After a sensational four day escape into country New South Wales, picking olives and riding bikes, we had time on our five hour journey home to reflect on what we had just experienced – seeing new towns, riding new roads and new hills, drinking and tasting local beers and food, and meeting and talking with new people.
For us, this was an adventure and it is what brings joy to our lives.
The online dictionary definition of ‘adventure’ says……
an unusual and exciting or daring experience.
“her recent adventures in Italy”
to engage in daring or risky activity.
“they had adventured into the forest”
It’s interesting that the online example talks about Italy as the location for the adventure as our travels to Italy and hosting our Italian cycling tours has certainly always felt like a grand adventure for us. As it is with so many other people who equate an excursion to an overseas country as a source of adventure.
While the dictionary definitions describe a noun and verb, we believe another element can be added…
to have a sense of adventure; a thirst to learn, try and do new things.
“their sense of adventure means nothing is too hard and they’re prepared to “work” to make the experience happen”.
For us, having this mindset of adventure in our everyday lives is as important as when we travel.
So, while we are currently not able to travel beyond our borders, how do we get to experience adventure? Can we do it and feel it at home?
Is it as simple as breaking some of your routines? Rather than continuing to ride the same roads, do you need to find a different loop with new hills?
Or to experience an ‘urban’ food, wine and cultural adventure with a difference, do you seek out a new precinct where there’s an abundance of Greek, Vietnamese, Italian or Lebanese food and culture on offer…or visit your local Chinatown? Immerse yourself in that country right here at home…as we do with our ‘slice of Italy at home tours in Daylesford and Bright?
Do you need to set out for a weekend escape with just the loosest of plans and a ‘go with the flow attitude,’ and see what unfolds?
This is what we just did in Adelong over the weekend, when we accepted an invitation from friends to help in the harvesting of seventy of their olive trees to make cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. We have picked and cured many olives over the years but we have never picked for oil, so this in itself was a new experience.
During the ten hour olive picking session, you’d drift in and out of thoughts, share a conversation with whoever else was on or in the same tree, and you’d move to the next tree and have a new conversation with a new person. This was punctuated only by the sounds of the country and the light breeze rustling the leaves, as we all had our heads and hands stuck in the trees, methodically picking the olives.
There was a myriad of topics covered across the many conversations, with people from different walks of life making the new stories and different perspectives interesting to listen to. This whole unfolding of thoughts and conversations throughout the day contributed to a feeling of adventure – of being open to new ideas, and to listening and engaging in conversation with different people.
But it didn’t end there. Over the four days in the country, our adventure also included …….
Riding in a new region
We walked and rode in a new region that we had never been to before; the Snowy Valleys of New South Wales, around the towns of Adelong and Tumut and through Batlow, the state’s apple capital, with its big apple on the hill. An endless stream of rolling hills, with a small descent on the other side and then back up again on predominantly quiet country roads, made for some superb riding, with evidence of the bushfires still clearly visible. For our post-harvest ride, we climbed 1155m as we meandered across 55km to a local winery, where a sensational lunch awaited us amongst the Autumn vines.
Sampling local food and beverages
We had the opportunity to sample local cuisine including the delicious local trout, and try local beers and sparkling rose from a new wine region, while sharing in different conversations with new and old friends – including a great group of people who have joined us on both our Italian cycling holidays and local Australian tours.
Cooking pizza’s in a wood fired oven
We also helped cook pizza in the wood fired oven. This is not as easy as it seems and we were lucky that there were plenty of people for lunch because we made 12 plus home-made pizzas, giving us the opportunity to refine the technique until we got it right. The first pizza was good, but the last pizza was definitely the best.
Enjoying farm life
We saw the workings of farm life and also how a Flow hive bee hive works, with the hive being “tapped” and the honey flowing directly into a jar. We now wonder if one of these would fit in our courtyard in Melbourne?
We picked olives with Eve, the friendly lamb in the garden, who would sometimes follow you around, occasionally eat a few of the freshly picked olives and often just wander up for a pat on the head.
These are just some of the elements and diverse experiences that contributed to our most recent adventure, and to bringing joy and meaning to life.
Where’s your next adventure?