Destination: Some Place Else

…to get away for if only a moment

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2. Get back to nature. Go ride a horse.

So I may have gained a few kilos from overeating, but heading away for a long weekend to Jindivick with some friends was the best decision.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Melbourne; the hustle of the city, the swarm of musicians to grace our dingy and grand venues, the access to arts, the beautiful mix of cultures, sports and mayhem, insane gastronomic cuisines, perfect coffees and enough bars and pubs that you will never visit them all.  It’s no wonder Melbourne has been ranked the most livable city again this year.  But there are also times when I need to escape from it too.  Take your pick of amazing destinations –the beach, rainforests, wineries.  I urge you to get in your car and just drive till you find somewhere that tickles your fancy.

It’s just that….the drive.   Sometimes all you need is a big open road, a choice soundtrack, and some beautiful scenery to make you forget about that big urban sprawl filled with neurotic drivers and time frantic stress heads.  Everyone can get a little crazy when there are deadlines to meet, people to see, things to do.  It’s only when you start driving away and the chaos turns to nothing but landscape and farm animals, that you realize that you feel that much calmer.  A long drive on your own can be like a fine wine, subtle at first, then it grabs hold of your senses and envelopes you with its boldness.  So out I headed to Tonimbuk for a 2 hr trail ride before my weekend away of eating, drinking and vineyard visiting.

Now it had been at least 5 years since my last horse ride which was on the beach with Gunnamatta trail rides.  I had considered myself an ok rider at that stage, but was paired with a horse that decided to be king of the studs.  Anytime a horse came nearby, it would flip round and try and bite it, with yes, me on its back holding on for dear life.  But ‘if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again’ (thanks Aaliyah). So I headed out with my pals Johnny & Emma and decided to get back to nature.  Though two words of advice, don’t a) decide to do a boot camp session the day before as getting on a horse will be the last thing your sore toosh wants to do and  b) don’t go and get all your vaccines for your overseas trip the day before either, as your arms will feel like lead.

Aside from these two bad choices of mine, horse riding was yeehaw fantastic. What I liked about my group was it was filled with the young and old.  One lady in her early 70s was ticking it off her bucket list; another young girl decided to overcome her fear of horses and embraced it.  This is one way to connect from person to nature to animal in one shot.  There are no Dances with Wolves horse riding scenes on this one though, just time to take in the green pastures.  If your skill level can handle a light gallop and going up and down non threatening hills then this is the one for you. Now some people would not like the horse I got, but Toby and I had time to bond.  Yes there were times when he did not want to move (twice I didn’t realize he was peeing and couldn’t work out why he wouldn’t budge), or when he just decided to walk on his own-but this was when I loved it the most as I was alone in the nature and didn’t have a thought in my mind.  I felt safe on Toby.

So for this post, it’s really about disconnecting from work and city life and taking the time to appreciate our beautiful country surroundings.  Go to a bnb, hire a holiday house, find a friend who has a shack somewhere and go on that drive till you find somewhere new.  Enjoy the local produce, play a board game instead of watching TV or even go ride a horse.  Either way just get back to nature and just be.


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1. the one with the dancing…..

Only darkness surrounds the figures finding their place.

Who we are doesn’t matter here-

There is no hierarchy.

There is no one watching.

As we become barefoot, our baggage leaves the room.

The beat begins, and so do we. 

We move and flow so free.

We dance as one and as our own all at the same time.

Just a small space in time to rid yourself of angst-

as if there was only this moment. 

10:45pm 23.10.13

So if you’ve read my intro bit (click the top right corner next to home link ) you may be questioning what this so called No Lights, No Lycra is.  Now it’s nothing new, it’s actually an old fad. But more and more people are catching onto it and with good reason. In a nutshell, in 2009, these two Melbournian dance students Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett found they wanted a place where they could just let loose and dance with no inhibitions.  So they hired a hall with some mates, turned down the lights, turned up the music and NLNL was born.   Since then it has not only become a nationwide movement, but an international revolution (see from little things, big things do grow).  Now what makes this so different is that there is no alcohol, no drugs, people just rock up with a love for music, dancing and good times- it’s free form dancing for anyone and everyone.

So for the last year or so, I’ve been rocking up at one of the three venues (Mon-city, Tues-Fitzroy, Wed- Brunswick), taking my shoes off and then fully embracing the just let loose vibe.  I can be having a stressed out, horrible day and it makes it all fall away. Or I can be having a great day, and it makes it that much better.  I always leave dripping in sweat, with a big smile.  As does everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong; when I first heard about it, I was a little hesitant.  But always one to try new things, I followed some friends along.  Now when I first entered the Brunswick hall I thought, shit was the hell have I got myself into, as people were stretching out as if they were preparing for a gym workout.  I was even more skeptical when a Lion King operatic song belted out and everyone started dancing as if we were out for an experimental dance junket.  When in Rome as they say, so I pulled out my best tree pose, fluttered my little hands and decided to be at one with the music.  Though unsure I could pull this off for over an hour, I did my best.  Much to my relief and satisfaction, this little melody, however lovely, was interrupted by a wicked bass beat and then the real night began.

So this was where my love for NLNL started- music for everyone from rock to hillbilly to pop to African tribal beats.  Now it isn’t pitch black, you’re not bumping into people, unless like me you love to dance with your eyes closed.  But it’s dark enough to leave your inhibitions at the door and bring yourself back to basics.  This is what it’s like:  I once took my niece to a High 5 film at the movies.  During every musical scene (which there is plenty) she would stand up and start dancing, along with the other kids.  It didn’t matter if they were dancing with her or not, she just didn’t care. If she feels like dancing, she just will, just cause.  Unfortunately as we get older, we start to get conscience of what we look like.  Internal monologues start playing out, ‘are my dance moves hot enough,’ ‘god I wish I hadn’t worn jeans this tight,’ ‘I better have another drink before I hit the dance floor.’  I’ve never really been one to shy away from the dance floor, I’ll stick out a pout and work it.  But NLNL turns my slightly restrained dance club moves to I am now a dance goddess.  I can dance like my niece, I can spin and swirl and be a fairy or a ballerina or a break dancer, because no one cares. No one is watching my moves but they are way too engrossed in doing the same thing.

So can you tell I love it? I’ve told friends and they’ve come and then they’ve told their friends. It is just so fun and that is what you need in life, cause really it can get all a bit too serious really.  Take my advice, check out this website, do something different and come along, because I swear you will not regret it.

As Billy Idol says ‘when there’s nothing to lose, when there’s nothing to prove and I’ll be dancing with myself.’