Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

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Grampian Trip (pre-trip)

Another morning waking up in the hostel, keeping my bag largely packed so I don’t have to repack it every day, stumbling down for a breakfast of cereal and full cream milk, toast and jam. Another morning of checking out, of walking back up to the showers that aren’t locked. (I’m actually writing this as I sit near the kitchen, past the door that gets a guard starting an hour ago, full of a dinner of salvaged food that was put on the free shelf today, all of this after having checked out this morning. I’m not sleeping here tonight.) Grabbed my bags and headed to the train station, out to the burbs, and for another weekend out of the city.

I have a pretty good system going here. During the week I’m in town, spending days at the library doing research and enjoying the quiet. Then I have the afternoons to walk around and shop, or see the city (as I walk places. I still am not touristing here.), to make dinner at the hostel, to check into my new room. And with the evenings I head to whatever free concert(s) I feel like seeing, taking free public transit to get there. Then on the weekends, as people start to crowd the city and it would turn into a party location, I head out to the burbs to chill with Leanne at her place – a haven of quiet, nature, calm, and free room and board. She shows me around the countryside or around the neighborhood. We do what we want to do, and I get to see some of the major sights with a friend instead of a package tour. All in all, my life here is pretty damn good right now.

This Friday (the 16th), I am meeting her so I can throw a load of laundry in, grab some lunch, hit the grocery store, deal with a few secure online transactions, and pack up the car for a weekend trip to the Grampians. I feel like we are efficient at these tasks, save for the conversation diversions with her mother and the section of time digging out all the camping gear to figure out what we actually need to take, yet somehow we end up taking four hours to do this all and leave in time for rush hour. We pick up her sister, Penny, and start the long drive out to their family country home.

The country home is cool. What started out as a small rural cabin has been remodeled and redesigned, expanded without losing character, all still wood and pretty, there is a wrap-around deck over terraced gardens in the middle of the wilderness. It is walking distance to natural springs. We test that out. And I test out the water from the springs that are still running. They allegedly have restorative properties. They certainly taste like someone a hundred years ago would think that. Naturally carbonated, a bit sulpherous, with other fun minerals to affect the taste depending on which well it comes from. I am not as repulsed as I was warned I’d be, but I’m not particularly in need of more.

We assemble the dinner that was packaged up for us and join her parents (who have now arrived) with sparkling wine on the balcony. The night is relaxed, the weather is cool and perfect. The bug zapper keeps going off with the satisfying sound of frying mosquitos. And before too much longer, the night wraps up, and I take my place on the mattress on the floor next to the dining room table to sleep solidly for a full 8 hours. Or at least as much sleep as I can get before my alarm wakes me up.

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This entry was posted on December 22, 2011 by in Australia, Victoria (Melbourne).

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