“Trust the Universe”

Remember I mentioned my timing seemed to be perfect lately? Well, once again – actually twice – the universe was kind. You know that saying “trust the universe”? Meaning it will provide for you if you just let it. Fearlessly. Well, I think there might be something in it…

Not only do I feel that everything on my trip thus far – especially my cycle tour – has been effortless and wonderful, but things continue to be occurring at just the right time, as if they are “meant to be”. Some people may call me jammy (mentioning no names… David and Glenn), but if jammy is indeed what I am, then so be it!

Firstly, after almost losing hope in meeting them, my friends from England managed to arrange – quite last minute – to return to Melbourne just before their year-long Australian adventure concluded. As I hadn’t had the chance to catch up with them yet, it seemed perfect that we should converge in the same city, even if it was just for a few hours.

After disembarking the ferry at the crack of dawn I drove into the centre and picked up Gemma and Naomi. An eventful drive around the city later (lots of diversions were in place due to a running race; there’s always something going on in Melbourne!), we parked up and moseyed along to a cafe for breakkie, getting slightly damp in the process. Having the chance to hang out with these lovely ladies before they jetted off to Asia really made my day.

Once we had wished each other ‘happy travels’ and hugged goodbye, it was time for my slightly sleep deprived self (due to my noisy dorm-mate) to commence my journey east. I was going to a new ‘HelpX’ at SIBA Buddhist Retreat in the remote and beautiful Snowy River country of East Gippsland, Victoria.

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As you may know, the distances between towns and cities in this huge country can be rather large; there is no shortage of road signs urging drivers to take breaks. Erring on the side of caution, as I was slowly becoming one of these weary travellers that the signs are targeted at, I frequently halted to recharge on the 385 km/239 mile trip.

Because I hadn’t rushed getting to the retreat I didn’t arrive until dusk, meaning the wildlife on and beside the road was rife. I was reduced to a snails-pace for the last half an hour due to kangaroos and a fox crossing the road in front of me. Also there was a high possibility of encountering wandering wombats. This last stretch was a little unnerving as I had no mobile or data signal and no idea where I was going. Plus it was getting dark. Quickly. Fortunately Google Maps still functioned; directing me along the seemingly never-ending main road, then private road, to the place I was to call home for the next 13 nights.

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SIBA Retreat Centre

Linking back to the whole trusting the universe theory…

A couple of years ago I had a pretty tough time. After a 10 year relationship I found myself single. Anyone who knows me personally knows how hard this was for me. At the time, my mum suggested I do something like sign myself up to a yoga retreat to get away from everything, and spend some time on ‘me’. Due to money constraints and other reasons I couldn’t join a retreat back then…

…2 years later (and much happier, and loved up again, may I add) Pepe – a cyclist friend I met on my Tasmania cycle-tour – informs me of a great ‘HelpX’ at a Buddhist Retreat Centre requiring assistance. In return for my help preparing and cooking food, cleaning, and gardening, I would be able to eat delicious vegetarian fare (and lots of it!), learn some new cooking skills, meet some fantastic people, and join in with the yoga, tai chi, qigong, meditation and music/singing sessions, as well as shiatsu and massage workshops. Perfect.

 

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“Hello!” – caterpillar on my decking

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King parrot in the grounds

So. I eventually managed to attend a retreat and focus on ‘me’, but through helping rather than paying for the experience. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of this blissful place, and although 2 years after the original notion, I still got so much out of it, and left feeling revitalised, optimistic and ready for the next adventure…

Anyone for a massage?!

Liz

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