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Gift economy

We said goodbye to the Goulburn River and the Murchison caravan park, home to a community of colourful permanent residents – Desley, Brian, Keith and Di – and headed east.

It was an unexpectedly difficult ride due to the lack of shade and a headwind for much of the forty-three kilometres to Violet Town. The sun baked us on this flat and straight stretch of road where annual grasses and fences dominated. Little stood out apart from the occassional creek and composition of wild flowers.

We arrived in Violet Town hot and exhausted, we found some shade to recuperate under and some free municiple power to recharge.

According to Sam from Ballarat e-bikes, “each lithium ion battery holds 0.333 kilowatt hours. Assuming someone is paying 27 cents per kilowatt hour, and the charger is 90% efficient, it’s about ten cents per charge per battery.” While the bikes recharge we have been collecting litter in the parks, reserves and sports grounds that we poach the power from.

We figure that the 20 cents of free energy we take from each town to assist our movement equates to about one bag of collected rubbish. When people ask us about our art practice we say we’re quite well-known for waste collecting. We also pick up rubbish and pull up weeds in exchange for a free camping ground.

This morning we woke to a rich chorus of birdsong at our camp along the Honeysuckle Creek. A morning’s walk enabled a feast of free food, including these deliciously sweet Nagami kumquats (Citrus japonica spp.)

and these luciously ripe loquats (Eriobotrya japonica).

Zero had earlier just missed out on hunting down a buck hare along the creek, so when we stopped for a cup of tea in the main drag we asked the cafe if they had any meat scraps for him. Success!

We’ve discovered three other things while being in friendly Violet Town. The first is the potential food supply in the gardens of abandoned houses, something to note as we move from town to town.

The second is walnut shell mulch. The region is a walnut growing climate, at least for now, and what a great way to use the waste product of this food.

The third is that Violet town has a range of publicly-accessible, intentionally-planted fruit trees and herbs, including figs, plums, rosemary, lemongrass, sage and olives,

which compliment the spontaneous roadside fruit growing here including cherry plums, pears, apples and walnuts.


  1. Louise says:

    Wow – a real feast…

  2. Unknown says:

    its been lovely to read about your progress.
    We are starting to get organised for our adventure, house rented, long to do list…
    look forward to being on the road.
    Happy Travelling xxx

  3. Zara says:

    It always makes me a little sad to see fruit just dropping to the ground and rotting away at abandoned houses, or even worse at lived in houses.
    The roadside apple trees around Goulburn have tiny little fruit on at the moment.
    Lucky little Zero there with those bacon scraps.

  4. Hen says:

    Oh so glad to hear you are travelling in such fine style. Was a little bit worried have to admit, but all looks good if occasionally gruelling! Love to you all. Henny

  5. Hen says:

    looks so awesome and challenging
    zero looks like he's having the time of his life
    It must be hard peddling for that long

    love you all Tildie

  6. Congrats on renting your house! How exciting for you guys. We can't wait to read of your adventures too. Will you be keeping a blog of sorts? Much love to you guys. xx

  7. Absolutely! It's such a crime to let any food go to waste. Why is it that free food isn't valued? People just aren't hungry enough… All the best to you Ms Zara from us here. xx

  8. Thanks Hen! So far so good with us here. We are having a fabulous adventure and can't wait to have more with you lot over Chrissy. xxxxxx

  9. Thanks Tildie! It is indeed hard peddling for so long, but our legs are getting stronger the more we do it. And our bums aren't getting as sore on our saddles either, which is good news. Zero is loving our adventures too. He was getting a bit worried that he was going to be left at home, when we were packing up our house. He loves living outside, as do we. Can't wait to see you soon. xxxxxx

  10. //Staffan says:

    This sounds really terrific! I wish you all luck, happiness and prosperity in the future!

  11. //Staffan says:

    This sounds really terrific! I wish you all luck, happiness and prosperity in the future!

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