Sunday, November 2, 2014

Guest Post: That Summer Feeling: How to Live Simply {Byron Bay Style}

Guest Post: That Summer Feeling: How to Live Simply {Byron Bay Style}

Unless you've been living under a rock, or your internet connection failed for the past week, you will know that I have just spent four glorious days in Byron Bay. Whenever I visit a place like this I get a bit of a kick up the attitude pants. This trip has been no exception.
The Pass at Byron Bay
A few things have prompted this. Firstly there was a quote I read from Elizabeth Gilbert (author of The Signature of All Things and Eat Pray Love) recently. I cannot for the life of me find it anywhere, but it spoke of surviving financially as an artist by living small materialistically but living large in experience. That resonated with me. Not that I'm about to quit my job to become a full time unpaid blogger and creator (I would do it in a heartbeat if I could), but I think that it is something that could apply to everyone in some way.
Beach babe on a bike
The next thing that happened was reading Why I Don't Travel When I Shop by the fabulous Sarah Wilson the morning I left for Byron. Sarah talks about why she doesn't shop when she travels and I understood completely. It brought to mind two very different holidays, one in London where I felt my trip wasn't complete without visiting certain shops and in the process, missing out on a couple of days of seeing other places of historical or cultural significance. The other was spending 6 days on the Island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu where there was really nowhere to shop except for the main town, quite some distance away from our resort. Our experience there is etched so very clearly on my memory for the reason that without shops, phones or computers, there was nothing to distract us from the amazing world around us. We were rich in experience.

The third thing was being in Byron Bay itself. I get the feeling when I'm there, and I may be totally bonkers for thinking this, but I get the vibe that the area is so very rich in nature and beauty and love and community, that it's less materialistic than many other places. To me there is a simplicity of life going on in that town that I crave in my own world. I start feeling antsy and realise that I have made my life far more complicated than it needs to be. So when I'm there, I slow down, I start to appreciate the simplicity and I calm the hell down.

These are the ways I found and appreciated the joy of simplicity this time around:

Eat simply-and enjoy the experience
Eating for me can often be a tricky business. Trying to avoid gluten and limit dairy can often-times be a nightmare that sees me casting the stinkeye at people whose only crime was to bite into a sandwich in front of me. (Have I mentioned I'm unpleasant when I'm hungry). Eating in BB for me is so very easy.  Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, raw are the mainstream food here. When I walked into an Italian restaurant and asked if they have gluten free bases, the waitress looked at me,  not in the "why the hell would you want a gluten free pizza?' way but in a 'you really have to ask that question?' way and replied. 'Of course we do'. Raw cacoa and coconut cheesecake, gf chocolate and cherry brownies, pizza, a gf pie (I haven't had a pie for years). It made the whole trip enjoyable. The best thing I ate though, was something I cooked myself. It seems I have an uncanny knack, and I have no idea where it comes from, for poaching eggs perfectly. It's really strange because for years I hated eggs, then I would only eat eggs if the yolks were cooked hard or scrambled-not a hint of gooey googie for me. But as with other weird things that have happened this year. I am suddenly eating a lot of poached eggs, and no matter that every time I cook one, I think I've ruined it, it turns out perfectly. The free range eggs I cooked for Saturday breakfast were a sight to behold and a pleasure to taste. When my knife pierced that yolk and the saffron coloured centre started oozing out, I was ecstatic with joy that something so utterly simple could not only look like poetry on a plate, it actually tasted amazing too, without any embellishment.

All the food in BB is suffused with love
The simple joy of walking
I love to really get stuck into excersice. Unfortunately rigorous and punishing routines are disastrous for my health. When ever I've experienced a bad reaction to either of my two auto-immune conditions, it's always about three weeks into a punishing excersice regime I've started. So now I don't do that. I love to walk, especially on hard sand at low tide. And my body responds really well to yoga, although I've not been to a yoga class for quite a few months. We did so much walking on this holiday that my body was zinging with energy. We strolled, we climed hills and stairs, we ambled and wended our way through the days. I stopped often to take photographs. We walked silently together and we walked and talked. The more we walked, the more I wanted to walk, it's a bit addictive like that, and free, and simple.

I walked to the most easterly point of mainland Australia
Walking at any time of the day is magical
Simply snoozing
I'm not a daytime sleeper, I very rarely have been able to sleep during the day unless I'm ill or really stressed and tired. Last Friday afternoon, after a delicious lunch and a long walk, we headed back to our cabin just as a storm set in. It grew dark and the thunder rumbled. I finished my tea, lay down on the bed and closed my eyes to listen to the storm. I dozed, occasionally waking up when a loud thunder clap would sound, and then I would doze again. I ended up sleeping for two hours. When I awoke properly, I was so relaxed, I felt all floppy and that hasn't happened for a good long while. Simple!

The cabin opposite to ours at the end of the storm. Still dark outside and cosy inside
Simple accommodation options
The SOS and I are not averse to a bit of luxury (did someone say QT?)  I've worked in the accommodation industry and I've seen some luxury apartments from front and back of house. I also lived in a very flash apartment complex with all the mod cons and luxuries for a few years (and still own it) so I'm a bit over the novelty of a modern apartment. When we go to BB we like to stay a little way out of the main part of town and we love the area of Suffolk Park. We stay in a little cabin in the Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park. We love the atmosphere there and the location is right on the beach. Our preferred cabin (C4) is basic, clean, comfortable and has everything we need. A kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. We don't really spend much time there so the relatively low cost $130 per night in low season is another bonus. There is also a camaraderie in a caravan park that tends not to happen in a hotel or apartment complex. We got to talking with the folks staying in C3 and found them to be fascinating people with interesting tales to share. A simple and enjoyable accommodation option for us as we really don't spend a lot of our holiday time indoors, except for sleeping, some eating and showering.

Our old mate C4 has everything we need to be comfortable and only a few steps to the beach

Conversations, coincidences and serendipitous encounters
Being out and about in the town led to many nice encounters with others. I wanted to kidnap all the gorgeous, dreadlocked, healthy looking young men and take them home for Miss E.  There were so many of them, they were like gremlins except cute. (I think when they get wet they multiply). I fell in love with all of the workerstaff in the cafes and restaurants who were just so genuinely nice.  I made friends with a lady in the line for coffee, it transpired that she and I had the same first name, were both from the Sunshine Coast and were both in BB for the weekend for our anniversary, hers 25 years, mine 27 years. We were absolutely blown away when we ran into our lovely neighbours from our home in Caloundra. We've not seen them for about 6 years. And the people watching was fantastic - a guy in harlequin pants, riding a unicycle, balancing a spoon on his nose. A few fire twirlers, practicing with unlit torches and this girl. She was listening to her headphones and practicing her hula hooping. I couldn't hear her music, but she mesmerised me with her sashaying, her shimmying and the seemingly effortless way she controlled  the hoop so that it appeared to dance and twirl around her of it's own volition.

This girl was a master of fluidity and movement

The Simplicity of Nature
I challenge anybody to come to this place and not feel richer for the experience, just by taking in the natural world around them. There is so much beauty here it's a little overwhelming and might explain why I took close to 1000 photos in 3 and a bit days. From spectacular sunrises to serene sunsets, from lush green hills to turquoise water and white sand it's all of it breathtaking. Simple as that.

Street Art
There is so much art dotted around the place. Being constantly on the lookout for images to capture these days makes me more appreciative of my surroundings. Simple, free, inspiring.  This is on the wall outside the ladies toilet. It is called The Girls and is the work of Julia Vanderbyl as part of the Youth Arts Project 2013.

The Girls by Julia 
And finally this
Never forget the simple joy of watching someone running through the waves on a blisteringly cold morning, in a bikini flapping her arms wildly.

The simple joy of being

Have you been to Byron Bay? What's your favourite type of holiday?

Listen to Byron Bay Song Springo

All Images in the post by That Summer Feeling


  1. Oh! So gorgeous! Thanks for sharing Michelle's lovely perspectives Kate! My darling cousin lives near to Byron and is completely in love with the area. I can see why! :-) Bliss.

    1. I have never been! And I cannot tell you how much this post and Michelle's gorgeous photos make me want to go. x

  2. Hi Kate. Thanks so much for allowing me to revisit this post. It's making me wish I was back there. I laughed about you getting frustrated on Magnetic Island. I've been guilty of that too.

    1. It's been a pleasure collaborating with you Michelle - I look forward to doing more of it. It's a gorgeous post, thanks for sharing it here. x

  3. My hubby & I drove to Byron Bay when we went over to Qld for Problogger...we loved is kind of like Margaret River/Yallingup in WA. So relaxing and we found lots of experiences & connections more meaningful while we were there.

    1. It's really starting to sound like Byron Bay has a special energy about it. Can't wait to visit day!