It’s quite a privilege to be offered the job of First Guest Blog from TBL14’s Blue Bus. I’m Casey and I’ve spent the day being thoroughly impressed by the commitment, organisation and boundless enthusiasm of the Big Lift Crew.
It’s not often that a group of forty people turn from total strangers into mates comfortable camping together in the space of fifteen hours. We’ve broken so much ice today that we’re now on the run from the environmentalists. We don’t really know where we’re going, what we’re going to do when we get there or who we’ll meet along the way, but hopefully we can make up for our metaphorical global warming by doing some environmental good tomorrow.
I’m writing this from the floor of a hall at the centre of a tiny town called Geurie between two slightly more notable pockets of civilisation, where we, and our remarkable pile of gear, were welcomed with open arms and a country feast. Each local has involuntarily raised their eyebrows while asking ‘are you sure you’ll be warm enough?’ only to be answered with a vast array of warmth retention techniques including; thermals, double socking, layers between and below sleeping mats of various sizes, onesies, scarf mummification and even a snuggie.
We’ve earned our cocoons this evening. Our day started with the surprising discovery that students are allowed to visit the foreign land of life-before-dawn-on-a-Saturday, even in the crispy chill of a Sydney winter morning. Little did we know that our lunch stop would be numbing and our destination icy. But the journey’s the point, right? We’ve bonded with each other, our bus and our bus driver. We’ve adopted some of the younger country folk who tell us we’re the most interesting thing that’s happened in their town all year, which is both an honour and a responsibility. We’ve danced, waa’ed, emotional werewolved, napped, imitated farm animals, learned where meat comes from, yeah buddied and eaten more than anyone expected.
But the best part for me has been seeing how much a miniscule group of students can achieve when they set their minds to it. I’m an old hand at most aspects of university, being halfway through my sixth year and something of an oldie at the ripe old age of nearly 23, but I’ve never seen such a comprehensive, collaborative and innovative effort from a bunch of 20 year olds before. I’m thoroughly looking forward to all the antics (planned and otherwise) they have in store for us as we pay it forward – which isn’t just about kindness and helpfulness – it’s about sharing the fun around too!