My Didgeridoo has a special place in my heart. Not only because it’s an unusual instrument, which I can actually play, but because it reminds me of the time I went around the world in 188 days.
I was nearing thirty, just had my heart torn in two and was needing a much needed break from the treadmill of the ‘struggling actors life’. Travelling was one of those things that I thought I’d always love to do, but I never got round to it because I was always auditioning and waiting for my next break. However, after two gruelling tours and the aforementioned heartbreak I decided to just go for it.
I took a loan, borrowed a back pack and took off on a six month round the world trip. I was eased into the ‘lone traveller’ lifestyle by first going to India with two friends, Naomi and Dave. We travelled the North and South and then after three weeks we said our goodbyes and I headed to Vietnam. The rest of the journey I was on my own. An independent, fierce girl, exploring the wild jungles and ancient ruins of South East Asia before heading to Australia.
The Didgeridoo didn’t come into my journey until I made my way to Australia’s rainforest area of Queensland.
My plan was to stay a few days in Cairns, do some scuba diving around the Great Barrier Reef and then head up towards Port Douglas and Mossman Gorge. On my travels I always knew the general stages of my journey, but I never planned it completely because I liked to see what happened and ‘go with the flow’. So, for this particular leg of the journey I hadn’t yet figured out how I would get up past Cairns – perhaps a bus tour.
One evening after my final day of diving, I wondered the streets to look around the shops and I came to a didgeridoo store. Yes, there are such things! I was fascinated by these instruments, not just because of the nature of actually making a sound from them, but also because they were all uniquely carved and decorated with aboriginal art.
The man in the shop, Mark, sat me down to try to play one. I’m one for never giving up so it took me a while, but after about half an hour I managed a deep bellow from the didgeridoo. I was fascinated and then spent the next two hours perfecting the sound, with Mark’s help. I was so taken with the idea of playing it that I decided to buy one. Mark told me they often ship them out of the country so my worries of getting it home were alleviated. I then spent even more time choosing the perfect one – a light honey coloured didgeridoo with a carved Barramundi fish. It was beautiful and I was so pleased that it would be waiting for me once I returned from my voyage.
I later went for a drink with Mark and we got chatting about my travels. I told him about my plan to go North and he offered me the use of his car. I said I would be gone a week, and was he really sure about lending his car to some random girl he just met. Yes, he was fine with it he said – he was so laid back, a true Aussie!
So the next day I met him on the corner, he handed me the keys and off I went up the coast. I had a terrific time driving through the area, staying at a lodge in the middle of nowhere and trekking through the rain forest trying to spot the rare Cassowary bird. I heard it several times, but I never got a glimpse!
At the time, it seemed run of the mill that someone had lent me their car, but now I look back and realise he must have had a lot of faith that not only would I return it within the week that I said, but that I would return it intact – which I did of course.
I could spend ages telling you about the rest of my travels and perhaps I will one day. I wrote a blog at the time called 188 days around the world, documenting my journey, but it’s now somewhere lost in cyberspace.
When I returned home, the Didgeridoo was waiting for me. I had visions of earning wads of cash by busking in town once I learnt circular breathing, but it never happened. The didgeridoo stayed at my parents house for the next tens years with the occasional outing to bellow a sound from it. It finally came to stay with me in my home just recently after my little girl Violet, who is six, said she wanted to play it for her talent show at school.
I thought it was a brilliant idea and she got the chance to toot some sounds on stage with a few of her friends singing along. Not surprisingly both her and her sister Martha find it quite easy to blow it and make the right sounds, whereas my parents tend to huff and puff without making a sound other than the whistling of their breath through the end.
Whenever I look at that Didgeridoo, it reminds me of my travels and the carefree nomadic lifestyle I had for six months. One day, when they’re older, both my girls will learn more about my travels and perhaps read my daily handwritten diaries to learn about their fearless mother pre-kids. Perhaps it will even inspire them to go travelling one day – although just the thought of that gives me the shivers. I have no idea how my mum managed to wave me off with a smile back then, even though I was nearly thirty!