Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weekend shenanigans and my Happy Place.

This weekend was a corker. A winner. Do you know what a great weekend means? An image-heavy post, so look out!
I treated myself to an extra long weekend with my lovely man to spend a few days enjoying the amazing spring weather and each others company. I'm still so attuned to the seasons of the Northern hemisphere that I forgot how lovely this time of year can be... oh my gosh... here I go again, banging on about the weather! Hahaha.
I just can't help it though... as an ex-pat you have no idea how exciting it is for me to be able to get into shorts in Spring... well, any time of the year really!
Each year our town celebrates 'Springfest', a community event spread around the shores of the lake with market stalls, yummy food, vintage car show and heaps of stuff for kids. With that big ole sun shining I think the whole of Ballarat turned out for the event this year!
 My fave part by far had to be the awesome Chinese lanterns in the lantern making competition... Ballarat has a strong Chinese heritage from it's Goldrush days so I love seeing that multicultural history celebrated. Plus, how awesomely colourful are these lanterns!?

As if walking around the lake weren't enough for a Sunday, I made the executive decision that we were heading out bush... I can't get enough of camping and, yes, I do know it's not for everybody, but I really think camping in the forest is my Happy Place. Uppercase H uppercase P. It's that good. 
Do you ever find it hard to relax? I do. My brain whizzes around, spinning with so many ideas and inspirations and projects and worries all at once that sometimes I think my brain will implode on itself! I can 'chill' with the best of them, but I'm so rarely actually relaxed inside, just going through the motions of being at rest in the hope that my thoughts will give up the struggle and follow suit. 
 I can recall 1 time, in the past 4 years in which I was so relaxed I thought my brain would turn to mush.Yep. You heard me. One time. In 4 years. Wow, was that a good feeling. My whole bod felt different... like a big, cooked strand of spaghetti, soft and floppy and just hanging out like...urm... a cooked strand of spaghetti! 
Stick with me here because I'm going somewhere with this...  that one miraculous and marvelous occasion was on a week long camping excursion. Sure, I hadn't showered in days  except in river water, and my feet were black as a very black thing, and my hair felt like a grease-fest but I was happy and relaxed and it felt AWESOME. It can be pretty darn tiring being so tense all the time let me tell ya, and how I long to feel like spaghetti again.

Sometimes it's easy to forget about the things on your very doorstep. We are lucky in Ballarat to live close to a few State Forests which offer acres and acres of bush to explore and camp in and this season I'm keen to suss out some local places rather than taking the drive to the coast. I want to find some pretty places close our house for spontaneous getaways, quick refreshing retreats without the fuss and expense of camping on an organised site. And as long as there are trees and water I'm happy, be it ocean or river or creekside. 
Just 15 minutes down the road and we could have been a million miles from our house. Out of the city, down by the creek we threw up our tent and with the campfire lit I was one happy chappy.  Gathering wood and making some amazing coals to cook over just makes a process I already love that little bit better, food is so great delicious cooked over an open fire don't you think? The simplest fare is mouthwatering and I'm dreaming up all sorts of yummy things to cook up next time. Even a cuppa tastes better brewed in a billy and drunk from a tin mug.
In just one night sitting around that campfire, staring into it like it were television, I felt just a small part of me unwind, my clockwork loosened just a little and I got a taste of that illusive cooked spaghetti feeling.
As we sat there into the night, just me and my man, we watched the fire crackle and glow and listened to the noises of the bush at night, we both knew our next trip would be very close indeed and this year is Camping Year at our house.
Happy camping,  
X Steph