Way back in August I wrote a bit about the prep I was doing to travel. Since then, I haven’t written anything about my actual travels. Probably because I’ve been so busy, you know, travelling.
In the last two months I’ve visited four of Australia’s states, making my way from the very top to (almost) the very bottom of the country via plane and, mostly, campervan.
In November, I said goodbye to my best friends and travel buddies as they returned to the UK, and struck out on my own. Since then I’ve been volunteering at a sanctuary for farmed animals just outside of Melbourne.
These animals have changed my perception of their entire species. The sheep are so friendly (most of them, the ones that haven’t been traumatised so much they’re afraid to come near humans) and the pigs make me laugh on a daily basis. The cows are sweet and most of them come to the fence for pats. I think though, it’s the roosters who’ve changed my mind the most.
I’ve always seen chickens as a bit scary, maybe because of their beady yellow eyes and jerking movements. But watching them, and having to handle some of them, they suddenly don’t seem scary at all. They’re funny, quirky, and often very sweet. There are exceptions, like the gang of five roosters who work together to make me drop the pig food every evening, and the smallest rooster is maybe the biggest asshole of them all (but will do the least damage). But even those, when I’m not being attacked by them, have instilled a certain amount of fondness in me.
If I wasn’t already vegan before coming here, I would be now. I think my time here has ensured I will always be vegan, and I don’t want that any other way. I love the animals here, and some of their backstories are proper fucking horrendous, like Roxy, the pig who was bought as a lawnmower. Once the grass was eaten she was left in a muddy paddock to starve and die, alone. Now she’s here because the amazing people here took her in, and she spends her time foraging in the paddocks and getting lots of belly rubs. Many of the animals here are lucky to be alive.
I’ve learnt so much here, about the animals, but also practical DIY and even gardening skills. I took a chance on this place, on my ability to adapt to the tasks required, and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ll remember this place and these animals for a long time to come, and not to be too cliche, but I think I will leave a small piece of my heart here.