Something I struggle with in the world, rules. On the big stuff I am law abiding and understand the need for regulations and order. However, I live waiting to be judged or reprimanded. It feels that everyone is an authoritarian and the rest consider it their duty to share their opinion on the way others move around the world.
Then we arrived in Byron Bay. My preconceived perception was the modern day local was a person that had achieved a level of wealth or fame. The picturesque beaches and lush hinterland the attraction. After one day my thoughts shifted. By day three I got it, freedom. There was hardly anyone on the beach!
The 70s vibe of love trust and pixie dust and a little weed has been modernised, but not lost. The price tag of looking hippie can be excessive but it is not a fashion show. Every street is lined with expensive boutiques of private designers, and their collections adorn beautiful people in Byron but equally common is an Everlast outfit from Kmart. Whether you are riding an original, rickety Malvern Star pushbike with a milk crate cable tied to the rusty rear rack or a replica retro electric bike that cost as much as a small car, you are simply getting from point A to B. Best of all, we found helmets were optional, which was good because we forgot ours. You can ride on the road, footpath or grass - no one judges, no one really moves out of the way and no one gives you so much as a dirty look if you are going the wrong way. But it works. Cars here do not need horns and road rage is only seen on the news.
We are travelling with a dog. We initially chose street dining thinking that would be the most acceptable place to eat with a pooch. On an evening walk we passed a nice Italian restaurant but accepted this was above dining with a fur baby. A few more steps - two big (adorable) bull dogs snoozed at their owners feet in the very flash eatery. Italian on the itinerary.
Swimwear is optional at the beach and shoes are optional anywhere - what is not optional are manners and tolerance - so when packing to visit Byron leave your intolerance, judgement and anxiety at home, you won't need any of them.
Byron Bay is definitely somewhere you can go with your inner Rogue.