Ah Byron. A two-day detour into green rolly hills, rainbow-glimmery waterfalls and surf, where land prices make you cry and German snowboard instructors make you want to learn to surf. Again. And then go to Tibet. (After I just narrowed the focus of my wanderlust down to Western Australia. And India.)
There’s something frivolous about taking the long way home. And unravelling plans into the wind.
I was in Byron 15 years ago, pretty much to the day. (Before it was completely besmirched by the likes of Dominos and Supre, promulgating their cheap-ass chain-store mediocrity to affluent city-slaves searching for something they don’t realise is long since gone and which they have effectively helped kill off. Not that this was intended, nor that I can separate myself from them. But back to topic...)
I’d dropped out of uni for a semester and headed, for the second time, to Byron, to think and be. OK, there may have been some cavorting too, of the kind that it is natural for an academically focused 19yo to do when unchained from her small world. I hung out with loads of people from all over the world. I tried to surf. I sailed a hobicat. I stole a hubcap/ashtray from the Railway pub. I tried … a lot of … um, different stuff for the first time.
Oddly, I feel closer to my 19yo self than my 19yo self would have liked. (If my 19yo self could see me now.) Crazy to think that I knew back then that I was on the wrong path. Crazier still that it took me 15 years... 15 YEARS GODDAMNIT!! to alter course. Even more pathetic is that I still don’t have a clue where I’m going!
But maybe that’s OK, in some small, skewy, not-the-Hollywood-ending kind of way.
On my 19th birthday, I hitch-hiked from Byron to Nimbin with an English lad. I remember not quite knowing whether we would make it there, and if we did, where we would stay. We made it to Nimbin. That night I stayed in a little house which belonged to friends of friends, and fell asleep under a window of stars, stoned to the eyeballs, as two girls made love in the next room. It remains one of my most spontaneously lived birthdays, and one of the few I actually remember.