The Smorgasbord of Life

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This is why I refer to life as a ‘smorgasbord’. ‘Coz I like to try a bit of everything and I usually go back for more…

I’ve seen the Taj Mahal at sunrise, Niagara Falls under snow (and half frozen), and watched the sun set over the Grand Canyon. I’ve seen the Parthenon and the treasures of King Tut, the pyramids, the Golden Buddha, the Burj Khalifa and Ayers Rock (Uluru). I’ve walked to Mt Everest Base Camp and and on the Great Wall of China.

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I’ve mushed a team of dogs in minus 60 degrees and I’ve ridden a camel through the desert. I’ve skied and dived and parachuted, abseiled, done loops in gliders and loops at Disneyland.

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I’ve rafted and sailed and sea-kayaked, taken car ferries, a gondola, dugout canoes and international liners and lived on a prawn trawler. I’ve lived in caravans, dongas and tents and slept in swags, tipis and gers and under the stars.

I’ve heard the first wet season downpour hit the old tin roof, then driven through a metre of flood water to get the groceries and brought them home on a fire truck because the river was ‘up’. And I’ve squeezed the last precious drop of water from an almost empty water tank shared with a man, three dogs, three horses, six chooks and a garden.

I’ve cycled thousands of kilometres and ridden my motorbike around New Zealand and driven around Australia alone.

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I’ve danced under the moonlight in the dirt of Cape York with a small Aboriginal child on each hip, all three of us spinning and laughing. And danced in the rain.

I’ve seen bears and sharks and whales, echidnas, platypi, kangaroos, squirrels, monkeys, snakes, crocodiles, camels, yaks, deer, moose, penguins, wombats, vultures, whales, tropical fish and marmots in their natural habitats.

I’ve lived in five states and moved interstate ten times. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve moved house.

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The best half of my life would be missing without the camping.

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I’ve cried tears of joy and tears of despair, tears of desperation, tears of laughter and tears of heat exhaustion.

I have loved and lost, loved and hurt, loved and been hurt, loved and grieved.

I’ve eaten goat’s knees, yak’s liver and calves testicles freshly cut out and cooked by a seven year old boy. I’ve ridden on the back of a motorbike with a seven year old boy. I’ve ridden a roller coaster with a different seven year old boy. I’ve been driven in a car by a seven year old boy.

I’ve made furniture and built decks, designed and built a kitchen and laundry, a bicycle and gardens, made curtains, canvas panniers, bias-cut silk lingerie, scones and chutney and lots of beautiful clothes and knitted more than 30 jumpers. I’ve painted houses and ski lodges. I pulled my motorbike into a lot of little bits and put it back together.

I’ve had a spa outside in the snow and made snow angels in my bikini and had a bath over a fire under the stars. And I’ve skied in the nude….

I’ve flown on the mail plane and with the Flying Doctor. I’ve been winched from a helicopter and flown in dozens of different types of aircraft. I’ve taken the controls of a private jet and gliders.

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I’ve been a cook, a teacher, a public servant, an environmental scientist, a deputy engineer, salesperson, a fisherman and a truckie, a governess, a project manager, a barmaid, a tour guide, a hostel manager, a sled-dog poop-scooper, a tripping counsellor, unemployed, a photographer, a dish- pig, a cleaner, a waitress, a pharmacy assistant, a ski lift operator, a writer.

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I’ve seen comets and shooting stars, eclipses and Jupiter so close it looked like the moon.

I’ve walked to 18,000 feet and scuba dived to 36 feet. I’ve jumped from a plane at 14,000 feet. I’ve rafted rapids and crossed raging torrents on log bridges, I’ve sat in underground caves in pitch darkness and floated through a cave in an inner-tube. I’ve walked in rainforests, glaciers and deserts. And I’ve walked on hot coals. I’ve had two ends of a rainbow land on me at once.

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I’ve experienced earthquakes, floods, droughts, blizzards and sandstorms and walked in a volcano.

I’ve ridden in rickshaws, hot air balloons and a side-car, ridden a Ducati around a speedway and driven a 400 tonne dumptruck sideways.

I’ve held a dying cow and kangaroo and a dead man. I’ve touched a human skull.

I’ve travelled to 32 countries, 27 alone.

I’ve taken trains the length and breadth of Australia, trains across America, Canada, Switzerland and India and stepped on board the Trans Siberian. I’ve taken a ship across the ocean.

I’ve bought and sold seven houses and renovated four.

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I’ve been so cold I’ve gone three weeks without removing my clothes even to wash, and so hot I’ve had five cold showers a day for months on end.

I’ve slept in a different place nearly every night for months on end and gone almost a year without entering a house.

My friends range from politicians to prostitutes, accountants to school teachers, scientists, engineers, jet pilots, and a QC, Aboriginal elders to fishermen, artisans, medical students, musicians to mine superintendents and virtually everything in between.

I’ve had no fixed address and nowhere to sleep, no money in the bank and no food in the cupboard, no cupboard for food and I’ve been to a millionaire’s cocktail party and had my photo taken with the Prime Minister and the Queen (both at once).

So these are some of the things I will write about in my blog – happy, sad, funny – just the pleasure and variety of being alive.

The Author

Jane St Catherine has ridden the roller-coaster of life for over fifty years. Leaving her husband and a secure suburban existence,
she set off on an old trail bike to ride around the world. Continually learning from diverse experiences with determination, persistence and courage, Jane has overcome many challenges to arrive in a place of gentle acceptance.

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