Ask anyone who has been living in Byron for a significant amount of time what they love about the place, and they’ll most likely start talking about its magic, its potential for huge self-growth and its uniqueness. Some people see it as a place of relaxation and rejuvenation, others somewhere that constantly inspires. Byron Bay is a pocket of paradise; not just because of its stunning beaches but also due to its harmony. Of course, not everyone coming to this town is perfectly pacifist, but the majority of Byron dwellers – especially those who are there long term – are there to feel the love. And love is something that Byron excels in.
Byron Bay was originally populated by the Arakwal Aboriginal people who called it Walgun (the shoulder). It was a special place for the Aborigines, who gathered there for Dreamtime stories and enjoyed the magical views. It has since become a very spiritual place, where residents and tourists alike gather to feel the magic.
Byron Bay is a place where jungle and beach, tropic and sub-tropic merge together and perfectly balance to create a unique environment. Reflecting in this is the mix of people residing in Byron Bay. All kinds of travelers – old, young, travel newbies and vetrans – visit Byron Bay to enjoy the town’s unique vibe. The great thing about Byron Bay is that everyone fits, no matter what you look like or are interested in. As long as there’s love and goodness in your heart, Byron is a place for you.
So how did Byron Bay change my life?
I lived in Byron Bay for over five months, and spent nearly all of this time in a tent on the edge of the jungle. Living in a tent itself did wonderful things for me and my character. But the town of Byron was amazing for me as well.
Byron Bay taught me it’s absolutely ok to be whoever I wanted to be
I met some incredible people during my time in Byron Bay. The kind of people who would share their food even if they had no money to buy more, the kind of people who give hugs in abundance, the kind of people who you could sit for hours and talk about the meaning of life with and never get bored. Byron Bay is a no-judgement zone and the people I met are the type who will praise whatever you want to be. If your dream is to be a professional singer, these people will lift you up and make you realise that you can do this. Likewise if its to be an artist, a writer (like me!) or a professional fire-eater. The community I met in Byron were the most uplifting and encouraging group I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve never felt more like my dreams were in my reach as I did when staying here.
Byron Bay taught me to reach for the stars
At the Arts Factory Lodge, where I spent my five months, there’s a weekly talent show. The stuff people do there is incredible; talent that you would pay good money to see. These are people that have found something that they loved and pursued it. I have every belief that a lot of these people are going to be very successful with their talents later in life. I’ve been reminded so often to keep plugging at what I do and work on my dream every single day.
But Byron Bay also taught me to relax more
I’m not very good at chilling out. I always feel like I need to be doing something, only feeling satisfied if I’m either being super productive or rushing around everywhere having a great time. But Byron Bay’s motto is “Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out” and the town definitely reflects this. I realize now that down time that’s not completely productive is not time wasted; that a very valuable day can be passed by just chilling in good company. It’s all about balance.
Byron Bay taught me to reconnect to nature
I mean, how can’t you when you live in a place as beautiful as this?! The attitude in Byron reminded me to respect every natural species that walks this planet, as well as the beaches lining the town, the trees in the forest and the great blue sea. If it wasn’t for every natural thing that’s been put on this planet, life as we know it wouldn’t exist. Living in Byron Bay and life outside of the city taught me to really appreciate this and revel in the beauty of our planet every single day.
Byron Bay taught me to practice yoga and spirituality
Along with reconnecting to nature, Byron reminded me of the importance of reconnecting with my inner self through yoga and meditation. Yoga is aplenty in Byron Bay, and practicing it as often as I did calmed me down and rooted me to the earth. Being able to practice yoga in such a beautiful surrounding really enabled me to check in with my anxiety and battle any inner demons I had.
Byron Bay taught me that life is simple
Living off very little; a fraction of the wardrobe that I had in England, basic toiletries, writing supplies, a few books, a few days’ worth of food at a time and the odd technical gadget to make my life easier reminded me how little we need and how simple our lives can be. Living amongst the most peaceful people reinstalled that the most important and easiest thing we can do is love – and then everything else is secondary. It’s really that simple.
Byron Bay taught me that the power of love can conquer all
I’ve been away from home for over eight months now, and although I am having the time of my life, at times it can be very bittersweet. My family is going through some tough times right now, and although I know me travelling despite everything is the right decision, I can’t help but feel guilty for not being physically with them.
But I had an epiphany one day in Byron, where I realized that I really am doing the best for everybody by being where I am; mainly because I can’t physically do anything about the situation at home and me growing as a person in Byron Bay is making me much more able to cope with it than I would be at home, which is making it easier for everyone.
Instead of physically being there, I’m sending love to my family every morning when I wake up. Every time I see the sea, I send my love out into the pacific, over the top of Australia, around the Indian Ocean and the bottom of Africa and up the Atlantic back to England (a very indirect way, but I am the other side of the world after all). I’ve sent love to them from the tops of mountains and the heart of the rainforest. It’s reflected in every message I send and every phone call I have with them. I’m over 10,000 miles away from home but in my heart I’ve never been closer.
I’m who I am today because of Byron Bay
It’s true that us humans are just the product of experiences we have had; whether these be attained from places, people or books. This being said, every place someone visits changes them a little. But the intensity of Byron has changed everything for me. It’s reduced my anxiety a huge amount and has enabled me to accept what’s going on at home. It’s helped me embrace diversity. And most importantly, it’s reminded me to love everyone – including myself.
I left Byron Bay over a month ago now but I try and repeat the lessons I’ve learnt from the town every day. I’ll hold these mantras with me forever, and even though I might no longer be there physically, in my heart I’ll never leave the Bay behind.
Want to stay in Byron Bay for a long time? You so should – and here’s how to get a job in Byron Bay so you can fund it!