13 Aug 2013 Freedom Trekking Aussie Style
I just bought the ticket. Australia had been a life long dream, peppered with tales of wonder from all the Aussies I knew. A ten-day excursion did not seem right. Traveling half way around the world, anyone in his or her right mind should stay for an extended length of time. Personally, I had all the time in the world. My nine to five job was gone. My best friend had passed away from liver cancer. My focus was gone and I was bored. Against advice from every soul around me, I cashed in my 401K and purchased the ticket. I was going to Australia.
I had no agenda. I didn’t want to burden myself with wish lists of touristy traps. My life had been on schedule for as long as I could remember. I made the commitment to step off the grid, carrying one bag, my fountain pen with refills, and a journal. I would greet each day, with a blank page, filling the sheet with experiences no matter how big or small.
Although I had travelled extensively in the States, showing horses from coast to coast, Australia tapped into my explorer spirit. The hospitality of Australians is unsurpassed. My first day in Sydney CBD, a very kind man, curious as to why I was eating hummus for breakfast, offered advice on historical buildings to photograph. He quizzed me as to where I was from, where I was going and how long I would be travelling. When he applauded me for travelling solo, I felt honored. A total stranger, an angel, gave me the best gift – a sense of pride for being strong enough to make this journey alone and step outside of my comfort zone.
As I wandered from Sydney to Uluru, aimlessly, absorbing the culture, the topography of the area struck me, not so much as odd, but empowering. Camping with a hodgepodge group from around the world, I would listen to their hopes and their fears, as we trekked through the Outback. At night, I gazed out into the universe from another hemisphere. I missed my Stargazer app, but felt humbled under the blanket of stars.
Uluru, a monadnock of strength, stands majestically for the world to see, not as a lump of sandstone jutting from the earth, but as sacred Aborigine ground. I opted not to climb. I was physically prepared to make the hike on this particular clear and windless day. However, I could not, having become so emotionally connected to the Aborigine culture. I would not violate their hallowed ground. Uluru is truly magical.
Zigzagging back to the coast, Brisbane gives surfers a paradise. What Brisbane gave to me was more. I had only one goal. I wanted to see the zoo Steve Irwin built. The Australian Zoo, his legacy to his passion of all creatures, maybe just another tourist stop. I understand that passion. I had that passion, with my horses many years ago and wanted to rekindle it. How many zoo animals exude love and affection? I truly believe each one of those animals was smiling, happy to be ambassadors to the world. Even the crocs seemed content. You could feel Steve’s energy everywhere.
I found Melbourne charming. My last stop before heading back to the states, the city has a thriving art and theatre community. My creative juices stirred. Able to spend hour on end, in the mist of the café culture, I wrote until my heart was content. The architecture was eclectic; old school energy holding on in the urban hipness. I had no agenda – just giving into the whim of what food I wanted to explore on that day. How could I leave? Better yet, how could I bring this attitude back with me to the States?
Upon my return, I deleted unread email acquired while I was away. I didn’t answer my voicemail messages. I didn’t re-connect with colleagues that did not understand why I needed to take this journey. Trekking through Australia changed my life. I fell in love with the woman that emerged while on that journey. Everyday I focus on keeping that love in my heart alive.
About the Author: Sabrina Zackery is an award winning author, director and photographer based in Reno, Nevada. Ms. Zackery left the corporate world over five years ago and made the commitment, to pursue a life long dream of writing. Five awards and two books later, her production company, Mz3, focuses on family and moral based projects. Recently returned from an extended stay in Australia, Ms. Zackery is working on her first fiction trilogy novel.