The travelling medic {What I’ve learnt}

travelling-medic-1I can barely begin to describe just how transforming these last six months have been. Those of you who know me well will have realised just how far outside of my cushy, fashion-filled, food-centric comfort zone I’ve been taken and may even have thought that I’d come screaming back home, in a hurry to put all this behind me. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The heart and soul of the people and this land have somehow just crept into me and won me over, bit by bit. It’s like the red pindan that makes its way into every nook and cranny of your house and stains the soles of your runners an indelible bright orange also gets into your blood, leaving a bright and unforgettable mark.

Here are a few images that I chose to hopefully convey what my work days have consisted of, my favourites being those where we travelled to tiny remote Aboriginal communities where beautiful children run amok. I will miss these guys a great deal. Some are painfully quiet and shy, but others are garrulous and affectionate, and lavish their attention and hugs (and snot!) all over you. Unfortunately, due to patient confidentiality I haven’t been able to share any images of these children but I will never forget them!

I probably won’t post a whole lot until I’m settled back in Perth! So ciao for now!

motifThings I thought I knew about myself:

1. I hate change. It had even become a running joke between Jinn and I that I am so resistant to change that I can’t even bear to rearrange the prints on the wall in our dining room. Well, so much for that! With this job I’ve had to move from town to town and work with new people, performing completely foreign and out-of-my-depth tasks, sometimes on a daily basis! My confidence has grown immensely in this area, and although rigidity and structure can be a strength I have definitely learnt to go with the flow, stay happy and not always feel the need to be in control. It’s actually been quite a liberating, exhilarating and empowering revelation for me.

2. I hate swimming. I hate the beach. I’m still not a strong swimmer but dang a secluded beach and feeling the waves lap around your ankles is a tonic to the soul.

3. I hate bugs. Nope. I still hate bugs. I’ve just learnt to be braver. And have a large can of insect spray and an even larger shoe at hand.

4. I’m a city girl. As much as I love big cities with their high fashion stores and chic boutique bars, I’ve also developed an equally strong love for the wild, wild country. The sheer freedom and delight the land and its people bring. Imagine driving down a bumpy, dusty red road in an equally dusty red four-wheel drive, the trees and termite mounds whizzing past you. Wildlife abounds, a flock of white corellas squawk and fly above you, a shy wallaby bounds past, or if you’re lucky a pair of brolgas spread their wings and float majestically by. Your destination may be a rocky gorge with fascinating rock formations, or a secluded creek where you’ll while away the afternoon trying to catch barramundi, but really just having a good ol’ yarn with a good mate. Time just has a completely different meaning and concept up here. Instead of running from task to task, smartphone in hand, time is best spent doing whatever you want, at whatever pace you choose, in a t-shirt and thongs. Just the other day one of the longtime inhabitants here called me a “Kimberley girl” – now that’s a compliment! 🙂 In some ways, the best way I can describe my experience (trying not to be too cliched here) is that I feel almost like a well-kept animal that’s finally left its safe warm cage and found that the wild outdoors is actually truly amazing and beautiful.

Broome – you have not seen the last of me.

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Emma Gorge

emma-gorge-2-3The mini hike into Emma Gorge was as fun as it was rewarding! After our morning seeping in the luscious waters of Zebedee Springs (read about it here) we decided it was time to limber up and get active. Yes, there is a “path” of sorts and the way is marked, but this walk is not exactly your typical Sunday stroll. Imagine clambering over slippery rocks and tip-toeing across creeks, all the while trying to remember to look up ever so often to enjoy the greenery and incredible rock faces that surround you. The gorge ends with an icy (and I mean icy) natural pool where you can have a well-earned swim and wash away the sweat and red dust. I must admit, it was so so very cold and I didn’t last long. But I contented myself to laze on the nearby rocks that had been warmed by the sun, listening to a group of children splashing around, seemingly immune to the chilly water.
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Herschel Bag review – Little America

herschel-littleamerica-1When Rushfaster.com.au offered to send us a Herschel Supply Co. Little America backpack to review, we jumped at the chance. Both Sarah and I are great fans of Herschel and already have a small family of varying styles (backpacks, totes, duffles, you name it!). Their products are a great combination of look, quality, comfort and practicality, and the Little America Backpack is no different.

When I first opened the package containing the backpack, I was immediately struck by its size. It is a large bag, measuring approx 51 x 29 x 13 cm, and is significantly larger than its little brother, the Little America Mid Volume (which is 13cm shorter). It can fit almost anything in it. It’s a very good looking backpack I have to say. The outer is made of a tough woven polyester and is complemented with synthetic leather detailing. There are easy release magnetic clasps for both the main and front compartments. The styling is modelled on American mountaineering backpacks and definitely wins in the looks department.

Herschel certainly don’t skimp on quality and attention to detail. The reverse side and straps of the backpack have padded, breathable mesh panels that ensure ongoing comfort even after carrying the backpack for a few hours. The top of the backpack is closed with a drawstring in a traditional way, which makes it easy to open and close. This is then covered by a flap, which helps to stop rain and the weather from getting into the pack and handily acts as a deterrent to pesky thieves hoping for an easy way in.

herschel-littleamerica-2The main compartment is very spacious and can fit a lot of stuff in it. There is a dedicated laptop compartment than can hold up to a 17” laptop. If there was one criticism, it would be that the compartment is so large that many of the objects may get lost inside the pack. Perhaps more compartments would be a better way to divide the space. The front compartment is handy for keys and other smaller items that you want easy access to. There is a small keychain clip attached to the inside of the compartment as well. The piece de resistance is the small port for headphones in case you want to keep listen to your tunes whilst toting your incredibly good-looking bag.

Overall, this is a great backpack for students, travellers, and even the fashion-savvy worker. It has a very good size to carry whatever you like, as well as a padded laptop compartment. It can hold a lot of stuff (even enough for a weekend away!), but you may find yourself losing items within the vast cavern of the main compartment. All in all though, I’m very happy with this bag and would highly recommend it.

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Ivanhoe Cafe

ivanhoe-cafe-1-2Ivanhoe Cafe is one of those places that you stumble across and are like, “Why have I never been here before?!?!” My Kimberley job involves me flying to Kununurra every six weeks to do paediatric clinics over there, but most days we finish late when most things are closed and we’re thoroughly exhausted. After my final week in Kununurra (I feel quite sad saying that), Jinn flew up from Perth to join me so we could explore the East Kimberley a bit more. On our last day together, after frolicking in springs and climbing through gorges for the past few days we just felt like having an easy morning and stumbled upon this little place for breakfast.

The cafe has a thoroughly organic, almost lived in feel. It’s nestled amongst these giant mango trees that provide you with ample shade to enjoy your meal. We both ordered the breakfast muffin which came filled with yummy bacon slices, fresh salad greens, and an egg fried to runny-yolk perfection. It also came with a little dipping bowl of pretty mind-blowingly good housemade tomato chutney! The finishing touch was that golden yolk flowing out and coating the contents of the muffin with sunny, creamy goodness. Totally satisfying.

It was just perfect to relax under those great trees, enjoying good company (and pretty good coffee too!). And if you’re still hungry for more, the place sells housemade jams, chutneys, ice cream and local honey too. We left the place with contented stomachs, a shopping bag full of mango jam and that irresistible tomato chutney, sipping on our mango smoothies to go.

Bliss.

Ivanhoe Cafe / Ivanhoe Rd, Kununurra / +61 8 9168 1774 / Open 7 days a week 8:00am – 4:00pm (April to September)

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Archer fish

chamberlain-gorge-5During our visit to El Questro we went on a peaceful cruise down the Chamberlain Gorge, admiring the surrounding cliff faces of beautiful King Leopold sandstone. The highlight? The archer fish we met whilst we stopped for a wee while to enjoy a bite of fruit and a glass of bubbly. These ingenious little fish catch their insect prey by shooting water at them with remarkable accuracy which causes their hapless meals to fall into the water to be eaten! This particularly clever bunch had learnt that they would be rewarded with fish food if they shot us on the hands. They were amazingly good at it, but be careful not to ignore them for too long as they may shoot you in the face! I got my mascara shot off by one over zealous individual! My glass of sparkling wine went hopelessly ignored as I spent my time fascinated by these little wonders of nature…
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Stars up North

stars-3stars-1stars-2motifFar away from the lights of the city, the stars shine so bright.

Zebedee

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Saturday morning was spent idling and floating in the nourishing waters of Zebedee Springs. Located within the vast El Questro wilderness park, Zebedee Springs is a naturally-occurring thermal spring. It gets its name from a character from the Magic Roundabout (Who? Nah, I don’t remember it either…) and is said to always remain a comfortable 28-32°C (82-90°F), perfect for soaking and lounging in.

As we wandered through the towering Livistona palm trees (and past a stray bull – watch out!), we found ourselves in the natural paradise. We left our clothes, towels and cares on the nearby rocks and steeped ourselves into the soothingly warm spring water. Somehow, the time just flew by. Two hours later and with great reluctance, we eventually had to tear ourselves away – our minds and bodies cleansed by the calming waters. zebedee-springs-1 zebedee-springs-2 zeb-diptych zebedee-springs-5 zebedee-springs-6 zebedee-springs-7 zebedee-springs-9 zebedee-springs-8

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