It’s been a highly rewarding beginning of a year on so many levels. For one thing it has been the peak of summer instead of cold and dark winter. The pre-programmed hibernation/depression that every Dane is born with never kicked in this year. That’s nice. Although I must admit that a few times I’ve actually missed a bit of urban cave-dwelling around a wood-fired stove with the friends. Especially When Christmas rolled over I felt a bit of longing, but then again, it was hard to stay regretfull on the tropical beaches of Stradbroke Island with my best mate Anton.
So where have I been exactly? Well, those of you who know me well will probably have a hard time picturing this, but I have been staying at an adventure sports camp by the scenic Lake Moogerah. Camp Moogerah is kind of like a permanent summer-camp where schools and other groups come to enjoy the great views and do kayaking, climbing, water-skiing, archery and much more.
Despite my chronic feelings of athletic inferiority I have actually been thoroughly enjoying the many different types of physical activity that one can do at Camp Moogerah. Take a look, for instance, at this picture here. Believe it or not; that’s me on a wakeboard!
Of course, a quarter of a year rarely goes by without having to engage in that much loathed thing called work. In this case I had a sweet deal: Food & accommodation paid for by 4 hours of daily maintenance work. In Australia there is a government-initiated system of modern slavery involving young backpackers and rural employers, but while my stay at the camp was certainly part of that scheme, I honestly had the best possible pick of masters.
Hence, I not only lived luxuriously and fed on whatever food i wanted, I also acquired a whole range of skills and got a bit more experienced with fixing stuff, be it tile floors, boat stereos, lawn mowers, roofs or cars. Those of you who know me well won’t have to guess how half of the things got broken in the first place
In many ways, my time at Camp Moogerah has been a break from my life. An unusual one at that. Being in outback Australia, I have met some people whom I rarely come across in my semi-urban, nomadic lifestyle – namely some genuinely lovely rednecks and hillbillies. Never have I had so many beers over so many random conversations, and rarely have I witnessed such joyful teasing and gossiping as I did with the road-workers who came to stay at the camp every now and then.
It’s also been a break in the sense that I have been putting all of my projects on hold in favor of hanging out and enjoying the rural Australian lifestyle. In this unfamiliar environment I’ve had plenty of time to realize who I am. It wasn’t always pleasant to be honest. I’ve found that I am more sensitive to teasing than I’ve liked to admit as well as much more of a hermit than I thought.
But despite the – sometimes – difficult truths one might come across, I highly recommend for anyone to move outside of their comfort zone every now and again. For my part it has meant a difference at least. I now know (yet again) not to take myself too seriously when people are only teasing me for fun and I also know when to take some time out to be on my own before my peace of mind becomes a scattered memory.
Altogether, though, it has been a lot of fun and a highly interesting look into rural Australia as seen through an unusual family with an incredible hospitality and a gorgeous piece of property.
Big thanks to the outrageous and larger-than-life adventurer Barry Heap and his family who put me up and put up with me. Also a warm thank you to my injury-prone yet fearless mate Anton who taught me so much with his endless patience. I leave this beautiful little corner of the world feeling richer, healthier and with a more confident outlook on life. What more could you possibly wish for?!