All, Hello again! Due to Freycinet Lodge’s transition from the Easter frenzy a few weeks ago into the slower and steady routine of winter, my string of previous adventures have come less frequently as I pause to embrace the laid back Aussie lifestyle of beer and beach. With the slow down of guests, the Lodge management (aka Captain Cassie) as well has switched their momentum and concentration in organizing Food & Beverage field trips for us to learn more about the surrounding suppliers and lodge resources. A couple weeks ago we took a morning trip to the nearby Oyster Farm, sailed to sea, and finished with fresh oysters from the catch for breakfast. Then, a few days later we were given the un-required opportunity to attend wine tasting at nearby vineyards that Tuesday, Friday, or following Tuesday; so I obviously signed up for that Tuesday, Friday, AND following Tuesday. Besides these random learning experiences, time in the restaurant has been filled by accidentally interrupting marriage proposals by suggesting a look at the dessert menu, convincing others to play games of ‘kill, marry, fuck’ regarding the guests, and being relentlessly teased by the kitchen for saying “y’all.”
Last week, this new work routine surprisingly began with an additional unusual but understandable amendment to our pre-shift speech by F & B Manager “Uncle” Benito, in which we were given a second copy of the accommodation rules highlighting “no smoking of illegal substances” and “no gatherings permitted after 11 pm.” After rounding out a slow night in the restaurant around 11 pm, we agreed a healthy outlet for our frustration would be nothing else than another large poker gathering with a raised buy-in of 15 dollars. Sitting around the table featured mainly the regulars, plus and minus a few: James to my left, our key contact into civilization and only hope for breaking more rules; chefs Lesley and Mike, also known as Sketchy and Sincere, sitting across with Toby in between, who as Aussie’s say is ‘toe-ier than a Greek sandal’ and will offer any girl unlimited stubbies of Boag’s Premium Lager follwed by a goon of boxed wine before attempting to land a root; Rob to my right, the only player who talks more shit than me yet repeatedly loses at our additional ten dollar side bet; and the previously mentioned Rodrigo, who for an entire night told all his tables the entree special was ‘shalf shell scallops grilled in garlic butter’ before it was too late to inform him that it was in fact it was ‘5 half shell scallops . . . .’ That particular night I only won 40 dollars, placing second after Toby, but overall my winnings far out weigh my buy-ins, keeping it in traditional Helms style. Other post and pre work activities include walking to town with California Rebecca, discussing what we want to be when we grow up; learning new Australian slang from all the blokes (ie “mix his population paste with her fanny batter,” “getting on the piss tonight” and “I can’t be bothered”); late night dance parties at Caryn the Chef’s with random locals and Toby suspiciously wearing a dress; and spending my favorite nights at Cassie’s straightening her hair, painting my toenails, ‘gas bagging’ about our men, counting calories, preparing our new training routine, and of course drinking wine with our popcorn.
A few days ago I spent a sunny Tasmanian afternoon on the beach in what I consider one of the most beautiful places in the world, sharing the mile long paradise with absolutely no one. As I listened to Sam Bush’s “Face Tomorrow” on my ipod during my peaceful perch upon a pink granite boulder, I began to think about a conversation with a customer at the restaurant a few weeks ago. Travel writer Tom Tracker was dining alone, and after inquiring into my lack of set in stone current and future travel obligations (save June & July in Asia), he left me with a memorable quote I cannot forget:
“The difference between a tourist and a traveler is that a tourist doesn’t remember where they have been, only knows where they are going; and a traveler knows where they have been and doesn’t care where they are going.”
As I thought and continue to think about this statement, I additionally begin to couple it with my new found obsession that grew from a late night bunkhouse chat over Easter following Mean Girls on the DVD player; in which we all begun to discuss the top 30 things we would each like to do or accomplish in life. While I still have not finalized my to do quest, I have a draft up and running, while also being constantly revised, that features a few of the following:
– spend 1 month in 20 countries
– learn how say “hello,” “how are you” and “goodbye” in 15 languages
– design and make one complete line of clothing
– learn how to develop photos
– trek the Annapurna Circuit
– be an extra in a film
– beat my dad in 18 holes of golf
– visit every ocean
– make my own business cards
– spend time with the gorillas in Africa
Unfortunately I can only cross off one at the moment (b-cards), another in the next few months (Nepal), and not to mention I have around a hundred to add, but so it goes.