Rainbow Found – Mole Creek, Australia


It’s been a crazy six months.

Last year (2013), right before my fortieth birthday, I parted ways with my second wife, Nia. We were in Portugal.

I came back to Australia right before x-mas, and my son Jonah’s eighteenth birthday party.

I crossed the Nullarbor desert twice in January.

In March, I met a girl – in Tasmania.

This is a post about Tasmania. This post is also partly about the girl. It is a bit mushy in parts. Sorry.

(Above: that’s me sunbathing on the creek bank at Rainbow Gathering, Tasmania. The similarity to an Abu Ghraib inmate is unintentional and … whatever.)

It’s taken a while to write this post. Life has been intense. Not much keyboard time. I don’t know if they’re the prettiest words I could have used, but they feel right.

Life. Roaming. :-)

You’re a good friend. Thanks for listening.

[ BTW – I’ve just left Easter ConFest and I’ve got some stories about that for you, too. Stay tuned X) ]


(Above: the big tipi, or council lodge – Rainbow Gathering, 2014, Tasmania.  The tipi is about seven metres in diameter.  Some nights there were fifty or sixty people crammed inside dancing and playing music.)

…I hear something move a few metres away, and I tense, listening intently.  There it is again.  A crackle of shifting twigs.  It’s closer now, just on the other side of the tree.  I whirl around the trunk, spear ready.  It’s Cam, looking very surprised, also with her spear at the ready.  We both sigh with frustration.
A few minutes later we hear Reno coming along the path.  As he approaches he proudly holds up a small, limp, furry body. 
You speared a wallaby? Cam calls out excitedly.
Well… no, Reno replies.  I got a possum.  I whacked it with the machette…

Welcome home! people call out as I walk through the campsite.
Thank you! I reply, grinning.
I pass a group of dreadlocked Frenchmen.  A smiling man jumps up and wishes me ‘welcome home’.  He spreads his arms and we hug.
That’s what I’ve been waiting for! I laugh.

Last time I was here was 2007.  Then, here was the Victorian high country region.  Now, here is Tulunpunga, near Mole Creek, Tasmania.  But the culture is the same.
I’m at an Australian Rainbow Gathering.

I arrive in the central clearing of the campsite.  There are three massive tipis, a wide firepit, a tarped kitchen area and tents.
People sit in the shade of the trees chatting in small groups.  A bunch of drummers and a guitarist, and a guy playing an exotic instrument I’ve never seen before made like a steel watermelon are jamming outside the smaller tipi.
Three young women and a man walk past, chatting.  They are all completely naked, except for one of the girls, who is wearing an elaborate turban.
I drop my bag on the ground near the big tipi.


(Tipi jamming.)

Everyone who sees me – the obvious new arrival – greets me warmly, calling out welcome home.  Some people hug me, and introduce themselves.  There are small suntanned children chasing each other across the grassy clearing, and smoke curling up from the cooking fires.

A very friendly man with a broad smile and a glossy head of dreadlocks, approaches me juggling plastic ten-pins.
I’m Spencer, he tells me, enthusiastically, they’re gonna serve lunch in about half an hour I reckon.  You should go have a swim in the creek, wash off the dust from the road!
I can’t deny the wisdom of Spencer’s advice.

I stroll across the field to the tree-lined creek.  The water is glassy clear.  The creek is shallow half the way across, but the depth plunges in the faster running bend, to two and a half metres: a perfect plunge pool.  On the opposite bank, another smaller creek makes it’s intersection, at a pretty babbling waterfall, that could not be improved by a Disney design team.
The water is cold.  I scream a bit when my nuts touch the water’s surface, but the relief from the heat is fantastic.


(The creek at Tulunpunga could not be improved by a Disney design team.)

A couple of dozen other bathers are reclining on the grassy creekbank.  It looks for all the world like a utopian scene from romantic cinema.  The average age is twenty-three .  The people are lean and brown from the sun, right to their bare feet.  Some are completely naked, others are wearing colourful sarongs, and loose-fitting cotton clothing, with tie-dye patterns and folk art motifs.  The men and women are completely comfortable with their own bodies, and each others.  Here and there are pairs, or trios, embracing casually, or massaging each other.  No one looks creepy.  No one looks embarrassed.  people laugh and tease each other.  A group of naked men are playing music, and singing Bajans (*3).   Two girls with body paint decorating their darkly tanned breasts are crocheting beanies (*4).
Spencer arrives, strips off and starts painting his body with mud.
It’s great for your skin, he informs me happily.


(Rainbow is paradise for kids…)



(…and for grown-ups who like to be kids.)

While I’m drying myself on the creek bank, I hear a distant chorus:
Some of the people sitting near me say, one two three, and then they tip back their heads and yell in chorus, FOOD CIRCLE… NOW!
The call goes around the campsite, echoing from the hillsides around the valley.
FOOD CIRCLE… NOooooooow!
I guess it’s time for lunch.

Rainbow time is fluid.  The Rainbow day revolves around food preparation, firewood missions, music, massage workshops, swimming, and of course, food circles.


(A Rainbow lunch circle.)

Sitting down to a Rainbow Family meal is a long and involved process.
After the third and final food call, the entire tribe starts to move slowly, each at their own pace toward the central fire pit in the middle of the clearing.  When a dozen or so have gathered they join hands in a circle around the fire and sing Bajan songs.  As more of the family arrive, they join the circle and join in the song.  This process can take as long as forty minutes, especially if there are three hundred or so people to assemble like there is on the night of the full moon, and at lunch the following day.
After the singing, swaying, cheek kissing and omming, the family sit down and the kitchen crew of the day bring out the cauldrons of buckwheat, boiled vegetables, and lentil stew.  The kitchen crew bless the food and then take the cauldrons around the circle of people sitting cross legged on the ground.
Salt connection! somebody calls out across the circle.  A connection call is a common sound at the festival.  If someone needs to find another tribe member, or locate a tool, or get their kids to have a bath, or get some pot to smoke, the call goes up:
Sarah connection!
Music connection!
Help in the kitchen!
Toilet paper connection..?
There are many and various peculiar dietary preferences at Rainbow.  Most people don’t eat meat.  A lot fear the deleterious effects of salt.  Many disavow all spicy food or anything with oil in it.
Rainbow meals are invariably boiled, vegan and devoid of flavour but… plentiful.
After a food circle, a bunch of musicians grab someone’s beanie, and dance around the circle singing the Magic Hat Bajan.
Magic hat, magic hat,
now it’s time for the magic hat.
It provides the food we eat,
so contribute to the magic hat…
Some people put money in the hat, others offer kisses or smiles.  All the money is spent at the organic food supplier in the nearby town.  The organisers estimate that the average cost of a meal at Rainbow is about two dollars fifty per person.


(Yummy!  Buckwheat again!)

Food circles are a great opportunity to get to know the people sitting next to you.  Eighty percent of the people at Rainbow Gathering live like I do.  They have a smallish backpack, they hitchhike, they scrounge in bins for food sometimes, and live in a tent.  They are individualistic, relaxed, and every one of their faces tells a story.  Everyone here immediately gets me.  I don’t have to explain my lifestyle here.  I’m just another gypsy, chatting around the fire.

Rainbow Gathering.. WTF is that? I hear you asking.
Rainbow Gatherings were conceived in Colorado, USA. In 1972 the American counter culture was reaching the crest of a wave, deconstructing American assumptions, and the first gathering was an intellectual as well as spiritual venture. Rainbow Gatherings are usually described as intentional communities, and embrace the philosophies of unconditional love, tolerance, and respect. Rainbow tribe are very active on Facebook. Gatherings are held all over the planet several times a year. Gatherings attract familiar faces and new visitors and are a focal point for the international nomadic diaspora.


(Me, helping out in the Kitchen.)

Jeo and Ann-ce are French.  They both live on the road and hitchhike everywhere.  Jeo and I have a fun jam session together at the kitchen.  Jeo plays blues like I do, rough and loose, with a hillbilly twang, and he doesn’t mind when I screw up.  I get a tad over excited at one point on a squawking lead riff and blow a reed in my harp.  I’m annoyed because the harmonica is new.  My ex-wife bought it for me in Seville, Spain.  It was last year’s birthday gift.  I’m not all that sentimental about it, but it’s my first really decent blues harp and it’s the only one I’ve got and the nearest music shop is two hundred kilometres away, and fifty Ks of that is unsealed road.
Don’t worry, says Jeo, this is Rainbow Gathering, the universe will provide.



Jeo invites me to have a joint with him and his sister and I cheer up a bit.  Jeos sister, Ann-ce, is a taciturn songwriter with a vulgar sense of humor and a penchant for dancing nude under the stars.  Jeo tells me about the great experience they had at Christmas time in Northern Australia, when an Aussie family invited them to be part of their family x-mas dinner.
It was the day after Christmas, Jeo tells me, as he hands me a spliff.  They just said; would you like to have lunch at our house, and when we got there, the whole family arrived – grandparents, uncles, cousins – and they gave us many beers, and barbecued a lot of meat and shrimp, and piled up our plates with food.  We got so drunk and they gave us their spare bedroom for the night.  They were such nice people.
Hearing a story like that makes me proud of being an Australian.
I tell Ann-ce and Jeo about all the kindness and hospitality I experienced when I traveled in northern France.  Like most French travelers they are surprised to hear this about their own country, and relieved.  It’s like the undeserved bad reputation of the French people has even damaged the French self-image.


(A lot of Rainbow people live in vehicles.)

Not all Rainbow people are hitchhikers.  Many of the tribe travel in vans or busses.  Manu, a Portuguese elder of the clan, has an especially beautiful mobile home.  Manu’s house is built in the back of a small truck.  Inside the place is decorated with fabrics, beads, and art, like a traditonal gypsy vardo.  During the festival, Manu meets two young portugese women who offer to repaint the truck’s faded exterior.  They cover the drab peeling paint with a vivid mural depicting a forest idyl.  When the pot plant garden hanging on the inside of Manu’s door is visible, it makes a very comfortable domestic scene.


(Manu’s newly painted truck.  That’s Manu in the doorway.)

Lucas, from Quebec, Canada, is also a gypsy on wheels, but his approach to a mobile home is very different to Manu’s.  Lucas’ bunk is in the covered tray of a massively built up Landcruiser, with mud tires that look like they came off a tank.  Everything is made of stainless steel, and nylon.  Lucas shows me a project he is working on, turning an ex-MIG fighter pilots cap into a headphone set for his Ipod.


(Lucas in front of his home.  Note the fighter pilots headgear he is making into headphones.)


(Franc the cyclist, cooking dumpster dinner.)

Franc is a mad keen bicycle man.  He has a high tech folding bike, which he travels everywhere on.  He never buys food, just gets garbage out of supermarket bins.  In the rich world, especially Australia and Europe this is a very good way to eat.  Supermarkets throw away all kinds of perfectly good food, bread, vegetables, fruit, cans and dry goods, simply because they are in some way imperfect, or have to be removed to make room for new stock.  This food is destined for landfill, and is a great source of free nutrition for low budget travelers.  Franc has a hat he got from a dumpster.  He is wearing it one day while he kneels on the ground blowing on the cooking fire.  I notice the characters spelt out in rinestones on the front of Francs hat for the first time, and laugh out loud.  Princess.


(Wood gathering, Rainbow style. This photo is available as a poster or canvas print in the Raw Safari Print Shop.)

After lunch, a men’s circle is announced.  It’s an opportunity to sit with other men and talk about our feelings.  Me and a few other blokes give each other sly glances and slink away to harvest firewood and mutter about tool sharpening together.
Two young women join the wood mission.  Marie and Jo are French speaking Canadians.  They pitch into the wood mission with cheerful energy and keep pace with all the young blokes.
Walking back to the fence line with a log on my shoulder, I pass Jo and give her a friendly smile.  I get a wide, pretty grin in return.  There is a definite click moment between us.

After the lunch circle, people make announcements, and give shout outs, and share info.  When it’s my turn, I stand up.
Hi family!
(Hello, we love you, comes the replying chorus.)
I’m incredibly happy to be here, I say.  I’m having an amazing time meeting you all, and playing music and chilling in the river.  Life is beautiful.
(Yeah!  Woohoo!)
Yesterday, I continue, my tone becoming crestfallen, I was having a jam, and I blew out a reed in my harp.  (I hold up the damaged harmonica at this point).  Is anyone making a trip into Launceston in the next couple of days, who could give me a ride so I can go to a music shop and get a new one?
There are a few murmurs of conversation.
A young woman sitting on the opposite side of the circle, Anna, waves at me.
I’ve got a harmonica you can have, she says.
(Yay! cheer the assembly)
I’ve had it for a while but I never play it, so I’d like you to have it Anna says.
She digs in her bag, pulls out the harp, and skips over to me.  She puts the harp in my hand.  It’s brand new, still in the box.  It is exactly the same as the one I broke.   Identical.  Hohner Blues Harp: Key of C.  I give Anna a hug and the family woops with joy, witnessing a Rainbow moment.

(Photo: giving the new harp a go.  Thanx Anna :-) )



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(The campfire.  The social hub of Rainbow Gathering.)

Sweet cinnamon chai is bubbling in a massive pot.  Night birds call in the forest canopy.
Sitting around the camp fire, I meet Jo and Marie again, the girls who went wood gathering.  We congratulate each other on our lumberjack skills and admire the fire we helped build and have a smoke.
Jo and I start interviewing each other.  I ask her a difficult question and she answers me, confidently and in detail.  She asks me a probing question and I look her in the eye and hold back nothing.  We carry on like this for an hour and a half.
I get out my new harp and jam for a while with some people playing guitars.  The harp has a sweet soft tone, actually plays a tiny bit better than the old one.
Jo and I go back to our intense conversation again for another hour.  A couple of people come and sit next to us, but both leave after a few minutes when they sense that we are in a conference.
There is a silence between me and Jo for a minute.  The fire crackles and the late night chatter around the fire ebbs and flows in hushed flurries like a light breeze.
I turn to Jo and ask her if she wants to take a walk down to the river.  She looks me in the eyes, and says quietly, without smiling, yes.
We walk to the river bank in the moonlight.  We both know we aren’t here to look at the view, but the river is undoubtedly beautiful.  Flickers of reflected blue light shimmer on the fast flowing water of the rapids.  The overhanging trees cast Tim-Burtonesque scrollwork shadows on the banks.
Jo’s eyes meet mine as we take in the scene.  I feel myself smiling.
What? Jo asks me, unable to suppress her own smile.
Want to see my house? I ask.  I’ll give you the grand tour.
Jo furrows her brow.  Grand tour? she asks.
It means I’ll show you around my house, I explain.  It’s something Aussies say when we want to show off our homes to people.
She laughs.  OK, she says.
We walk toward my barely visible hooch shelter.
This is the living room, I explain, as we make our way across the field.  I went for an open plan design.  Lots of ventilation.
Jo looks at me quizically and giggles.  It’s a pretty sound.
We arrive at my low slung shelter and sit beside the rolled up blankets.
Well, I say, pulling a bashful face, this is the bedroom.
Jo plays along.  Very nice, she comments, very luxurious.
It’s a bit drafty, I apologise, but the view is amazing.
I pick up her hand and we sit for a moment, looking out at the river, and listening to each other breathe.
I lean across slowly to kiss her and she lifts her chin to meet my mouth with hers.
The kiss is tender, hesitant, and very warm.  After a few seconds we draw apart and I stroke her face with my free hand.  We kiss again and this time there is a passionate intensity.  We undress each other and slide between the blankets with the dust and gum leaves.
The click between us becomes a warm, purring buzz.


(Jo going native with a hippy style hair wrap.  She is practicing her Bajans.)


(Jo and Marie pretending the creek is nice and warm.)

Jo is booked into a trekking tour.  She and Marie are going to walk the famous Tasmanian Overland Track.  The walk takes six days through some of Tassie’s most inhospitable and remote mountain ranges.
The morning she leaves, we have morning tea together at Yvonne’s tent.  Yvonne is an amazing woman.  A Rainbow elder, a small business owner, an experienced rock climber, and a fluent speaker of Chinese, she looks deceptively like your grandmother.  She hosts regular morning teas at Rainbow Gathering, and they are very well attended, especially when Yvonne has made fresh scones with strawberry jam.
After morning tea, Yvonne packs up the picnic rug and Marie and Jo load their bags into the boot of her car.
We both say we want to see each other again, and we will get in touch in a week or so.  I wonder if we really will.  I’m pretty sure it’s no better than a fifty fifty shot.
She climbs into the back of Yvonnes old car and waves to me out the back window.  It’s an emotional farewell, and I’m surprised how much she has affected me in just two and a half days.


(Reno preparing for the hunt.)

I’ve been at Rainbow Gathering four weeks almost, and after that many days of living on boiled buckwheat and potatoes, my meat craving has reached monumental proportions.
A couple of other malcontent carnivores gather with me at a remote part of the forest.  Reno is a married man with a small baby.  He and his wife Vera and their baby Milan live in a large tent and their Rav4.  Reno is a very capable hiker and outdoorsman.  Cam (short for Camille) is a young French backpacker.  She recently shaved her head to avoid a head lice infestation.  We are dressed, all three, in drab colors, and hiking boots – obvious misfits amongst the mostly tie-dyed and dreadlocked Rainbow family.  We are are the black sheep.  The meat eaters.   With her shaved head and khaki clothing, Cam looks like a raw recruit to the foreign legion.
We cut down saplings with Renos machete and hone the heavy end of the trunks into sharp points.  As the twilight comes on we build a big fire in a clearing.
Darkness falls.  The forest begins to stir with small sounds of movement.  The wallabies are on the move and we spread out in the dark to find them.  As my eyes adjust to the deep shadow, I get occasional glimpses of animals flitting through the bush, but they are much more graceful in the forest than I am, and even moving as carefully as possible I am painfully aware of all the noise I am making.
Two hours go by.   I have settled beside a large gum tree, and I’m keeping very still, just watching and waiting.   I hear something move a few metres away, and I tense, listening intently.  There it is again.  A crackle of shifting twigs.  It’s closer now, just on the other side of the tree.  I whirl around the trunk, spear ready.  It’s Cam, looking very surprised, also with her spear at the ready.  We both sigh with frustration.
Cam and I give up and go back to the smoldering fire.  A few minutes later we hear Reno coming along the path.  As he approaches he proudly holds up a small, limp, furry body.
You speared a wallaby? Cam calls out excitedly.
Well… no, Reno replies.  I got a possum.  I whacked it with the machete.
Three hungry carnivores are not about to let meat go to waste.  Even Possum meat.  We gut Renos kill, cut off the head and feet, and hang it for half an hour to bleed out.  I have a hard time lopping off the feet.  The warm body is floppy and limp like a sleeping cat.  I grip the tail firmly and try to get the legs lined up under the machete blade.  But when I swing, the dead possum slithers off the edge of the log and I miss.
Once it’s bled the carcass goes straight on the fire, fur and all.  the hair quickly burns off and the skin begins to sizzle and blacken.  After twenty minutes we flip the stiffened body over and char the other side.  When the whole thing is as black and crusty as a slice of burned toast, we drag it off the fire onto a pile of green fern leaves, and fall to with our knives and finger nails.   The meat is gamey and tough.  The flavour is not revolting, but it is not very appetising either, and the meat is mostly grey and stringy.
After we have eaten as much of the possum as we can stomach, we trudge back to the camp site, and raid the kitchen.  Luckily someone has left some fruit buns and jam in the communal food bin, so we don’t go to bed hungry.  I roll into my sleeping bag with the stench of burning possum hair in my clothes and sleep like a baby.


(The sad life of meat addicts.)

Toward the end of the gathering, the weather starts to get colder and the numbers start to dwindle.  One morning, drinking coffee and stamping my feet, I decide it’s time for me to hit the road again.  I pack up my stuff, say a few goodbyes and head out to the main road.   Vera gives me a ride to the nearby small town, and from there I head for the east coast.  In a small town, I find a library with WiFi and check Facebook.  I message Jo.
How was the trek?  Did you survive?  Where are you now?
She replies almost immediately.
I’m in Launceston.  The trek was amazing.  What are you doing?
I check my map.  The little town I’m in is only a hundred Ks from Launceston.
I’m heading for the beach, I tell her.  I’m close to Launceston.  Want to meet up?
Yes! comes the emphatic reply.  Come meet me in Launceston.

Jo and I meet up at the Launceston library.   She looks even more beautiful than I remember.  Her hair is washed, she has a pretty floral blouse, and a tight pair of old jeans that mold themselves to her arse in a very attractive way.  Our greeting is warm but a bit awkward.  I hug her, and hug Marie, who is also there.  The cranky librarian gives us a sour look and we take our conversation to a distant corner of the reference section.  The girls are animated and happy.  The trek was a very exciting experience, especially for Jo, who has not done much outdoor stuff before.  Jo is glowing.  Her face and arms are tanned, she looks lean and healthy from a week of walking.  I can’t take my eyes off her.  The girls suggest we get some lunch, but they need to do a bit of internet stuff first, trying to find a job.  They go off to a computer terminal, and I plug in my phone to a spare socket to charge it.  I’m flicking through emails a few minutes later when I sense Jo standing in front of me.  I look up and smile.
Whats up? I ask her.
She leans down and kisses me passionately.  My heart is beating fast.  The kiss lasts long enough to draw a disapproving grunt from the passing librarian, whom we ignore.  I feel like a happy, naughty teenager.
The three of us have lunch (me Jo and Marie, not the librarian) at a cafe.  Jo tells me about the place they are staying at, a friend of a friend’s house, and invites me to stay there with her. On our way to the house the girls shop and get some exotic looking ingredients for the evening meal.

At Colins place, the girls take over the kitchen and prepare an amazing meal.
This is Quebecoise food, Jo tells me seriously.  This is the food of French Canada.  It is like European food, rich and hearty, but also simple and unpretentious like American food.
Watching Jo cook is a subtly erotic experience.  She is meticulous, and self critical as she cooks, and passionate about flavour.  She rhapsodises about the peanut sauce she is preparing, tasting it many times and telling me about how the sweetness of the nuts must be perfectly balanced by the smoothness of the sauce’s texture.  Occasionally she gives me long meaningful looks as she pauses to taste a dish.  I feel I am falling in love.  My stomach is such a slut.
I move behind her as she stands at the stove stirring the sauce.  I put my arms around her gently and firmly, drawing her toward me.  Jo lifts her face toward mine, arching her neck and I hear her take a sharp breath.
Don’t distract me or I’ll burn myself, she scolds me.  I’m a very clumsy person.

When we sit around the table to eat, the food looks amazing.  The centre piece is a large wheel of brie, topped with Jo’s home made apricot caramel sauce and walnuts.  There are also a crisp salad, bread, and a plate of brightly colored summer rolls, the translucent rice paper showing neatly bundled mouthfuls of grated vegetables and noodles within.
As I eat, Jo watches me.  As I take my first mouthful of each dish, she studies my face intently, a trace of a smile curling the corner of her full mouth. The food is delicious and I tell her so, rolling my eyes with pleasure, and praising her skill.  We gaze at each other across the table and the tension is palpable.
For gods sake, you two, Marie protests, wait until you get to the bedroom!



(Jo at Bay of Fires.  Blue water, white sand, sunshine…  Tasmania’s east coast rocks! You can buy a print of this photo from Redbubbl. )

We read on Facebook that the Rainbow tribe is reuniting at Bay of Fires National Park, on the east coast, for a sort of after party.  Since we all want to see Tasmania’s beaches anyway, the three of us decide to head east.
Bay of fires turns out to be a paradise on earth.  White sand beaches, blue water, gentle waves and hot sunny weather.
We camp on the beach for another week with the Rainbow tribe.  If anything, it is even more fun that the so called official gathering.  The vibe is even more relaxed, the crowd smaller, and the idyllic environment makes everyone feel like they are in a sort of ecstatic dream.


(One afternoon at Bay of Fires, Jo and Marie decide to make themselves new bikinis, out of seaweed.)

When we have been at the beach a few days, the edges start to get a bit frayed around me and Jo.  I see she is anxious and unhappy, and I am feeling she is drawing away from me.
One night we sit and talk and she explains that she is thinking about what is going to happen next.
You are a gypsy, she says.  Where are you going next?  Will you want me to be with you?  I’ve been traveling with Marie for months, I don’t want to leave her alone, but I feel something for you and I want more time for us to be together.
I find myself relieved and happy to hear her words.
Thats what I want too! I reassure her.  Theres something here, and I want to know you better, and give this a chance to be something big.
The next dot on my calendar is Confest, I tell Jo.  I explain a bit about ConFest to her, and she is intrigued.
Why don’t we meet up there?  I know you and Marie need to do some work for the next few weeks, and I have my mum’s birthday to go to, but lets meet up again at Confest.  It’s perfect timing.  In four weeks, you’ll be finishing up your job on the farm, and we can re-connect at the coolest, most exciting festival in Australia.

Our last night at Bay of Fires is classic Rainbow.  Everyone goes down the beach for a twilight skinny dip, which leaves the grey haired tourists in the camp site with open mouths.  We cook a feast on the camp fire using food some of the girls and Franc rescued from supermarket garbage bins.
After the meal we play music together for a couple of hours, and there is a happy sing along atmosphere around the fire.
As the sun sets I find myself sitting on a massive boulder, surrounded by happy young people, getting stoned and looking out over the placid sea.  A light rain starts to fall, relieving the heat of the summer evening, and I realise that life can hardly get better.
I look across at Jo at the camp fire, talking animatedly to somebody about Confest and I can’t help smiling.  It’s been a beautiful Rainbow Gathering.


(Stoned on the rocks at Bay of Fires.)

Where am I headed now? To meet up with Jo again at Confest! Read all about the Confest craziness here.


*1 Tree hugger: derogatory Australian slang term describing environmentalists; derived from the practice of radical forest preservationists, who embrace trees, or chain themselves to trees, to prevent loggers felling them.

*2  North island: parochial term used by Tasmanian Australians to refer to the Australian mainland.

*3  Bajans:  Rainbow traditional songs.  Part hymn, part chant, part tribal folk music.  Rainbow people play and sing Bajan songs at meal times, around the campfire, and on many other ritual occasions.

*4  Beanie: Aussie slang for a warm knitted hat.


>> More stories and photos about alt’ Australia.
>> More posts about my musical antics.
>> Go further, cheaper! Check out my Top 9 Low-Budget Adventure Tips!


The Jock - Tullakool, Australia
Confest Mash Up 2014 - Moulamein, Australia
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  • Tania Morsman

    I cried with the happiness of your journey – thank you Emmanuel, just beautyfull xxx

    • thanks tania! im so glad to hear you enjoyed the story! :)

    • Emmanuel Marshall

      It has been so awesome getting to know you at confest, and via facebook and email Tan! I hope I will see you again, along the trail, really soon my friend! Your support of the blog, and encouragement has been magnificent too. BIG HUGS!

      • Tania – The Faery Queen

        Hay Emmanuel!
        I hear you are camping at the end of January so I will see you there….I still love reading of the magic you create in your journey/s……and yes its been appreciated in the knowing of you…love x

  • Liv Mic

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautifully written, inspirational and heartfelt piece. I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to reading more about your adventures. Much love and blessings. :)

    • Emmanuel Marshall

      thank you for your kind words liv mic :-) I look forward to sharing more stories with you .

      • Rivers

        Brother see you in Tassie 2016?

        • Emmanuel Marshall

          I may see u there rivers. :-) might be on another continent by then though… Not sure yet what I’ll be doing, but hopefully I will see you on the trail somewhere soon!

        • Emmanuel Marshall

          I don’t know yet, but I would love to be there. I think I might be on the barricades though. I feel a strong call to do some protesting