Ash and I have spent the past few days in Tasmania. We stayed in a beautiful beach house, very kindly given to us, by a family friend, for three nights, overlooking the lake, and Mount Wellington, with the lights of Hobart across the lake. We have shopped in Hobart, and visited the peak of Mount Wellington. We then stayed in Ash’s dads place overlooking the same bay, which is a unique slice of paradise. The view is something I don’t think I could ever get bored of. The pace of life is far slower and far more relaxed than anything I’m used to. We have been through tiny towns that seem lost in time. We then stayed a night at a stunning little beach house in north east Tasmania, which followed a drive across some of the most beautiful land and the clearest seas I have ever had the pleasure to see. We ran along a white sandy beach and sat on the rocks. Aren’t we so damn cute? The air feels lite here. It feels fresh and has a great smell to it. You can see for miles, because the air is not polluted. The water is clear and fresh. It is simply beautiful.
Contrasting with the beauty and the serenity of the old Van Diemen’s Land, is the eeriness. I suspect it is a psychological issue unique to me, but Tasmania has an incredible ability to freak me out. I think it is largely due to feeling isolated, which I have never felt before. I have always lived surrounded by people, houses and cars. Calmness is creepy to me. No background noise created by people or cars leaves me on edge. The sound of a soundless place is entirely new. I’m used to people. I’m used to hearing cars throughout the night. This, linked with the quite appalling history that we English created by sending our convicts to serve awful sentences at Port Arthur in which, along with other penal colonies, England sent over 70,000 convicts between 1800 and 1860 for petty crimes, and treated them horrendously, and the attacks on the aboriginal population in this tranquil part of the World stands to creep me out slightly. We English should not have come here. It isn’t our land. Driving through Tasmania and looking out at the land, and the settlements that were originally English, I felt a tremendously overwhelming sense of guilt. English style manors in the middle of Tasmanian forest or by the side of beautiful rivers seemed both stunning, and wrong. We should not have came here. It wasn’t ours to take.
I have had my first panic attack ever, here in Tasmania. I felt a huge sense of being isolated and unwelcome. Not by Ash and her family, who have been amazingly welcoming, but by an inner feeling. Sleeping at night has unexpectedly made my heart start to race and an inability to breath properly, starting at the very point at which my eyes close. I felt like I should not be here, like something wanted me out. People have told me they have felt that way in certain places in England, but I never understood how a feeling like that is perceived. But having now felt it, it is ineffable. Cannot be described. I know full well that it is purely psychological, because once anxiety creeps in, it became impossible to control it, and eventually, when the anxiety has exhausted me, I fall asleep. Diverting the mind onto other ideas and thoughts did not work. It manifested itself visually last night, as I was falling asleep finally, around 2am, and suddenly thought I saw a child with darker tanned skin and longish straight black hair sitting on the chair in front of our bed, staring at me. The moment I jumped, it had gone. I am certain it was my mind playing tricks, given that my state of mind was pretty uncontrollable anyway. I suffer when I feel like I am losing control of my senses. I have to be in control of my senses. I do not believe in ghosts or anything of that sort, I am of the firm believe that it is all in the mind, but either way, it freaked me out. I also know it is affecting Ash, because I can’t seem to sleep. And I feel horrible that it is affecting her.
And yet, the days here in Tasmania are spectacular. I cannot explain in words just how lucky I feel to be here. I am massively grateful.
The adversity between the amazing days i’m having here in Tasmania, and the troublesome nights is having quite the affect on me.
I don’t think isolation agrees with me at night. I feel at home, in cities surrounded by people. It is why I coped brilliantly on my own in London for nine months, despite living in a rough and pretty dangerous area south of the river. A mix of culture shock and identifying somewhat with the evils of the English people over here in Tasmania along with the isolation and lack of people and bustle of city life, overwhelmed me. And yet, the people are lovely and the natural surroundings are astounding.