This week Le Sunshine’s taking you to the outskirts of paradise where the good-times comes cheap, according to our latest coastal correspondent, Russ Berry. He doesn’t take anything for granted, he got a taste of life in Byron Bay and he’s in no hurry to leave. He takes photos, he surfs waves, he raises pigs and he tells stories, come on in.
I showed up in Byron at the end of 2012, just another blow-in backpacker looking for high times and the good life.
Growing up in the north of England we didn’t have waves, we didn’t see girls in bikinis on a daily basis. We had football and drinking and if you were lucky enough to meet a girl at a party, and managed to get her away from your mates, you’d have to peel off a million layers to cop a feel.
We did, however, have country… long roads, green hills and good beer. It didn’t take me long to make a home away from home.
You don’t need much to live well and feel rich up here. I’ve spent the summer raising my own pigs, driving the coast searching for waves, surfing, cooking, eating great food and partying with awesome people; plus there’s chicks, smoking hot chicks.
Raising animals has been a challenge. Working hard at something with a view to putting food on the table means you know exactly where it came from and it’s satisfying and humbling. The next step and learning curve, will involve butchering and breaking the animal down then curing the meat. It’s an exciting prospect and I cannot wait to see my own salamis and hams ready to eat.
I can almost taste the nuttiness from the macadamias we will fatten them on in the weeks leading to slaughter, and smell the first fire we will light when we roast our first whole pig. I’ve always wanted to farm my own pigs, goats and chickens for these very reasons.
My idea of a good day is grabbing a coffee in the morning and loading up the truck with boards in the tray and friends in the front. Windows down, radio playing from my shitty door panel speaker (left side only), and looking for waves. I love to surf but it’s the hour before hand that makes the morning.
I don’t claim to be a ‘gypsy’ or ‘salty’ fucking ‘soul wanderer’ or the like, as so many of our local community like to believe they are. On the other hand I won’t label myself as some kind of nouveau-hippy, nostalgic for a by-gone era that this region is famed for. I, like the majority of present-day Byron, like drinking and partying and I drive and consume. Sometimes it gets to me how the aforementioned are so in your face (and I’m mainly talking social media-wise) with their raw diets, kombuchas and $500 Spell outfits. But in the end I try to remember where I live and not take it for granted.
I like taking photos, and these are some of my favourites from a summer of good livin’.
Maybe I’m just another hipster in an already over-saturated pretentious bubble, but fuck it’s fun. It’s paradise.