I’ve been sort of off-the-grid in a sense for a while, trying to sort a lot of chaos- I had a week to move after returning home from Oz, so I have found myself with an excess of boxes and a lack of free time lately.
The month leading up to this trip had been stressful, what with the impending move and all. I was worried about this trip… how was it going to work? Am I making the right choice to travel right now, when I should be boxing up my house? Good thing I decided to tell my house to pack itself and go, because this was exactly what I needed to refresh myself as a model, artist and human. It had been so long since I’d shot any fine art, and this group of artists is so good at making you feel at ease and amazing.
As always, my best tours are with my best friend Carlotta, who somehow tolerates 15 hour flights with me AND keeps me on top of my schedule. She’s an amazing model and photographer, which I know you all agree. She’s not likely to admit to the amazing part of the photographer label, but she is.
We flew into Cairns, FNQ. I was not prepared for the wall of humidity that met me on the tarmac when we deplaned. It rivaled pea soup. We met up with a pool of attendees and divvied up into vehicles to drive north to an even warmer spot. Somehow, I could not find a single matching pair of sandals in my house before I left, but Ray was a gem and let me wander the shops and find a pair. They were covered in glitter! No rival to Carlotta’s famed Fish Flops, but perfect for keeping my soles protected in the tropics. I wore them the entire trip. Even on the plane home.
The houses we all stayed in were amazing. Saline pools (and one magnesium pool!) were utilized often for underwater shoots. I’m a mermaid underwater… not in the swimming department, just in the flowing mass of red seaweed that appears to grow off my head whenever I go below the surface. The main house on the estate we stayed in even had an indoor waterfall! Zoe utilized it for many outstanding shots.
So many new friends made and old friends met up again. We did excursions together, made tons of amazing art, laughed, talked photography and talked about our lives. We successfully did not get eaten by crocodiles (though I saw 3 on a cruise), but we did eat a lot of birthday cake! I don’t think the fest could fall over more birthdays than we managed. Every group gathering was fun and engaging. When we read stories of the gatherings of great minds of the past, we often wonder what that would be like. I know this gathering is exactly that.
What did we learn from our Aussie friends this trip? Mosquitoes- mozzies, electricians- sparkies, tasty cheese- cheddar, baked beans are a breakfast food, “Jenny (867-5309)” is strictly an American song, Carmellos are koala-shaped, burning sugar cane smells like roasted marshmallows and black cockatoos exist. We dubbed them “Gothatoos.”
My last meal in Australia was crocodile. I figure since I didn’t get eaten by one, I would eat one. It was delicious.
I bet you’re still singing “Jenny.”
I want to thank Zoe again as our beacon, Carly as my Samwise, all of the photographers and models who joined us at the fest and all of you for helping support our art. We appreciate you, our audience!
Until next time, Australia. I find you ever friendlier the more I visit, even if I don’t know what a “rasher of bacon” is and need it explained to me. (It’s one piece of bacon. I was hoping for a pitchfork full.)