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An Extended Stay, A World Away

Isabella Cammarata
October 26, 2019

The name “Mullumbimby” to most sounds made up, by the reactions of my friends and family when I tell them I spent a portion of my mid-semester break there. My Australian friends on the other hand usually just nod at the mention of the place and mutter something about it being a proper hippy town; they’re not wrong. 

I ended up in Mullumbimby via “Workaway,” which is a website that allows one to travel on a budget by providing a platform for travelers to look for free room and board in exchange for doing work for a host. I find that the travels I do through Workaway feel more meaningful as opposed to jumping from tourist attraction to tourist attraction. I feel like I’m getting more for less in a way. 

Initially, I had planned on going to Byron Bay, but as there were more options for Workaways in the close by Mullumbimby,  I decided to spend a few days there and then go down to Byron for the rest of the trip; the opposite happened. 

I got picked up from the airport by my Workaway host, “Urs,” a funny German man who instantly started telling me stories from his crazy travels around the world. As we rambled on through the winding green hills, and Urs chatted on about his experiences with mistics in the Philipines, I knew we were getting further and further away from the Instagram-ready backdrop of Byon bay, and more into a world that looks like something out of a Lord of the Rings movies.

Urs’s place ended up looking like something out of an Instagram post from Bali actually--minus the 600 plane ticket. It ended up being a slow season at Urs’s for making fresh jams, pestos, and juices from the garden, which is what the work usually was. I did very menial work due to this reason, and it was all very enjoyable. I got to pick fresh fruits and veggies from the garden every day to make dinners with and help feed a litter of baby ducks. I also met another girl workaway who was on Urs’s property named Ali. We spent nights making dinner together and having jam sessions on her guitar while Urs’s musician friends would be over as well. Urs was a DJ for years, and a movie fanatic as well, so after dinner, we would blast music on his amazing sound systems or watch an artistic movie from his international film selection. 

Urs’s friend “Wooly” was over one night for dinner, and mentioned he was going to drive into Byron the next day. I didn’t want to go even though I had ended up spending the whole week in Mullumbimby. I wanted to stay at least another 2 weeks honestly. But the inner tourist in me told me I should go see the lighthouse at Byron Bay, or shop around the popular stores there and go check out the surf. So begrudgingly, I ended up hitching a ride to Byron with Wolly, promising Urs and Ali I would be back at some point in life. 

As for Byron and how that went; the beaches were beautiful yes, the view at the top of the light-house was unreal, and I had a great time at the party hostel I stayed in...but after I was back in Sydney, I decided to write a blog post on Mullumbimby, not Byron. That fact speaks for itself :) 

 

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Isabella Cammarata

<p>I love to write, and I have for as long as I can remember. Being by nature, listening to all genres of music, dancing, playing instruments, philosophy and film all interest me intensely. I love learning more than most other things, and I search for "off the beaten path" everything, when I go anywhere.</p>

Home University:
Marist College
Hometown:
Marshfield, MA
Major:
Communications
Marketing
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