Travelling – it’s not just about seeing

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For me, a place doesn’t need to be spectacular to have a breathtaking affect upon me.

Wind howled around the caravan yesterday from dawn til dark, forcing me indoors for the day, so I was out walking on the beach first thing this morning in the stillness of the early light. It was spectacular in a simple, ordinary way.

Time enough had not elapsed to putrefy the weedy mat that yesterday’s storms had dumped on the beach. A day of sunshine would bring out the stench, so then the beauty will be much diminished. Strangely, the sound of the waves was muted by the cushion of weed. Although the waves were breaking right at my feet, they sounded way off in the distance.

I walked to the sandy peninsular, free of marine grass where the waves were given free reign to tumble and roll – translucent green falling onto white sand with a scattering of seashell fragments. The sky was grey, but many delicate shades from violet to blue to grey and back to white. Such elegance.

An old man exercised his dog. A young man stood in the water, fishing. Terns and gulls claimed their patch of sand to rest. Rays of sun occasionally cast golden light on the many jagged limestone rocky outcrops in the ocean. And windswept clumps of dune-grass still holding droplets of rain looked, to me, as splendid as any wildflowers.

My connection to the landscape and every component of this scene was automatic and strong. Nature touched my soul, uplifted me, and left me with a feeling of  wholeness and gratitude.

In contrast, we then visited the Pinnacles Desert – a truly spectacular and astounding ancient natural site. And although I was suitably impressed, little emotion was evoked.

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And that’s an integral part of me. It doesn’t take some monumental icon or tourist attraction to wow me. For me, it’s all about what moves me emotionally, what touches my heart and soul, a connection, a feeling of being nurtured and of belonging – not me belonging to a particular place or a place being somehow mine simply because I’m a citizen of this country, but a merging: a feeling of oneness. A beauty and serenity that is within and around me. Something subtle yet obvious, to me. Yes, a feeling, a connection, an awareness.

Often, a fantastic attraction that sees hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of tourists or visitors annually, leaves me dulled, presumably by the massive whirlpool of energy that remains – in comparison, a simple natural place that is only visited by those who are delighted by solitude and understated beauty can be spiritually awesome, for me. Today, the two separate places left me mulling over the unmistakable difference that grand and simple can often affect upon me, and why, and I am more aware of me as a result.

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Travelling – Sitting on a mountain

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A mountain only by Australian standards. Elsewhere in the world it would be classed as a rocky hill. East Mount Barren in Fitzgerald National Park on the southern coast of Western Australia.

And it doesn’t matter that I only made it to the foothills. Size and scale don’t equate to success or notoriety in my world, for my soul has been touched by the magic of nature. That’s a beautiful and all powerful experience.

I’m perched on a chunk of granite with a splendid view of ocean, beach, mountains and bushland, all bathed in brilliant early-morning sunshine. A gentle breeze whispers to me. The solitude is precious. Birdsong, waves rolling in to the beach – no human-made sounds. Sunshine is warm on my back. The moment is perfect, and this moment is all there is.

I put my pen down and soak in the tranquility and beauty. It is now a part of me.

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Australia Day and gratitude

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Traditionally, Australia Day is our national day set aside as a holiday to celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet from Great Britain, the initiation of Australia’s European history. Although I’m pleased that Australia sees fit to recognise and showcase our history and all the privileges that our country offers each and every one of us, it’s not a day that I do anything special to celebrate my heritage, freedom and progress that I am a part of.

I privately give thanks for all this and much more every day of every week. I am so very grateful for every aspect of my lifestyle in Australia.

Top quality and ample fresh produce available to purchase at clean and convenient shops and markets – vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, meat and seafood. Take your pick. So much to choose from. I’m sure that many international visitors to Australia would be astounded to set sight on our supermarket shelves stocked full of such premium food. I feel genuine gratitude to our farmers, to nature that provides the essential conditions for the growth of this food, and for the transport and employment and infrastructure in place necessary for getting this produce to the public.

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Also astounding is the fact that most of us have a quality roof over our heads, clothes aplenty, and services to deal with all that we need. Doctors, scientists, education facilities. All everyday possessions and services that we could so easily take for granted if we did not consciously think about and identify regularly. Daily.

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We depend upon a stable economy and socially considerate society. We depend upon the wellbeing of nature in every corner and far-flung expanse of this country. We depend upon a non-judgemental and charitable attitude in every community. Without the participation of all Australians in the goal of creating and maintaining a society that supports the wellbeing of all people and the land that we live on, we will not continue to have this liberated and affluent lifestyle to celebrate.

My gratitude is unfailing.

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