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459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

Into the wild

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Into the wild

Andrew Ryan

I’d been to Tasmania once before this weekend’s trip, and that first experience wasn’t a great one.

It was a visit to a farm owned by a woman who didn’t believe that I was one of the chosen ones to survive the end-of-the-world; that I wouldn’t live forever in a glass dome with our alien-spirit over-lords guiding us gently through the apocalypse… It was an insular experience and I saw little of what the island had to offer other than isolation for society’s mentally unstable fringe dwellers (though I did learn what it felt like to throw snow at another human being).

So you know, I didn’t have the greatest of memories attached to the place. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have the inclination to go back. However, after my bestguy Peter spent months regaling tales of the glorious nature of both Tasmania’s wilderness and the creative portion of the population who choose to live there, I was sold on the idea of visiting. So sold, in fact, that I began to crave it. The nightmare of years previous turned in to future-dreams of an artistic commune in which we grow all of our own food and raise however many babies happened to be born amongst us without the evils of corporate advertising to damage their precious sponge-minds…

The perfect opportunity to get a glimpse in to the reality of this sphere arose when my friend moved down there to follow love and aforementioned glorious natures, and it was her birthday, and a gig was booked at which Melb-bros P.Bibbs and Nicky Allbrook and Orlandooooo Furious and various excellent Tasmanian acts were to play at an old theatre in a tiny town on the bank of the Huon River, so how could I NOT go and experience this rad thing? Never mind that my computer and phone had died the week or so before, never mind that these deaths resulted in falling behind in uni-work as well as music-video work, I COULD DO SOME WORK IN THE BEAUTIFUL PLACE YEAH, let’s doooo it etc.

“Do Work” in Tasmania I said. “It’ll be fine” I said. Yeah, you fucking re-big-citi-fied idiot, you delusional stress-head, where did the lessons of time-spent-in-regional-Australia go? I “knew” what was coming, sort of; Pete had done his best to casually drop hints at the nature of a car-less Tassie experience in our circle of humans, but I had no real idea of what I was in for, no true understanding of the power of the chill-vibe so intrinsic to the culture down there.

Entering the airport, there was a sniffer dog running through the arrivals looking for fruit and veg, lest they introduce unwanted bugs and whatnot to what’s left of the precious eco-system. You know what else should be present upon your arrival? A sniffer dog for repressed negative emotions.

If the little beagle comes and sits next to you, its keeper should tell you gently- yet firmly- that you must accept a free massage by a highly trained professional in deep tissue relaxation, and some guided Zen meditation to rid your mind of those destructive-attitude spores. There should be a sign at the gates which says: “Welcome to Tasmania: Leave Your Mainland Stresses Where You Grew Them”. Or something about dropping your bullshit along with your bodily excretions out of the plane in to the Bass Straight, or like, something about the forests having enough work cut out for them soaking up all the CO2 in the atmosphere so why should you expect them to do the brunt of the work with your negativity too… it’s up to YOU, the visitor, to make the choice to go with the flow of the highwinds in the many, many, many leaves and down all the hills and mountains with the myriad streams of rainwater.

I realised 4 days too late in to my 5 day trip that this is what is required to properly appreciate a trip which was planned before technology failed, before fast-paced-creative-city-life went weird. Just let it fucking go, and be there in that moment, on that beautiful property in beautiful fucking Franklin, with that beautiful old lady standing under her 100 year old light bulb proudly hosting a party for a bunch of fun+music loving humans. Be there in that moment with the 6 year old daughter of the King of Tasmania when she’s doing a fucking great job of quickly picking up English after years spent in South Korea. Don’t let thoughts of moving data between a MacBook and a Windows laptop distract you from the beauty of your surroundings as you canoe through a gap in an island on the Huon with your lover. Don’t be a dummy, just fucking chill the fuck out.

The only time I truly lost myself was when I climbed so high up a tree that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get down, intoxicated by escapism as much as booze and dexamphetamines. I couldn’t smile comfortably in front of a noble sheep, I forgot my manners in the houses of wonderful hosts, I forgot most of the names of the people I met, my heart raced when the wind tore at the roof of the shed we rested in not only from the fear of death in a storm, but from the fear of lack-of-sleep affecting the work I felt I should do the next day but knew I wouldn’t be able to do anyway…

The next time I go to Tasmania will be, Godess-willing, in the summer for Falls Festival. A bunch of good buddies will be playing, and I want to explore more of the island, more of the mountains and the cliffs, drink from more waterfalls, see a platypus in the wild again, get better at landscape photography, learn about the history of environmental activism down there and discover how the locals are keeping Aboriginal culture alive after the genocide that was played out on that land. And next time I will know how to enter that country- with an open heart and a light, breezy mind- and then I will be able to write detailed stories, will be able to freely express the enormity of every situation and every journey being filled with mountains and forests in the background.