Right now is the toughest but most life changing time of my life.
I have chosen to leave my previous life of being a Bowen Therapist, Remedial Massage Therapist and Natural Health Consultant with over 30 yrs experience in my field, selling most of what I own and packing the reminder of my stuff into my small van to travel Australia picking fruit to becoming itinerant, a backpacker, a person who is unknown, has no authority and no responsibility except to pick enough fruit to make enough money to live (an sometimes a bit more).
Leaving my comfort zone has never been more painful or heart wrenching. I’m not missing my previous profession of being a natural health therapist at all, but am missing the familiarity of the beach, my comfort places, my safe places, the beauty of coastal living, the gentleness and ferocity of the ocean. Above all the distance I have created between myself and my family is a constant source of grief, even though I’ve travelled much further on previous occasions, this time it’s more real.
I have no one and no thing of comfort here.
Learning to cope with this and knowing I’m never going back to being who I was has allowed me to learn how to adapt and to face myself truly and brutally.
I have gone from a person with authority to a person, no….a woman…with none. I am a fruit picker in the outback. No one knows who I am, where I’m from, what my life experience is, what I’m capable of or what my plans are. I’m merely here to pick their fruit, as much as possible and they will pay me a little bit of money to do this. To make sure I am totally grounded in this knowledge – I am a woman, not a man – therefore I have a place – and be damned if I’ll take it.
The outback is a course place, it’s wide open plains have been mutilated and stripped of any goodness it may ever have contained. The main source of water here is the Artesian Basin which is advertised here as being an
infinite source of water for the farmers…we all know that thats not longer true – but it’s the outback here and the truth travels slowly while a good story will travel with light speed. The plains are beautiful. in their own way, full of wonderful birds, animals, reptiles, spiders, its a wild, hot, cold and brutal place. The area is littered with feedlots, cattle sale yards, roadkill, hundreds of acres of agriculture including fruit, vegetables and grain, many men who drink bucket loads of of beer, smoke lots of cigarettes and swear like troupers. To keep up with this forbidding culture the women have had to adapt.
There’s not much that’s of a gentle nature here and to adapt I’m finding a reservoir of grace within myself to tap into.
To accept the path I have chosen and know why I’m doing it. To learn what I can about who I am. To feel the absolute joy a small creature can bring to me. I feel like I’m cracking open with love and grief.
The desolation of this country brings with it a feeling of rawness that if embraced can heal so much. There are no comfort zones here, nowhere to feel safe, no body to sit with at the end of a hard and fruitless day, no shade to hide under, no coolness to bathe in, no respect received and no explanations offered.
It’s me, it’s up to me, it’s entirely my responsibility, and my life to live as I wish.
The only rule is to survive – and I reckon I can do a lot more than that.