Due to the lack of wifi in Woonona (which looking back, was exactly how it was supposed to be) I’ll do an entire post summing up the experience.
I took the next train to Woonona, a small town outside of Sydney. “Small” meaning when I told some locals where I was going they just gave me the one brow lift and slight head head tilt. This made me even more excited to check out such a place!
When I arrived, I was greeted with a smile and a hug. Ben, his wife Sarah and there two energetic kids Zoe and Tom have welcomed me into there lives for the next 4 days. This is a volunteer program in which I get to offer my time and energy helping them with whatever they need and in exchange, I receive accommodations and all meals. Sounds pretty cool right? It is!! If you’re interested, here is the link to check it out: www.helpx.net
My room aka “Tree Cabin”
Let’s start with meeting this magical family:
Ben- Caring husband and father. He is the first to rise and greets the water on a surf board with, what I can imagine, a huge deep breath followed by a grateful smile… Totally appreciating what nature has allowed him to be a part of at that given minute.
Words that come to mind when i think of him: Science, nature, balanced, intelligent, respectful and trustworthy.
Below is him packing up for Sarah’s birthday breakfast by the beach.
Sarah- Nurturing wife and mother. Her comforting presence has this unexplainable warmth that both relaxes and rejuvenates your energy. I can only imagine the glow she must exude when she’s expressing herself through artwork.
Words that come to mind: Vibrant, creative, green, joyful, artistic and genuine.
Here’s a picture of her sincere smile while tending to the banana trees.
Zoe- Witty young lady, sister and daughter. Her infectious giggle lights the room and is usually accompanied by a by a question, comment or opinion that forces thought within your own mind. Smart beyond her years, this lovely girl was a breath of fresh air and a beautiful example of, what I believe, healthy youth should be.
Words that come to mind: Rainbow, brilliant, happy, bright, deep and honest.
Below is a picture of her with some friends (she’s in the middle).
Tom: Entertaining boy, brother and son. This character has enough energy to bottle up and spread around the world. His big heart is open and always ready for snuggles. With never a dull moment he’s catching, climbing, talking, laughing or bouncing his way around. What a great additional splash of color he brings to this family.
Words that come to mind: Enthusiastic, love bug, monkey, curious and passionate.
This is where I found him during a game of hide and seek.
During my stay our goal was to clear out a space to build a super clubhouse for the back property. This including weeding, bamboo chopping, and carefully encouraging some creatures to “move along” and find a new residence. With gloves, gum boots (rubber boots) and a sun hat, time in the dirt passed with great company and wonderful conversation. (see previous post for “daily routine”)
Here are some work pics… Haha, if you really want to call it “work”!
I got to hang dry my laundry!
Me and Zoe with some of her friends.
This is the flower that hung down from the banana trees.
Food was gathered locally, prepped with care and always enjoyed outside. Either sitting on the porch, at the table next to the garden or from a basket on the beach… We were always under the sky… So simple yet extremely enchanting.
This was the usual dining room (along with Sarah’s new bike!)
After dinner, why not head to the water for a quick family sunset swim?
This was my last morning with the family and what a delightful one it was. Sarah got a surprise bike for her birthday that she rode to the beach and met us for a wonderful breakfast before the school day started. Yes, let me say that again: this family got up, made time to pack a picnic, ride to the beach and thoroughly enjoy each others company over breakfast then go back home, pack lunches and then continue on with the rest of their day. I keep hopeful thoughts that if I ever choose to have a family, we make priceless time this special.
If anyone has children.. I’m sure you fully understand this pic.
..and who else but spiderman taking you to the train staion.. Love it!
A personal thanks again to this kindhearted family that taught me so much in such a short amount of time. Your hospitality and open arms was much appreciated and will be payed forward. Cheers till next time!