I hear the birds outside my tent. They’ve just started to chat so it must be dawn. I snuggle down into my sleeping bag and just listen to them. If feelings can be delicious, then this is it. The new tent has proved a great success as I am waking feeling more refreshed and human than I was in my old one. It feels like home rather than a temporary hut. I stretch out and take my time getting up. The camp kitchen feels a little empty now that A has left. He had been here a few weeks before I arrived and we fell into an easy rhythm of chatting over the divider between the two halves we occupied. I almost miss his Triple J music (something I never thought I’d say about Triple J) as I set about cooking my apple and cinnamon pancakes for breakfast. It’s funny – I like to travel alone but am a social creature who enjoys the company of strangers at meal times. No doubt this will become a rhythm for me: meeting people, sharing meals then parting ways.
It’s time to get some work done. I start by setting up on my picnic blanket in the shade on my tent site. I enjoy working laying down no matter what the occupational health and safety rules might say. It encourages my creativity, which is important as I work as an eLearning course author. Yes, I still have to work. I might have said goodbye to the office but not to my job; that is how I am funding this adventure. As morning turns to noon I walk to the shop (this is a one-shop town) to buy a few things before setting up my office at a picnic table near the water’s edge. The table is shaded now so I can enjoy an amazing view over the bay where fishermen and paddlers launch their boats, tourists swim in the shark enclosure (designed to keep sharks out) and anglers cast their lines off the jetty.
By about 3:30pm I am done so I turn off my laptop and “shut up shop” for the day. I’ll still have to work a little tonight but for now, it’s time to go explore the tidal flats.
I admire the reflections of the unseasonally cloudy sky in the puddles that have been left by the receding tide.
And marvel at the silhouettes of the old dead trees that line the water’s edge.
The jetty is the place to be during the golden hour. Families fish, caravaners set up their camp chairs to sip beer and wine, boaties change guard as the daytime fishermen return and the night fishermen head out to sea, and everyone watches the dolphins that visit at the same time every night.
My day doesn’t just end when the sun goes down. Sure, I am not a party animal checking out the pubs and bars (not only because there are none here). But I do like to cook and eat well. In fact, one of my favourite things about this lifestyle is that it gives me time and mental space to enjoy my food, rather than eating being an inconvenience to be suffered through at the end of a busy day at work. I am enjoying the Thai-style Penang curry sauce and coconut milk. It feels a little luxurious so I light my candle and treat myself to a romantic dinner for one before cracking on for a few more hours of work (because every hour I do at night is an hour of freedom during the day).