The land down under and what led me there
The story of how I went to Australia is not unlike most of my travel stories. When a fun loving, drunk Australian insists you stay with her when you visit the land down under…you accept, naturally.
I had a deep desire to go to Australi-way for many years and was saving diligently. The flight and accommodations are the biggest expenses. Hostels in Oz are not cheap at $35AUD per night, and the flights are around a thousand bucks from New York. But I didn’t care, I was determined. When Mel, an ozzie sheila (Australian woman) who loves to party and has a seemingly endless amount of energy, told me I could stay with her in Melbourne, I was ecstatic a local was gonna show me her stomping grounds!!
Since Mel and I had met at a party for all of 5 minutes before she scribbled her contact on a piece of paper and pranced out of my life, I was a bit nervous that maybe she wasn’t going to be the best host. Or that she’d flake out in classic hippy fashion and forget I was even coming! But my fears were met with the exact opposite outcome. Mel was amazing! She picked me up from the airport with a colorfully, decorated sign with my name on it! Could you imagine a stranger/soon to become new best friend could be so damned welcoming?? Aussies truly do fit the stereo-type of being some of the most kind and generous people on the planet.
Mel loves to party and INSISTED we go to this doof (party) out in the bush (countryside) called Rainbow Serpent. It was like a mini burning man. If you don’t know what Burning Man is, it’s one of the biggest, greatest parties in the world! See my post about it HERE. Hippies, music, art, camping, nature, bicycles and partying with Ozzie’s for 5 days?? Yes. Yes, this indeed sounded like the perfect way for me to be welcomed to this new land I was so excited about.
We went booze and food shopping and started packing up the van. Mel had an entire garage filled with all the hippy gear you could possibly want for a festival. A huge canopy, colorful rugs, big plushy pillows you’d find in an opium tent, decorative flowers and vines and paper umbrellas w little jingle jangles hanging from them. We were SO set. She’s a party pro and I knew I was in good hands.
All I can say is that Rainbow Serpent was SO. MUCH. FUN. A festival of 15,000 it’s pretty manageable and it didn’t take long to figure out the different camping areas, food rows, stages and art installations. Having a bike was super fun to cruise around with and get to know people. The vibe was all love, silliness and self expression. Costumes galore and nothing but encouragement. The more outlandish the better!
Our neighbors built a small fort complete w painted bricks, dragons and an actual drawbridge; it was a real life castle! The top could hold about 15 people up there!!! The castle crew was a tight knit group of friends from the Yarra valley who welcomed me with open arms and would later invite me to their hometown to make some trouble. They had all kinds of props and even a dungeon! I discovered how much fun waving around a massive dildo, making crass jokes at innocent passers by could be.
Not only did I bond with the castle crew but I got to party with Mel and her posse! I befriended a giant, bearded, ozzie Viking who is an avid traveler and whose goal is to go to every country by the time he is 60. The friends I made this first week would later help guide my Australian travels. I even made it into one of the Rainbow Serpent promo videos! So many colorful, wonderful and warm people, I knew my trip could not be off to a better start and I was excited for all that the next few months would hold!
Stay tuned for more travel stories and the following parts of my Australia journey! Stay connected with email notifications!
Categories: adventure, Australia, Blogging 101, memoir, photography, Travel
I need to go to Rainbow Serpent! I didn’t know it was like a mini burning man!! 😀
Oh me too. I want to go to the Rainbow Serpent festival too. I have read about it and I am so keen to go. You sound like you are having an absolutely wonderful time in Australia.
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