About four years ago now, I was sitting in a camper trailer, my face freckled, my body aching, the old clunky white laptop that Glen I shared - it was sitting on my lap. I was eating salt and vinegar chips, and guzzling my second or third Hahn Super Dry. Thirsty, tired, fatigued, but utterly immersed in page after scrolling page of my friend's wonderful blog. How the hell did she keep this a secret from me?! - I thought to myself as I kept clicking 'older posts' in crazed wonderment.
The next day, picking those mandarins in the middle of nowhere, with my relatively new boyfriend working the tree beside me, I announced through twigs and ripened fruit and way too may spiders for my liking, that I myself was tossing around a faint idea of launching a blog. Even though I didn't know a thing about them. Even though I thought bloggers were losers. Even though I was of the opinion that everyone should be out there, travelling the world, snowboarding, picking fruit between winters. Experiencing the ups and downs of life, rather than tapping away behind a keyboard (how boring). You know, like me. But this damn blog idea had drawn me in hook, line and sinker. Something about it felt expansive and full of possibility.
You would think that climbing up and down ladders for 12 hours straight with 15kgs of citrus hanging from your chest would be a special kind of hell on earth, but actually, the sun always seemed to set rather quickly. Out there, in the country, where the only noises were the snip, snip, snipping of our tools, the rustling of the leaves, the odd 'Ow!' when we copped a spiky branch in the face, and the occaisional revving of the tracktor engine as we progressed down our row of mandarin trees, time ceased to exist. Memories never before re-visited would spring to our minds, and they'd consume us for hours. Likewise for future projections - hopes and dreams would scoop us up and carry us off into a silent , busy world of unlimited imagination, as our bodies robotically kept snipping, kept climbing, kept empting our fruit into the half-tonne bins.
And this blog thing- it started to take up every inch of skull. What would I write about? Maybe... maybe stuff like this? Like backpacking? Travelling? Being a seasonnaire? Snowboarding in Japan? Culinary adventures? I could write about hiking trails and pub crawls and music that moves me. Maybe I could even, like, share some photos of my adventures?
But what would I call it? This blog of mine.
One dawn, as Glen and I drove our old Ford out of the township and towards the farm, the sun peaking its head up over the valley; the morning mist slowly rising from the river, I looked up at the clouds - maxed out, zoomed in, fluffed up beyond fluffy. If I was at the top of my ladder amongst the small, sun-ripened fruit, I might even be able to touch them. The clouds were so big and gregarious and ALIVE our there.
'We see such different skies...' I said, to the car window, my neck still creaked up, so I could cloud-gaze.
'Huh?' replied my sleepy boyfriend.
'It's just... you know... we've been to a few places around the world together... and the sky never looks the same...'
Suffice it to say, my friends, that much has happened, unfolded, magically materialised in my life since the day I pressed publish on my horrendously written first post: i am tara. you can call me ta's. (Complete with disastrous grammar, of course.) I have deleted many of my archived posts, but my first? Well, I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. The memory is too sweet. The contrast too great. The black hair, the pina colada, her cheeky, sunburnt face... Sometimes we need to be reminded of the road we've travelled, and few things remind me more than this bite-sized post created in a caravan park in central Queensland.
Four years on, Such Different Skies has evolved, grown, gotten a little wiser (perhaps), and yet her name has remained because in truth, no other name would do this journey justice. I still look up, every single day, with the same amazement I did all those years ago. I still look up and giggle nervously at freaky storm clouds. I still look up and wipe tears off my cheeks as blazing sunsets leave their last moments of warmth on my face. I still look up and say aloud, 'Thank you.' I still look up and think 'What the actual fuck is my life all about?!'
And here - this place - this strange and wonderful pocket of the internet, has been a container that's carried my contempations and allowed me to become a woman, a creative, a coach.
And I am more than just a little grateful. (If you can't already tell)
And so - it's about bloody time we threw a party around here. An ULTIMATE party. A GIVEAWAY party.
Allow me now, to introduce you to some wicked crazy gorgeous brands (most of them local to me, some have even been featured as Such Different Vixens), that have generously and so very graciously contributed to this outpouring of love and appreciation. They stand here with me, side by side, to say:
One lucky reader (Aussies only, I'm afraid) will receive this soulful bounty. You'll find the condiitons of entry at the bottom, but please, take your time with this post: soak in these brands (please support them on Facebook and Instagram if you fancy them), enjoy the photos (we went for a real Party Girls Guide to Peace theme - quite relevant, really), and perhaps, as you continue to scroll, you'll reflect a little on the last four years of YOUR such different life.
Because you've come a long way, baby.
(Oh. I already said that.)
Amés Collective: Such Different Skies Inspired Soul Deck ($200)
This Divine Child / Wild Child skatey - creatived by the captivating Tess Wilcox - captures the entire feel and energy of this giveaaway. Freedom. Adventure. The wind in your hair. All those cares of yours, melting off your shoulders as you coast on.
And - AND - the wheels light up as you roll on with your own bad self! Sparkly wheels!
For those that don't skate, let me just say that - YES - this would be a perfectly acceptable, and undeniably rad, addition to your living room decor. Just sayin.
Essence of Living: 3 Months of Unlimited Yoga! ($395)
My favourite place to practice yoga here on the Gold Coast is Essence of Living.
The energy is abuzz. The community Michelle and the girls have managed to create there is unlike anything. There's an abundant number of classes per week, and they're beyond nourishing. The teachers give their whole presence. Is it too much for me to say that this studio has changed my life? It truly has. If you follow me on instagram you'll know that Essence is my church, a place I 'pray' almost daily.
For the lucky winner, if you live locally to the GC, Essence is kindly offering you 3 months of unlimited yoga at the studio in Mermaid Beach. And for those located elsewhere, you'll instead have access to 3 months access to the online portal - Essence of Living TV.
Violet Gray: Solar Plexus Necklace ($99)
Beautiful angel, Alex, is gifting one of her powerful and dainty chakra necklaces. I'm sure you've seen these all over instagram, no? They're adorning the collarbones of spirited sisters far and wide. :) Such a gorgeous treasure to add to your soul kit.
The Fifth Element Life Mandala Ring ($88)
So, the first time I lay my eyes on Sarah's mandala rings, my first thought was: PHWOAR.
These mandala rings are big, beutiful, intentional, and they make a statement. Mine doesn't shift from my finger. Shower, yoga or sea dip - she stays put. And she tells a story - I like to trace the etching with my thumb, and charge it with my dreams and visions...
The Whole Daily: Life Transformation Project ($197)
In the words of creator (and Such Different Vixen), Alice Nicholls:
This is an expansive course. It's real and it's not a quick fix. It delves and dives deeply. It feels whole.
The Life Transformation Project is a four week journey.
Hattie: Mexican Drifter Blanket ($130)
Now, look me in the eye and tell me who doesn't swoon over a Mexican blanket. Right?
Well, let's up the ante (and swoon factor) by blanket-gazing at this gorgeous Hattie specimen, complete with carry strap.
Beach hangs, picnics, backyard soirees - they're all but a sling of the shoulder away. :)
The Spring Shop: $100 Voucher!
My beautifully creative and beyond talented friend, Catherine, has opened up her online store for you!
Masons, ceramics, finer little details, artsy craftsy sweet little somethings. The choice is yours. Add to cart.
The Fix: Coffee Body Scrub ($15.95)
Now THIS is an experience.
Firstly - nothing exfoliates quite like coffee. It doesn't dissolve, it's gloriously granular without being aggressive. It sheds thy dry, lifeless skin.
Then, the peppermint pipes up; the faint scent of it as the scrub hits the steam. Divine.
And finally, as your towel off, you feel the after effects of the coconut oil. Smooth. Supple. So very lovely.
A beautiful product from a beautiful Tasmanian brand :)
Lemon Canary: 'Meditate' Soy Candle & 2 x Blue Quartz ($74.95)
Be still my beating heart. The packaging, the attention to detail, the softness of these products.
The eco-consciousness, the hand-made-ness. I could go on and on.
French rosemary, lemon and cedarwood join forces my friends, in a fierce and freeing way.
And these blue quartz (the meditation stone) have been lovingly programmed with the intentions of mindfulness and clarity.
Could this brand be any more divine?
Green Nutritionals: SuperGrass Powder & Froggy Glass Straws ($39.95 )
Alkalinity for the win! This potent superfood powder is chockers with grasses of barley, alfalfa and wheat. Add a teaspoon into your smoothie or stir into your morning green juice, and your cells will thank you for it. And the straws? Don't even get me started. I mean seriously (how rad are they?).
Huge big massive thanks to:
:: Sarah Truman and the girls from Lululemon Robina for their support, and for clothing me!
(I'm wearing :: Coastal Tank :: Free To Be Bra :: Wunder Under Pant :: Transformation Wrap)
:: All of the contributors.
Just to recap...
:: Amés Collective: Such Different Skies inspired Soul Deck ($200)
:: Essence of Living: 3 months of unlimited yoga! ($395)
:: Violet Gray: Solar Plexus necklace ($99)
:: The Fifth Element Life Mandala Ring ($88)
:: The Whole Daily: Life Transformation Project ($197)
:: Hattie: Mexican Drifter Blanket ($130)
:: The Spring Shop: $100 voucher!
:: The Fix: Coffee Body Scrub ($15.95)
:: Lemon Canary: 'Meditate' Soy Candle & 2 x Blue Quartz ($74.95)
:: Green Nutritionals: SuperGrass Powder & Froggy Glass Straws ($39.95)
For a total value of: $1339.95
To enter this competition...
1:: Scroll down and ensure that you're subscribed to my newsletter list. I'll be announcing the winner exclusively via email.
2:: See that little Facebook box to the right? Kindly click 'like'. (Thank you)
3:: In the comments below, allow Nostalgia to step in for a moment as you share with me - and us - how much you've GROWN in the last four years.
You can choose any one of these qusstions as prompters:
What aspect of my life has radically transformed?
What am I most proud of?
I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was...
I am most grateful for this fateful lesson...
4:: Share this post with your peeps.
The winner will be announced in my May 28 newsletter.
Good luck, beautiful.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
The winner has been announced in my newsletter.