Why do it?

Many people now have asked me why on earth I’d want to go down a mountain in the middle of winter and spend half of every fortnight in the freezing cold, howling winds and rain to sleep on the ground in an open shelter – bugs crawling all over me – for months on end.

I’ve tried explaining to them, the various drivers that led to me doing all this but people don’t generally have the patience for long answers, and so I’ve stopped giving them.

“Because I can.” Is the reply I’ve been giving for weeks now and, while that’s true, there’re always more at play than that and so here I will outline some of the factors that have lead to me living part-time in a world heritage national park completely alone for almost two weeks straight at a time.

About six months ago, my woman at the time and I agreed that things weren’t working out, and that I should begin making plans to move out, seeing as I was living at her place at the time. This was fine with me, as the constant bitchiness meant life was no ray of sunshine anyway and so we both agreed that I would start looking for a place.

We didn’t set a definitive date for me to vacate, just a time-frame of a few months, and I needed to start looking.

We all know what a hassle it is to move to a new house, and having spent the last few weeks in heated arguments with your partner adds a dash of depression into the mix.

You see, arguments aside, she had been my home for nearly five years, and although I detested some aspects of her I still loved the woman and didn’t want to leave her, but nor could I tolerate living with a narky, venomous old fishwife chewing at my ears: day after day after day.

I couldn’t go and I couldn’t stay and without a magical third option was torn down the middle.

As the days rolled into weeks, nothing much changed except, gradually, I became increasingly depressed at the thought of losing the woman I’d shared years of my life with and she began telling me to hurry-up and go and so, with no apparent option to restore the status-quo I started seriously contemplating alternatives to another house.

Any way I looked at it, moving anywhere without her would suck and so I reached the only decision that made sense to me: If I have no choice but to start from scratch on my own somewhere, start with the physical features of the place itself: Temperature, annual rainfall and geography would be all I would have to begin with: no friends, family, job, or woman.

I could buy a ticket to anywhere in Australia one way, but once I go there would be no coming back.

The poignancy of such final, physical separation began to dawn on me then, but wouldn’t hit me with full force until a few months later: when departure drew imminently close.

A quick google search for “highest annual rainfall” was all it took to locate a place with a better climate than Adelaide – the toilet of a town I’d wasted the last fifteen years of my life in.

Sydney and it’s surrounding areas were nearly entirely blue – the colour-code representing a moderate to high annual level of rain and as soon as I zoomed the map in I saw a denser area with both blue and white shading: The Blue Mountains.

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