I’m dusting red sand off my clothes and washing the smell of campfire out of my hair. I’ve just come back from a very special visit to the ‘Red Centre’ where I went camping and hiking in outback Central Australia.
I loved swapping my computer for outback telly (a campfire) and see the wondrous beauty all around me. For me, the power of natural beauty energises me; it makes my soul sing. I get snatches of nature in the city, but immersion has such restorative power.
See with your heart – on an Aboriginal sign at start of the walk at Kata Tjuta it read: ‘Hold in your heart the knowledge that this is a special place. Walk quietly, tread lightly.’ I think this applies across our lives.
Car chips start friendships – we were the last on the truck so we had to sit up the front with the driver (who was also our guide). I always take potato chips on long drives – I call them ‘car chips’ – and the words “would you like some car chips?” opened up days of fascinating conversations, insights and camaraderie with our guide.
When it rains, it’s beautiful – it never rains in the desert. Umm…yes it does. We got three out of the 12 days of the year it rains in Central Australia – not great when you’re camping and hiking. But it wasn’t until the sun came out that I realised how lucky I was to see the desert in the rain. The colours and light were beautiful.
Car cricket reminds you to never give up – in the country it’s tradition to wave to the driver of the car going past. Car cricket scores the waves – 5 points for a full hand wave, 1 for a pointer finger and so on. We played for beers with the guide and our goal was 50 points. Over the day we got to 50 but lost six because we were overtaken. We had lost! But at 7pm, on a dirt road, in the middle of nowhere in the desert, we came around a bend to see an ancient Bedford truck which slowed down for us to overtake. That was 6 points! We won! You never know what’s around the corner…
Oh, and take a backup torch – no electricity with a broken torch…means that you get changed in the dark and you’re probably wearing the same undies as yesterday!
Stepping away from the computer and your everyday brings moments you’ll never forget and new knowledge that you learn, not through your eyes or memory, but through your heart.
Maybe it’s time for you to stop, go quietly, tread lightly and open your heart to new experiences and beauty.