Every encounter is a lesson

On 7 August 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

IMG_0905Few days ago, during my road trip in a van on the east coast of Australia, I made some beautiful encounters that changed ​​me. I‘ve not really talked about that famous road trip but to explain it simply, I rented a van from Cairns with the idea of ​​going to Sydney in about a month, stopping wherever the wind pushes me, in the way of advices received, desires, main points and the desire to just let go. If possible with a budget constraint of not paying for the nights of camping but to find free places to stay.

Here’s how I realized that so many Australians travel after their retirement (for those I met, retirement often taken before the official age by choice or because after creating their own business they wanted to take advantage of profits made) around their own country in a caravan for several months. And that’s how I got every night in camps more or less official to discuss / share a dinner / meet around a fire these Australians.

But some nights are more special than others, like this very first night after I rented the van, where a family was eating next to me and invited me to share a barbecue with them. Another day, I was too tired to continue to drive, so I decided to stop for lunch at a camp to finally still be there the next night having found lovely people who wanted to spend time with me.
And especially this day when I was told of a very nice camp at Agnes Water for $6 a night, a small town where people usually do not stop because it is not part of the “to do tourist” in the travel guides, but when my curiosity led me. And what a good choice

IMG_1187So here parked at the camp around other travelers. After a swim at the beach and a cold shower at the campsite, I see this group of Australians playing bocce right next to my van. Here I am to say two words to one of them, two words that will be enough to make me spend 3 unforgettable days
It started with discussions with two men explaining to me that they have helped this group of 4 German who were stuck for 3 days due to a mechanical problem on their van because they wanted these young people to enjoy their trip in Australia and they were ashamed that the garages in the area refuse to help them because they were overwhelmed.” They then explained to me that they went to talk to the mechanics themselves asking for help, which worked. Then John, who lives as a nomad for several months in the country after having traveled quite a bit, offered me a glass of wine. The group begins to light a fire to keep us warm in this winter evening. Discussions about everything and nothing but a joy and complicity although nobody knows each other for over than a week. Keith and Stacey left to have dinner but he came back few minutes later to offer me a plate of fish (freshly caught that day by another guy of the band) and vegetables (broccoli, yes yes sista, I ate it and it was good and I told them after the famous story of the canteen aha). A little bit later, Eric, another nomad for the past 3 years, arrives with his guitar and after some time, I say jokingly that I can play a song (which is true that being said thank you Ben Harper). So here I am the guitar in hand feeling ridiculous until Eric takes his harmonica and follow me, creating an unexpected and magical duo in this starry evening (more and more charm). Then the group decides to find a game and Eric offers something simple: say something positive about the person sitting on your left, because we never hear positive things about ourselves or it is always really nice.” Simple game that shows you the beauty of the soul of that person, of that group who willingly joined the exercise, touching me also with the words for me. We then talked about an encounter we have had during our travelling life that changed our life. I talked about one of these women I met in Kenya that really impressed me and made me think about (my) life. The evening continues and ends with the last embers.

IMG_1138After such an evening, impossible for me to leave already, I have to spend more time here and dolphins were not present in the morning at the beach like every day, a sign that I had to stay one more night. So here I am on day 2 to take guitar lessons with Eric, to talk about life on the road with Ken, many share about life with John, watching a beautiful sunset on the beach. Eric invited me to dinner, and we continue to share and talk. He told me about three lessons he got during his nomadic life:
1) never have any plan and agree to surrender
2) assume that all people are good and have something positive to bring us
3) when a guitarist plays with another guitarist and the 2nd plays something new or in a new way, then the first said what’s that? Can you teach me?”. We must act with the same thought when someone disagrees with you or does not act in the same way as you, rather than to stick to your own guns, exchange with each other to understand what leads him/her to that.

I think I do not need to tell you much more, I learnt a lot thought all these conversations / sharing moments during these 2 days. And in general, I‘ve learnt a lot since the beginning of this 11 month journey with thousands of people I have met along the way. And I continue to learn every day while traveling through different countries, cultures, types of life

The next morning, after a beautiful sunrise, the dolphins were back in the bay, alongside the surfers already in the water at 6:30-7AM. Time for me to go back to new places and encounters that will teach me more lessons...


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