So today, we have officially been home for a WHOLE MONTH. Wow. That’s like a whole BNT guidebook’s worth of time. The last time the moon looked like this was the very day we crossed the ‘finish line’ at Donnelly’s weir, before frantically loading our bubs onto a truck. We grabbed a quick celebratory pie at the Healesville bakery and caught the next plane to Perth, smelly saddlebags in tow and all.
Perhaps because of the lack of ‘let down’ time and the polarisation between normal life and life on the trail, as I sit here at my desk, it almost feels as though our time on the BNT never really happened. Like we never left town at all. Fly is standing in the paddock just as though he’s always been there and life in little old Denmark hasn’t really changed that much, give or take a few political teacup storms. I really don’t feel all that profoundly changed and that epic year-long trek is surely something I am fibbing about.
Yet, I look down at my still calloused hands and blackened toenails and know that something MUST have happened. Fly’s shoes and the knee pads on our once-new saddle are seriously worn, and Jasmine certainly didn’t acquire those unfortunate white hairs on her withers from relaxing under that tree all day. No, I can’t have been dreaming it up after all…
At the end of the trial, we were all exhausted and SO ready to finish. But coming home has been a bit of a surprise. Here are a few things I wasn’t really expecting…
I am the proud owner of a yurt, which Z and I have pretty much called home for several years. It was originally a quick-fix way to go rent free and save for a deposit on a block. But the block never happened (doing the BNT won out instead), and the yurt was so cosy that I was pretty happy to stay in it forever. Or at least until I had a moody teenager on my hands.
But when the opportunity came up to move into a small house on the awesome horse property where the bubs are kept, I couldn’t pass it up. With the exception of getting lost in the bush or filling out census forms, nothing can send me into into meltdown mode more effectively than moving
house yurt. But it was worth it. And after a year of roughing it and several years of ‘glamping’ prior to that, I must admit that I am seriously enjoying the comforts that come with four solid walls.
Having No Time
Towards the end of the trail, I yearned for the days when we could get back home, sleep in, and not have a tent to pack up every bloody day. When we could have long nights of unbroken sleep without worrying about brumbies, tethers getting caught or escaped donkeys. I had constructed elaborate fantasies of a summer spent lounging around on the sand at Greens Pool, afternoons hazily disappearing in a blur of coffee at Ravens cafe, with me perhaps nonchalantly clicking away at the keyboard sometime in between it all.
Well, wake up, Eliza. This is real life, remember? It just… fills up.
Violin lessons, horse riding, dance lessons, school runs, lunch boxes, fixing the drier, finding a car, putting the bin out, making money… Oh, that’s right- THIS is why I went away in the first place.
So in an effort to reclaim my days, I have constructed possibly the most anal-retentive schedule ever. Yes, the trail has turned me into a total planning nerd.
OK, so this is kind of an embarrassing one, but a surprise nonetheless, so I shall include it. Upon my return home, of course I quite quickly managed to readjust to the mod-cons of running water, light switches and motorised vehicles. After all, it takes more than a year in the bush to undo 34 years of conditioning. But for some reason, things haven’t exactly followed suit in the toileting department. Let’s just say that when nature calls, I have to resist the urge to down my pants wherever, sprinting off up the verge and behind a tree. Instead, I remind myself that there are actual TOILETS available for use in my life right now.
On the trail, I ATE. Like, a disgustingly ridiculous amount of food. Nonetheless, I still managed to lose a fair bit of weight and was delighted when I found I’d dropped a dress size. However, I probably should’ve acted with a little more restraint at the Freo op shops, as it didn’t last long.
Mmmmm- country garden pies from the Denmark bakery.
Such bountiful epicurean delights!
Since being home, I’ve gained 4 1/2 kilos- a pretty solid effort for four weeks. Might have something to with the fact that Im STILL eating a disgusting, ridiculous amount of food, without all the kilometres to walk it all off.
After a month or so on the trail, Z and I kinda ran outta things to talk about all day, so from then on, our kilometres were mostly punctuated by bird calls, sounds of passing traffic, the rhythmic noise of hoofbeats on earth or the wind in the trees. We would daydream or get lost in our own thoughts for much of our days. At times it would get a bit lonely, but now I am finding it a little hard to listen to more than a few ideas at a time and seem to have developed a serious case of attention deficiency, and Zaydee seems to have become afflicted by it too.
It’s almost like we are overwhelmed by getting too much information at once, which is strange because I didn’t notice it at all when we met people on the trail and annoying because I am trying to GET ON WITH MY LIFE. So while its been awesome to catch up with some of the beautiful people we missed so much while we were away, Ive been Hermiting (is that a word? It should be…) a fair bit lately. I’m guessing it’ll wear off soon.
While I had already decided to give up teaching for a while, I wasn’t quite sure what to do for money when I got back…
Well, I have a job! Only a little one.
But it’s absolutely NOTHING to do with teaching.
Digging potatoes, weeding corn, picking vegetables…
I get to be outside all the time- nobody to talk to, in the rain, in the sun, getting sore muscles….
In fact, it’s just like being on the trail, but without the tent to pack up. Yay!