Written by Tyler on our New Zealand Australia program, group 3.
This week has been filled with wonderful adventures from some serious games of Banan-O-Grams to a black out pizza party due to a raging thunder-storm. We stayed at a cozy surf camp called Surfaris in Crescent Head, New South Wales. One of our favorite parts of the stay was our amazing hosts Sandra and Ben. We also had the pleasure of meeting Bob and Gerald, our two Conservation Coordinators for our bush regeneration project.
During our stay, Sandra made us delicious meals that we would come home to after learning to surf with Ben. The people we met at Surfaris and our conservation project have shared so much wisdom and laughter with us that we decided to dedicate this blog to them. In our interview with Sandra she explained to us the origin of Surfaris, saying that it was “…originally the first surf camp in Australia, created in 1984. They used to take backpackers traveling from Sydney to Byron Bay camping so they could surf and barbecue.” Next she told us about how Ben worked for the original owners “Michelle and Ross” and they passed on the business to them. When asked what her favorite part of her job was, she replied “When people are happy about the food, when they come home with a big smile on their face after surfing.” All throughout the week we could see and taste all the hard work she put into the food. Every meal she made was so appreciated. We could tell that they had a huge sense of pride and love for their jobs so we asked Ben and Sandra what their biggest source of happiness was. They replied, “It’s the nature, it’s the outdoors, all the wildlife. I come from France and we don’t have that in France.” Lastly she gave us some advice about traveling, saying, “Take one day at a time, be respectful of the country and the culture, and just keep doing it.”
The people we learned the most from this week were Bob and Gerald. Bob grew up in the area but Gerald immigrated from Germany. They both shared a passion and deep knowledge of Australia’s native nature and culture. We weren’t able to directly interview them but their words were often memorable. Gerald in particular spoke in prophetizing monologues about the future of our world, explaining to us that, “People are so quick to be against something instead of for others. I’m not against logging I’m FOR forest conservation and that's why I do what I do here.” Everyday he inspired us to “be the generation to make the change, we only have 30 or so years.”
This past week has filled us with infinite knowledge of the Australian bush as well as surfing skills and drip castle techniques. We wouldn’t have been able to learn anything without the amazing people we met on this trip and can’t wait for the hundreds more we have yet to meet.