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DAY 0: Getting to Permaculture Design Certificate Course 2010 with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton

Slow Travel by CountryLink

The day has finally arrived for the 2010 Permaculture Design Course with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. What lied ahead was a journey from Sydney to Melbourne to meet and learn from these two extraordinary Permaculture teachers. I suppose the natural thing would have been to travel by plane, but I chose the “slow travel” instead and opted for a train.

And so, at 7:30 am I boarded a CountryLink train and we were off.

Why Train?

There was a number of reasons why I chose to spend 12 hours on a train instead of 1-ish on a plane. One of the reasons was that I like to knit, and a prospect of being confounded to a fixed location for a long time is a perfect craft opportunity!

Then there is the issue of fuel efficiency of train travel vs flying. The general consensus is that running a full train is a lot “greener” than flying (although the train filled up and emptied out periodically).

Putting the logic aside, however, there is something very romantic about train travel to me. That’s the only way of travel I knew, when I was a child. And I also really appreciate the opportunity to look out of the window on the way and observe the landscape between Sydney and Melbourne.

Seeing Yellow

blooming canola!
blooming canola!

As I sat there watching the world pass by at 160 km/hour, I saw oceans and oceans of yellow fields, as far as the eye could see. At first I though, “Awee, that’s pretty” until someone said, “Oh look, canola fields!” The fun dropped, as now these fields of yellow spelled out “monoculture” and GMO in my mind…

Yet, canola fields was not the only yellow being seen today. I brought a packed lunch (don’t ever rely on train food!) which included a colourful mix of heirloom tomatoes. My neighbor looked suspiciously at a yellow tomato and asked “What’s that?..” I said that it was a tomato, and he amused me deeply by stating “I thought tomatoes were only red”. 🙂

So was it worth it? Could I afford to spend an extra 10 hours on a train in exchange for learning and energy efficiency? Did I enjoy it? Oh yes! Most definitely yes to all of these, in my opinion. Why are we so “busy” all the time anyway? Happiness is not measured in dollars, or even things achieved. Happiness is the ability to experience life fully and with joy.