Nathalie Kelley

Australia

This story starts in the year 1997. Its my first day of high school and I am nervously scanning the room for any potential new friends. My gaze settles on this ethereal platinum blonde fairy sitting nearby. I overhear her proclaim her love for Boys 2 Men and I am quick to also express my eternal devotion to Boys 2 Men and TLC. I see a flicker of approval in her eyes and in this moment I know I have met my twin flame, at 12 years old, in the roll call class of North Sydney Girls High School.

Fast forward to today. Nina is now living her dream as a travel writer, married to the most wonderful pirate/winemaker of a husband, Pete. When they are not enjoying vintage in Burgundy or witnessing baby elephants fight off lions in Zambia, they split their time between their Coogee beach apartment and Krinklewood, the most gorgeous biodynamic vineyard in the Hunter Valley. In short, they are living the dream. They don’t claim to make a ton of money, but they have made a life for themselves thats rich in the things that they love. Textiles, travel, good wine, good food (life’s essentials right?) – the biggest highlight of my trip was without a doubt sinking into their routine. Beach, farm, beach farm.. if there was ever a reason to move back to Australia, the lifestyle (their lifestyle) in particular is high up on the list.

On our first weekend in Sydney, Aleph and I went camping (excuse me glamping!) up at Little Beach with Nina, Pete, and their very gracious friends. We pitched my Wild Things tent and decked it out with all my newly bought Bhutanese textiles (we forgot to bring water, but rest assured we looked fabulous even when parched) . We were practically swimming in biodynamic Krinklewood wine, so between the wine, the textiles and Aleph carving on the beach – we were just in pure heaven. The psychedelic sandstone had as all tripping on nature, and before the end of the camping trip I had decided against clothing altogether. All in all, it was the most delicious welcome home weekend of my life. I don’t believe that you can jinx yourself by proclaiming how good life is. Truly, those moments were some of the most beautiful i have ever experienced. There was an acknowledgement of what a great year this last one was for me professionally… bursting with love and gratitude for all the beautiful relationships in my life: for Aleph, Nina, Pete. The sweetness of being back home with my family. The relief at finally knowing I’m on the right path, headed in the directions of all my hopes and dreams.

For those who think that my life is without difficulty or heartache, let me also add that there were also a few challenges I faced on this trip back home. Like everyone else sometimes the pressure of seeing your family can build up, and my mother and I faced some challenges during our time together. Here I found that NV communication (thanks Aleph!) saved the day. If you are Latin and feisty like my mother and I, or you just want to dive into the art of communication – I highly recommend googling NVC. It is the next lesson I am trying to incorporate into my life, alongside DE (see my previous posts).

Personal growth aside the rest of the trip looked like this: Our radiant, badass friend Vanessa flew in from LA and New Years was spent drinking Krinklewood sparkling and getting psychedelic in her Coogee pad (which resembled a club from Lagos circa 1969 for the nights Aleph and I stayed). The first day of the year was similarly spent in various states of undress, drinking more biodynamic rose, scandalizing the north rocks of Gordon’s bay. A few days later the crew drove up to Krinklewood where we helped Nina and Pete move into their new house on the property – i don’t think anyone has enjoyed mopping up floors, cleaning up cobwebs and rearranging furniture more than we did those few days. A big thank you to Pete and the Windrim family who hosted us for those magical 2 nights. I am so blessed to call you guys my friends.

Then the 3 amigos (Aleph, Vanessa and myself) rented a campervan which we later christened “Sheba” to drive all the way up to Byron Bay. Applying the principle of Do Easy to travel, we savored the 9 hour drive up the coast, camping (sometimes illegally) in the carpark of secret beaches. A couple of nights all 3 of us snuggled in the back of the van, post Vanessa’s amazing macrobiotic dinners, listening intently to This American’s Life serial podcasts (is anyone else addicted?). Those we were some sweet moments. Swimming naked on deserted beaches and sinking into the deep magic of the land -home of the Bundjulung nation. Byron Bay and the surrounding areas are so steeped in magic, it was impossible not to observe with jaws wide open, the abundance, fertility and natural beauty of this country that I call home.

And on that note I will wrap this post up. Home. My home. My family. My friends. My girls (Waterloo, Redfern, you know who you are). Australia, I am so grateful to call you my home. I am grateful for the 2nd chance you gave my (single) mother and I when we immigrated here 28 years ago. I am grateful for a life spent smelling eucalyptus trees and sunbathing topless on your beaches. I will admit that I never fully appreciated you until I left, but isn’t that always the case in life? Well that ignorance is no more. I have travelled the world, I have seen beautiful things and experienced the most magical of places. But in my case the cliche is true. There is no place like home.

x

Nat

Shout outs:
*Nina, Pete & Krinklewood for all the wine, hospitality and side splitting laughter.
*Vanessa for your delicious food and company. It was such a pleasure to have you in my home country.
*Wild Things for my favorite tent – i always hated camping, but GLAMPING is a whole other story!
*Ginger & Gilligan for the beach tipi of my dreams.
*Edwina for letting us crash your glamping party.
*Mara Hoffman for my bathing suit and NYE outfit.
*All That Remains for my crochet bikini.
*My beautiful Koori boys and girls (now all grown up) in Waterloo/Redfern. Thank you for holding down the community – remember… you have the dreaming!
*And lastly my mama, Rosa. Thank you for the brave decision you made all those years ago to move to this amazing country. I love you more than words can express.

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  • Chris Watters

    There is no place like home that is the truth. This year has been a year for me to realize some not all but, some people in general have motives or agendas not always clear. In the past I have worn my heart on my sleeve and not knowing have been taken advantage of…Kindness shouldn’t be measured at least that’s how I have always been. Be Kind and giving to those I love. But, now I am more cautious.
    You have restored some of my faith in people and I realize there are still good people in the world even famous ones at that! :) I honestly am so impressed by you and how much love you have pouring out. The smiles and the friendships you have created are awesome…You have Fun, Laugh and live exactly how you want. I am also influenced by music and have a connection to it and all forms ( I love music.) I mostly enjoy the way you describe the beauty of the people and the land, water oh my gosh everything. Photography is another passion I love it! How beautiful it is to capture is frozen moment in time. Each Photo open to interpretation and often invokes emotions that are buried. Do you take these shots? If so you have an artistic eye too..your photos are always very good.
    So thank you again for sharing your lovely stories and that gorgeous smile you have…Your Passion is amazing and the energy you create!
    I read some on-line blogs and have some Photographers that I follow. I even have some modern homesteading pages that are these beautiful people choosing to live a more simple life. Then I discover you and this adventure your on and how absolutely blessed you are and share your love with your dearest friends and your family. I love reading about your adventures and life, love and loss. I think you are naturally just a loving spirit with a positive light radiating from you. One of my favorite places in the world is Hocking Hills National Forest if your travels bring you trough Ohio stop and visit the Caves and waterfalls. It was once rendezvous of numerous Native American tribes and there is a powerful energy present there still today. :)

    • Nat Kelley

      Wow, thank you for your lovely comment. So happy you enjoy my little blog. xxxx

  • amasona

    Thank you so much for generously sharing your life, experiences and soul with us. I was once a student in a Samba class you briefly taught in Sydney and I was mesmerised by your inner and outer “unconventional” beauty; the next time I saw you was on the side of the bus in an ad for FF Tokyo Drift. I stumbled upon your instagram and here I am, a working mother of 4, living vicariously through your blog – it is a great source of positivity and inspiration, whether it be through your travels, fashion or random musings on life. From one Aussie to another – wishing you all the best in your travels and know that there is a legion of us out here experiencing the journey you.

    • Nat Kelley

      Wow, I can’t believe I taught you Samba all those years ago. Thats so sweet of you to remember. I’m really honored to have you follow me on this journey. Much love to you and your 4 children – hope you are able to pass on the samba lessons to them! :) xxx Nat

  • tanya

    Wooow great pictures! Pleeaase tell me which camera you use!!!

    • http://nathaliekelley.net Nathalie Kelley

      Thanks, these pics were taken on a Sony RX 100. xx

    • Nat Kelley

      Thanks! These pics were taken on a Sony RX 100. xxx

  • Gib Ron

    You are always welcome home Nat, this is your country and wonderful to see the pictures and words come to life from your beautiful narrative. Much love, Gib

    • Nat Kelley

      Thank you Gib. Light and love, Nat

  • Graziella Villegas

    it’s been 3 years since i found your light and i am glad it still leads me the way. keep inspiring everyone (including me, of course!) and never turn off that bright light. you have such a beautiful soul, Ms. Nathalie. sending you lots of love x

    • Nat Kelley

      Sending you love also Graziella! xxx

  • Tyler Twisdale

    You are truly inspiring. It is encouraging and a privilege to see the journeys and places you go. Really we are all part of it. Seeing different cultures and ways of life is beautiful and helps us to learn more than what we are and where. I have followed you for a while and it is a blessing to watch and see each post and picture of what is happening and where you go. Your inspiration helps me to realize that to be yourself is to be unique. You are a beautiful, stylish and talented woman Nathalie and I know God will continue to bless you. Continue to be you and be inspiring.

  • Skillz

    You’re beautiful inside & out. I miss u on twitter ;(

  • Nz

    if i had 10 M+Ms, i’d give you 6. just sayin.

  • Nz