Caravan solar panels

Taking to the road: journey to wellness

A journey is a person in itself, no two are alike and all plans, safeguards, policing and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us. — John Steinbeck

Lou Lou gets her solar panels

I am about to take a trip, or a trip is about to take me. Here at the beginning of my journey I open my heart, ask myself what I seek and learn to trust the process. The beginning is a fine place to be. I have taken many trips; my itchy nomadic feet have always demanded movement. I have taken trips cash strapped and time strapped, sometimes both.  I have never before started a trip like this. This time I am seeking so much more than raw earth and unwired space. This time I also seek an inner journey, one that continues my personal healing journey. One that can offer me insights and chances to grow. I open myself up to the process and invite beauty in.

Lou Lou – before
Lou Lou – after

Here at the beginning of my journey I open my heart, ask myself what I seek and learn to trust the process.

Rock and I have spent the last three months in Perth, renovating a caravan named Lou Lou. We are heading for the sun and the Ningaloo Coast. To live off grid, catch our food, live to the rhythm of the tide.  We did this last year and fell in love with the lifestyle. We loved living in raw space, without cars or phones, we loved spending the day together, watching the sunrise and the sunset each day, like neon quotation marks in the amazing sentence that was our day. We had time for projects. I got healthy and I got sober. I learnt to journey within and much of that I have written about in previous posts. Above all, the thing that we loved was time. Time moved like thick oil being poured. It was viscous golden honey, oozing instead of flying.

Lou Lou – before
Lou Lou – after

Now, we are about to sally forth with Lou Lou, I find myself reflecting on my City time. Three months ago I arrived in Perth with no shoes and salty hair. I felt as though I had been liberated from the prison of my own thought patterns. I was well on the path of healing, and I wondered how city life and work life would impact or contribute to the journey.

Urban spaces are amazing places, filled with art, architecture, gardens, beautiful parks and communal spaces.  There are always amazing people doing amazing things and one can just soak up the energy by participating or witnessing. Cities are also over-lit hyped-up spaces that coop up busy frantic people and there is just no getting around that. There is so much beauty but also so much madness. For me, the trick to living well in the city was to find space for my own contemplative journey. I treasured the mornings riding to work on the train, hurtling through the morning as I wrote in my journal and caught up on podcasts. Early mornings were a time for running in nature, it centered me, grounded me, kept me sane.

A small caravan and a small boat – and a huge open road

There is no doubt that my personal healing journey was easier and more intuitive while I was travelling and living in nature but I have also learnt that the journey is the journey. No matter where we are, we can always make space for ourselves to grow and heal.

Time moved like thick oil being poured. It was viscous golden honey, oozing instead of flying.

One of the many amazing things about the City are her bookshops: they are like great boots on the City’s ankles – she just walks with much more style. I have loved secondhand book shopping, stocking up on art books, memoirs and healing books (self-help I think it is termed, rather an unfortunate label but then I guess I am helping myself these days).

Yesterday, I was 200 days sober. I feel 200 days better and 200 days more amazing. I am grateful for all the Beauty in my life. I take this road trip with an open heart and no expectations. I trust that I will be presented with opportunities to grow and continue this beautiful inner journey. Like the road itself, there is no end point, only roads that lead you somewhere else.

I leave you with a prawn and mango curry recipe. Make it from scratch with time on your hands and love in your heart.

Prawn & Mango curry

There are still local mangoes in WA. I could not resist using one in this curry. The result is hot, sweet and fragrant. For a vegetarian version replace the prawns with sweet potato and the fish sauce with tamari. We use Australian prawns and always buy them frozen which helps to control the quality. They are frozen on the boat anyway.

Prawn & Mango Curry


Enjoy x

Bell Harding

Bell Harding

Bell is wholefood cook and a barefoot gypsy. In search of a life less ordinary, she packed a tent and art supplies and took to the road. Seeking the dirt and poetry in the Australian landscape, she also discovered a path to wellness. Bell discovered what it means to be well by healing herself from weight gain and alcohol dependence. She draws on a professional career in cooking to create recipes that celebrate real food and shares her journey as a curious nomad.

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