15 March 2013

Byron Bay - Love!!!!

Meet Tristan - world traveler and wildlife cinematographer extraordinaire

This is exactly how I remember Mia, being her gorgeous, organic-self at the farmer's market

Crazy, cool little girl that just owned the day, nothing was gonna stop her from being her fun and sassy!  Photo on right - courtesy of Tristan

Driving through Byron is like driving through a tunnel of trees, I loved every minute of it

Left: Child's drawing of Costa, Right: Other children's entries for the Year of the Farmer 

A few more entires.  I think UFO's are for farmers too!

I was super excited to get to Byron Bay for several reasons.  One, I heard that I would love Byron as it’s a lot more laid back than the rest of the east coast with its hippie lifestyle, forests, and beaches.  Two, an old friend from university lives there whom I haven’t seen in ages.  So done and done.  It was the one place I knew I had to go and spend a bit more time in so I planned about a week.  Looking back, I wish I could have stayed for weeks.

The day I came in, my friend Tristan and his partner, Mia, came to pick me up.  Big hugs, a quick beer, and a bit of catch up before we headed out for a dinner party at Mia’s parents house.  Can I just tell you, the instant I met Mia, I absolutely adored her (and totally envious of her looks!  She model-goregous!).  She’s such a lovely, unique, delicate, fierce, lively, down to earth (and earth saving!), artistic person with an old soul.  An amazing fit for Tristan!

We head out into the Shire (The Shire?  Isn’t that in the Lord of the Rings movie?) where Mia, Tristan, and her family live.  We approach this lovely home surrounded by a large garden and huge trees.  I walk in and fall in love with the home.  It feels like a warm log cabin with an open kitchen, dining and family room with some stained glass windows, good food smells, and with pets wandering all over the place.  Over an amazing meal that Mia’s mom and sister made all from their garden, I discover that night that Mia’s family built that home which is filled with so much love and memories for them, but is also surrounded by a macadamia nut farm, which her family owns and operates.  So Mia and her siblings all worked on the farm growing up and now have their own little farms.  In addition to the family's macadamia nuts, they also make and sell these two Davidson plum sauces, one savory, one sweet, which we had that night with our dinner.  They were AMAZING!!!  They kind of rocked my world.  I went in for double and triple servings of this sauce.  Unfortunately, their sauce is not mass-produced so you can’t exactly order it online (at least I don’t think you can), but I also understand that the plums really only grow there in that area.  So if you make it out to Byron, you can buy it at some of the farmer’s markets they have out there.  Seriously, it’s damn  f'n good!!  BUY IT.  GOBBLE IT.

One of their special guests there was a gentleman by the name of Costa Giorgiadis who I found out is a bit of a celebrity in the gardening world there in Australia with a show on ABC called 'Gardening Australia'.  He’s this eclectic, fun, intelligent, big-bearded, warm soul who loves to, you guessed it, garden!!  His show focuses on teaching people about the benefits of gardening, eating organic, and teaches children about how to garden and why.   Such a wonderful thing that he’s doing!  I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with him.

I stayed with Tristan and Mia at their house also located on another farm that has their own little coffee plantation, garden, chickens, fruit trees, and such.  It was so great to look out of the window from my room and see all their trees, flowers, and fruit trees, listening to the buzz of the bees or the chickens clucking outside.  In the morning, Mia would get up and make breakfast usually being an amazing mix of fruit, yogurt, and homemade muesli or even omelets made with the massive amounts of chicken eggs that they were getting daily from their chickens.  Days were spent wandering around to neighboring cities to show me around like Nimbin, Mullimbimby, and Federal, mostly grabbing lunch or dinner, having a few beers, wandering around, going to the farmers market, having great conversation, and catching up.  If I could move in with them as a roommate, I totally would.  I loved being with them and had so much fun in their house!  Lots of fun musical instruments, cameras, lenses, and computers to play with too!

And lucky for me, Tristan and Mia are night owls since they’re always working at night on their FinFree Australia campaign and Earth Native projects, video/photos from shoots that they do for various documentaries/films, and often would experiment and play with photography.  I love all the creative energy in that house!  There may be a few friends of mine that know Tristan from our university days reading this, but I’m here to tell ya that he’s a pretty unique and incredible person.  His father is also a wildlife cinematographer so Tristan spent his days of childhood traveling to the far corners of the earth, living amongst other cultures and creatures, learning filmmaking from his dad (or as Tristan calls it, he was cheap labor).  The rest of his days of youth were spent living in Wyoming followed by several successful wildlife shows and films which he created, produced, wrote, filmed, and/or hosted for channels such as National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery, etc.  So obviously he’s a pretty awesome and has a unique and creative perspective of the world.  And did I mention he's fearless in every sense of the word?  The man swims with sharks.  The dangerous kinds.  Without a cage.  He goes nose to nose with polar bears... in the WILD.  I don't know many people that have done things like that.  I for sure will NEVER be one of them.  

I did fall in love the town of Byron Bay too, as expected.  It’s a smallish town that I understand has changed over the years into something that’s become a bit touristy and expensive compared to the hippie town that it use to be.  On that account, I can certainly verify that it is getting a bit touristy and expensive though it still has its charm and laid back lifestyle where the citizens of Byron are still surfing, doing yoga and meditation, eating organic and healthy foods, believe in a good quality of life, hiking, hanging out on the beach at sunset, and still have drum circles – it’s like Big Sur meets San Diego.  Of all the places I could live in Australia, Byron Bay is where I’d like to be.  It has that perfect combination of laid-back life, the hills, forests, hippies, good food, ocean, great craft beers, farms, and cool people.  While I don’t think I’ll ever move there, it is a place I can imagine myself living in some parallel life. 

I’m so glad that I got to spend my time in Byron with both Tristan and Mia.  They’ve made quite a life for themselves out there and it makes me so happy to see my friend Tristan in a place that seems to resonate with his soul and play a part in what he’s trying to achieve in his life of bringing awareness to and saving  of wildlife and our environment– and he equally has Mia to truly be an active and loving partner in it all.  She is such a down to earth, talented, kombucha growing, musical (did I mention she plays jazz flute and has some amazing taste in music?), caring, organic, family-oriented, beautiful woman.  I look forward to all of the things that they accomplish together with FinFree Australia along with their other artistic projects that they work on as this is the kind of couple that is going to do great things together. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what Tristan and Mia do, here are their sites that you should check out:  FinFree Australia and Earth Native


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