For the first time in my moneyless experiment I’ve been on a trip to places where there wasn’t the comfort of old friends at the other end.
This time lots of new friendships were formed. Camaraderie and kindness was shown by a plethora of amiable and delightful people. I am now safely ensconced back home processing all that has happened.
Hitching was involved. On the road……
waiting for my next ride in the afternoon sun just outside Murwillumbah, Northern NSW.
At O’Heart Festival in Tyalgum (where I spoke about my moneyless, low impact adventures), I heard music from the likes of Famous Will, Phil and Tilley, and some crazy local boys called Silk ‘n Oak, who do this kind of stuff onstage!
It goes without saying that at this festival I met great people and learned lots. Learning about plastic pollution was particularly traumatising. Anthony and his team from Plastic Pollution Solutions were informative and inspiring (as well as upsetting).
After years of waiting, I finally made it to the Krishna Farm for a couple of days where I was welcomed, fed and discussed deep life stories with some devotees. The farm is located just on the northern side of Mt Warning (the peak in the picture above).
In an attempt to be of use at Kirra’s (my host in Tyalgum), I weeded and helped out a bit at the festival. Kirra started calling me ‘Jo ‘Give me a Job’ Nemeth’! I picked and ate kumquats from the loaded trees in her yard, introducing many others to the delights of kumquats. Yummy Kumquats!!
Then a lift to Brisbane with a generous Byron Bay local (who is working on a local currency, car sharing and other goodies in his area), to the wonderfully invigorating New Economy Conference!
The conference pulled together delegates from around the country (and some international speakers) to throw around ideas about post-growth economics. Ideas included Steady State Economics, doughnut economics, localised food systems, renewable energy, cooperatives law, indigenous economics, ecological restoration, maker and repair spaces, community currencies, the role of technology and data management, blockchain and bitcoin, politics in the new economy and so much more.
Speaking at dinner on the first night of the conference was a real privilege. A young woman there introduced me to the concept of the Dorothy Day House, a Catholic Worker hospitality house in Brissy. Dorothy Day was a particularly interesting character – a radical activist who became a Catholic and set up the first hospitality houses. A visit and a chat with people there was enlightening to be sure – my kind of folk with the addition of a strong Christian bent.
Amanda (a NENA Conference organiser extraordinaire) and Ken put me up for a couple of nights – I did some dish washing against her wishes! Simon and Ko also graciously accommodated me for a few nights. Chilled gardeners and fellow low impacters, both work at Northey Street City Farm (NSCF) – a place dear to my heart; a place I visited many times in my early years of ‘activism’.
A trip to NSCF led me to Bob. Using only locally and freely sourced natural ingredients, Bob very creatively puts together little cookstoves (made from mud and fired directly in the earth), ocarinas, bamboo flutes, and mud paints. He cooks popcorn for the visiting kids every day on one of his stoves. Bob is affectionately known as Bob Mud.
The adventures wrapped up with a visit to my folks. Dad took me for a spin with his donkey, James, in the little buggy built from collected second-hand bits and pieces. I’ve clearly picked up my waste minimisation mindset from my frugal waste warrior parents!
- Food was not always available ‘on tap’ and, although I was not hungry, I noticed a small bit of panic welling up in me at times in a way that didn’t make rational sense.
- Things seem to flow beautifully regardless of my ability/inability to relax and trust. Perhaps I am just a particularly lucky human?
- People are good and kind and helpful (although I did already know this).
- This ‘gift’ culture thing is tricky for me at times. The dominant Western culture has taught me that I always ‘owe’ others, even for things given freely. Speaking at both events allowed me free entry (and I helped out), but noticed a constant niggling voice saying I needed always to be of more assistance.
- Roadkill possums are common in the city and can be skinned and eaten as a low impact source of meat!
All up, an educational, fulfilling adventure was had. I am left filled with ideas for travelling south in the coming months (maybe after summer).
And a tempting invite was waiting in my inbox on my return, from the people of Hazelcombe Farm – just one of many exciting places to visit when I do!