It is exactly three years from the start of this journey
16.06.2009 - 16.06.2012
I have written about my travels around Australia in my rusty, dusty, trusty bus and spoken about places, people and events. By now you may have read some of my instalments, or even all of them.
The most important part of this traveller’s tale, however, is about me. About the inner journey that I made whilst I drove through the desert, took long walks in the searing heat or sweated in the bus with nothing but stars to keep me company. The emotion that swept through me like a powerful wave while I walked right through a mob of Kangaroos or hesitated about going into a pub full of Aboriginals; while I talked myself hoarse on long boring trips or was transported whilst I stood on a red rock overlooking the wetlands of Kakadu.
The anger I felt, at how white Australians ignore the plight of Aboriginals and hide them away. The disgust I felt at the way they exploit Aboriginal Artists who are lost in their own country; or the awe I felt as I stood on a dark beach in a gale and heard the booming of the ocean at night, the sting of sand whipping off endless dunes. But also my joy when Australians accepted me as one of their own and gave me their friendship and sometimes their love.
What made the journey so profound for me was the emotion. Emotion which was stronger than any I had felt before in my life. At the time I thought it was due to the pain of leaving my wife behind. “Of course; I needed time to grieve over a love that I had lost. Yes, it must be that”, I told myself. “My emotions are still raw and near the surface. They come out and bother me, make me cry, or feel exalted. Up and down; light then dark; yes then no, good, then bad. It must be that; they’ll go away...eventually.”
But they haven’t. Four years and many kilometres and adventures later, they are stronger than ever. I cry almost every day now; in gladness or sadness, empathy or loneliness. Surely grief cannot last this long and be this strong? My wife did not die, after all, and is leading quite a happy life. We are still friends!
Even throughout my year in Tasmania, when I had the companionship of a wonderful woman and formed friendships and connections with the people of this beautiful isle; while I was busy with projects and adventures, domestic comforts and wild solitude, I became more and more emotional still.
Now I am travelling again in my bus and wondering why. The journey I am doing is fabulous, anyone would agree. I am constantly struck by the beauty of this country and tell myself and others how wonderful this place is; as if I am trying to convince myself and them that I am having a good time. When I tell them I have been travelling in this bus for three years they look at me with envy and shake their heads. “Boy that must be great, I want to do that one day.”
I look at the beauty, chat to the people, drive my bus along lovely country lanes and stand on top of mountains but have not been as moved by them; not like before. I have not cried with joy or exaltation. Instead, my strong emotions come at the quiet times, usually in the wee hours of the morning. They seem to have disconnected themselves from the places, people and events. So why am I travelling at all now? What is my reason for travelling? Previously I had thought it was because of my rawness after leaving my wife; a bit of travel therapy. But now that does not seem possible any longer.
Maybe this is the answer;
I travel because I am running away from responsibility.
“Big deal” you tell me.”That is the most obvious thing I have ever heard. Tell me something new!”
But listen, it is not simple like that. There are a lot of unanswered questions in that statement. It still does not explain the way I feel right now. What has it got to do with strong emotions that come in the middle of the night? Does it relate to buying a yacht all those years ago? Perhaps it did then, but what about now; what are these responsibilities I am talking about in that statement? I did not have any responsibilities in Tasmania, or for two travelling years before that time but still I have these strong emotions, this inner turmoil.
So I’m not sure at all, it could be that; or maybe some of that and some of the other and something else as well. The clue has got to lie in the emotions; it is the thread that runs through my deliberations.
First of all, you have to agree and accept that it is not grief. When I bought my boat and sailed away from England and my first wife; I was hurt by her betrayal of my love but soon I was so engaged in this boat, my dream, that I forgot the pain. My family and friends were pleased and supported me in my venture. I left the pain behind in our house in London, where I had been lonely in the remains of my shattered life, and where, for a while, a woman helped me overcome my loneliness. [My pain was little compared to the anguish this woman had suffered for many years].
And the travel on my boat got better as a new partner joined me and stayed with me through thick and thin. The dramatic and adventurous things we went through together formed strong bonds until they, in turn, were broken by our separation. The separation brings pain of course, but surely not for four years. Especially, as I said before, when I have had good times since then [I believe she has too]. This time it was travel on my bus.
Emotions could be described as a kind of intuition. Feeling good or bad about something without knowing why must be intuition. When those good or bad feelings come to me during the day I used to relate it to the things happening around me; a wonderful view, a stormy sea, some drunken aborigines in the long grass. So now, when these emotions become dulled during the day, my intuition is telling me something. It is telling me that I’m just drifting around. It is telling me that there is no purpose to what I’m doing. I’m drifting aimlessly. That is a feeling, an emotion in itself. Aimlessness.
There is no logic to it. According to most people I meet I should be feeling great. No responsibilities, financially secure, travelling at my own time and whim. But I don’t feel great. I feel aimless.
I think I know what it is, but I am not sure! I am writing this piece as a kind of logical progression to arrive at an answer in this way. I have been doing that quite a bit, to work thing out; to crystallise the aimless thoughts in my head. Each sentence has been written in real time and will not be altered. Just for fun; to provide a story and keep you guessing. Some of you, more intelligent or wise than me may have guessed right from the start why I am travelling. Just like knowing who did it, halfway through a Who-done-it murder story.
Travelling aimlessly is not nice once the aimlessness takes hold. I can do without the aimless part, thanks! I realised some time ago that I need an aim and tried to achieve that by working as much as possible towards that passion of mine, my love of Nature. My love of Nature has evolved into greater things. It has evolved into a love of this whole Earth. I suppose it has always been there but is now emerging from where it had lain suppressed for many, many years. I had never allowed it to emerge fully, I had other commitments. I acknowledged it from time to time but did not fully connect with it.
Nature means The Earth, and more; it means the Universe. It means Science, for Science is the observation of natural phenomena. From the energies of the Universe to the energies of matter, the smallest Particle Physics. It is all about energy.
Nature is everything; and everything is Energy.
But I am getting sidetracked and will get back to why I am travelling. I tried to alleviate that feeling of aimlessness by working towards caring for the Earth, for Sustainability, for a better world. My passion, my Love, extended towards people; after all, we are all part of nature, of the universe, part of the same energy. My love grew and grew in scope; I allowed it to fill my heart, body, mind and spirit. [do these make up the soul?]
I did practical stuff, like helping to build a straw bale house and helping a family build their hand- made house in a Sustainable Community. I have spoken to environmental groups wherever I came across them and joined meetings and discussions, hoping to be able to help them in some way. I have visited Permaculture gardens to learn more about living sustainably. I have involved myself online in Forums and joined new organisations.
But still I have not been fulfilled and satisfied!
I think I know why. Do you?
I am now overflowing with love. Love I have been gathering throughout my life but really opened up to just recently. I’m full of it. I need to do something with it in case I explode! I don’t want to waste it. There is not enough of it in the world today, the world of Nature and Humans needs some, and I have copious amounts of it to give.
My travel, and especially this last section of my journey, has given me time to reflect. On where I am in my life and what I would like to aim for in the remaining twenty years to satisfy this aimlessness and use this love I am now filled with.
This journey has been to find love, to let it fill me and to find ways of giving it.