Australia felt like a long, vivid, almost esoteric, lucid dream.
If not for the distance traveled, and the 5-cypher number indicating the amount of kilometers on the plane’s screen, it was so for the flora and fauna. Or for the smells, or the accents. But mostly for the sky.
In the nights in that opposite hemisphere, I kept perusing the sky in search of never seen constellations. Such irony it was that most of the stars would be clearer there than I had ever seen in the North of our planet. The Southerns Cross hanging in the night made Australia feel so distant, I almost felt like I had traveled to a different planet. I don’t know if you have ever felt that feeling of proximity when looking at the Polar Star and, even if on the opposite side of the globe, knew that someone distant could see it as well. That they could smell the fir, acacia flowers, or -. Long distance love has a way to find every excuse to see tempests where there are but a handful of drops.
But I love the feeling of the unknown, and it is even better when you know your hand is being held and you can trust that nothing will harm you.
I have been flown to the Unknown and I have once again been drenched in blissful inspiration.
It took me so long to write this post. I kept writing, erasing and re-writing many thoughts that kept storming in.
The retreat we attended was organized by the unstoppable Anisa Sabet in the stunning location of Bundara Farm, Australia. She kindly requested Zaira and myself as teachers, so we partook in this beautiful give-and-take that teaching photography and styling is.
I will let the photos speak for themselves.
Once again, I reveled in the rekindling of inspiration I feel every time I am with Zaira, and I am so happy we have been shipped into this adventure together. She styles food in the most beautiful ways, and I never tire, nor stop feeling thankful, to see her at work, and to learn from her.
I have been told that I am a very good teacher several times, and yet, at this wonderful Australian retreat, I felt like all I did was learning.
We started with a delicious lunch, prepared by the plant-based chefs from Alfie’s Kitchen, who took care of us and cooked some of the best food I have ever had. Their fare was foraged and sourced from organic markets, and they patiently explained to me about all the local wild food there was to be gathered in that stunning part of the Kangaroo valley. Full from locally foraged mushroom ragu and the most delicious roasted vegetables and fresh salads, we shot, styled, talked, drank full-bodied Shiraz and Cabernet. We witnessed the incredible Lean Timms at work styling flowers and our dinner table, as Anisa twirled around like a whirling Dervish to make sure everything was on point with her perfect organizational skills. Ryan, her husband, gave a fascinating class about cocktails. And so we (they) drank away the night, in the bliss that retreats are always made of.
We ended our 2 and a half days together with a beautiful dinner in the Estate’s barn, candlelit and blessed with many delicious courses (I am going to try and replicate the pumpkin soup with truffle oil, cauliflower purée and charred leeks for sure).
There are tons of many things I would love to say. But much as I tried, all I will do is share photos and share thanks. Some stories I just like to keep for myself.
Those Who Made it Happen
Anisa, a bomb of a woman. Thank you for making us feel so, so at home. / Ryan, a wonderful host. /Lean Timms, what an inspiration to see you at work! /Megan, for running around like crazy all day and night and being pretty much like our mom. /
My Journey Mates
Zaira and Francesco, meeting you was the best luck of my life. I cherish every second of your presence and cannot wait for you to come visit me again!