Just after I lost my hair in March 2016 I set off in my little green Rav to the Man from Snowy River Bush festival, if you love the MFSR movie or poem by Banjo Paterson you will know about this festival which happens every year in the Victoria High Country, if you don’t know about the movie or poem then there is something wrong with you and I don’t think we can be friends!! 🙂 I had bought two tickets for this festival almost a year prior and planned on doing the trip with my partner at the time so when we broke up just before the festival I almost didn’t go, then when all my bloody hair fell out and I really didn’t want to go but this festival had been on my bucket list for years.
Road trips in our family always meant buying a few new CD’s, one of the songs on the CD I purchased for this trip was called We won’t cry by Archie Roach. Archie has had a bloody hard life, he was stolen from his family when he was three years old, his soul mate died of a heart attack at their home, he’s battled cancer which left him with half a lung and he’s had a stroke. When you listen to We won’t cry you can tell this man has been to hell and back but he is still facing the world one day at a time.
I had tears pouring down my face as I listened to this song over and over because it made me think of all that I had lost but I told myself that I had to sing this song out loud all the way to Corryong and back (22 hours of driving in total) until I could sing it without crying. I would like to tell ya that I managed to sing it without crying on that trip but I did not.
As I was waiting in line for my wrist band to give me access to all aspects of the MFSR festival I decided to pick the poorest looking bastard in the queue and give him my spare ticket. I approached an old fella with a ripped shirt and jeans and handed him the ticket. We chatted on the steps of the information centre then the old codger asked me to go with him to the ATM so he could give me the money for the ticket. I told him the money wasn’t important I just didn’t want the ticket to go to waste, I will never forget what happened next. Old mate cried on the steps of the information centre as he explained that money wasn’t an issue for him as he’d just sold his caravan park for 5 mil, he has 2 mil in superannuation and 2 mil in the bank and he had been planning to bring his wife to the festival for years but she had recently passed away so now he would never get to share this with her. I told old mate that if he really needed to give me the money for the ticket I’d be at the coffee shop next door for a bit.
Me and the old fella sat in the sunshine on the main street of Corryong and chatted like lifelong friends for over two hours. Driving for two days to get to this festival (even if I did cry like a big sook all the way there) was worthwhile just to spend a bit of time with this lovely old gentleman who was feeling as lost as I was.
The moral of this story is we WILL cry but we WILL survive and if we force ourselves to do things that seem impossible we will meet amazing human beings along the way that inspire us to be better people and in my opinion, trips like this make life worth living.