Travelling through Australia and stopping off at the strangest of places, I have come to realise how much I love the freedom and the ability to have cordial friendships with so many.
I have only just completed a trip to the outback of Australia seeing the flora and fauna of this vast country, whilst taking in the rugged mountain ranges that so define the land here.
Throughout this period of travel, I (together with my partner and some friends) have met some hardy souls whom would struggle to fit into the day to day modern society that we call cities. They are however, adept at being experts at survival and scratching out a living from what seems to be barren and in-hospitable land.
The people inhabiting outback areas are, for the most part, well-worn and quick to sum up character. After all, if they can’t determine friend or foe in a blink of an eye, then it could mean disaster for them and their family.
I take great pleasure in the knowledge that outback people seem to like me and this makes me humble. To have such wonderful people, people with little to share, be willing to take the time of day to make me feel at ease, is both humbling and gracious.
There are many cattle stations dotted around the outback and some take in land the size of a million acres. It is not unusual to see no fencing for many miles but to see stock roaming freely throughout the bush, feeding on the salt bushes and the little fodder available.
Emu and Kangaroo are seemingly everywhere as this is their natural home and they are un-afraid of predators. We were lucky enough to see some of the largest Kangaroos in Australia and also many species of wallaby, some quite rare and shy.
There is something about this vast, open land that hits me hard. I so remember falling in love for the first time as a young man, a feeling that will never be forgotten although history will never account for its existence. Well something about this outback land of Australia gives me that same feeling of complete consumption. My thoughts, actions and deeds are all generated by an inner understanding of being part of something . In this case, the land presents its vastness, beauty and endurance, as my reward.
Throughout the many homesteads, stations, towns and pubs; people have shown their willingness to share the hopes and dreams they have cultured.
Whilst this country has a brief European occupation, it is none-the-less, a well established existence and has brought with it many developments.
The Australian Aboriginals have occupied this country for many thousands of years. Their unique and careful relationship with the land, has driven many a successful station here, but it is with their own culture that one is likely to be utterly amazed and delighted.
All over Australia, remnants of land control by the Aboriginal people can be noticed. From the bush land fires and the fish-traps, to the many controlled water ways, Aboriginal people lived and worked this country.
To see drawings and cave-paintings done by the Aboriginal people 10 and 20 thousand years ago, can only be described as an experience so unique it has no match.
To sit in a cave, occupied by people from so long ago and to view on the walls of the cave, pictures of beasts since extinct, is something that will never leave me. I am eternally grateful for the the chance to so humbly take in this wonder.
There can be much talk of hardship, harm and people against people. Often, we hear of the ‘Young Today’ as being a picture of the looming desperate times ahead. We are constantly reminded of the climate changing and the ever-present threat to world peace by lack of food and water.
Were all of these things be true of every moment of our lives, then life would have little joy. Situations are precisely like this for many of the world’s people and we should never forget the help we can provide.
We also have an obligation to seek out and establish happiness in much the manner of the early pioneers and the Australian Aboriginals. If a mast-head of possibilities is not developed and all we do is mire ourselves in the world’s ills, then we, as an animal, are taking the road to extinction.
It is for all of us to observe the great innovators and survivors of this world. To understand that it is resilience that will create a strong future. A belief that the young people can and will, make a difference. A belief that people are strong and can survive hardship without falling through the cracks of society.Most of all, understanding that people want to be our friends and that small percentage that don’t, will find happiness in others.
So as a traveller and intrepid bushman (not really that intrepid), I am privileged to have been be-friended by many and given the opportunity to encounter an array of characters willing to put their lives on the line to make a living in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. To have met and spoken with these people has provided me with confidence in the Earth’s people and hopeful expectation of a continuing existence as living creatures.