Saturday 24 March: The “Zone off” reaches a crescendo!

Author: Mr A

Location: Moonee Beach

It was another intermittently wet day, following an evening where a bloke with big bags of marbles was hurling them onto the roof of the caravan all night! The morning Bollywood markets at Woolgoolga we sought were cancelled due to bad weather, so a café breakfast was the substitute. Now guess which meal was mine and which was Mrs A’s?Yes…home made toasted muesli for me. I will be wearing sack cloth and ashes next. We checked out the spectacular scenery and lookout in the bright morning sunshine after breakfast, before heading back to Moonee Beach….As we left camp another Zone was coming in, and finally in the late afternoon the last Zoner checked in, coming straight from the factory at Coolum Beach yesterday. So 14 vans have checked in here – around 10% of the total number on the road. I think it’s interesting that we would all be quite happy to come and spend a weekend with mostly total strangers, just because we brought the same product. We think it’s a lot to do with the Zone Owner’s Facebook group that has allowed us to get a feel for the type of people who are buying them. The posts are positive and collaborative, exchanging tips and ideas, all moderated very professionally, unlike some of the other groups we belong to in the caravan space. In these challenging times for Facebook it’s good to remember that social media can also be used very positively, in this case encouraging on-line relationships to be converted to real world connections.

So an evening was spent very merrily at the local Moonee Beach Tavern, 27 folk I think from many different walks of life, chatting away about their lives and travels, united by a love of the great Australian outdoors. It reminded me of how lucky we are to live in a country that enables us to do something like this. We have spent the afternoon walking on a pristine beach that Catherine and I had to ourselves, and then we spend the evening planning new adventures with a whole bunch of like minded people.

Our walk was special – not only did we see off the last of the rain, but the sun came out, allowing us to walk the 7km without getting anything other than our feet wet and enabling us to enjoy this stunning coastline along Sapphire Beach.We are also thankful that we don’t have to worry that someone with a semi-automatic is going to break into the pub. The worst we had was a young football team rehearsing some testosterone fuelled war cries. We go to bed with full bellies and I think generally happy hearts. Yes a bunch of us have our health issues, our family problems, but compared to so many in the world… life is good here, and long may it continue.

Australia as we know has had a “dream run”, the Lucky Country. Our challenge will be as America withdraws from Asia – how will we respond to the rise of Chinese soft and hard power? Will our politicians be up for the new challenge that represents for Australia? I hope they find the courage to look beyond their short term personal ambition to provide the leadership we will undoubtedly need to navigate the changes this will bring culturally and economically.

If you fancy a sobering read then check out respected academic Hugh White’s essay “Without America” (…this gives some clues as to our potential future landscape…

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