Just a few days ago I received some pictures of a very special place in my life, Eva’s backpackers, from Sydney, Australia, sent by my friend Andreas whom I met in that very place nine years ago.
For those of you who know me, even if you don’t know the name of this place directly, you know about my time in Australia and especially Sydney – my teenage dream come true. Many of the stories I tell about my time in this city in particular, are somehow linked to Eva’s, my home for six months, home to many «adventures», friends that continue to this day, and what it meant to me, more than one personal realization.
Clearly everyone has in his mind some romanticized places associated to his most nostalgic memories and emotions in general, for the same reason there are places to which we would ever return, but this is not the case. The memories are based on our emotions and lived experiences that mark us and leave images together linked with sensations in our brain, which in opportunities we end up idealizing and improving the real version, something similar to the Mandela effect, or as the film producer Robert Evans said: «There are three sides to every story: your side, my side and the truth». And as time goes by, it becomes harder to distinguish how far you have strayed from reality i bealieve in here i stick to reality most of the time at least to my side of it. I make this comment because what I will describe below has probably been modified, remember that it is now nine years later. It is a summary of what happened in a conversation, one of the first that I remember from my contact with people who stayed in this wonderful place that was Eva’s, and that made me feel that I was not so alone in my vision of what I wanted and expected from and for the world. (As I write this I realise that unfortunately I am now a little distant from that vision)….
…Sitting in one of the corners of the kitchen area at Eva’s, I was trying to pass unnoticed, enjoying the atmosphere of the place, -being a person who does not consider myself very sociable, which is something that seems inconsistent and rare since in groups I always end up standing out in some way-. I remember that at one point my «camouflage» failed and I was approached by a German girl who was travelling with her boyfriend, – unfortunately I don’t remember their names-, like many of the conversations one has when travelling the first question after a greeting is where you come from, the name can come after hours, from that point a dialogue developed along with the worst wine one can drink, or at least the worst I have ever tasted, «Goon», which took us through different topics; From the reason for our trips, life situations, to the cosmic vision of what we believed life, the earth and those who inhabit it should be, and as this conversation progressed, a fascination grew in me for the coincidence of these ideas, the synchronicity was so great that for a moment we both stopped to philosophize about it, especially about the fact of coming from two extremes and coinciding in that place and moment. ..
As the above described started to happen more and more often, having the opportunity to talk to wonderful people, share ideas and over a few beers, I started to meet those who would accompany me for months like my friend Eike with whom we travelled to look for opportunities in agricultural work; Solomon who was part of 80% of my trip, ending up in Maffra together with Patrick working with me in the last part of my trip. Demmian, Christina (who also later visited Chile), my co-workers at the hostel who I consider to this day my friends with whom we still communicate sporadically; Eva, with whom we even travelled in Chile, and Peru, Jenny who also visited Chile and visited Valparaiso, Julia Erb the first girl I talked to after arriving and I even remember part of the exhibition we visited; wow! what a lot has happened since my time at Eva’s. That building has been the genesis of more than one moment, encounter and reunion.
Eva’s is that place that sheltered me in a time of change and realisation. One of the most relevant things about Eva’s is that it was the home that welcomed me on my first big trip, and in Sydney!, a place I have wanted to travel to since I was fourteen years old. At the time of my arrival I was twenty-nine, and in the whole context I cannot dissociate my experience in Australia, the realisation of a dream and meeting wonderful people from Eva’s backpackers building.
I didn’t think I would ever see those photos of the state of the building, and even less that they would provoke the nostalgia they did, I think memories are just memories, clearly, but we always treasure in a special way those that leave something special in you, a friendship, lessons, personal growth.
Today I have decided to write this because of an «epiphany», to call it something that sounds almost heavenly, that I have had about myself and my behaviour and way of being during different stages in my life with Sidney and consequently Eva’s being one of the best I have experienced. Clearly the memory of life in this hostel brings out the best and some of the sensitivity still in me, this is because it is a stage of my life that I can say with peace of mind made me understand what I really wanted for myself and therefore the person I wanted to be, so much so that my time in Australia and especially in Sydney, – also Maffra but that is another story -, is something that I can describe in one word: HAPPINESS, yes! So much so, that in moments of meditation or rather relaxation, it is my happy place, where I go to find calm and joy, that’s why I think it affected me so much to see that placein those conditions, what I can describe as happiness, now as cold walls, deteriorated colours, empty spaces, in an almost post-apocalyptic abandonment.
Regarding the nostalgia or emotion that the images provoked in me, I would not like to cancel or omit them, as these sensations are linked to something very special in my life, it is a reaction to experiences that I lived there at some point and they reappear today due to the deteriorated state of what for many is just a building.
Clearly I am no longer the one who lived that experience and it is from that and many others in these nine plus years that I have grown to become someone better, I hope, and that is why I cannot ignore these images of something I consider part of me.
Many of the anecdotes in my travels have or tend to have some meaning or sence, even if it is just sence of humour. Sometimes people think that nostalgia and sentimentality is for wimps, and in many cases they may be right, but it has been, at least for me, in these moments where I have come to realise how those kinds of experiences, emotions or memories have somehow shaped me and made me who I am, a sentimental and very weepy being…
…With love to my friends from Eva’s, to Liz who with her «Australian way» once we met gave me the opportunity to work and extend my stay she call me her be**ch, Carmen who cared so much about me that she even woke me up to go out to look for work, Julia, Giovanni, Maria, Christina, Eva, Jana, Melanie, Yascha, Andreas my bros;Solomon, Patrick, Frederik, Damien, and I still miss a lot of names, so many faces that I still remember and many that I still miss.
**I will be sharing soon some of the articles from my trip to Australia that I never published.