I am in Sydney, after an uneventful journey from Chiang Mai. I am now settling to my new life, as a true “backpacker” for a couple of weeks, until my parents fly in for Christmas, and we head to the Great Barrier Reef for celebrating!
A true bacpacker sleeps in the dorm of a backpacker’s hostel, mine being the George in the centre of town. A true backpacker lives one day at a time. A true backpacker does not have a plan, with nothing special to do. A true backpacker drinks a lot of beer (which I am not doing, I am still far too healthy for that!). A true backpacker is on a tight budget, so cooks in the hostel’s kitchen (well “cooking” is not quite the right word for most people’s habits, who survive on cereal and toast). A true backpacker is always in a great mood, and wants to meet lots and lots of new people.
I am sharing a room with 2 other girls, I pay my rent daily so I can leave when I feel like it, I have started cooking again!!! For the first time in 2 months, I went to a supermarket to buy ingredients, cooked them, ate them slowly and did my washing up! It feels great to cook for myself.
I don’t know what I will be up to over the next few days. Yesterday I walked around the main sites: Darlington, Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera, Botanic Gardens… It’s wonderful, but it’s a bit strange not having a particular aim.
I have met some nice new people, travelers who have had this lifestyle for weeks, months, or sometimes even years.
I am meditating every day, even though it’s a little difficult when you’re sharing a room, and I have yet to find a Buddhist temple here. I will find my way to a beach soon, and resume my learning of surfing.
Oh no! I am doing it again! I actually really want to learn how to surf (a week’s worth of lessons on the French Atlantic Coast this summer hardly makes me a pro) and where else but the East Coast of Australia to do that! And that’s when I realise that I will never be a true backpacker. Because I really like to learn things, and have a healthy routine of sports-learning-activity, rather than sleeping-boozing-partying.
One of my teachers in Chiang Mai also gave me the name of a Alexander Technique practitioner here in Sydney, so I will hopefully get to meet him
and see how this technique could fit it to my practice.
Put simply, the Alexander Technique helps people achieve good posture by “unlearning” bad habits and returning to natural, instinctive posture. Take a toddler for example: if he drops something on the floor, will he stoop to pick it up? The answer is no – they always squat down, protecting the muscles in their backs.
Even when bending over, they will keep a straight back, unlike adults who put their backs at risk, as bending over incorrectly increases the pressure on the intervertebral disks and joints, which puts them at a higher risk of developing aches, strains and back pain.
Even in a sitting position, babies and toddlers seems to keep their back straight, where us adults always have to fight with our backs and shoulders to avoid the classic “desk posture”. Oh and when have you ever since a child crossing one leg over the other?
Aaccording to Frederick Matthias Alexander, we all know how to use our bodies correctly, but we have taken on bad habits instead. The point of the technique is to get out of those habits to find our instincts take over. This method means that your body tells your brain what to do, rather than the other way round. It seems to be longer lasting in action, as the memory of the body is better than of the brain.
I would like to learn more on the Alexander Technique, and train myself to unlearn my bad habits… and achieve better posture! I would then be able to teach my patients about it also, and prevent a lot of repetitive movement problems and muscle tightness.
Actually, this technique is fantastic for those who use their bodies a lot – office workers of course, but even more so for sportspeople, musicians and artists. F.M. Alexander was actually a Shakesperian orator, and developed these techniques to train his vocal cords, projecting his voice better and preventing chronic laryngitis he suffered from.
It has been a year exactly since I wrote the first article on this blog, it was the start of organising this crazy adventure.
I am really happy about the start of my journey, and how far I have gone so far. Things happened much faster than I could have imagined. I have added a new category, called “So Far…” to give a summary of what I have been up to, without having to read all my posts!
Oh and today in Noirouf (my dog at home) anniversary… he does not have a birthday because we got him from the pound, but he arrived at my parents’ house on December 12th, 1999 (or was it 2000?). Anyway, happy anniversary.
Noirouf le chien.