I arrived here on the Spirit of Tasmania in March after a couple of days of driving the highway. I drove from Brisbane to Sydney, then Sydney to Melbourne, where I boarded the ferry. A drive that long really makes me feel alive. I remember being on the road and feeling excited for the journey ahead and my future life in Tasmania. What could it possibly entail?
Everything looked very different from how everything looked at home. After listening to some rockin’ modern tunes and staring out the window for a long time, we arrived at my new local beach. Man, she was gorgeous! A very different beach to what I’m used to back at home. There were no high-rise buildings, takeaway shops, surf clubs or restaurants. All that surrounded me at this beach was pure Mother Nature. There were views of mountainous, grassy hills and large cliffs. It was overcast, and it looked cold, but it looked like paradise. Not another soul in sight! I reached for my pocket and snapped off some shots on my phone. Then we headed towards the cliff. A moment later, it felt as if we were walking on the water. We were on the rocks, dry as a bone, looking at crowds of blue mussels, seaweed, flowing blue water and the most beautiful sights ever. This new home of mine was brilliant and spectacular.
Settling In Some More
April was a great month filled with perfect, sunny beach mornings (with coffee), cold sunsets and sunglasses-at-night-kind-of-parties at people’s houses in town. On a standard morning, I’d spend time with Cocoa.
Cocoa was a black rabbit that lived at the house. She was a good companion and pet for me since I was now away from the cats at home. We both liked fruit, so I purchased a fruit blender to make myself banana smoothies one day. After singing in the car and driving to town, I bought myself a Fruit Ninja. I got into the habit of making myself banana smoothies and feeding the ends to Cocoa the rabbit. Since I was unemployed then, I often had the house to myself in the daytime. I naturally became the rabbit carer even though she belonged to other housemates. I like to think Cocoa and I shared a special bond.
After being amazed countless times by the view of Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, a few days into the month, I decided it was time to go to the very top. It’s such a thrill driving to the peak of the mountain. First, you’ve got to go over the bridge. Then you zoom through the town and pass the suburbs before tackling the long and winding road to the skies. It’s like a racetrack, but it’s got to be driven with caution. Looking down over the town is genuinely breathtaking. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Driving a road way up in the sky is a little disorienting first thing in the morning. I’ve always connected to Kunanyi; the top view is otherworldly.
I returned to the mountain a few times after this day and even brought my ol’ best mate up one day when we were both free. We took my car, had good tunes playing the whole way, and braved the cold at the very top while pandering out at the view of the bottom of the globe — just another day in the modern world for us blokes in our twenties. Standing on top of a mountain is how you do a day right!
One morning, later in the month, my mate and I got in his car, the cruiser, and we followed the roads south. We were on our way to Cockle Creek and planning to hike into Lion Rock for a surf. This place was paradise on steroids! It was like nothing I’d ever seen — the most natural, pristine-looking beach with a low-hanging sun. The sun’s positioning in the sky differed from the beaches at home. This beach was surrounded by nature beyond belief. We had to hike for hours to get to this beach, so we were completely isolated. According to a handwritten sign at the top of the cliff, we were supposedly at Australia's southern point. There was a magnificent feeling about that if it was true. The others in the group agreed.
My body was aching from carrying a surfboard and swaging the entire way. The track started at the carpark. It’s a narrow track during some parts of the journey; in others, it’s just timber planks beneath your feet. The start of the track is all bush; then it turns to a forest, then open plains before finally hitting the most sensational view of that blue ocean. Rolling waves and cooling winds all around.
I spent the day behaving somewhat primitively. Wearing only an XXXX gold yellow bucket hat and shorts, I crowned myself King of Leisure for the day as I had done many times before. This time was unique, however, because I had my own beach for the day. Since the walk took hours to get to where we were, we hardly saw too many others on that beach except for ourselves. A quick sunset came rolling through like the endless waves on the beach that day. It was time to prepare for a sleep in the swag. Thoughts of being taken away by the ocean crossed my mind in the night. What if an unpredictable, monstrous tide were to swallow me and my mates in the middle of the night? Thankfully I woke up to live another day of my youth. My mates were already at the end of the beach surfing by the time I woke up, so I decided to crank up some tunes on my portable speaker. I decided it was too cold to head out for a surf since I didn’t have a proper wetsuit that was long and thick enough for the conditions. I was happy and content with listening to music in paradise, so far down the globe.
Not The End
The months that followed were also full of fun and freedom. The housemates and I got a Smithfield dog called Honey as a new pet for the sharehouse. She was young, shy and timid, but she sure grew on us as we did with her. Little did we know two more dogs would be on their way to the house in the near future. Kenzie, the Havanese dog from next door and Cinnamon, Honey’s sister, another Smithfield. These months saw me gaining some employment down here too. These days had me collecting government payments for job searching and doing any gig or job I could manage. I got a hosting gig for a trivia company, doing a couple of gigs a week. Then I eventually got my foot back in the door with the radio station companies I was working with as a young boy out of school. Both these gigs weren’t consistent enough, so I found myself with a pet store job pretty soon as well.
Three jobs and the young, naive dreamer I am still want something more suited. Could I be a rock ‘n’ roll singer in this modern world or a comedian with all that’s happening today? Maybe or maybe not, but what about a writer? That’s something I think I could do. After all, all of my dream jobs or ideal jobs need creativity within them for me to feel like it’s worth it. I also came down here with a writer’s mindset, so why not keep at that idea and be a freelance writer?
To be a freelance writer today isn’t exactly easy. I’ve got a big workload without a job, let alone with one (or three) and the whole reason I moved here in the first place was because my jobs were working me into the ground. That’s the rat race for you. It never ends.
That’s A Wrap
They were strange hours those days down in Van Diemen’s Land. The nights were cold so far below the Tropic of Capricorn. I couldn’t help but wonder, now and then, what the hell I was doing there. However, I’d also often wonder why you want to be elsewhere.
Tasmania’s landscapes make one feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. There’s beauty all around. If money weren’t an issue, I’d imagine one could enjoy Tasmania forever. Although it’s not that simple for most people, one can never really escape the machine known as the human rat race.