a guide to Byron Bay

Posted on May 31st, 2012

I first wrote this guide about two years ago when I was living just outside Byron in an old army shed in the forest. I put it together as a rundown of Things to Do as recommended by me and bunch of rad locals I met so that when you – my mates here on this blog – holiday there, well, you’re sorted. You can also catch up on more of my latest finds here.

photograph by Alex Frings – click on the image for more of Alex’s work

I’ve regularly updated the guide since then because it has proven so popular (and will continue to do so)…if you feel anything’s outdated, please feel free to post a comment below!

As a bit of background, I came to Byron to rest and heal. Which is what it has done for thousands of years. For the local Arakwal Bumberlin people it’s always been a healing and fertility place. The locals say you come here to get healed. Once healed, you need to move on or, if you stay, you must heal others. After 18 months here I knew my time was up. But it will always be a special place for me.

Byron is a unique place. It’s both a sleepy, old-school coastal hamlet in bits, but big bands and performers pass through regularly. It’s full of fancy city types, but the sense of community is potent. It’s transient, but everyone feels they belong. The ladies at the post office know my name. The bank manager chats with me in the street.

Everyone has a theory on the place and why certain phenomena exist. Like, the fact there are seven single women to every single man. (The theory on this one is that it’s due to the area being a female fertility site…men just can’t hack the energy!)

But to the guide…

For a great overview of what the locals are doing, and what gigs are worth seeing, check out Common Ground.

You might also like to read about the road trip I did in the area a while back.

Also, this video featuring my mate Tommy Franklin – who’s since appeared on X Factor -  should give you a breezy feel for things…play it as a Read more

Here’s a trick: use your body to make decisions

Posted on May 30th, 2012

As many of you know, I can get very indecisive. I can be walking down the street to do something nice and languid, like have a tea in the sun. And I suddenly stall in my tracks. Where to go? What cafe? What tea? Sunny or cosy cafe? Such painfully indulged innocuousness can render me paralyzed for minutes. I’ll sit in the gutter and weigh up the pros and cons of various options…in charts in my head…aware it’s all just so dumb, which gets me even more paralysed. I’ve been known to turn around and head home because it all just becomes too much of a clusterfuck.

Photo by Heikki Leis

Anyway, I’ve shared how I get over indecision here and here.

And I think I’ve shared that it’s actually yet another side effect of hashimotos (thyroid disease affects the decision-making centre of the brain). If not, I now have.

But I’ve been experimenting with this idea lately: letting my body steer me to a decision. I’ve heard it referred to as using your body as a pendulum.

It works like this:

I have a decision to make. Let’s say, to turn left or right at the end of the street. I think of turning to the left and feel whether I lean that way. I try it on the right. Invariably I can feel my body lean more or less, one way or the other. I feel one way in a light, brighter, easier manner than the other. Sometimes the answer comes as a colour. Or it comes in colour, as opposed to black and white. Colour means go for it.

Others literally use their body as pendulum and tune their bodies to the idea that “yes” is a forward tilt and “no” is a backward tilt. And then they ask themselves questions.

But the operative word here is feel. This is the point. So is getting still and conscious, because it doesn’t work otherwise.

But mostly it’s about getting closer.

This is my aim in life these days. Just to get closer to that distilled, quiet, always-already essence at my core.

Really, if you cut out the angels and unicorns, using your body this way is just an exercise in coming in closer to your body. And when we get closer to our body, we shut out the chattering, distracting head that works in charts and pros and cons lists (which are ineffectual. Actually, they’re good to a point….for narrowing things down…but then the head has to step aside and let gut take over…this has been explored before by Jonah Lehrer). And when we shut out the head, something else far more organic kicks in.

Flow. Read more

a capricorn’s guide to storing food

Posted on May 29th, 2012

This is a really daggy post, but helpful. Stay with me. I’ve also shared some clever food storage ideas here, and how to freeze things here.

image via chucksmiscellany.blogspot.com.au

Apples

Store on the counter. Move any uneaten apples to the refrigerator after seven days. In the fridge or out, don’t store near most other uncovered fruits or vegetables — the ethylene gases produced by apples can ruin them (making carrots bitter, for example). The exception: if you want to ripen plums, pears and other fruits quickly, put an apple nearby for a day or so.

Asparagus

Store upright in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with either an inch of water or with a damp towel wrapped around the base, just like you would have flowers in a vase. They’ll last three to four days that way.

Avocados

Ripen on the counter. Can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days once ripe. A clever trick: ripen a hard avocado by sticking it in a paper bag with a banana.

Berries

Unwashed and in their original container. Blueberries and strawberries should keep for five to seven days; more fragile raspberries and blackberries up to two days.

Celery

Keep in the front of the refrigerator, where it’s less apt to freeze. Read more