone. Dwarfed. Insignificant. It’s moments like this that put you in your place and calibrate your perspective. They’re receding too, and unprecedented rates. If I ever have grandkids, I may end up telling them stories of things that once were… Anyway, glaciers are amazing things. Things that words and photos do no justice. It’s like trying to tell someone who has never had sex or done drugs what either experience is like.

IMG_6597Up high and alone on the Fox glacier in brilliant weather.

IMG_6594A long way down, see if you can spot the tour groups or people at the lookout on the left.

IMG_6650 (2)Wayne down below in the vast valley.

IMG_6641 (1)IMG_6734 (5)Franz Joseph taken from the top of the Alex Knob trail (highly recommended).

Milford Sound
We weren’t even going to go. The idea was to camp along Milford Road and then get back to Queenstown the next morning to return the car. By pure chance, we picked up two girls from Chile who were hitching, they couldn’t believe I had been to Chile and how much I loved their country. Or that we could speak Spanish together and I knew Chilean slang and swear words. In the spirit of Chilean hospitality and general Aussie friendliness, we decided to take them all the way to the Sound. We got in after 730. No one was there. It was low tide. The sun was slowly settings. Waterfalls gushed. Clouds came and went. The colours were like an acid trip, but real. I could walk way out, on my own, again, dwarfed by the immensity of the landscape – an existential shock to the system triggering one of the best moments in my life, up there with Perito Moreno, Galapagos, my first mountain climb in Ecuador, Iguazu, to name a few. I got it, this is why so many people come here. Pure in the moment, now is all that matters, look at what the fuck is around me experience. Goosebumps. Incredible energy. No words. Then and there. Living life.

IMG_6885Milford Sound at around 9pm.

Giant sequoias outside Queenstown
They aren’t far, just at the botanical gardens outside town. I got up at 5AM today to take photos of the mountains, the lake, the sky during sun up. On the way back I passed several of these giants. I am incredibly fond of trees and forests, and have been fortunate enough to be in and around several thousand-year old forests of giants in a few places around the world. The feeling you get when you stand under something so huge, so damn old, just towering over you. As a human, it is mind blowing. We might get 90 years and around 180cm. They can be 4000 and 90m. Sequoiadendron gigantea wellington. Check them out. Crazy stuff.


South American hospitality

You’re going to South America for a year on your own? You’re crazy!
You went to South America? Was it dangerous?
You’ve been to Colombia? Isn’t it really dangerous there?

Many of us have heard all this nonsense before, but for some, this is how Latin America is blindly perceived, hopefully this post will shed some light on the real South America. I did spend one year there and it was by far the best year I have ever had in my life. Below are ten short examples of the finest hospitality, which, no word of a lie, I was treated to year-round.

1. Victor, Ecuador
I met Victor through my mate Jake who had been living in Ecuador for about two years, we went to visit Victor’s organic farm on a small town to celebrate his birthday. The night I met Victor he treated us all to a wonderful, wholly organic home cooked meal and a solid night of partying on the farm. Victor was an incredible host and we bonded instantly, he offered me work on his farm for as long as I wanted. I instantly took up the offer, and after a week on the coast I returned to the farm and spent a month there, with Victor and his family, learning to work a farm, be on the land, in the sun all day, using my hands and my body. It was excellent. I started to study Spanish there, had my own room, ate with Victor and his family at every meal, as I was part of their family. It was one of my first big experiences,in South America and one of the most fulfilling. I had been received with the warmest, most welcoming arms and felt completely at home in an Andean mountain town in the Chimborazo province. We all wound up on the coast for a blinder new year, and I went back to the farm for a weeks in the new year. I have made a friend, a brother for life with Victor.

2. Eliana, Colombia
A few friends and I met Eliana on the coast of Ecuador, and we stayed in touch as she knew I would visit her country. The moment I arrived in beautiful Popayan Eliana was on the case. She went out of her way to make sure we met up, ate, assisted me with learning Spanish and communicating with the hostel staff, showed me around the city, took me to her faculty at the university (we both study architecture) and many other landmarks, I went out with her friends, she even took me to her dad’s photography studio where her dad happily cleaned my lens, as well as to her family’s house before going out one night, where her mum and brother were just as friendly and patient with my early and terrible Spanish. This reception was the start of a long standing love affair with Colombia and it’s people.

3. Poliana, Raquel and family, Colombia
Two mates of mine had met Poliana when she worked at the Media Luna hostel in Cartagena the year before, and had suggested I check in with her when I got to Colombia as she was ‘on our level’. To keep a long story short, we ended up travelling together for about a month and finished at Bogota, where I stayed with her step-sister Raquel and her dad Jesus. ”You can stay here as long as you want”. This wound up being such a typically South American line. Need anything? Ask us. Wanna go somewhere? Ask. It was as if they were there to make sure you had the 100% best and most fulfilling time. Poliana had to get back to the coast. I stayed about a week in the capital and got to hang out plenty with Raquel, who took me all over Bogota, showed me buildings, museums, places to eat, graffiti, helped me with my Spanish, I could go on but I will keep it relatively short. Again I was blown away but such warm, caring hospitality. I even met their mum who as you would imagine, was another wonderful human being. By this point I had been in Colombia almost four months and was completely infatuated by the country and the inhabitants. Funny, I told Jake and Victor I would be ”back in a month” when I left Ecuador. But hey, that is Colombia for you.

4. Eduardo, Galapagos Islands
I was lost on my bicycle trying to make my way inland to one of the craters when I asked a local man near the town of Santa Rosa for directions. We got talking and apart from giving me the directions to where I was trying to go, Eduardo remarked that he had wanted to host an Australian in his house, and instantly offered his home to me for a few days. The man was all smiles and incredibly pleased to have an Australian on enjoying the islands. Sadly I had to get back to another island the following day, so in this case it wasn’t to be, but the heart was all there. Eduardo knew I was super grateful that he had wanted to have me over for, once again, however long I would have wanted.

5. David, Chile (Easter Island)
He was one of the first Chileans I ever met. I had pitched my tent near his when I arrived at Easter Island and he was, of course, friendly as. We got talking and David was working for the head chef at the hostel before heading back to work in Spain for a few months. Within minutes he got me stoned and was sharing food from the kitchen: We had a blast across the week I was there, he was always generous and willing to help in any way, we laughed our asses off and had a pretty swell time around Minihoa. He left me all his details as he would be back in Santiago for a few weeks to visit family, and said to get in touch if I was there at the same time. He told me in Spanish that I could stay with him and his family, and begged me to visit some of his favourite places in wonderful Chile. Otherwise, catch him in Spain – same deal!

6. Rosa Marie and Rene, Chile
I had just arrived in Chile proper, having spent about two days busing from Lima. Exhausted, I hauled myself off the bus and started looking for campsites. I found one and there were a lot of Chileans lying about, hungover, still partying – whatever (they party). I noticed Rosa Marie and Rene cause Rosa Marie has the most hideous cough. No one was in their tents (it was about 9am) and everyone was drinking wine. They called me over and we got talking. They showered me with food, I mean a lot of food as they were leaving, gave me a pocket knife and bottle opener to keep, Rene gave me the last of his weed. A bag of fruit. Vino? Hah! You can’t turn down Chileans when they offer you anything. And they will offer you everything. I wound up having quite a few glasses of wine with them and talking for ages. They left me their details and said I could check in and stay with them any time, should I pass through Calama again. The last thing they gave me was a magnetic travellers charm and a Bolivian coin that stuck to it, even though tried to refuse their excessively overwhelming and endless generosity. I will travel with that thing until I die.

7. Nat, Kelly, Lorena and Carolina.
I met Nat and Kelly in Vicuña and us and a few more Chileans who I am still in touch with had an absolute ball for several days, it got a bit wild at times, all that cheap and nice quality wine, weed, pisco. Endless. Nat and Kelly set me up with two of their friends, who had me over when I got to Valparaiso for eight days. They gave me a couch, fed me, had me perpetually stoned, took me out, gave me a key and said do as you please, our house is yours. And they mean this when they say it. Not only do they mean it, they show it. I had a kicking time in Valparaiso and it was all cause of my Chilean hosts.

8. Daniel, Chile
I met Daniel and his girlfriend in Vicuña too. They pitched their tent next to mine and we got talking. They loved that I loved Chile, that I was learning to speak Spanish. Daniel immediately offered me a canister of gas he did not need any more. We hung out for a few days and I had to go, but Daniel insisted that when I come to Santiago, I stay with him. He put me up in his apartment with great views, again gave me a key, my own room, food, drink, you know how it is. Showed me Santiago, the gardens, a few bars, even took me to an antique fair and lunch at his grandparents place where I had wonderful Chilean food and talked football and travel with him and his grandparents.

9. Anita, Chile
Anni and I met on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. We shared the same dorm and got talking. She was from a place I had never heard of before, Pucon in Chile. Although she left the next day she was interested in my travellers and had been a few places I was going to visit, so we kept in touch – I was also going to pass through Pucon most likely. By the time I got down there she gave me a couch for again, as long as I want. Another key. More food. Wine. Use of her bike. Whatever. The moment I got in the door we smoked a joint and went out around the lakes (it was about 9am). Later we went to one of the national parks with a friend of hers. She invited to me to a friends party, we saw a bit of Pucon, she minded my gear while I disappeared for days in the Huerquehue national park and generally had a great time. She was one of the best friends I made there. Pucon was beautiful. I went back and stayed with her for a few more days after wrapping up Patagonia entirely. Chilean hosts. Epic.

10. Juan Carlos, Chile
I took the Navimag boat from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales to get to the Torres del Paine national park. Feeling on top of the world, and endless creativity, I was on the top deck before we set off when an older male saw me drawing and approached me. Juan Carlos was a comic and landscape artist from Punta Arenas. We got talking of all things. Showed each other drawings, photos we’d taken. In short, we got close, and Juan Carlos instructed me that when I got to Punta Arenas, I was to contact him and he would have a room for me with his family. I stayed with them for a week, and again I was treating more like a son than a traveller. His mum reminded me of my grandmothers – her kindness was simply infinite. She fed me the most amazing Chilean food every day, washed my disgusting load of hiking gear, even knitted me a home made Region XII flag (Chilean Patagonia and Antarctic territory). I spent my days relaxing, photo editing, drawing a lot with Juan Carlos. It was great. He had mates over quite a few times and they wanted to hear all my stories, and I equally wanted theirs. All these older Chilean mad cats, wild characters, brimming with the raw pulse of life. It was the farthest south I have ever been in the world, and I had a damn swell time.

11. Fernando, Argentina
I had spent about 11 hours on a 300km hitch hike. It was one of those days where the going was slow but numerous Chileans and Argentinians had helped me along my way and given me their stories and I say in the passenger seats of an off duty taxi, a delivery truck and two cars while soaking in the immensity that is the Patagonian steppe. I wound up crossing the border into Argentina really late, at about 9PM. This did not go to plan, but that didn’t matter, all the best experiences has been unplanned and in the precise moment that is life. Two friendly Chileans had helped me across the border, they were heading into Argentina briefly, as Chilean border folk do, for cheap cigarettes and cheap fuel. So there I was, in a city I had never been to, at 9PM, in the rain, with nowhere to stay. I walked around looking for places. Nothing. Rio Turbio is not a huge place. I was about to spend the night in a half constructed house near the bus terminal so I could hitch hike out in the morning when I decided I should ask one local about cheap places for backpackers. I asked a sprite man who was passing by on the street, who, upon being asked if he knew of any cheap hostels or guest houses, promptly replied ”come with me, I have a room and mattress at the back of my restaurant, you can stay with me, welcome!” So, it was one of those times where my western conditioning got the better of me. Why was he being so nice? Is he gay? Am I going to be robbed? I quickly silenced my conscience. In the end, I spent two great nights with Fernando and his girlfriend. They fed me the best restaurant food, every day and night. Introduced me to all the staff, friends and family. Refused to take my money. Threw beer and wine at me. On my second night I had dinner with Fernando’s entire family. He said I gotta come back and visit one day, so I can properly see the Rio Turbio and around. And here I was worrying about him, after I almost slept in an abandoned house. Idiot.

12. Mauro, Sebastian and Marian, Argentina.
I had spent my second day at the Perito Moreno glacier after about six weeks of a lot of hitching around the south of Patagonia, and I had to get a ride back into town. There was a beautifully painted Kombi van outside the entry to the glacier. I hung around, liking my chances, knowing that soon a few hippies or travellers would appear. A gaucho like Argentine guy showed up, bearded, scruffy looking, like me really. I asked if the van was his, and when he said yes I asked if I could hitch a ride back into town. Of course! Once my cousin and friend get here. Not only did I get a ride back to El Calafate, but I wound up travelling with these guys twice. They had spent two months seeing their country and had picked up a few travellers, loved that I spoke Spanish, they kept doing Spanish Godfather impersonations. They gave me whisky, pipe tobacco, fed me constantly. Top blokes, I had the best time with them. We stayed in touch in order to catch up back in Buenos Aires. The van was sick. They loved singing ACDC. We saw Esquel, El Chalten and a bit of El Calafate together. I got to travel with thee legendary local boys throughout Patagonia in a Kombi. I’d thank thank them for dinner or something and they would roll their eyes, as if I was paining them, and it was their duty to cater for a guest in their country. Nooo! Por favor! Por nada! Noooo, please! Thanks for what! Love ’em.

I could go on, but I’ve kept it at twelve. This happened throughout the entire year, in every country, some more than others, but all in all, Latin American hospitality is the finest I have ever experienced. How could I possibly get home sick? The continent and it’s people showed me a lot of love, I mean a lot, and in turn, they changed how I saw the world and the people in it, they evidently taught an already generous and good natured person even more about generosity and kindness. The showed me how you should treat guests, treat anyone, with endless friendship. It was a truly profound and joyous experience from start to finish. Forget what you think you know about South America.

I am still in touch with most of the people, and I know I will see many of them again one day, either here in Australia, or in South America, or somewhere in the world, that’s the kind of friends they are. My travel diary is littered with contacts and addresses of people who gave me the ”when you come to xxx call me and you can stay with me/use, come have dinner with my family” etc. What a time, what great people.

Enough for now, I have been offline for too long and forgot how long it takes to put up a blog post. But there will be more from me from now on. In short: go experience South America – it fucking rocks.

(reblogged) FALSE POSITIVE: The Punk Rock Musician on Dialysis That Colombian Police Cant Silence

A friend has spent the last four months putting this photo essay together of a terminally ill renal dialysis patient from Medellin who was framed and sent to prison by corrupt Colombian police. It is great stuff, a real look at a gritty and raw side of Latin America and a sharp contrast to the less important and more often discussed topics of beautiful women, plastic surgery and Escobar.

Check it out here.

If you’re interested in attempting to bring further light of this  issue to the media and the world, there is a Chance.org petition that you can sign. Links are on the article page. Please help end corruption.

Perpetual solace

For some people, a prolonged period of being in a city, from it’s frantic centre to the quietly homogenised outer suburbs will ultimately lead to a disconnection from nature and in turn create a fading sense of self. You are your job, then you are your family, you are also your friends, you are your colleagues and your lunch, your university, your gym, your outings at bars and museums and cafes and whatever else. How many people are you? When, if ever, are you yourself?

…but how often are you the sun? How often are you the stars, the planets, the moon? Have you wandered alone in a forest of thousand year old giant trees, standing apparently motionless as ever, having watched conquests won and lost, man rise and fall. Does your lifestyle allow you time to stop and feel the wind on your arms, to stare at the goose pimples on your skin and the shiver at chilling sensation of the elements? Can you lie on grass and stare at the sky, to gaze at the never ending story that is the clouds, their endless movement across vast skies an abstract art story of colour and form. Have you sat and stared out to the great seas as a costal storm unfolds; ceaseless energy in the form of lightening, thunder and rain. Nature constantly marvels all around us, though the only ones who know this secret are the ones who stop and take notice. Feel her, in all her forms, and let her energy flow through your veins. This is the energy of life. Of eternity.

How many times can you say you have gone weeks without hearing the rolling hum of an airplane’s jet engine? Or the collective din of car motors along a city street? Have you ever been free of your digital devices, those ever present screens and the orgy of cataclysmic mass-information that we seemingly value so much? Have you not looked in a mirror for over a week because there were none to look into? Have you enjoyed a place for the fact that there is no electricity and that the sun and the moon are your guides by day and night?

To be connected to nature is to form a relationship free of complexity. To realign your soul with the greater consciousness and the universe in which you were born from. In nature, there is no jealousy, no lies, no hatred or malice. Nature is pure, and by acknowledging this, by being aware of this, one may purify him or herself. Do not neglect your money, your job, the city, your life; these are signs of a long and great endeavour of human achievement. Instead, find balance. Find nature. Love her, exist with her, Live full.

Nature is the great mediator in life. A quest to know and be at peace with nature is a lifelong journey to understand yourself, a journey we all share and a journey already billions of years old, reaching its pinnacle at the miraculous moment where the most complex arrangement of atoms is formed and a human being is born.

Some feel an imbalance in their lives and choose to address these unusual feelings of uncertainty and displacement. Another person may live their entire life unaware and die in the same fashion. Others may simply spend their lives attempting to survive and never find any time to time to ask such questions.

Who are you really?