A magic bush retreat in outback Queensland
Chinchiila 2015 was my first adventure out West in over a decade. My darling friend and dedicated Yogi, Karen Klenner had lived there with her husband for the year before and ignited a passion for Yoga in the local population. One of her students Lucy owns the Flag Springs Retreat and as Karen had already hosted a couple of Yoga weekends the venue and its hostess had come highly recommended.
So after arranging all the details a small group of intrepid yogis set out in convoy from Kingston to the Flag Spings Retreat outside Chinchilla.
The 5 hour drive was a wonderful transition from the fast paced city life we all lead, to the slower more peaceful and uncomplicated life of Lucy and Guy the owners..and managers of their huge piece of this amazing country, 115 klms from Chinchilla.
We had lunch in Dalby...a great half way mark and a chance to enjoy some wholesome local fare..and to rotate passengers. The drive was a great way to get to know each other even though every week in class, people laying next to each other for months on end, but are so focussed inward that they don't really connect socially that much in class..so the drive was a perfect way to connect.
The drive from Dalby to Flag Springs was not uneventful however. Being from the city and taking mobile phones and petrol on tap for granted, we headed off ...But when we hit the dirt road just outside Chinchilla, the dust was very thick from the cars in front ...so the ones behind slowed down to let the dust settle.. 100 klms on a dirt road is long way.
We soon lost sight of our convoy. When I reached the bitumen road and stopped on the top of the hill to look out for the followers...oh dear! where were they. I knew one them knew the way so all we had to do was wait.
After 15 minutes we decided to proceed to our destination.
We were treated to a wholehearted welcome by Lucy. What a gorgeous place! It looks like a very ordinary 1960's house from the outside, but when you go inside it is so cosy, warm and welcoming. Lucy is an aromatherapist so the whole place was fragrant, clean and fresh. All the beds beautifully made with gorgeous linen, the kitchen so well equipped and the lounge so inviting you just want to drop everything and sink into the big comfy chairs and lose yourself in a great novel.
We unloaded the car, all the Yoga blankets, unpacked the art supplies, the food and our clothes for the weekend and still no other cars...I was starting to worry.
Then Karen arrived...who had not seen the other car at all.
Being a city girl, I had a sinking feeling as I realised how I had only said "turn left there and see you at Flag Springs!! It's a 115klms from the turnoff on the left!"
Another hour went by and I started to panic....no phone service...my god how will we find them? Feeling at a loss in this digitally clear environment, I headed up to the main house where the skilled bush dwellers lived and sought some down to Earth local wisdom.
Fearing the worst, I thought...they must have turned back to the turnoff...and could see myself drving for another 2 hours in the dark, back to the main road, maybe even hitting a kangaroo along the way...Yikes I was out of my comfort zone....big time.
But then I thought ...Keep the Faith, see them here safe and sound. With Lucy's calm confident country presence to reassure us, I dialled Claudine's mobile phone...a fruitless task but all I could think of in the moment.
Now the "less travelled" they had taken was heading to Munduburra and has but one kilometre mobile service on the whole
70 klm stretch of road....And they were on that tiny patch when I called....PHEW!
I have never been so happy to hear from anyone in my life. They cheerfully received instructions on how to get back to us....and we were all embracing and enjoying a delicious evening meal together before we knew it.
The 2 passengers were having a merry time together, completely unconcerned. They stayed calm even while heading in the wrong direction, couldn't even remember the name of the property and still just trusted they would be taken care of.
This experience was a testament of our capacity to trust, and hold fast to the belief that everything would work out even while we feeling slightly shaky in the vast Chinchilla wilderness.
We all were able to intentionally hold a picture in our mind of everyone being together and safe, even while feeling slightly concerned and overwhelmed at the remoteness and lack of services which as city dwellers, we so easily take for granted on a daily basis.
Needless to say this Year we will all have a printed copy of a map to Flag Springs Retreat and Lucy's homestead number on speed dial.
It made one acutely aware of how blessed we are to have so many services at our fingertips. And of the blessings of our practice which sustains our best qualities... like keeping the faith, remaining calm in a crisis and enjoying whatever life throws at us...even if it is taking a wrong turn in the middle of nowhere.