Day Fifty Seven (20 February)

Day 57 was a strange, and in many ways awkward, day. I arrived at Bega for the fair, but before we get to that, let me talk about Sensei.

I’d rested well, dreamed vividly, and woke on Sunday morning before dawn, feeling nourished and renewed.

I still had about 21km to get to Bega, and had promised to get their before noon.

I’d been in touch with Brad Bisset and some lovely folks from 2EC and Power FM (Bega’s local radio station). Brad was going to be MCing at the Fair, and had asked me to pop over. This stuff still sat awkwardly on my shoulders, but I was resolved to always try my best.

I’d been up late the night before, talking in great depth with my new friend (who values privacy, I’ll call him Sensei).

I think it was a profound meeting of minds, and we both got something from it. (Probably me more than him). But I’ve learned that when you’re authentic & true, there are no winners and losers, everybody wins.

Why ?

Because it’s a platform for genuine kindness. The non-fake, non-superficial kind where people really, truly share of themselves. Whether you’re more the giver or the receiver in these kind of exchanges, it doesn’t matter, because it’s wonderfully nourishing for both parties.

That’s why I’ve learned not to be shy if I’m hurting, not to hide my feelings any more – because when you invite kindness, you’re giving the other person a gift too, the chance to be kind. It enriches their life too.

It makes our world better.

I get it that life is about resources, access to food, water and shelter, but overlaying those fundamental needs I think we have access to higher and more refined selves.

If only we lived as if kindness and love were the only important currencies. Instead of fighting for resources, power (at the personal, national and global level), we practiced kindness and sharing.

Think of where humanity would be …

Anyway, I’d had an evening of deep and meaningful talks with Sensei, and when I set out early the following morning, to my delight – he wanted to come with me.

The road to Bega was 21 or 22km, and we did it in less than 4 hours. It was a solid pace, after all those long days of walking.

As we closed in on outer Bega, I met this lovely kid who gave me this “GO CAPTAIN AUSTRALIA!” sign (that I’d actually seen hanging on a property a little while back).

I really enjoyed getting down on one knee, shaking a kid’s hand, the ear-to-ear smiles, the curiosity, the interest.

You’d think they’d reject a chubby old man for their superhero, but they seemed to naturally ‘get it’, and really responded to my Quest.

Once we got to Bega, I said my farewells to Sensei and his family (while lounging in a park and drinking Maccas coffee), and then bumped into Einstein, who had caught up from a few days carousing back at Bodalla.

Together we headed to the Bega Fair, and I got to meet Nigel and family (who had lost their young son to cancer decades ago). More on this lovely man later (I met him again in Merimbulla).

The fair was pleasant, lots of friendly g’days, waves and chats, we hung out there for an hour or two, and I also got to meet Brad Bisset.

Brad was doing a fine job MCing for the crowd (I think he does the morning show at the local radio), and he urged me to say hello, pushing the mic on me.

Haha. Although I’d gotten better with my shyness, and when guided by the ‘just talk true mate’ approach, was able to explain myself pretty well .. it was SO AWKWARD talking about my Quest to these scattered crowds of people, just there to enjoy the fair.

My biggest regret about that kind of thing is just that I might have missed the chance to help somebody. You know what I mean ? Letting my shyness sabotage what could be a meaningful exchange.

When I was all fired up and talking straight & simple from the heart, occasionally there’d be someone who just really got it, got it at a deep level, I’d be a bit surprised to see them openly weeping as we shared stories, you know ?

If a story about hope, about finding strength and courage, about overcoming sorrow .. if a story like that could actually help someone, then I bloody well had to do my best to tell it properly.

But I didn’t always succeed, and I think the Bega Fair was one of those occasions.

(Did have a bucket of fun though)

While wandering the Fair, I bumped into this young man, Brodie. What a lovely bloke, we’re still in touch from time-to-time. I like to think we’re mates.

A dedicated scout, he knew Scout Coralie from Ulladulla, and is another fine example of a big-hearted young person with drive and commitment.

Every time I’d meet someone like Coralie or Brodie, it would give me a burst of hope for our collective future. Actually, on reflection, I really did run into a lot of wonderful young people on my walk – Jhye, Callum, Ella, Hayley, Sophie, Mason & Flynn, Little Phoebe, Hunter, Aura and her siblings … jeez, so many more.

Mid afternoon, I took a break and found my bed at the Bega Downs Motor Inn. The family who owns the place was bloody incredible – so kind, enthusiastic and welcoming.

If you look at the videos, you’ll see the phenomenal meal they made for me.

I’d expected to be sleeping rough in the bush somewhere, and although I’d done a lot of that, it was a daily shock that people were behind my Quest, and offering such relentless kindness.

I went back to the Fair to watch the crash-em-smash-em derby, but .. and this is a bit embarassing, I bought 4 cans of rum & coke and spilled one all over myself. Just as the cars were starting to vroom-vroom, I quietly snuck out, found a quiet park and washed myself (I didn’t want to show up at the motel filthy and reeking of alcohol).

This owl was watching me (perhaps with disapproval), but once I was cleaned up I went back to the motel and caught up on messages. (Including one from Lorraine, who wanted to walk with me the following day).