My mobile phone buzzed heralding a text message. Are you here yet? Come out and join us for a bbq dinner. Be great to see you!
I had arrived at my lodgings for the night, just travelled 3 hours south west to Dubbo. I enjoyed the drive. As the sun slowly made its way down in the western sky I savored the shadows of the Warrumbungle ranges in the distant.
The terracotta glow of the setting sun was nothing compared to the blood red skies the Warrumbungles sprayed a few years ago. There had been a devastating fire that had wiped out most of the national park and many homes. I know the Coonabarabran community and the land are still recovering, and will for some time.
As I meandered down onto the plains of central west NSW I could feel the optimism in the land. The winter crops, full of grain are starting to turn. Lambs are bounding in one last play in the lush lucerene before their mothers’ bed them down for the night when the alpacas will take on their guard duty. Headers are on the move, serviced and greased in readiness on the work ahead.
And now a friend wanted me to head out to where they were staying to meet other women that had also travelled to Dubbo. I argued with myself. Do I stay in my motel room, chillax with the TV to myself and do absolutely nothing or do I put myself ‘out there’ and take the opportunity to meet some new people and spend the evening in their company? My meeting people personality won over the lazy jane.
I headed out of Dubbo and turned onto a dusty red track. I must admit I had second thoughts. The pine trees closed in over the road and I had visions of a Yowie or some sort of bush predator jumping out – would anyone know where to look for me? The cabin lights in the distance guided me through the maze of shadowy figures. I put my “meet and greet” face on.
The cabin was a buzz with lady chatter. As I enter, the room fell to silence and I’m introduced to the spirit of girlfriends. I realised I am among some remarkable, passionate women.
Quite a few were from the city, travelling to the regional area to spend time with country gals. They genuinely want to understand the challenges we have when working in a state-wide organisation of which many are based in metro areas. They want to be our advocates, both as a committee and in their own individual work days.
We shared a meal together and we shared tales. An onlooker would believe we had all been lifelong friends. This is how people with the same values and needs can appear. I met younger woman who have a desire to learn, to grow into strong leaders. I met others who feel very strongly about social justice issues and representing minority groups, others have an immense desire to mend our environment. We even touched on politics – normally a no go zone in groups unless you are seeking an argument!
I offered my perspective of a woman working in a regional location – small offices where you may be the only female, the need to travel distances, the energy it takes to continue to be noticed as you are merely a voice on the phone, the challenge of maintaining your professional networks and profile, telecommunication and IT encounters.
As the evening matured we parted ways – they had food for thought, I had a new circle of sisters.
I was gratified my lazy jane personality had been silenced as I anticipated the next day when would meet again and add more women to the spirit of girlfriends.