“I’m not dead” post

The wifi connection with my current HelpX host seems a bit flaky and I only have 100 MB left on my cellphone data plan so I probably won’t be updating much in the next few days.

I spent four days in Melbourne being a tourist and punching bag and am now way out in the middle of nowhere at a native plant nursery in Victoria, about two hours east of Melbourne. I’m only here until Sunday, when I’m supposed to join a family who run a winery about an hour north.

I don’t know why anyone would make their living in this area based on a product that needs a lot of water because everything is dry and brown. Apparently they recently came out of a 10-year drought. This house is completely off the grid with solar for electricity and a 55,000 liter container of water for all bathing, cooking, etc., which is 100% rainwater (filtered, I guess?).

It has me thinking about how feasible some of these ideas might be in the states but I don’t think the financial benefit is enough to drive it. Simon, my current host, told me that he and his wife used to pay $1000 for three months of electricity, and his solar setup cost $7000. In the states my electric bill would be $450 over three months in the hottest part of summer. Electricity is generated from coal here and there’s tons of it, but the power companies just gouge their customers.

Simon has 50 acres and I get the impression that he’s kind of a big kid. He has a winding, one-car-width dirt road all around his property that’s intended to help with fire control in the bush but mainly gets used as his personal racetrack. He took me for a lap in his 1981 Toyota Celica, which he flogged the hell out of. I’m hoping to get a chance behind the wheel before I leave!

I have lots of pictures to share from the end of my stay in Bellingen and some from downtown Melbourne but those will have to wait until I get a speedier connection. For now, text will have to do!

A little edit to my original post… This is a Google maps aerial view of where I’m staying. Most of the path that you can see is the “racetrack”. 🙂



6 thoughts on ““I’m not dead” post

  1. Adam The Adam says:

    Once you get some extra internetz:

    Tommy plays a mix of waltzing matilda/road to gundagai as one tune. If you haven’t heard these — look ’em up. Waltzing matilda has a lot of strayan in it.

    Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong

  2. Boone says:

    Nothing like flogging the hell out of a 1981 Toyota Celica to get your spark back! My mom had one of those when I was a kid. It had white leather interior.

  3. Hey bro, glad to hear that you’re not dead! I’d be interested in hearing a little bit more about the different types of work that your different workshare hosts are requiring of you. I’d imagine that the work itself is not your favorite part of the journey, but considering that many of us are living vicariously through you, inquiring minds would like to know. Take care!

  4. Judy says:

    I am very envious…both a nursery and a winery…you are living my dream. I am curious as to how they provide water for these two industries. Matthew is in your continent now, but he is in Perth. Really on the other side of your current world. I was comparing your flights and find you both return to the states on the same day. He will be coming back from a week in Hong Kong after leaving Perth. Next Christmas we won’t be able to get a word in at the dinner table! Can’t wait to hear more.

  5. David says:

    Like your brother—-I’m glad you’re not dead (but I already knew that), and like your aunt—I also am envious that you get to work with plants and alcohols. But (like your unc) I will be most envious if you shag out around the race course full tilt. I’ve always wanted to have my own race course, and now you are living in the middle of one. Again, what a cool, cool, cool adventure you are having. I guess the Tommy Emmanuel thing must be an Apogee ad. He is such an interesting player. And when we saw him (front row at the Ogle Center) he was just as pleasant, and absolutely loved playing, as much as he always looks like he does. I’ve heard you play things that sounded like some of the stuff he does. It’s good to be able to read about what you’re doing again. Missed the time you were off. And hey, if you go over your data limit, just keep on trucking, and list it as vacation expenses. I’ve still got three or four dollars left from the thirty-five that I sold your classical for. That ought to buy something! Be cool, have fun, and let the world hear from you. Love Unc

  6. Uncle Bob says:

    You had me with your first sentence. What the hell is a wifi & a Help X. 100B, don’t know, cellphone, now we’re talking. You have to fly low for your uncle Bob. Glad you weathered the storm in Melbourne. Living on a 60 acre, dry farm reminds me of Southern Arkansas where I was born but I’ll leave that for another day. Don’t want to get long winded here but two points I want to make. #1- Shake of the idoit that hit you, this is still the trip of your life. #2- I am with David, you run short of coins, let the Daugherty Clan take up a collection. We got your back, go see the world!!! take care, stay safe

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