CANBERRA/NEW SOUTH WALES
It’s spring, so in a few weeks’ time a bunch of us from Canberra – and whoever else wants to come – are heading out for our next bush retreat. Five days of camping by a clean river next to a national park in Araluen valley, southeast New South Wales, with no clocks, no electricity (just head torches and a gas barbecue), training, playing, meditating, sharing food cooked on the fire, eating (a lot), sleeping in swags under the stars, and generally chilling out.
This will be the fifth such retreat that Craig Mallett and I have run – every three months, one per season – and will mark one full year since the first one. Each retreat has been glorious, so far, with no schedule or timetable besides our own interests and body clocks, we’ve “practiced” a huge variety of stuff: all our usual natural acrobatics and tumbling with all the crawling and climbing and balancing; barefoot running and trail running; hiding, sneaking, moving silently; rock lifting, passing, catching and throwing; Chinese martial arts basics, qigong, meditation, stretch therapy; foraging for edible plants and insects, firemaking with flint and with bowdrills; Filipino martial arts, archery, wrestling; parkour, juggling, capoeira, contact improvisation, acro-yoga, Butoh, and Taketina; plus plenty of swimming in the beautiful river, playing music and singing, and soaking in the portable hot tub. Good times.
The best thing about it all is the level of relaxation we all manage to achieve within a day or two, once people realize that there’s no pressure to do anything they don’t feel like – it’s not a boot camp! It’s a retreat from the pressures of society, where we come together and learn and share skills and knowledge and stories (every time so far we’ve had a guest teacher along to share some of their particular brand of awesomeness), and sure we do a whole lot of training and physical activity, but all at our own pace, simply because it feels right, exploring nature, movement, and rest.
The spring retreat is happening from Thursday to Monday, November 6-10. Anyone who is interested in attending this one, or any future retreats, is welcome to contact me at any time or just go straight to the signup page over at Craig’s website:
On November 21-23 we will be joining this little gathering in Clarkefield, Victoria, for a sort of mini-festival/skillshare, based around practical, natural and ancestral skills. Our friend Peter Yencken has been planning this for some time, so it is very exciting to have been invited to teach natural and ancestral movement concepts alongside an amazingly knowledgeable group of teachers – teachers of skills that I personally have been wanting to learn since I was a very small child: foraging and wilderness survival, shelter building and fire making, hide tanning, leather working and felting, blacksmithing, bowmaking, archery, plant medicine. There’s no way I’ll be able to get more than just a taste of a few things, since I’ll be teaching every day as well, but this is going to be a yearly event so hopefully over the next several years I’ll gradually pick up the skills, and – most importantly – make lasting connections with some great people.
Anyone interested can check out the “Village Continuum” homepage above, or go straight to this page to read about the various workshops on offer over the weekend.
The weekend after the Village Continuum gathering Craig and I will be helping Peter to teach another longbow-making workshop, which means that we’ll have a week in Melbourne in between. Rather than organizing a more formal two- or three-day workshop, we will run several mini-workshops over the week, one or two each day, in one of the parks in central-ish Melbourne, probably Edinburgh gardens. Contact us by email or via the facebook groups:
EAST COAST NSW
Finally, I’m going to be heading up the east coast of NSW again over the summer, tracking down and meeting up with as many of the people that I know or know of along the way who know something of the local bush tucker! Again, if anyone’s in the area (it’s a big area) and wants to meet up or knows of some good contacts that I might like to meet, please feel free to contact me, here or via email or facebook.