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Published: October 18th 2014
Living in a Tree in Mullumbimby.
Yup. In a tree house. We found it on Air bnb. It has no electricity and theres a compost toilet in the back. There are a string of solar powered lights which wrap around the balcony so we can see our way in the dark. There's an open balcony and one room with candles a bed on the floor. We joke about our honeymoon suite. There's also a pool, sauna and an outdoor shower around the corner. The shower is MAGIC, carved out of stone and catches all the early rays of the sun. It's a chunk of paradise. When we wake, the sun rises over the mountains in the backdrop and the birds chirp to start the day. Mullumbimby, who knew?
Deva, our host, is a kinesiologist/masseuse/small business owner/dance teacher who believes in the secret meaning of flowers and the power of crystals. Many random people with unclear roles come in and out of the property at all times of the day and night. There are inspiring notes posted around the house, my favorite of which is on the bathroom door
"Wonderful things are happening!"
It's a trip. I love the house and want a house just like it someday. Open with red wood balconies and lots of windows and natural light.
After we escaped from Bellingen, we made our way here and just crashed. The next morning we were able to really appreciate the beauty of our surroundings in the fresh sunlight, and then took of for Byron Bay, about a 20 min drive out. Erica is hoping to find work here, so we check out the town. We both are really taken with it. There's definitely a degree of tourism, but it reminds me of any coastal beach town with a slew of shops and restaurants, but still a hippie vibe (ie didgeridoo shops and tie die). We splurge on an awesome brunch at an organic cafe, and meet "normal" people, tourists and locals alike. Encouraging. We do the coastal walk in town, checking out the beaches and the lighthouse. This is my favorite spot thus far, and the beaches are inexplicably beautiful. The shore hits the mountains and the beach and all is sparkling and pristine. There are people, but it's not crowded. We take a
nap on the beach and Erica drops me off at the brewery so she can have her interview. I start getting chatted up by a group of American guys with far too attractive of women dripping off of them, but eventually get saved by a couple having drinks across the way who invite me over to their table. Or so I thought. After 3 minutes we are talking about the healing power of Byron due to its crystal core and the practice of kahuna massage, which I'm pretty sure is not a thing. I then get the sense that the woman never really wanted me over in the first place. Awkward. Erica returns and saves me, and after some debate, we decide we are just tired so we grab some froyo and head back. Travel in your 30s.
After our tree fort was attacked by bush turkeys all night, Sunday morning we head back to Byron we decide to try our hand at paddle boarding. I have done it before in Hawaii and picked it up pretty quickly, so I was pretty confident about it, even though someone had died of a shark attack in the same
spot a month ago, and my friend Eoin was hospitalized after a near drowning in a rip. Well, it lived up to reputation, and the go of it was pretty tough. The sea was rough and the swells were frequent and would break at different distances from the shore. The swedes had joined us, but Erica and Moa gave up after 10 minutes or so. I caught the rhythm of the waves after 15 or so, and was able to stay vertical and started having a lot of fun. Johannes stuck it out by my side, but he never was able to stand up. We all then grabbed some lunch, and Johannes left us for some girl time. At this point Moa reveals that she and Johannes have been fighting nonstop and they may part ways and travel solo. They are only 3 weeks into their 8 month trip. They are so young (21-22) and Erica and I just listen and wipe tears and assure her that all will work out. So then we all decide to it's time to have some cocktails. So in our low budget very classy way, we mixed our boxed wine (they call it Goon
here) with sparkling Lemonade and head to the beach with our "sangria". After a bit of sun and sips, we are feeling pretty saucy so we leave and head to the park. At the park, there is a free concert and the band is LEGIT. They look about average 16 years of age. The park is hoppin, and an MC jumps on the stage and starts freestylin. We befriend (or I should say Erica picks up) a group of guys next to us who are on holiday from Melbourne. At this point we realize we aren't going back to Mullumbimby so we arrange to stay with Moa and Johannes in Byron. We head to the beach club for a lot of dancing, drinking, and a whole ton of fun. I didn't know a Sunday night could be the best night for a dance party! Inevitably, things get messy with the Swedish couple, but I get them to bed okay and they seemed okay in the am. Hungover, but still together.
So Erica and I get our bearings about us and head back to Mullumbimby and then take off for Mount Warning. Mount Warning, or Wollumbin, is a
volcano plugs spewed from an extinct volcano in the Tweed Heads. The trail starts in a rainforest type of setting, but soon the track gets rocky and even steep. This is the first "mountain" we have really been on, though still short in American standards. The cyclone Osbourne hit the place hard in 2013, and the mount was closed for months as they excavated tons upon tons of soil and recreated the paths. They did a great job and all is clear now. The last section is straight bouldering on the vertical, and there's a chain to assist the ascent. The view from the top is stunning ... and that's not just the scenery. Shortly after we summit, two guys arrive at the top, and let's just call a spade a spade, they are shirtless and beautiful. They start taking pics at the top, and Erica offers to take a picture of them. After some small talk we find out one is from Argentina and the other South Africa and they met in Hong Kong. So Erica jokes, "what, are you make models?" And ...uncomfortable silence...they are indeed. Too random to make up. I immediately become very aware of my
lack of makeup, my unbrushed hair, and the fact that I think I'm sweating out sangria. Alas, we chat for 45 minutes or so and I make them show me some pics (as in, cover of Men's Health) and we decide we will all meet up in Brisbane. Erica then posts the story on Facebook, and then 20 or so of their leggy beautiful model-friends make comments about it. Sigh.
We head back to Byron and Erica has her second interview and gets the job. We celebrate with Baskin Robbins and head back for our last night in the tree house. Next stop - Nimbin. Or so we thought...
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