I’m still digesting all that I experienced last weekend.
I visited Australia’s Outback for the first time. (I feel the need to add a gazillion exclamation marks after this sentence.)
Talk about adding to my quest to try 12 new things before I turn the big 5-0 (#12before50) in June next year.
After flying more than two hours to Mt Isa and driving for five more through some of the flattest plains of grassland I’ve ever seen, we were greeted at on the lawn beside the pool at Barkly Homestead with a G&T station.
It felt like an oasis. That feeling didn’t just come from the G&T. It came from the woman behind the proffered beverage (hello Felicity!) and the women who’d driven or flown in from far-flung stations for the bi-annual Barkly Women’s Day.
Meeting each and every woman across this weekend was exactly like that feeling of drinking a cold G&T at the end of a long day … medicinal.
Why medicinal? Whether that woman was a governess (a govie); a jillaroo; a cook’s hand; a head stockwoman or a station wife, each had a story that was eye-opening and inspiring for this regional-raised, city-living (old) girl.
Each story may have differed from the next but the common thread was one of resilience and a love for working and living on the land.
And when I say land, I’m not talking about a couple of acres on the fringe of a town or city. No, we’re talking a cool 1.7 million acres – and MORE.
We’re talking the Gulf of Carpentaria forming a property border.
We’re talking six hour drives on dirt roads just to get from the house to the gate (and on to a bitumen road).
We’re talking low-level clouds and a storm preventing planes flying driving on said dirt roads (the rain turns the dirt to clay and stuffs up even the hardiest of 4WDs).
We’re talking women who spend their days in jeans, boots, shirts, neck bandanas and Akubras covered in a fair amount of that red dirt.
We’re talking women who’ll happily swap their work clothes for pearls, heels and a frock or skirt/top combo to meet up with 60 other women happy to do the same.
These women don’t let a little thing like distance get in the way of community because community is everything.
Bringing us all together was Miss Chardy (second from right), a blogger, mum of three boys and station wife, who can most days be found on a ride-on mower and a dozer but never far from a sneaky Chardonnay and the odd Japanese Slipper.
We didn’t know if any of those at Barkly Women’s Day would be interested in anything we had to say. To us, those attending were the women who had the real stories.
Turns out it’s a two-way street. We all have stories. What makes those stories count is the listening that happens on both sides of the delivery.
It’s the judgment-free conversations, the empathy and understanding of another woman’s life – that’s what lifts women up and makes them feel like they count.
If you get to have out-of-the-norm conversations like I did last weekend, embrace them. Your life will be all the richer.
So tell me, have you travelled to the Northern Territory? Do you or a friend or relative live remotely in Australia?
PS. Fun fact: my great-great grandfather William Landsborough – an early Australian explorer named the Barkly Tablelands back in the day. I’m basically an Outback girl. 🙂
Make sure you catch these blog posts from the weekend
Whirlwind couple of weeks (Miss Chardy)
Barkly Women’s Day (Cooker and a Looker)
Barkly Women’s Day (Woogsworld)
Barkly Women’s Day 2016 (BabyMac)
Mouse and her BabyMac spot (BabyMac)
Professional bloggers gather a swag of cattle stories from remote Northern Territory (ABC NT Country Hour)