My Great Tasmanian Getaway: Part 1

Dear Audy,

I’m back! Back from being whisked away for an escape from my dreary life. Back from a wonderful few weeks with my very own Prince Awesome. Back from the south, as far south as one can drive in Australia. Back from the delightful, wonderful and wild state that the rest of us have been unfairly mocking for years…Tasmania.

This trip arrived just in time. I’m seeing life more clearly than I was at the start of this year and what I see from here is this: I was headed down the rocky road toward batshit crazy. I was absolutely losing it. The big it of sanity. I thought that I was hanging in there, but all I was doing was surviving, slowly, in a detached, confused and slightly deluded state. The delusion was that I thought I was still coping even the tiniest bit. I was not.

The change of scenery was the most refreshing thing that I have experienced in the past six and a half years. It was my first real holiday since developing CRPS and, let’s face it, for a significant amount of time before that. I was awakened by the ocean breeze in my face, my hair, my everywhere. I was calmed by the wind in the gumtrees, the laughing kookaburras and bumble-brained-but-adorable wallabies.

And, oh, the views. Nobody ever told me that everywhere in Tasmania has spectacular views! I guess that’s why none of the windows there have fly screens. Full disclosure: I did not visit every single part of Tasmania and will generalise freely with my view praise and fly screen wonderings.

I was more than a bit nervous as I packed and prepared for my spontaneous holiday. I didn’t even remember to take a camera that wasn’t my phone. How would my body cope? Would it stop me from adventuring? Would my dogs be alright without me? (relax, I didn’t just leave them at home alone, but I thought they might not be okay without me, specifically) Why was I packing those jeans that none of my shoes match? Would I be able to sleep in beds that weren’t mine? And, terrifyingly, would the ants marching into my roof completely take over my home while I was gone?! (No, no, they wouldn’t).

Only one of my silly worries was really valid and that’s the first one. How would my body cope? The answer is, pretty good, actually. The flight over was a bit tough on my hands, but only because they were burning horrendously for the few days beforehand. Luckily, it only takes an hour to fly to Tasmania and I can put up with almost anything for only an hour.

I had some time to kill while my Prince finished up his work before Easter and managed to wander much further than I would have expected my legs to allow. Wandering was exhilarating after I had been feeling so trapped at home. I explored Rosny and even found a little museum to have a look at. One of the best things about Tasmania is that there is history hiding behind every turn and I happen to love old stuff. Story filled stuff is the best stuff.

I figured that my legs would just give out on me after that, I mean, I climbed a pretty big hill to look out at this lookout.

20130426 Rosny Lookout

Thankfully, my body had much better plans. It decided to work with me, for once, and the pain remained tolerable for the drive down to the holiday cottage that we stayed in at Kettering. Once we were there, everything started to get better. I had basically forgotten how relaxing it is to relax in a place away from the stresses of home and normal routines, but it is extremely relaxing.

Morning cups of coffee with this view were like living a fantasy. The ocean is just at the bottom of that very steep hill. Fresh sea breezes all day and all night are some sort of perfect medicine for a frazzled nervous system.

20130426 View from Manuka

My highly sensitised body found the climate in Tasmania particularly agreeable. The temperatures are generally a little bit cooler than Victoria, however they really don’t feel as cold as they are. Eleven degrees in Tasmania does not feel like eleven degrees in Melbourne. It’s far more pleasant down there. I raised this with one local who explained to me that it was “because they have more sky”. I hope that she wasn’t referring the their proximity to the hole in the ozone layer, because I love her explanation much more.

The Tasmanian climate is better for me because they have more sky. I can totally get on board with that. I like sky.

I also like local produce, which Tasmania has a lot of. I dare say that that’s because of the small ocean between them and the rest of our country, not to mention the rest of the world. One of the most fabulous things they produce there is wine, particularly Pinot Noir, which I am rather fond of. I might have had wine every day that I was there. I might be a slight alcoholic now, but I’m pretty sure I’m OK, it was good quality wine and that almost definitely makes a difference.

Also, Tasmanians make some truly delightful whisky. The best one that we tried was called Three Capes. It was a new addition to the bar at the Port Arthur restaurant and appears to only be available for purchase direct from the distiller. I don’t think they have it in stores, it’s only just gone on the market at all. Thanks for that recommendation, waiter! Another great Tassie whisky that is more widely available is Hellyer’s Road. You should try some of that, provided that you like whisky, of course. If you don’t like whisky it’s probably just going to taste like burning and so we, as a society, shouldn’t waste any on you.

It turns out that when I don’t have to do any cooking, or cleaning, or look after those amazing dogs of mine, or stress about the stresses of life and money and food and things…when I don’t have to do any of that then I am up for quite a bit of adventuring.

So much adventuring, in fact, that I simply cannot fit it all into one blog post. Which is pretty great on account of that before this holiday, I hadn’t done much that I wanted to write about in a long time. Don’t worry, it’s all very exciting and involves quolls and ghosts (separately awesome beings) as well as a rant about the misappropriation of the word “spa”, so…stay tuned.

Love & Escape,

P.S. I started writing this on Monday. My physical state has plummeted since then and I currently feel like I’m being eviscerated with a wire coat hanger. Life, huh? Thankfully, most of the writing about my trip is already done, otherwise we’d be straight back into my crappy every day reality, in which I’m not really coping any better than I was before the holiday. Bothering to turn on the laptop and publish this right now is me forcing myself not to give up completely. I’m only sitting up right now through sheer determination, doing so hurts like crazy. I guess the point of this post script is to let you know not to be fooled by my smiling holiday pictures. Yes, I had a wonderful time. No, I am not magically better now.

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  • 4 thoughts on “My Great Tasmanian Getaway: Part 1

    1. Margaret

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading Part 1 of your holiday. I felt part of me was there with you. I miss your quirky ways of sharing stories and lets not forget your dry sense humour…….It all flowed back to me on reading this…..Thanks for sharing.
      My Doc says “you could do with a change of scenery”…a lot of what you said resonated with me.

      1. Hayley Cafarella Post author

        Thanks Margie! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the story. It’s been so nice to have something to write about other than the things that happen in my house. The change of scenery was a wonderful piece of therapy, I’m trying to get some strength back now so that I can just manage to get myself out to a park or something once in a while just for the benefit of being somewhere different :) xx

    2. Ross

      Good to hear that you had such a great time away on your holiday! Even better that you had a little bit of down time away from everyday routines. Our fight with our CRPS is crappy at times but we always find a way to push through adversity, now all we need is a cure. I find that getting away takes my mind away from this affliction for a short period of time making it just a little bit easier to cope with everyday life. Hang in there!

      1. Hayley Cafarella Post author

        Thanks, Ross! Distraction is such an important tool, especially when we just can’t escape what’s happening in our bodies. I had been craving this holiday for so long, still feeling very lucky that I have someone who was able to whisk me away for a bit. It’s hard to hold on to that feeling now that I’m home and coping with increased pain and income stresses, but underneath the tears I know that I’ll get through this all too. Wishing you all the best with your surgery ups and downs, you are doing an amazing job of coping with all of that. I kind of flip out every time I have to go to the doctor lately after just having had enough of my life being decided by things out of my control, I really admire the way that you cope! :) x

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