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Dear Michelle...

I reconnected with a childhood friend on Facebook 4 or 5 months back. She was my first ever girlfriend, in fact. We haven't seen each other since we were about 11-years-old but we've become pen pals of sorts over the last few months. The exchanges are unusually open and honest, especially for someone I haven't seen for almost 30 years. It's nice. Yesterday's 'letter' is probably a good snapshot of where I'm at at the moment.....

Dear Michelle, just in case you’re lying in hospital sucking your dinner through a tube up one nostril I thought I would send you a little note... I’m sitting here enjoying my afternoon cup of Earl Grey tea and 3 ginger nuts. I stopped drinking coffee in the afternoon when I came up here and stopped most sugary treats but ginger nuts are still fair game. Being the creature of habit that I am I pop on the same playlist too - 'Finger Picks' on Spotify, while the birds add their usual background chorus. All of these things combined make me pretty happy and content. Simple pleasures.

I have now been at the lodge just over 3 months, with just over 2 to go. I’ll be sorry to leave the place. There’s something about nature that is very good for my soul and my outlook on life. I’m a little nervous to go back to civilisation and all that that entails.

We got some crazy weather about a month back. Proper Wet season rainfall and flooding courtesy of Cyclone Blake. It was heaps of fun and a little stressful trying to get to the National Park without getting bogged. It was all very exciting though. That’s one of the things I really love about the Kimberley - that little bit of danger that goes along with the remoteness and the isolation. It feels like, even if just for a day, you’re living a life a little less ordinary. Isn’t that what most of us dream of. Doing something interesting. Or doing something meaningful. In my case, it’s probably nothing more than the illusion of adventure but it’s fun when I’m not cutting the grass or cleaning the toilets.

In other news, I decided I’d start training for our New York Marathon, as I know you are. I came up with the silly idea of doing a 45km trail run. I watched a video on YouTube one night - 'Run The Line' by Beau Miles, and that was it. The decision was made. That’s usually the hard part. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. I’ve only got a couple of months to build up the distance so I better get a move on as soon as I’ve finished the calendars. I’ll picture you at the finish line.

I can’t decide if five and a half months on your own surrounded by nature is a recipe for happiness or a recipe for getting lost up your own arse. I can be a bit self-interested out here sometimes with the blog and the photos and the writing but I’m not sure what the alternative is when you’re on your own. It’s an interesting experiment.

Time for a late afternoon stroll around the lodge. I do it every day and every day I see new things. If I’m a bit grumpy or a bit caught up in my own thoughts all it takes is a couple of butterflies - or half a dozen finches - to bring me back to the present. It’s nice.

I hope you’re well, Michelle, and not sucking your dinner through a feeding tube. I hope Nepal was everything you were hoping for. And I hope you returned to New York a little wiser - inspired, perhaps - and better off for the experience. I look forward to hearing about it over a cold beer.



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