I never take time for myself. Never is never a good word, but I can’t remember the last time I forced myself into a getaway just pour moi. I am a single mother to two young girls, and I always holiday with them, always make plans with them in mind, never hire a babysitter (now this is the serious truth), and just don’t fork over the cash on myself. I enjoy experiencing things with them, so making plans without them while they were with their father, was foreign to me. I decided to squirrel (my Americanism) myself away in a cosy villa, in the winter. My only prerequisite was a spa bathtub with a view. Got it, photographed it, but when you get to the Daylesford region of Victoria, Australia, and have only 2 nights to yourself, there are other beckoning baths.
Day 1: I apparently also had a private outdoor spa that I didn’t realise when I booked. I just booked the trip and decided to just go with the flow when I arrived. I love off the beaten path places, and my final destination was near the end of a single-lane country road, cresting hills with zero ability/visibility to see if anything was coming toward me, and a welcoming posse of kangaroos to greet me. Country kangaroos seem so much bigger than the kind I see at home, when I am lucky enough.
It was raining, like 100% rain in the forecast. Rain is my middle name, so it’s unlike me to balk at rain when I’m in it, to the chagrin of others. I walked the grounds, took videos of soggy kangaroos, and got to know the place. First order of business, build a fire. Can’t remember the last time I did that either. I’m a New Yorker, so those skills are inherent, no matter where you go. Aren’t they?
I’d stopped at Koukla in Daylesford for lunch prior to my arrival. Had beef ragout with winter vegetables, linguini, and topped with parmesan. Perfect soul-warming meal in the cold and downpour. I liked the place so much and knew I was hunkering down for the night, so grabbed a rosemary and garlic pizza to take for dinner. Back to the villa…
Once I was settled, and discovered the private hot tub, I proceeded to enjoy it. How amazing to be outdoors with cold rain pouring down and a view with kangaroos. After the lovely soak, the sun set and well, it started to feel like camping when you go to sleep with the sun and wake with it. I think I was asleep by 7pm? Is that right?? Awake at 2am to kangaroo thumping on the deck.
Day 2: My lovely hosts provided a gorgeous breakfast for me to cook, and I brought my French press as that is my preferred method for coffee. From there, I was off to my spa appointment at The Mineral Spa in Hepburn Springs. I had the early bird special for the baths and had the spa to myself. How good is that? Their spas are 38 degrees Celsius and outdoors so I watched the biggest cockatoos (country cockatoos!) dine off the local trees, awash with cold rain and bubbling heat. My mind was erased. I also indulged? in my first ever cold plunge pool, because why would I do that when I was so happy warm? I did it though, thinking of all of the self-help gurus who say it’s good for you. OK, maybe it was good for me, I was awakened for sure!
When it was time for my Detox and Float treatment, I’d no idea how much it would “work”. This is what happened; I was exfoliated with a salt scrub and oil, from there I had a full body mud treatment. Then, I was wrapped in a cocoon of sheets and a weighted enclosure, and finally, I was submerged in a floating tank. All thoughts, stresses, feelings, coursed though my body, and yet were weightless. I gave zero weight to the things that bothered me the most. I remembered all the stresses running through my brain, but my body was having none of it. It was an “I got this.” feeling from my body. I told my therapist after the treatment that it was like going through all of the stressful experiences, but my body being totally relaxed to it, and that I needed to focus on that in times of distress. This is what I took away and need to do.
As if the spa experience wasn’t enough on its own, I devised the plan to go to Wombat Hill botanical gardens and then swing by Ruben’s for lunch takeaway. It was perfect to a sorta rainy day, and me wanting to hunker down.
My last night in the bush was again a sleepless night with the wildlife cavorting at all hours, but it kept me present, and the sounds kept me grounded; exactly what I was looking for, right?
The next morning I was up early and on a mission besides washing up all of the dishes before I checked out. My mission was to use that spa tub with a view that I just had to have when I booked. And I did. Bliss.