Wow! What an amazing trip I have had...physically...mentally....and spiritually. The Ghan train was everything I had hoped plus more. It had me wishing that you could own a private train and travel the country as you wished...like a caravan. Trains are my personal favourite for travelling distances...the only way to travel in my opinion. Such class...such style...total relaxation and comfort. It truly was, a dream come true.
Going from the comfort and grandeur of the train to a mini bus, swag camping under the stars, full on physical exertion of the next three days was as different as chalk and cheese but also immensely enjoyable. The space...the heat...the inescapable mix of personalities and cultures made it a truly magical experience. There were 14 of us in total. 2 Aussies, 2 Poms, 2 Belgians, 1 Yank, 3 Asians, 1 Dutch, 1 Irish and 1 German...plus the Aussie guide. I was prepared for desert....wide expanses of nothingness and a bit of discomfort along the way. What I didn’t expect was that the country really was interesting with lots of trees, bushes and changing scenery, the absolute magnificent rock formations that we saw, the pockets of greenery and wildflowers and the depth of spirituality that I felt amongst these sacred places.
The Aboriginals have such wonderful dreamtime stories of the formation and history of the land they lived upon. They had much more respect for the earth and its ebb and flow than they are ever given credit or acknowledgement for. They are the oldest living race on earth. And they have such a beautiful way of explaining how the land came to be...of how it was formed and moulded. Such a spiritual race, but nothing to do with religion, only a wonderful love and respect for the earth. I truly wish the Aboriginal race could find their space in this modern world, that perhaps more of them would embrace their culture and history. They have so much to offer but up til now their voice has been so wrongly represented or misinterpreted.
It was an absolutely wonderful trip for me in many ways. I was able to spend the week with a person I absolutely adore and love and we survived each other very well which is no small feat being in each other’s personal space so much. I fulfilled a couple of things on my bucket list....travelling on The Ghan and visiting Uluru. I also had a few moments of personal clarity and insight that literally have rocked my world.
The first came when we originally visited Uluru. Uluru itself is a major significant area to the aboriginals of the area. Many parts are sacred sites which they request you do not photograph and that you show respect by not intruding on certain places, talking quietly, not soiling the ground...common sense really. This includes climbing Uluru which I had no desire to do. We did a small walk around the base called the Mala Walk. There were a few culturally significant parts to this walk including some rock paintings, wave rocks where the aboriginals would camp, a sacred women’s site where they would give birth and ending at a waterhole.
Partway along this walk, there is a stand of trees, close to Uluru itself, with a boardwalk going through the middle. As I walked through this stand of trees I felt something move through me... a feeling of peace and serenity...I continued on the walk as there were others walking with me, and I thought to myself how wonderful it would be if on the return trip I could be in this spot by myself. The walk continued and culminated in a waterhole which was amazing as it was so hot and dry....the fact that water could survive above ground at any time of the year was unimaginable.
I left my fellow walkers at this moment, and headed back along the path with the hope that I would have some time alone. Luck was on my side. As I walked the boardwalk there was one other person coming along the path. I paused and took a few photographs and waited for them to disappear along the track. And there it was....finally. I was alone...amongst the trees....in the late afternoon. I closed my eyes...breathed the air... listened...the only sound I could hear...a solitary bird singing. I opened myself and felt the spirituality wash over me until I was fully immersed. I was in no way prepared for this but I relaxed and drank in the atmosphere. I stayed for a few minutes....as long as I could....until the sound of someone else coming along the path broke my peace and stirred me. That moment in time will stay with me...forever. It wasn’t a significant part along the walk and whether it remains as a memory for anyone else doesn’t matter. It will always remain in my heart and soul as the most moving and the most important part of my visit to Uluru.
Perhaps it was preparing me for the next revelation.....