Writing on, and about, an island

Posts Tagged ‘Tetsuya’

If There’s One Place You Must Travel to in 2012…

In Island Life, Tasmania, Travel on January 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm

… it’s the Huon Valley. A bunch of influential global travel experts – Mr & Mrs Smith, for example – have named Tasmania’s Huon Valley as one of the top-10 places to check out this year. This in partly due to the Valley’s growing and well-deserved reputation for artisan and organic produce, but the vistas are also stunning, and the locals are keeping alive traditional processes (spinning and wooden-boat-building, anyone?) that would otherwise disappear.

The Huon is also where Matt Evans’ Gourmet Farmer is set, it’s where Tetsuya built and launched his boat from, it’s where you can check out the up-coming Taste of the Huon, it’s where Tassie’s Apple Isle moniker was born… and it is easily one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen.

I’ve been compiling an arts and heritage strategy for the region, and have had to spend a lot of time in the Huon’s five main townships of Dover, Geeveston, Huonville, Cygnet and Franklin. Each has a distinct flavour, and travelling the full ‘circle’ from Hobart and back is a memorable journey. I remember childhood trips to the Huon with my English-born grandparents (who loved to go to there to experience a little bit of the ‘home country’), and the winding country roads lined with autumn’s vibrant trees and Cape Cod-style cottages. But I hadn’t been back in decades, and I now see I’ve been missing out. Little has changed the Valley’s gentle, peaceful ambience over the years, and it’s the first place I send visiting friends when they arrive in the state.

So, when you’re in the Huon, you must get your art on at the Church Studio, you must anchor in Charlotte Cove (and dream about buying property there), you must buy a Summer Kitchen pie (go the Hunza or the Humity), you must stand on the enigmatic shores of Dover, you must listen to a gig at Red Velvet Lounge, you must stay in the teepees at Huon Bush Retreats, and you must buy some wares from Steenholdt’s Organics – which my mates at Island Menu have often been inspired by.

 

NOTE: Take the long way back to Hobart from Cygnet (not the short-cut), and you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking views along the coast – and the chance to pretend you’re time-trialling (just don’t tell the authorities I said that).

PS: I know I said I was Not Using Images, but thought a little context would help in a travel post.

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Sailing…

In Island Life, Tasmania, Travel on January 4, 2012 at 1:32 am

I am no good at living in the moment. No good at mindfulness. I am a master multi-tasker, have made a career out of it, and every day is a series of insignificant tasks sticky-taped together.

However, I have come to realise that this is not something to be proud of. I react to outside demands, rather than consider what matters to me. Days are filled with busy-ness and to-do lists that fool me into thinking I’ve achieved something. Countless days that have left me exhausted and unsatisfied… and rudderless. The end result being that my life controls me – not the other way around.

Perhaps sailing will change that.

I sailed when I was younger (my father helped found the Wooden Boat Centre, and our boat, Lady Franklin, was the first to come out of the School’s shed on the Franklin waterfront. Tetsuya’s boat recently launched from there, also.)

Then I moved to Sydney – one of the world’s most beautiful sailing playgrounds – and despite living opposite the Cruising Yacht Club (home to the Sydney to Hobart), I skipped the boat part and instead made full use of the beer part.

Now: back in Tasmania. Tasmania has the highest amount of boats, per capita. As an island, sailing is inseparable from our history and our identity. I am now the proud owner of a beautiful 100-year-old, 35-foot Huon Pine yacht. Royal blue hull, white sails, oiled decks – the full cliché…

This Christmas holidays just past was spent sailing around Bruny Island on that boat – with a five-year-old (mine) and a husband (also mine).

The romanticism of sailing was given a beating by a 100-year storm, endless games of Snap and a port-a-loo that turns your poo blue (nice view from the seat, however).

It was a real test for me. Not the lack of creature comforts, although that was bloody hard. The test came in the lack of space and distractions. The fact that every simple dry-land task was made long and thoughtful at sea. Making coffee, for instance. You had to concentrate on making coffee. Not 12 things at once.

Somewhere between day three and four, between rain-damp sleeping bags and bottles of Gordon’s Gin*, it occurred to me that there was a lesson in my discomfort. Being forced to focus on the basics of daily living gave me space – not physical space, but the mental space to listen to my mind. Something I very rarely do.

(When I first had a baby and was going mad with the insignificance of each day, a wise woman said to me that it was the ultimate ‘Zen’ lesson. To learn to live in the moment. To realise that the past and the future don’t exist. To stop trying to ignore/escape stillness and stop trying to crowd out the chatter in your brain with ‘doing’. With a new baby there’s not a lot you can do on a grand scale – you have to embrace the small things, each moment. And the sooner your realise this, the better)

Perhaps sailing will strengthen my mindfulness muscle. Perhaps Tasmania will teach me mindfulness. The frustration I’ve felt since moving here – with how slowly things happen, how apathetic people seem in contrast to what I’m used to – is perhaps less an indication of something broken in Tasmania, and more an indication of something I need to address within myself.

Perhaps slow Tasmania has it right, and I have it wrong.

Here’s to more sailing.

*Gin and boats just go together. Gin is best kept in a dive bag, slung over the side of the boat. Tassie’s cool oceans make the perfect bar fridge.

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