2017-06-07 by Ragna
Brizzie – Gentle transition to a less nomadic lifestyle
Amiram’s first day back at work was fast approaching and we were due to be in Brizzie (nickname for Queensland’s capital Brisbane) in the middle of May. While still cycling, surfing and enjoying our free lifestyle around Byron Bay, I had managed to find a cosy little kindergarten. Rachel’s place, as it is called, had just been newly opened in the bohemian and eclectic Westend of Brisbane and fortunately Rachel had some vacancies for short-term enrolments. We had also managed to find a place to stay in a charming old Queenslander house shared with three other housemates. Our warmshower hosts from our last visit had accepted to sublet one of their rooms to our little travelling family. The place was not only charming, but also happened to be located in the highly sought-after riverside neighbourhood New Farm. Living here feels a bit like being in a tree house, as old growth trees are surrounding the house and a garden with all kinds of animals around. When we have breakfast in the lovely garden we are often accompanied by bush turkeys, cheeky minors and other birds. One night, while laying in bed, Amiram heard an animal walking around. He moved his head towards the window, pushed the curtain to the side and was rather surprised by a pair of eyes close to his face. Both, Amiram and a curious possum gazed at each other for a moment before the furry visitor slowly moved on. So despite being in the centre of a big city, we felt not too different from the time in our little tent.
When we arrived on our first Monday at Kindy (Aussi for Kindergarten) and rang the doorbell at Rachel’s place, the door opened and we were greeted with: “Ah, the cycling family! Come on in. Welcome.” Tayanika immediately spotted a table with play-dough and sat down. Equipped with approx. ten little lunch boxes for the kids, we were led through the house which is subdivided into lots of different theme corners. At the other side I could see a green, shady garden. As expected the children integrated swiftly and easily into the mixed group of 3 to 6 year olds. When picking them up in the afternoon after the 1st day one of the teachers said laughingly: “Your two girls brought a great new dynamic to our group. Sorry you have to immigrate and stay in Brisbane!” The children enjoy their time so much, that I regularly have difficulties to convince them to come back home.
Fortunately Brizzie offers a variety of playgrounds, some under the solid roots of majestic Bodhi trees, others with long tube slides overlooking the river bends and even free water-playgrounds in front of the glittering skyline. In addition, a variety of good museums, meeting new and old traveller friends, as well as checking out some of the many food-courts keeps us busy. The children did some very exciting projects at Kindy, including setting up a compost with 10.000 tiny tiger worms and a visit to the State library’s Kuril Dhagun space to learn about Kurilpa (the place of the water-rat), the indigenous name for the reach of this river together with their Aussie, Kiwi, Thai and Spanish speaking teachers.
While Amiram is busy, I have finally time to to put some reflections about our tour down on paper and get ready for our yoga practice in Bali 🙂 I am relieved to see, that we manage to keep up our overall Zen spirit and implement some of the lifestyle learnings from the tour. This helps to make a gentle transition to a less nomadic lifestyle. Yes we have been philosophising a lot over the last few months:-)
The 6 km one-way commute from our home to Kindy leads mostly along the beautiful river bicycle path and past some mangrove and rain-forest beauties of the Botanic Garden. Once we even spotted a local python slowly wiggling away on a still undeveloped stretch down at the meandering river.
Brizzie feels a lot more relaxed than Sydney or Melbourne and our preferred two neighbourhoods vibrate full of community activities and alternative lifestyle. Sharing a house with our fantastic housemates, has given us the opportunity to remain almost toy-less, as we are still travelling light and the children don’t need any other entertainment then human interaction and natural toys from the garden. “How are ya goin, mate!” the kids love our joking architect, keep quizzing our passionate cyclist and permaculture enthusiast about the garden and compost or look at his epic Nepalese and Tibetan cycling photographs. They also admire and copy nightly makeup and dressing-up of our raw food connaisseor from Byron Bay.
Although not travelling anymore to another place everyday, cycling over the past 4 weeks has accumulated another 500km or so to our overall count which stands now at 7000km. Autumn is over now and winter has arrived even in the subtropics, especially in our non insulated open window house on stilts. Still being equipped with only summer clothes, it gets a bit chilly at around 8 degree C, especially in the morning. Our 6 months Australian visa is coming to an end also and so it seems again it is time to move on to follow our endless summer.