Adventures In Oz: Part 1

(I love referring to Australia as “Oz.” Gives it sort of a magical quality. Distant land and all. Over 7000 miles away from Los Angeles and a few more from my home in Laguna Beach, just south of L.A. )

For the first two days I was in Australia I’d made arrangements to spend some time with my friend Lionel at one of his cabins in the Blue Mountains, two hours west of Sydney. I’d met Lionel two years prior when I had rented one of his cabins for several days to complete my Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards, and we developed a friendship during that time. He and I had rode dirt bikes to the edge of one of the mountains and there before us was this magnificent panorama of forest-covered hills with a luminescent light blue covering.—thus the name Blue Mountains.

He’d offered to put me up for the first couple of days I was there. Not only that, he offered his wife’s house near Sydney for day three and four, as I had two engagements those days. First a workshop at Mysterys Bookshop in Penrith about an hour outside of Sydney, then the next day I was the “special guest reader” at Adyar bookshop in CBD—Central Business District.

I arrived at the airport, took a taxi to Newtown where I’d find a place to shower—a welcome treat after 15 hours in an airplane—and his car. He’d initially told me to go ahead and drive the car to the cabin in the mountains but Lionel showed up shortly after I’d arrived. It was great to see him.

Aus_Oct09_S__LLionel is a third generation mountain man. Here’s a photo of him taken on the back porch of his house. He’s a builder, one of the best known in the country for sustainable buildings, ones that can operate off the grid if necessary. He has a few beautiful cabins in the Gum Tree (a type of Eucalyptus) Forest near Bilpin in the Blue Mountains. They are rustic but fit extremely well in the surrounding land.

We chatted quite a bit, catching up with stories of our lives over the past two years. We went to the local hangout that night, the Apple Bar, for a meal, and there met up with several of his friends from the local community. He’d been living there his entire life, so naturally he knew everyone in the restaurant. Small town.

Next day Lionel took me to his most recent building, what he called the Stone Cabin that he had just about finished. It was his crowning achievement. Gray water recycled through sprinklers that kept the ground around the cabin moist. Built with a mixture of stone and extremely hard wood, making it nearly fireproof. As he explained, if a bush fire (forest is called the bush) happened, it would roll through the house in a less than a minute and the house would still be standing.

Aud_Oct09Lionel was obviously very proud of this achievement. Every detail was considered to make the house as self-sufficient as possible. Solar panels with energy efficient lighting. Stone floors. Sliding doors that opened to the surrounding forest. A completely separate bathhouse and toilet, and nearby a very old bathtub with a shower fixture attached for outdoor showers. A loft with a ladder leading to a bed on the second floor, with a bed on the first floor directly underneath. A stone door that led to stairs to the upper floor, which then wound around to the same bed in the loft.

And the view to the south of the greenish-blue hills was breathtaking! Lionel truly had a gift with his skills and it was obvious that he was rightfully proud of latest achievement.

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