I woke up and the first thing I did was pick up my phone, I had notifications that needed replying to. I quite often get Messages from people asking for advice and as my purpose at this point is to help people I would never not reply. I very quickly tumbled down the rabbit hole of social media and found myself watching videos when really i should have been packing my bike ready to go! I didn't eat properly this morning, stupidly choosing to only eat a blueberry muffin at a local cafe (i might add it was a bloody tasty one) while I wrote about the last three days. When I set off from the town of Miles I knew I hadn't eaten enough. I was headed east towards Chinchilla, I jumped onto my bike and started peddling hard.
I realised I'd forgotten a key part of my daily routine. So before I left town I went and found a quiet place, a place with little or no distractions, I removed my shoes and sat in the shade of a large gumtree. I took 10 mindful conscious breaths over a few minutes, with my in breath i focused on my body, I could feel the oxygen fill my lungs and then as my tummy expanded i shifted my focus to my fingers and toes, legs and arms making a point to feel the dirt underneath me. With my outward breath I imagined all the feeling zoom out through my breath. The point of all this was to take a moment to remind myself to be present with the moment i am in. I got back on my bike listing to music is loud as I could so as not be frightened by the loud vehicles and road trains as they whizzed past. I purchased a new audio book called the mind awakened to try and make some sort of sense of the spiritual thoughts that four months ago I would have thought were completely crazy. I didn't have all that far to travel...after all I am taking my time.
I arrived in Chinchilla a bit lost and confused not really sure where I was going or how to fit in, I look like a desert rat and probably smell worse than one. I spotted a young man sitting down on the beach he was drinking beer, but that's not what caught my eye, next to him he had cane because he was blind. As I rode past him I thought “I hope he's okay” I realised my thought wasn't going to change anything so I turned around and went back and asked how he was doing. I quickly learned like me he was from New Zealand. He now lives in the City of Toowoomba where he bakes cookies for his own company Toowoomba cookies. Once I had established he was in a good headspace i cruised over a bridge headed straight for the nearest pub to get a cranberry juice with ice. I then headed into the middle of town to find the post office to collect a special delivery from before you speak Coffee company who had sent me a little adventure care package also in the post was one of my children's books. I leaned my bike up on the pole outside but when I got to the door I realised I was too late and they were closed until Monday. I was a bit gutted about that but I assured myself that I would use this time to relax. I rode my bike to the other end of town to the chinchilla tourist park, as this was to be home for the weekend I set up my hammock between two trees and then headed off to get some dinner. On my way back I was stopped by a woman who was my age. She asked me if she could have one of my flowers. She offered to trade for some marijuana. I chuckled to myself and told her not to worry I gave her one of my flowers and then continued on my way. I had pizza for dinner and then clambered into my hammock and drifted off to sleep.
I woke up to a message from a stranger who had seen me on Instagram, he was in the same town and wanted to know if I was open to chatting over a coffee. I organised to meet him at 8:30 at nice little cafe. We talked about so many different things, the highs and lows of life, the past and present to business ventures failed and succeeded. Today was exciting for another reason, something was going on in town, the streets were closed and had tables down the middle, vendors were slowly piling up along the sides so I did a bit of research and found it was a food festival that was on. It felt like this was meant to be! I explored the local town and was approached twice by drug dealers trying to sell me acid and dope (I must really look like a druggie). I just hung out at the botanic gardens until the festival began, I did lots of eating and listened to the music that they put on, all up it was a pretty good day. Feeling very fulfilled I climbed into my hammock and once again drifted off to sleep.
I wanted to use my Sunday to be mindful, I had scoped out a brilliant location to do some meditation and practice my handstands. It was still close to town but far enough to not have to listen to the sounds of citydwellers, I also lay under a tree listening to my new book. That evening one of my close friends was making the journey to come and visit. Her name is Bridget and last year we crossed the Greenland ice cap together as part of a team with Antarctic Heritage trust. I could hardly contain my excitement, she is one of my best friends and it was a full moon but not just any full moon. This is what is known as a harvest Moon, there won't be another moon like this for a very long time.
So we did what any crazily spiritually enlightened being would do we took our clothes off, bathed in the moonlight and danced under the sky. We lay on the edge of a man-made lake eating curry and enjoying each other's company. This full moon is the fourth and final during my journey across Australia.
The sky is something I have spent a lot of nights under. I now truly feel like I am one with the earth. With just under two weeks left until I reach Byron Bay this time is about acknowledging how hard I have worked on my own mental wellness. To now be able to say “I am to my own liking” is the greatest achievement of my life. My mental well-being is totally up to me and always has been. I have grown to understand it’s ok to not be ok but it’s not ok to just do nothing about it! Not happy? Change something, Do something. This is your only chance so live your best life.
After a few hours we headed back to the campground where I had set up the tent for us to sleep in. As I drifted off to sleep i thanked Bridget for making the journey to come and see me. The next morning I headed into town with Bridget, picked up my coffee and book from the press shop said my farewell and then headed off towards Dolby. Once again it was another short day with not too much to report except for stumbling upon a sunflower which I put in my hair. I got on the phone to local radio and paper organising an interview for when I arrived in town so when I did arrive headed straight to the park to meet the reporter. I could tell she was intrigued by what I was doing and I had such a great time explaining to her why. I found a local campground and made it my home for the night. Once I was all set up I headed back into town and got myself some dinner.
I slept well but woke up to a sharp burning pain on my foot, an ant had managed to crawl its way inside the tent and was biting my foot!! I scrambled around and was bitten another two times before i actually got it away, the bites were horrible. It was a hot burning pain. I packed up my bike and headed out of town stopping at the radio station for an impromptu interview to share my journey with the local radio listeners.
To get off the main road I followed the service line for the railroad. I dodged a lot of roadworks and did not have to contend with the massive trucks. There was one section where I had to use the highway I had only been on it for about five minutes before vehicle stopped a young man got out and start approaching me. He asked if I was selling sun flowers because I had them straped to the back of my bike. I laughed and told him they were my safety flowers. I rolled into a small town called Oakley and went into the pub for an ice cold Cranberry juice.
The pub locals were very friendly and wished me all the best with the rest of my journey.
As I walked out of the I felt a shift in the atmospheric energy. Something was different, it was a feeling I hadn't felt in a very long time. The sky was alive and the air felt heavy. The suns light suddenly disappeared, as a looked behind me I was amazed to see the sky was full of clouds, real actual clouds. I spotted a flash of lightning which was followed by a crack of thunder. I now knew what I had been feeling, it was a storm. I could see the rain fall in the distance slowly edging its way towards me. It dawned on me that I don't have dry bags for any of my gear. I quickly put my cameras into the safety of the Pelican case, my shirt came off so I had something dry to put on when I got to town. I can only imagine how crazy i looked as I pulled onto the highway with no helmet no shirt no shoes in a thunderstorm. The wind had intensified and was pushing me towards Toowoomba.
I reach my first traffic light, it was the first sign that I was about to enter a city. I pulled up next to BMW with a bunch of young fellas in it. They were all (including the driver) so engrossed in their mobile phones that they didn't even look up to see the crazy guy on the bike. That was sign number two.
There was another crack of thunder and then the first drop hit me. It had been so long since I've felt a drop of rain I forgot how special it was. I stopped and lay down my bike on the side of the highway, I put my arms into the air and I let the drops of rain soak my entire body. I felt alive, I started smiling and then laughing, it was raining and it was beautiful. I marvelled at the idea that people protect themselves from this beauty with walls umbrellas and clothing. The pure beauty of the world felt very real at this moment.
I was once again a little lost for where I was going. I had no real plan or understanding of where I was going to stay but I remembered Kara, who i met in the centre of Austraila, had mentioned she grew up in Toowoomba. I sent her a message asking if she knew anyone who might be able to give me somewhere to stay for the night. Five minutes later I received a message saying one of her friends had a spare bed for me. The ladies name was Laurey and she lived in south Toowoomba. It was already quite late so I found the nearest curry shop and ordered a wild goat curry. One thing that I've noticed about being in Australia is the option for Indian hot isn’t offered. Anyway, I ordered my curry hot! The curry was absolutely delicious, If you are in Toowoomba I would definitely rate the curry shop.
The sun had set so I used the streetlighting to guide me to Laureys house. When I arrived the cats came to great me and Laurey opened the gate so i could wheel my bike around the back. It had been quite a big day and I was well and truly ready for bed. I was relieved that Laurey was equally as tired so after a cup of tea we both went to bed. As I lay with my eyes shut I could hear the bugs and the frogs just outside my window. In the distance I could hear dogs barking, alarms sounding and babies crying. I opened my eyes to look out the window at the stars but the light pollution from the city made them almost invisible.
I woke up and went out into the dining room, the smell of something delicious had drawn me out of my slumber. Laurey had cooked up quite the feast, as we sat around the table eating she asked me what my plan was. I explained to her that I didn't have to be in Byron Bay for quite a few days. She said that I was more than welcome to stay until the weekend. I was so thankful and it was perfect timing so i could get to talking to the media. I had a few things already planned including an interview with seven news so at 8:30 I headed down to a park in the centre of town to share my story.
I thought I ought to get a helmet so I googled some local thrift shops and found one with helmets , I manage to pick it up for $10. I wandered around the city looking at the sights and stores. I spent a good part of my day sat in a cafe sending emails to all the media contacts I could find. I feel very lost like I've woken up in in a land of zombies, this apocalyptic place full of confused humans trying their best to keep their egos happy. I want help create change and bring balance to humans in particular with men I want to help them connected with there feminine, help them to be more openly emotional and communicate better because if you can communicate you can overcome anything.
As I made my way back I spotted a shop full of crystals and thought it was a good opportunity to see if I could identify some of the crystals I found in the desert. Turned out that this was actually a reiki studio. The healer wasn't in but manning the shop was an enthusiastic young woman. Time disappeared and before I knew it I had been talking to her for an hour, first about crystals and then deep into my mind. I shared my experiences and my current situations worldview. I was interested to know how she blocked out the negative vibes especially working in place the people visit to heal themselves.
She explained to me that every morning when she gets up she puts on an invisible rainbow coat that magically protects her from any of the days negative situations. I thought it was a wonderful idea it was much better than my idea of the bubble because a bubble can pop and if someone gets too close they can get inside your bubble but they can't get inside the invisible Rainbow coat.
That night Laurey had invited one of her friends to have dinner with us. I like to understand how the mind works so I always place prying questions into conversation that challenges the way the mind thinks. My favourite cold question is, are you to your own liking? Another great one is what is love to you? While we were talking a quote sprung into my head. “Do not look forward nor rearward, just look.”
At some point in life you will step on a thorn. Now there are two ways people deal with a thorn. The first way seems the most obvious, they just pull it out or if they can’t manage on their own, they ask someone for help and just like that the problem is solved. Now the second way people deal with a thorn is to cover it up in bandages. They then find it’s still sore so they add another layer, maybe a sock to soften the problem, but if the thorns too big it won’t go away naturally. It will begin to make its way deeper and deeper into your body. It festers until one day you wake up and find you can’t even walk anymore, that painful thorn has taken over your entire existence, in fact, it’s now created such an impact that the fear of stepping on another or hurting the existing thorn stops you from living your life the way you want to live it. Now you might have figured out the thorn I’m talking about isn’t the one that you physically step on, it’s your fears, your problems, your struggles, all just as real as a physical thorn and if faced head on just as easy to remove.
I had one more day to explore the garden city and decided to spend it in the Japanese gardens. Halfway there I met a man called Tim, he was intrigued with my bike. I told my little bit about myself and about some of my struggles with my own mental wellness. Tim told me when he was 19 he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, we talked about the stigma being worse than the problem itself. I told him to just do what he loves and write down every morning things he wants to achieve and the way he feels when he wakes up. That way if he's stressed he can look at his pocket book and remember how he felt when the day started.
When i got to the Japanese gardens I was surprised to find they were busy. People taking photos here there everywhere some not even looking with their eyes. I walked around the gardens watching the birds and watching the kids chasing birds, bullying them not letting them just be, having to interfere and force them into the water. Sure they're just kids being kids but where are the parents telling them to leave the birds alone...well… they were chasing them too. It was so noisy there was so much sound. I found a spot to close my eyes and listen for the silence between the noise. It was very hard to do but slowly and surely noise melted away and all that remained was the same silence I found in the desert.
As I walked home from the garden, i found myself lost in my mind almost like i was on the edge of some sort of great discovery that only i knew about. Once again i felt like i was surrounded by drunk people. I went to a local burger shop to get diner because i heard they made a fantastic veggie burger from mushrooms. It was a busy little spot with four other food shops. There was about 100 people all in a close space waiting for food. Even though there was such a large volume of people it was a quiet place as most people were deeply engrossed in their phones. I sat and witnessed this completely display of disconnection. I stood up on the table and shouted “hello everybody, my name is not important but what i have to say is so please listen to the sound of my voice for a moment. The Present moment is filled with joy and happiness, do not dwell on the past do not dream of the future concentrate on the present moment and wherever you are make sure you are all there.” I had just done something i had always dreamed of, i entered into the minds of strangers and brought them to the moment that is.
The next morning was the day i was heading out of town. I said farewell to Laurey and thanked her for being so kind to me during my stay. I pulled out of the drive and started making my way towards the 4km of steep downhill at the top of the great dividing range. As i merged with the traffic and crested the hill I looked out further than i had in a long time. I could see mountains and hills and down at the very bottom i could see the main highway connecting with more roads. I took a deep breath and pushed off to begin my decent. I started off at a reasonable speed with my brakes on to stop myself from going to fast. 2 minutes in i looked down and spotted smoke coming from my breaks! I slowed down and came to a complete stop so i could let them cool down. I was so amped and excited to keep zooming down. I took a few photos while i waited then pushed off again this time i decided no brakes was a better option. I got faster and faster, when i looked at my speedo it was reading 62kmh. At the back of my mind i remembered that the speed limit on for my trailer was like 21kmh or something like that.. thankfully nothing went wrong there but i could feel the adrenaline pulling through my veins. At the bottom i pulled off the highway onto the scenic route and decided to make amberley my stoping point for the evening.
As i was riding along i could feel the new moisture in the air. The trees that lined the sides of the road had bright pink flowers, it made me smile because it was beautiful. I got a call around 12 from my parter Ngaio, she said she was going to meet me tonight to have dinner together! When i hung up I was so excited and then immediately burst into tears, its been 164 days since i have held her hand since i have shared her breath, overwhelmed by the happiness that our shared love brings to life. I had a few big hills to cross before i made it to where she was, i felt so unfit as i sweated out most of my liquids.
I was slowly crawling up the hills and then flying down the other sides. In the afternoon the wind picked up and made riding tough. I had been using google maps to guide me on the fastest path and suddenly i reached a sign that said road end. I had just ridden 10km down a gravel road and it just ended. I hadn't eaten properly because i was so excited to get there and this led to my mind getting angry and cursing at the stupid map. I decided to just go overland and follow the line that google had created through farms. The gates were so tricky to open and shut with the bike and just added to my frustration. Eventually i made it back to a road that would take me directly to the motel Ngaio was waiting at. Along the road there was lots of big scary guard dogs that barked and growled at me as i rode past.
I was so exited, beyond words. As i turned into the motel carpark there was only one car parked up in front of room 9. The door was open, i could hear the sound of the tv playing. Her shoes sat by the door perfectly uniform. She must have heard the squeak from my breaks because as i stoped she sat up and looked out towards me! She said “hello my Brands” and ran towards me, i just burst into tears i didn't say anything, i couldn't say anything! This moment was so full of emotion, it was magic. Eventually i managed to get out the worlds i love you.
We went inside and after i was showered and clean we snuggled together on the bed as we waited for the pizza that she had ordered to arrive. It was so perfect, i just love her so much! She had work the next day so couldn't stay but just seeing her was so amazing.
I woke up feeling washed out like i had a hangover. I knew I didn't drink enough water to replace what I had lost the day before. I put some electrolytes in my water bottle and just started over hydrating my body putting as much water as i could inside. As i left the motel i decided that i was going to avoid Brisbane and the gold coast by heading south over the hills towards a place called Ninbin. I slowly cruised along the highway listing to music and my audio book. I have been surrounded by the sites, sounds and smells of the civilised world for about a week now, honestly it’s been tough. Today I heard the earth crying, projected through the voices of the homeless birds escaping the fires to my west. As I rode through the dry and smoke plagued lands I looked into the gutter and it was full of rubbish. It made me realise Storms, fires, droughts and floods are not natural disasters they are the earth screams. “WAKE UP” If you have a healthy mind you will create a healthy environment. Stop living on her and start living within her if you want a make a difference to the earth first make a difference to yourself, stop feeding your ego and start feeding your soul.
My end destination was Boonah a small town 70km north of the border between New South Wales and Queensland. Towards the end of the day the temprature was incredibly hot and the smoke from the fires was making breathing hard to do. I had sorted out a $50 room at the Austrailan hotel when i arrived in town. I'm 207km from Byron bay, and the feeling i have running through my whole body is is indescribable.