Margaret River – I love you. (Meeka, you’re alright too)

Pete and I recently went to Margaret River for a holiday, located in the beautiful south-west corner of Western Australia.

I   L O V E D   I T!

Coming from stinkin’ hot Meekatharra with long boring highways lined by even more boring mulga shrubbery (it has its own kind of beauty but it wears off when you drive through it for hours and hours…Sorry Meeka.) it was magnificent driving into Margaret River, through tall trees, windy roads lined with vineyards and milk cow grazing country. It was very pretty. And then we pulled up outside the Eco Boutique and my heart jumped a little with joy. We were both a bit hungry so we went to the next best café and they served matcha lattes (and almost frown at you if you want cow’s milk, not almond or soy milk) and had a brownie made with pretty much nothing but cacao and honey and organic locally grown nuts, and my heart made another leap of joy because it was YUM! I thought I had arrived in heaven and thought it couldn’t get any better, until we went to the supermarket to get some supplies and got non-homogenized local organic milk (oooh!) and local meat (oooh!). And at the checkout they had a corner full of used cardboard boxes that you packed your groceries in, instead of a plastic bag! Oooh! Heaven was getting better and better! And then (I know, the Greenie experiences just kept going!) we went to the bakery which was gorgeous and quirky and got freshly baked beautiful sourdough bread. Oh oh oh I couldn’t get over myself with all these artisan, locally made, family owned, organic, healthy goodies around me.

It was as if I’d stepped into some other corner of the world. Not the laid-back-somewhat-behind-Meekatharra-where-nothing-ever-happens-in-a-hurry-and-healthy-trends-don’t-take-foot, or the consumerism-city-suburbs-built-to-get-us-to-spend-our-money-at-massive-conglomerates-that-rule-our-food-supply. No, Margaret River felt like a community that was proud to live where it lives and recognizes the wealth and beauty that nature provides them with.

I realize that Meekatharra won’t ever be like Margaret River. We don’t get hipster surfers (5 hours drive to the coast anyone?), the climate is not as pleasant (45 degrees Celsius in summer instead of a lovely 27. Not quite hiking weather.), we don’t have rolling hills for world-class vineyards (but we might be quite good at cultivating raisins? Anyone ever thought of that?), trees in Meeka country grow a mind-blowing 2 metres high instead of the 30 metres Jarrah, Karri and Marri forests of the southwest (Meeka trees are probably scared they might touch the sun, understandably so), and a chocolate factory like the one in Margaret River would just be hilarious in Meeka – hot chocolate anyone? Bring a cup.

So, I realize that Margaret River has unique things going for it that other regions and towns can’t just copy. We all need to work within our limits.

But a café serving healthy cacao brownies? Doable! A supermarket offering cardboard boxes instead of plastic bags? Not impossible! A butcher selling locally raised beef from surrounding cattle stations? Absolutely possible! Artisan shops showcasing local goodies? Of course! In fact – we have one! (YAAAY Meeka is cottoning on!) A Meekatharrian (born Canadian) set up an Arts & Heritage Association with a lovely shop and gallery giving Meeka artists an outlet for their art and showing tourists that we have talented people, too. Yeah, get that, Margaret River, we don’t just sit in our aircon all day, we actually do something too! Not much, but something nonetheless. Some people. Sometimes. When it’s not too hot…

Anyway, my point is that Meeka (or your home town wherever you live) could probably be more environmentally friendly. Just imagine if Margaret River’s population (all the hipsters, greenies, ecos, farmers, families, surfers) were picked up by a magic hand and dropped into your town – do you think they would make some changes? Give it a year and I’m sure your town would be just as quirky and would have its own unique greenie projects going. You, me, us humans are the ones who shape our towns. It’s up to us to make it happen. Don’t be defeated by your environment but work with it. Yes we all have a unique set of circumstances on our hands (hot, cold, green, not so green, humidity, sunshine, clouds, fresh water, salt water, no water, coastal, inland, big suburb, small town, …) and there is no one-fits-all-environmentally-friendly-scheme that you can apply to every town. Work with it and make your community, your town, your suburb, your house unique and well-adapted to the landscape. There is no “too hot” or “too far away” or “too small” or “too big” – it just means that we haven’t adapted our ideas properly yet to the environment and the circumstances we have at hand. We just gotta keep chipping away, one step at a time, keep amending and adapting. That’s what we humans are good at. (And it seems I personally am quite good at rambling on. Oops. As you can see – I get a bit passionate about this. Just a little bit more, then I’m done 🙂 )

I love discovering quirky little shops and cafés that serve food made with love and care, not just mass-produced chain-store I’m-just-another-number-in-their-books kind of feeling that sometimes leaves you a bit bloated in your tummy and a bit deflated in your heart. Instead you walk out of little cafés elated with a healthy gut and a happy brain full of ideas. That’s how I felt anyway. Let’s face it. I had so many ideas in my head and so much energy in me that I set up a frickin’ website to write about this. Come to think about it, that must have been one amazing cacao brownie. I can recommend it. Sidekick Cafe, Margaret River. (Just be careful when you ask for cow’s milk.. 😉 )

Do you know that feeling when you’ve been to an amazing seminar or workshop? That’s what I feel like at the moment. You walk out with all these amazing ideas and so much inspiration and motivation. It’s gonna change your life – absolutely! And whilst we all know that it never all sticks and your normal everyday life and surroundings will slowly but surely bring you back into your old habits, who knows, maybe something will stick. Maybe in a couple of years you go shopping in Meekatharra, in the laid-back Outback where nothing ever happens quickly, and instead of getting a plastic bag for your shopping you will be asked if you’d like a cardboard box. We don’t cotton on to trends quickly but things do change. Eventually.

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