Spirit of Place

When people say they have been to a place what do they really mean? Followed the guides and guidebooks? Had a pleasant enough time? I’m interested in what we bring to a place and how willing we are to allow its energy to infuse us, to touch ùs.It really doesn’t matter what the guidebooks tell you-each particular place in the world has its own spirit. Sometimes and for some places, it is on show and easily accessible by the traveller. But some parts of the world are not so available, despite their publicity, and only show their true spirit when you decide to consciously open up to it.
Clouds over the Indian Ocean
Take Point Addis on the Great Ocean road, Victoria, for example.

Point Addis on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Point Addis on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Most travellers along this road are going west toward Lorne, Apollo Bay, The Twelve Apostles or Port Fairy. Sure it is promoted and known for having stunning views up and down the coast and it is also the place where William Buckley is remembered in a plaque posted at a viewing platform. Buckley was the not so well-known English sailor who was shipwrecked somewhere along the coast and was accepted by the local Wathuroung clan,living as an indigenous man for over thirty years before returning to his white tribe.Victorian Coastline
The place also offers one of the best self-guided Indigenous walks that I’ve ever experienced. But all of these facets could have been overtaken by the better known destinations in the area, if it weren’t for the tremendous feelings of peace and power which I felt when I visited. To me, the power came from the land itself and the tangible presence of Indigenous elders past and present. The peace was felt within me whenever I visited during my time of house sitting in the area. I began to go there frequently and meditate, sometimesLorna and Me at Airey's Point, Victoria asking questions and always felt that I received guidance. It’s a place I can even now, eighteen months later, recall more clearly than other places I’ve visited.
There are some places which warm and nurture your spirit because of the company you are in at the time.Delightful times which can call forth the very best from both the people and the place.
Some cities elicit feelings of ease and openness,allowing you to easily acclimatize and feel like a local. Brissie (Brisbane) is like that. My favourite capital city in Australia manages to combine the laid back and warm feel of a country town with all the delights of a cosmopolitan city. It’s easy to get around and if you do get lost all you need do is ask someone who’ll happily point you in the right direction. Beautiful Brissie
Like people,there are times when a place is not at it’s best. I was in country Victoria on the fifth anniversary of the black saturday bushfires which killed over 100 people and displaced over 700. This anniversary threatened to happen on a day of temperatures so extreme they were considered as bad or worse than Black Saturday. Can you imagine the impact on rural Victorians? You could see the fear in their eyes, hear it in their voice so understandably they did not have sufficient energy to engage in idle banter with an outsider.
Dry countryside in Victoria
Fortunately, there are many places in Australia and the world whose true spirit I’ve yet to discover. What are the places whose spirit most positively affects yours?

4 thoughts on “Spirit of Place

  1. Agreed!

    Without question, K’gari (Fraser Island) has the most powerful spirit of place for me. This palpable spirit healed, guided and directed me at a time when I most needed it.

    Place definitely has spirit, but only if we allow ourselves to feel and hear it. Kicking off your shoes is the quickest way to tap into the spirit of place—even if it’s only on your back lawn. No wonder we’ve lost our connection to our benevolent Earth. Soles, floors and footpaths have come between us.


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