GETTING AROUND

So here I am, sitting at my friend Rose’s house in Lismore on a rainy Northern Rivers morning and I’m stuck. I walked from home to the main road to hitch into town (about an hour’s walk) expecting to find my dear friend, Sharon, at church downtown. I was going to get a lift up the hill to her place for an overnight visit and to help her with house stuff. Sharon wasn’t at church. I went to another friend’s place – also downtown – and she wasn’t home. By this time I was feeling a bit worn out from the morning of walking with very little breakfast under my belt. Normally I would have gone to visit Sam (daughter’s fiancee) and his family as my next option, but being Sunday morning, I knew they would also be at church. So, being impatient but also more than a little nervous about my ability to traverse the next leg (to Rose’s place) – an uphill walk of probably 45 minutes – I steeled myself and set off.

I have had quite a few occasions in the last year that have required me to call on my strength and resolve to walk my talk and with a very loud voice in my head saying,  “You’ve made your bed, now you have to lie in it”. I feel a real mixed bag of stuff on these occasions. There’s the sense that I will be able to do it but it might be a bit painful (like today’s walk up the hill to Rose’s), the excitement and trepidation of potentially having to get creative about solving the current issue/problem (I could have stopped somewhere, collected a bit of cardboard, borrowed a pen, written a sign, and hitched up the hill to Sharon’s), mixed with the feelings of being a bit silly for putting myself in this situation in the first place and the guilt about the big part of me that just wants to use someone else’s resources to get to Sharon’s.

 

Here I am at Rose’s now – finally. She’s not here of course – the universe is really testing my resolve today. Fortunately, I was at Rose’s a week or so ago and she gave me permission to use her spare (hidden) key to let myself in if she’s not home. This I have done and, while berating myself about using a resource that I don’t really need to, made a cuppa. I am relaxing out the front, waiting to get some energy up for the next leg of the walking adventure…..the walk up the rest of the hill to Sharon’s place – probably another 45 minutes. Yikes!

This is a brief snapshot of the ‘getting around’ part of my moneyless, low-impact life. I hitch a lot, I get picked up and dropped off by friends and Hogan and Ananda quite often, I have used trains (through the generous donations of friends), and I have relied on my daughter, Amy, at times to help me out by making collaborative excuses for her to visit me at the farm. There have been a few times when I have asked friends to drive me somewhere that they would not normally be driving themselves, thus unnecessarily increasing our combined ecological footprint. This I have a hard time coming to terms with and tend to beat myself up about. I try to only do this when I feel I really need to, although, thinking about it now as I write, I could possibly have chosen differently on those occasions as well.

There have been times when I have turned down offers though, when people have wanted to drive me somewhere they were not going just to help me out. This is always a really nice feeling but I usually offer a gentle rejection. I do like to walk sometimes, especially on the quiet country lanes around here. It’s amazing to me still, how much there is to see just along these roadways – things I used to always wizz past in my car……

Journal entry: 10th August 2015

It should not be too hot at this time of the year to be out in the garden in the middle of the day!! I’m really worried about the weather, but mostly because everyone else I talk to seems to not care. Everyone is just happy we are having such nice weather! AHHHHH!!!!!!

Had a good hitch back from town this morning with a man originally from WA who really opened up to me in a very short space of time and told me some pretty personal stuff. It was nice and I realise that maybe my hitching is good for those who pick me up because they get to unload about stuff and then never see me again. The same thing happened when I was hitching to Bangalow on Sat to meet Zara. The woman who picked me up and off loaded even thanked me for listening as she did this. It’s another benefit of hitching and I love it!!

I had a really lovely weekend. Started by getting a lift into Lismore with Nick (originally lived up here but now in town), who bought me a cuppa in town and we chatted for a while before he dropped me to Sharon’s work just before 5. Went to visit Zara (Ocean Shores) on Saturday and got to build her a rocket stove and cook some food in her backyard. That was a great experiment. I was able to just use stuff lying around for the whole process and the smoke wasn’t an issue, being in the suburbs, so I was pleased and think it would be possible to do this almost anywhere.

Then, wonderfully, got a lift from Bangalow back to Lismore yesterday afternoon with a lovely woman who runs an NGO dedicated to assisting ‘forgotten’ Australians (Stolen Generation people and foster/out-of-home care people). She took me back to her place and filled a couple of bags with old food from her kitchen cupboard and drove me to Goonellabah to Sharon’s place. She gave me powered milk without me even mentioning that that was the one thing I needed most at the moment and had been deliberating over sourcing milk for a few days now! Joline had offered to buy me some powered milk but I could not bring myself to have a fresh bag of this high impact product. Barbara however had almost a full bag which she didn’t want! She did not know that I needed it! What kind of magic is this?

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7 thoughts on “GETTING AROUND

  1. Hi Jo,
    I’ve spent the afternoon reading your posts and am inspired to see a young person actually following up and living as they believe.
    Unsupported travel really is a state of mind. Time takes on a new dimension that those who have the advantage of convenience no longer notice. As you say one sees so much more when walking. Walking is the most basic of way of travelling we can do and was once what most people did to get around. In many developing countries, up until a few years ago at least, that was all there was. When we lived in an out of the way place in PNG people thought nothing of walking 15 to 20 kms with their market produce to a town market, and then home again in the evening. What wimps we’ve become these days.
    If you haven’t come across him I recommend that you look up a very inspiring Indian chap named Satish Kumar who walked thousands of kilometres in the cause of peace. He lived very much like you are attempting to do as he came from the Jain tradition that lived according to the philosophy of Ahimsa – non-violence and reverence for life.
    Don’t be discouraged by those who think you are taking from those who ‘work’ for money. We all do, from those who occupy positions of privilege all the way down the line to those that are not counted by society. Those who are comfortably rewarded by society chose not to notice how much more they actually take from the rest of us.
    As you’ve noticed, a smile or a friendly pair of ears can be of such incalculable value to those who you shared with. As you’ve found, value is totally different commodity to money.
    All power to you for trying to live in a considered and thoughtful way.
    All the best,
    Doug
    (PS If you’d like to contact me I could offer a lifetime of low-cost and low-impact ideas, but no pressure. Doug)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Am thinking that a bike could have solved those two trips for you. I see so many of them thrown out at council pickups. I bet most just have a flat tyre and need some tlc. I picked mine up in a garage sale for $50 some 5 years ago and has been a trusty friend ever since.

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      1. Yeah I love bikes for all that ease of covering distances or carrying things and wind in the hair but there is something really lovely about walking too. The movement suits me well. Sometimes I ride somewhere to get there faster but once the urgency is done with just walk back for the joy of it. 😀 Happy riding.

        Liked by 1 person

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