fredag 3 juli 2015

End of Part 1

My time in Australia is coming to an end.. I can feel it, and that scares me.

I have lived so many good memories here. So many heartaches, so many moments rising over loneliness, rising over fear and experiencing things extraordinary to any past reality. I have learnt soooo much, and met SO many beautiful people. It has been inspiring beyond belief, it has changed me way more than I ever expected, and probably way more than I realize yet.
It is sad to leave this behind. I really don't want to. But if I don't let this go I won't make room for the new. Life is ever changing. I am scared I will never come back to this place of beauty. To this land, with these trees, these birds, this soil.. To this country with their people. I have had the company of many like minded backpackers through my adventures, they have been my family, kept me strong. I have had the privilege to meet the locals, my oh my such special people, inspiring and different; they glanced upon this strange human (me) up and down and asked "what are you?" haha, jokes aside. They opened their homes to me, shared their food, their stories, their love. They nurtured me; they included me in their communities. I don't know if I ever proved my gratitude enough, but meeting the locals was by far one of the best parts of my 'Stralian experience.

I will come back, I have to believe so or else I will barely have the courage to leave.
I will come back. Cause I barely saw Australia, did I? I didn't yet see Alice Springs, Darwin or The Kimberley. I didn't yet go walkabout. I didn't yet stay with an aborigine community. I saw the East, and something tells me that was the Australia for beginners ;) - I'll call it Part 1..
I have to come back. I promised myself.

Just have to touch base again, for a short while. Just have to touch base and see my family. See the friends I left behind. Share my story and remember where I came from. Even though the world gets smaller and smaller the more you travel; it also grows bigger at the speed of light when you realize that there's too many places and too little time...

Oh gypsie heart... you are so wild :) You've got yourself a taste of the sweet, the free.

I want to finish this post with a metaphor;

It is part of the Australian bush ecology to rely on bush fires as a means of reproduction. And fire events are an interwoven and essential part of the ecology of the continent. The Australian bush ecosystem has evolved with fire as a necessary contributor to habitat, vitality and renewal. Many plant species in naturally fire-affected environments require fire to germinate, establish or reproduce. For thousands of years, Indigenous Australians have used fire to foster grasslands for hunting and to clear tracks through dense bush.

And so, while my fire is burning, I leave. I'll rest in ashes so one day I can come back with vitality.

I am so very grateful Australia.
Thank you.
Thank you!


I love you.

and finnish with a classic:


söndag 14 september 2014


Hi there dear visitors.
Since it's getting quite boring to write e-mails and trying to keep track on who I should send it to and blah blah, I've decided (a bit late, but better late than never) to keep a blog on my WWOOFing experience "day by day" in Australia.

Hope you enjoy the reading/photos/videos.

xx, Elsa

tisdag 9 september 2014

First day at the WWOOFer Village

Yo, yo, yo!
How's it going?
I'm finally at the WWOOFer Village! Woop!

Woke up this morning in a small-ass tent, at 5.30am in the morning and I felt really lazy to get up (Obviously I did not go to yoga either this morning). As usual sleeping in a tent my camping-mattress deflated during the night so I woke up with aches on my ass and hips (since I sleep on the side and that's the part of my body that "most stands out"), and also with a lot of tension in my shoulders since I was unusually cold during the night. But besides the fact of not getting such a great goodnight sleep in the tent, struggling to get up in the middle of the night to pee, and with humid patches on the side of the tent, I actually really enjoyed my first night. As the nature-lover and outdoorsy kind of person that I am, I really love camping. It's such a cozy feeling to crawl in to a tent and have to zipp yourself into a cocoon kind of shape. I love it!

Moving on... Apparently every morning the WWOOFers here at the Village have a morning and midday-gathering with the BOSS, an awesome guy called Madreya. The point to these gatherings is to break up into smaller groups of ≈6 ppl and get assigned with daily chores, and to bring up stuff that is general information to all WWOOFers; such as that the girl's toilets are currently very filthy and that we should keep them clean and learn how to aim (or as one of the male WWOOFers expressed out loud "Girls are disgusting!" Haha!). I forgot to mention that every morning starts with the sound of out own personal "rooster" (Madreya) calling out "HAAARIBOOOL!" (Which literally means"Shout Hari!", it's like saying "Praise the Lord", it's used in the same way, since Hari is one of the names of Krishna). Anyway, it's quite nice to get such a wake up call, it feels like I should start to collect exotic ways of waking up in the morning :-)

Morning gathering.
Madreya is the fifth person starting from the right. 

Morning pictures of part of the Krishna WWOOFer Village (photos taken by Julian):

Kitchen, dining area and fireplace hang-out area.
Also notice the stone oven (decorated with beautiful mosaic) that previous WWOOFers have built. 

Closer look to the Hammock/ Vegetarian Quotes and Kitchen.

Hang-out area.

The first day of work was really nice. It's really chill to be here. Actually, to be honest, we don't really work that hard, haha! (anybody who has done WWOOFing here will probably agree). I was assigned to do some weeding, digging and planting of eggplants along with eight other people: Sean from Canada; Chu (spelling?) from New Zealand/China; Damian from South Korea; Genna (pronounced like Gina) from New Zealand; Anna from Amsterdam (we all know where that is ;-)); Cory from England; and Dani & Maggie both from Argentina. 

I spent the afternoon chilling with a group of friends in the sun and listening to a couple of them play gitarr/sing.

Dani, Maggie and me lying down.
Cleo (from Belgium) with sunglasses sitting up leaning on her hands.
Anna with a headband and her back turned against the camera,
Sean holding the gitarr and Julian (from Germany) taking the photo.

I forgot to mention yesterday that they have a few rules here at the Hare Krishna Community (including the WWOOFing Village). They are:

-No intoxication (alcohol, coffee, cigarettes or drugs).

-No illicit sex (or public nudity- obviously).
-No gambling (?!)
-No animal products/Ovo-lacteoVegetarian diet (Ovo Lacteo means you can eat eggs and dairy products but no pork, lamb, meat, chicken, seafood or fish. Also animal gelatine is not allowed, which means most lollies (candy) are not allowed).
-Absolutely No harm to Cows (since Cows are a holy animal in India and the Hindu religion).

Anyway. I have been writing for a while now...

I will update more tomorrow.


Hope you have an outstanding Tuesday everybody :-)

xx, Elsa.

måndag 8 september 2014

Small adjustments...

Hello lovelies!

New day, new dramas.
I have not yet told you that I did not get along super great with Saranya. We had a few disagreements and the way she handled it was not smooth. Let's just say it was not what she said but rather the way she said it. And one of the few things in life that I do not tolerate is ungrateful people. So I talked to some of the WWOOFers down at the WWOOFer Village (that have been trying to convince me to move down with them ever since I got here) and it looks like I am moving down with them this afternoon.

I will be sleeping in a tent that's already been arranged for me.
The new working hours are between 6:15am to 1:15pm, 6 days a week. Breakfast at 8:30am, Lunch at 1:30pm and Dinner at 7pm.

Eating with the WWOOFers up by the Temple 

There are also Yoga/QiGong lessons every morning at 5am (before the sunrise), which I am going to try to join, and BodyBalance/Yoga/QiGong in the afternoons at 4:30pm :)

This is going to be great.
I have already made a few friends here and the atmosphere looks promising down at the Village.

This is a Facebook link to the Krishna/WWOOFer Village:

Hope you're all well :)

xx, Elsa

söndag 7 september 2014

Mount Warning

Yesterday me and a few friends trekked up Mount Warning and saw the sunrise from the top. Unfortunately it was foggy and quite cloudy, but it was still incredible.
Also the fact that we woke up in the middle of the night to go trekking and climbed up the mountain in the pitch dark was exciting and a very special experience.
In lack of unnecessary words, I will leave you with these incredible pictures taken by a good friend I met in the WWOOFer Village.

Enjoy! :)

Moments before the sun came up at 5:20am.
Some of the girls and I were dancing Can-can and rubbing us against each other to keep ourselves warm.


Davids birthday was days away, so a couple of the girls bought him
a Chocolate Mud Cake and we all sang Happy B-Day to him.

...Oh! and by the way that cake was the single best thing I've ever eaten at the top of a Mountain after a trekking.
We litteraly had to stop ourselves from eating the paper in which the cake was wrapped in.
Soooooo goooood. Mmmh! 


The last bit of the trekking was very steep and at times you had to grab unto a metal chain which, that early in the morning, was freezing and litteraly felt like needles in your hands. Next time I won't forget to bring gloves. 

Beautiful view halfway down/up.

From front/left to back/right:
Cleo from Belgium, Maggie from Argentina, Dani from Argentina
and good old me :)

Thanks to Julian for all the fantastic pictures! :) xx


fredag 5 september 2014


Hi everybody!

…Left you there hanging on the last update with chocking news.

Well, the day after my arrival there was a big celebration on the community since it was the birthday of Krishnas ”partner” (whatever her name is). So my host, Saranya, who is really religious, asked me if I wanted to join. 

I had to wake up a bit before 7 in the morning, since that was the time when the ceremony started. When I got to the temple I got instructions on how to act inside by one of the WWOOFers. She told me that I had to kneel down on the floor as soon as I walked in and put my forehead in the floor to ”salute” Krishna. Also men & women couldn’t stand on the same side of the room. As I was in there, I just observed all the devotees and the rest of the people in there. Some of them were meditating, others were praying, and most of them were muttering a Mantra that went like this ”Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare”. 

The ceremony started by us praying and sining songs. There was people there with instruments that were playing indian music and a guy singing. After a while some people started going around with candles that you had to put your hands over and then touch your forehead and your heart, as a sort of ritual. After that some other people were going around with flowers in their hands that you had to smell, also as a ritual. Then they opened some curtains at the end of the room and revealed a sort of altar/scene where there were a bunch of statues that represented Krishna and his partner and some other indian gods. They had decorated everything with flowers and balloons. 

After that ceremony I went to the house thinking that I would work for a little while on the garden, as I was supposed to being a WWOOFer, but the lady (Saranya) was not home, she was still at the ceremony. I was resting on my bed when she came home around 30 minutes later, and I walked out to talk to her. She asked me if I liked the ceremony and of course I responded "Yes, It was very... interesting". She also asked me if I wanted to go at 12 o'clock to see some other ritual at the temple where they would wash the mini statues of Krishna and his partner with all kinds of things, I thought *Why not?* and then she got so excited she wanted to dress me in a Sari (indian female garment). So we walked to her room and she took out this beautiful navy blue Sari made out of silk and she started wrapping it around me. And she kept on saying that I was very tall, so she ended up putting safety pin's everywhere so I would get a little bit more length to the Sari. But still it wouldn't reach my feet, just above my ankles. She also made a clay print on my forehead that everybody was wearing at the Temple. 

And away I went back to the Temple. 
Unfortunately I forgot my mobile phone at Saranyas house, so I couldn't record or take pictures of the  ritual of washing the mini statues, but it was mind-blowing. They went on and on washing these little statuettes with milk, yoghurt, ghee, rose water, honey, and who knows what else!

After that they were going to open Radharani's (Krishna's partner) gifts that visitors had left for her. One by one they started opening bags with necklaces and earrings and other stuff that I wondered *How in the world can they put earrings on a freaking Statue?!*. Anyway, by the time they opened an envelope containing 104AUD (Australian Dollars -$$$!) I decided I had enough and bowed down and left the Temple. There's only so much a mind can stretch in one day and I had enough of (respectfully) all the Bullshit. 

I went straight to lunch after that. There was a Huge feast with all the WWOOFers and around 100-200 visitors. 

Tonight after midnight (around 2am) some of the other WWOOFers and me will be going trekking to Mount Warning and see the sunrise at the top. According to Wikipedia: "Due to Mount Warning's proximity to Cape Byron, the Australian continent's easternmost point, it's the first place on mainland Australia to receive the sun's rays each day"

This is going to be MAGICAL :) 

Catch you guys later!
Have a beautiful day :)

xx, Elsa


onsdag 3 september 2014

WWOOF Host no.2

Hello everybody! Friends, family. How are you all doing? I am doing great. Living life by the minute!

As some of you may know I am doing some WWOOF:ing now. "And what is WWOOF?" you may ask yourselves.. Well WWOOF stands for "Willing Workers On Organic Farms" - so it's an organization that provides volunteer work for anybody. And by volunteer I mean absolutely no pay, but they do provide with free food (3meals x 7days a week) and free accommodation. And to be a member of WWOOF you have to pay a 70AUD one-off fee for a whole year. So it's pretty good if you're a backpacker. And it's even better when the Australian government makes an offer to backpackers with a Working Holiday Visa (such as the one I have) where you can get a SECOND Working Holiday Visa if you complete 88days of Farm work (paid or unpaid doesn't matter). I think it's a pretty good deal, and since doing volunteer work has been on my bucket list for years, I finally get to tick that box :) So far I have completed 16 days of my Farm Work. 

Yesterday I traveled ≈5 hours south from the first location, to the location where I am now. I have been here for a bit less than 24 hours now and MY OH MY such incredible first impressions already. 

So. Let me rewind a little bit. 

WWOOF works in such way that you have a WWOOF book with hundreds of different Hosts around Australia that you can read about their farms and chose to stay with whoever you like (of course as long as they agree to have you as well). And you can also look for hosts in their website if you have a membership and log-in account (which I have). 

So... I agreed to stay in the first farm for two weeks and then I would find something else in the meantime (just because I am a gypsy and I like to change a lot and move around experiencing new stuff - my brother knows what I'm talking about). And when I was looking for a new Host online, I came across this lady who's name is Saranya. And this was (copy & paste) word for word her profile description on the website:

"Property located in Eungella. We live in our own house in the midst of a 35 year old 800 acre Hare Krishna farming community. We have taken responsibility for gardening 1 acre immediately surrounding our house. We grow vegies, herbs, fruit & fragrant flowers. Work includes planting, propagation, plant care, pruning, spraying vegan B-d sprays, collecting & spreading cow dung, harvesting, whippersnipping, chipping weeds. Accom for 1-6 people in our home, in BYO & in converted container. Children b.a. Strictly vegetarian meals, shared with Hosts or with wider community. Non-smokers only. Negotiable stays after first few days."

Now, I don't know what I was thinking about when I read this, and looking back it seems pretty obvious in the text, but somehow I got the idea that this farm was sort of a spiritual place where they did meditation and stuff. And community to me sounds like a few hippies all living in the same place and sharing stuff and being creative. 

Well, I was quite wrong...

So. Fast forwarding again to the moment after I agreed to stay at this lady's house and work on her farm (we had not year negotiated how many days) I got a weird feeling in my gut, but I still trust the situation enough so I continue. Yesterday I took the bus from Gympie (my last farm) to Brisbane and then from Brisbane to Murwillumbah, where this lady would pick me up. 

First of all, I had not talked to this lady on the phone (for some reason). So I took the bus and everything was fine on the way here. So when the bus finally arrives to Murwillumbah (and I had no idea what this lady looks like - I was expecting a short ≈45 year old indian woman), I look around and there's absolutely no one there. So I call the mobile number she had given me. And the phone-operator tells me "the number you have dialed is incomplete or incorrect" so I try again. Same thing. I doubble-check the number and the amount of numbers. Same thing, it's incorrect... "Ok... What the heck do I do now?... Oh! Ok I call her home..." she doesn't answer at home either. That weird feeling in my gut is back. I wait for 5-10 minutes and then she arrives on her car. But wait... is it really her?* I looked in the car and there was an old white lady in her 70's. She smiles and waves at me. I go closer and she comes out of the car. "Are you Elsa?" she asks at the same time I ask "are you Saranya?"... Yes yes, all is good but obviously she is not Indian, but Australian and around ≈70 years old. 

So we get in the car and start driving. On the way I ask her questions about the farm. She tells me it's a Krishna community. "Ok, so what does that stand for?" I ask. "Krishna is God" she replies simply... *Holy s*it* I think, only imagining what will come next... Then she starts talking to me about this Krishna a little bit and I understand it's a Hindu-God. For some reason I though Krishna was something spiritual and something that had to do with meditation.


Then we drive in and the first thing I see is a massive sign that said "Krishna Community".. and I think to myself "this is no small community..." -No sir. We start driving through a huge land area where there's many houses. She starts explaining to me: "This is the yoga house, here lives a family, here are the other 30+ WWOOFers of the community staying - but you will be staying at my house..." And suddenly she sais "Up there (she points at a hill maybe 500 meters away) is where the Single Men live"; "What do you mean Single?" I ask (thinking it can't be that obvious). "Yes, the single men, with no partners" she sais. "So do they not have a girlfriend?"... "No, they live in CELIBAT" she sais... (Holy F*ck!*) "...and here is where the single women live"... "Anyway, this is our Temple" she sais...............

Can you imagine all this from my perspective? You may be smarter than me and understand all of this only by reading her profile description but I didn't, so all of this was a surprise to me.

And it get's worse...

We finally arrive to her home. As soon as we walk in I feel the smell of incense sticks all over the house, and there's a sound in the background of a tape where there's a man praying and saying a Mantra in Hindu over and over again. 

She walks me over to the living room. Guess what I find there? a STAGE that she has decorated with three almost human-size statues of some indian God, and then like 10 other smaller statues. All decorated with typical indian decorations and flowers (only cheap and ugly). And around the stage there's a rug to sit and pray.

Anyway, she walks me outside and shows me the veggie garden that I will be taking care of... In the meantime I ask her more about the Krishna religion. And she answers but really doesn't tell me anything cause every second word is a word in Hindu that I do not understand. So she tells me, I have a few books to read would you like to read them? -"Maybe" I reply "...What do you got?". She walks me back inside to the living room and shows me a bookshelf FULL of Encyclopedia-sized books. Not what I had in mind*. She ends up getting me two pocket-sized "easy" books to read IN CASE I AM INTERESTED...

Next thing she shows me where I will be sleeping... The room is nice, but when we walk inside the bathroom she starts explaining to me how I have to scrub and bleach the sink, toilet and shower after every time I use them... (:-O?!) and then she changes the conversation and starts telling me how in India they just made this law where they are not allowed to kill cows otherwise they will go to jail (before it was an UNwritten law), and also about another law they just made where you're not allowed to chop down trees (Where is she going with this?* I think to myself). Then she sais: "...yeah and since they made that law about the trees and I agree, we (her son and her) have agreed to NOT USE TOILETPAPER in the house. So I had these little water-taps installed at the side of the toilet seat and you can use this bucket to clean your bum"


I am completely sure my face turned white and I tried SO HARD not to laugh in her face out of despair (Rather laugh than cry, right?).

Anyway... I will leave you with this CHOCK and continue more another day, cause now I am going to a Yoga Class in the Community with some of the other WWOOFers I've met here.



Kisses to everybody!