Easter weekend was the furthest I’d planned in terms of my life in Australia. With the Sport Lived program finishing on the Sunday, Lydia and I were off to Byron over Easter for Bluesfest and then after that I’d not really thought about.
I’d be coming back to no job and no house, I was in denial to some extent, but I wanted to enjoy Byron so I wasn’t thinking about it.
Thankfully, as I’ve been here I’ve got a job and Emily (one of my friends from work) was kind enough to take me in while she’s housesitting, with the promise of us looking for a house together when the housesitting gig is up.
Currently, I’m in Byron (having waved goodbye to Lyds, who’s off to have her own adventure up the east coast for the next two weeks) feeling incredibly relaxed and ready for the challenges over the coming months.
We’d decided when we bought tickets for Bluesfest we didn’t want to camp. The plan was to find a hostel or a spot on Air B&B and enjoy the festival in luxury. But when we bought the tickets, Easter was so far away we didn’t think about it.
Get to 3 weeks before and we’re panicking with Byron either completely booked out or completely out of our budget range. Then we found ‘The Black Shed’ in Tintenbar on Air B&B. It was a cute little spot at the top of this family’s land, slightly out of Byron, but from the map, it looked like it would be easy to get around.
How wrong we were.
Turns out there aren’t any buses in Byron and Tintenbar is a 2 hour walk from the nearest bus stop. It was only as we were driving up to the shed we realised that we might have made a mistake. But: it was all part of the adventure.
We were assured by the owners that we’d be able to easily hitch everywhere, but he didn’t account for us being British and feeling too awkward to hitch.
After missing a bus one day and walking 4 hours from Lennox Head to Suffolk Park, and then a 2 hour walk to the next day before being picked up by a lovely mother and daughter duo taking their new convertable out for a ride, we were game to try our luck hitching.
Matching red wellies, blonde hair and being female works wonders in these situations.
Once we got over the initial awkwardness of sticking our thumb out and hoping for the best, we got a taste for hitching.
We were fortunate we never had to wait long, sometimes getting picked up when we weren’t even trying to hitch and everyone who gave us lifts were genuinely kind hearted, beautiful souls, a kalidescope of characters with wonderful stories to share.
The only downside was getting eaten by mossies on the walk.
We arrived to overcast weather, swiftly followed by a downpour. Typical festival weather.
We knew we needed to invest in wellies and found matching red wellies.
Why on earth wouldn’t we?
Almost regretting the decision on Thursday after our 4 hour walk along the beach and through the jungle, we felt entirely vindicated when the rain came down on Friday and the mud grew thicker.
Wellies made dancing to Frank Turner in a summer dress more fun.
Wellies made us friends and got us lifts.
I’d like to think everyone was talking about the beautiful English girls with the matching gum boots.
Wellies meant drunk chaps tried their luck. Every. Night.
We were also lucky that Melissa and Peter, the people we were staying with were absolutely fantastic, giving us lifts where they could and bringing us baking for breakfast.
There were so many beautiful happy families at the festival.
There was dancing and fantastic music and great food and just the most wonderful community atmosphere. I can see how I’d get sucked in to the lifestyle and never leave.
I can see why everyone had so much fun in the 60s/70s.
I am the proud owner of a hair wrap and tie dye shirt.