Urban Nomad. Who is the Smith?

I am the Smith.

I am the author.

Why ‘the Smith’?

The smiths were the crafters, the metal smiths, the blacksmiths, the makers of Medieval Britain a thousand years ago.

I am the wordsmith.

I’ve written and self-published 8 autobiographical books.

Click or tap the image above to see.

This smith has lived everywhere.

Over 50 dwellings have been my home.

An ancient aboriginal corroboree ground in a wilderness area known as Fairy Hills where the creek met the river was my first memory of life.

And only a few kilometres from the Melbourne CBD.

I’ve just learned they’ve been digging up ancient aboriginal artifacts that suggest this.

I’ve lived with psychics and healers.

And sat with mediums or channels.

I’ve lived with a Reiki Master in New York.

With a Roman Catholic nurse in the north of Italy.

With a Buddhist in the UK.

My lawyer was an Atheist.

I didn’t live with him.

I ran my own freelance copywriting business. in the ’70s

In 1972 I won an award for the best television campaign of the year for a brand of meat pies and donuts.

I was a New Age hippie.

We knew about climate change 50 years ago.

A group of us started a commune on 40 acres north of Melbourne to become self-sufficient and live off the grid.

A year later we’d failed.

I helped launch Animal Liberation here.

Our patron was Peter Singer, who was then Professor of Bioethics at Harvard., and wrote the book ‘Animal Liberation’.

45 years later it’s still active today.

I was the first member of the Permaculture Association.

Which, started by two Tasmanian academics in the late ’70s, today is changing the world

Now there are over one million people certified in Permaculture in over 140 countries with more than 4,000 projects on the ground.

I went bankrupt.

An article I researched and wrote 35 years ago – about the Swiss and Italian gold miners who came to Australia in the 1850s – triggered the launch of a Swiss-Italian Festa which is still running every year today in a local spa resort town.

Their story is in my book here.

I ran a social group called ‘The Springs Whole Health Group’.

We never ran out of guest speakers on healing topics, from ley lines to chemical sensitivity, who I’d enjoy interviewing every month before our next meeting.

Then I would write an article for the local paper which they always published on page 3 or 5.

This while living frugally in an old caravan parked at the end of a street in the spa resort town.

Over 5 years I became known as the man in the van.

I studied many spiritual philosophies.

I studied Religious Experience as an off campus mature age student at Uni –

The Christian Mystics

The Hindu Bhagavad-Gita.

Australian Aboriginal Dreaning.

I practiced Yoga for 50 years from wherever I called home.

Briefly I joined the Theosophical Society in Melbourne, with headquarters in Adyar, India, with the motto ‘There is no religion higher than Truth’.

I met and befriended the Librarian of the Melbourne branch, a Wise Woman, who taught me how and where and why to search for Truth.

What is Truth?

For a time I was married and today have the pleasure of a beautiful family of 2 lovely daughters, 3 adorable granddaughters and 2 mischievous great grandsons.

I’m truly blessed

Visit my 8 fun and entertaining autobiographical books on my Author Page here.

You can find more of my adventures in my autobiographical books.

Namaste.

Neil the Smith (author)

PS. I recommend – ‘Our Thoughts Can Change The World’ (104 pages) and The Great Regency Cover-Up’ (236 pages). Buy both now and pay less P&P.

A Simple Guide To A Free Daily Massage.

Can’t live without a massage.

I’ve spent half my life relaxing in a massage chair.

Just about.

I promise you, there’s nothing like a massage whenever I need one.

Which is often.

In desperation, 30 years ago, after my one man business went bankrupt, I fled to the hills in the Australian bush.

Lived in an old caravan for 5 years.

In a spa resort town called Hepburn Springs.

Half the town’s residents were massage therapists who worked at the spa complex.

Just about.

Many gave me body massages for nothing.

Which is when I fell in love.

With massage.

Can’t live without it.

It’s therapeutic.

Relaxing.

Reduces stress,

Aches and pains.

Exhaustion.

Even helps to overcome depression.

So good.

Years later I discovered the beauty of a massage chair which I relaxed in daily.

Every home should have one.

No-one should have to live without massage.

Believe me.

I know.

So if you can’t afford a live-in massage therapist, please get an electric one..

They have all kinds of health benefits.

No pills.

No further expense.

And they’re live-in.

Takeaway.

And me?

Today I live with full-time care after a spinal stenosis.

Followed by a stroke.

Ugh!

Now I can take my electric massage with me.

I can have a massage whenever I like.

Wherever I like on my body.

From where I’m sitting.

It’s one of these (RIGHT HERE).

Get one and enjoy your own takeaway body massage forever.

Forever.

Love and Peace

Neil

PS. Order your copy of my soul book ‘A True Paranormal Mystery To Change The World’ HERE.

How Miracles Happen.

I was broke. For 5 years my home was a leaky old caravan parked outside its owner’s home at the end of a dead end street in Hepburn Springs in Victoria’s Central Highlands. I was at a loose end. I started to look into the fascinating stories of the Gold Rush in the area. I found a largely untold history of Swiss-Italian migrants who came out in the 1850s to try their luck on the goldfields. Many stayed on. Fresh pasta was still on the menu at many local restaurants. The local butcher still sold the real Italian bull-boar sausages. Many of the original typical rural Swiss or Italian farmhouses were still working farms, others lay in ruins. I wrote the story and it was published in the local newspaper. The owner of the General Store picked up my story and started a Swiss-Italian Festa with street marches, history displays, even a pasta sauce recipe competition. After 30 years it’s still an annual tourist event in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia. ‘Italy In The Aussie Bush’ is chapter 8 of 30 chapters in ‘Man Steps Off Planet’. We don’t need money to make miracles happen.

Read What I Did To Survive Loss.

Sheltered under tall eucalypts my home was a friend’s old caravan lazing outside the gate of their home at the end of the road in a small country town in the hills. Its condition and location were a metaphor for how things had worked out for me.

The roof leaked.

The water pump was broken.

The gas stove didn’t work.

Both tires were flat.

The whole thing felt like it might collapse in a heap at any moment. Yet this had become my home and within its thin walls was stored everything I owned.

The scents of nature – pine mixed with eucalypt and, on cooler days, the smoke of wood fires – drifted through on the gentle autumn breezes as if there were no walls at all.

The birds were my neighbors. Squawking galas. Screeching white cockatoos. Cawing crows. Gossiping magpies. And an occasional laughing kookaburra.

I could hear the endless rushing of water from the creek which had cut a deep gully beside the caravan. It was here along Doctor’s Gully some 150 years earlier that Swiss-Italian immigrants first struck gold.

Not so for me.

I’d stand on the footbridge outside my door and be mesmerized by the small waterfall and wonder how in hell I got here. As for the familiar world I knew, well, I’d had no choice but to leave it all behind me. I found myself in another world, a stranger where I didn’t belong.

Or so I thought.

I’d ‘escaped’ to the town of Hepburn Springs, a place of healing to the local aborigines in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia, to see if I could do the same.

I was still haunted by the memory of a year ago standing, stunned, on a city street in Melbourne in the fading autumn light. Following a three hour grilling on the ninth floor of the building right behind me, my freelance business of fifteen years and I had just been officially declared bankrupt.

My personal documents, passport, business files, banking records and cheque books, credit cards, pretty much everything that represented who I was, and who I might have been, I’d surrendered to the Official Receiver.

In that moment I had ceased to exist. I had been stripped of my identity and I was nobody. This was an emptiness I could never forget. I just stood there, in shock, watching people rushing off to their homes and families at the end of their day. I had neither. I really thought, in that moment, my life was over.

Bankrupt. It’s something that only happens to other people. But in the last hour or so, I’d become one.

There’s a Buddhist aphorism:

“You have come here to find what you already have.”

Anyone can replicate my solution to losing everything.

I’ve recorded the whole experience in detail in my book ‘Back to the Wall’. To read more or order your copy click here.

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I’ve Done Some Crazy Things In My Life.

I’ve swum at the nude beach on Fire Island off Long Island, New York, with a cute school teacher from New Jersey.

I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty.

I’ve known the delight of floating down the Grand Canal in Venice in a water taxi with an Italian nurse with the voice of Sophia Loren.

I helped to launch Animal Liberation here in Australia.

I was the first member of the Permaculture Association started in the 1970s by two academics from a Tasmanian (Australia) university.

It’s become a world phenomenon in the race to save the planet helping individuals and communities introduce a sustainable agriculture into their lives.

I was kicked off a commune a group of us started on 40 acres of land north of Melbourne in the 1970s for opposing questionable practices that would turn it into a religious sect.

I’ve sat with channels who’ve had books published of their words (for example, ‘Earth to Tao’ and ‘Tao to Earth’).

An article I wrote for a local newspaper about the Swiss-Italian gold miners who came to the Central Highlands goldfields in the 1850s was the inspiration for the annual ‘Hepburn Springs Swiss-Italian Festa’.

For a while I ran ‘The Springs Whole Health Group’ with monthly speakers on subjects ranging from hypnotherapy and reflexology to water divining and ley lines relating to health.

I’ve lived in a caravan parked by the roadside in a small country town in the Aussie bush where I became lovingly known as King of the Hippies.

On the side of a hill near a lake in the north of Italy I enjoyed an outdoor family feast of Italian food and wine served beneath a canopy of vines in a magical setting resembling a movie set.

I’ve run my own one-man freelance advertising copywriting business for over 10 years in Melbourne.

My first big ad presentation was at a week long client conference on the steamy tropical South Pacific island of Fiji.

How did I survive being left homeless, penniless, jobless and friendless when my business and I were declared bankrupt and I lost everything?

Before all of that I worked at the Melbourne office of the second largest ad agency in the world now known as McCann’s.

A campaign I created, wrote and produce for meat pies and donuts won an award at the annual National Television Society Awards in 1972.

I had a fairytale reunion with my 21 year-old daughter living on the famous Gold Coast of Australia.

I’ve been twice married, have 2 grown daughters and 3 adorable granddaughters.

I live now in a beautiful seaside resort town across the bay from the city of Melbourne where the Annual Mussel Festival and Annual National Celtic Festivals are held.

I’ve authored 4 books (not novels).

“Either write something worth reading,” wrote famous American author Ernest Hemingway, “or do something worth writing.”

I reckon that’s what I’ve done in my crazy life.

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Best wishes.

Neil

When Italy Came To The Australian Bush

Villa Parma, an Italian style guest house, Main Road, Hepburn Springs

One chapter of my book tells of the time when, for 5 years, I lived in a friend’s old caravan, homeless, penniless, jobless and unemployable.

I became active in the town and, following a series of articles I wrote on the gold rush history of the area published in the local press, an annual Swiss-Italian Festa was organised by the owner of the general store. As far as I know it’s still held mid-year today as a popular tourist attraction in Hepburn Springs, Victoria.

In the mid-1800s, at the height of the Gold Rush in Australia, the area attracted thousands of Swiss-Italians. They said the hills reminded them of home.

Most of them were men. They left their families in the hope of striking gold and returning home wealthy. Many borrowed money for the journey from relatives or the government.

In the early 1860s Swiss-Italians made up over ten percent of the population there.

Not many of them found gold. Some returned home broken and disappointed while others moved on to the goldfields of New Zealand and California.

A good many remained, however, to take jobs with the larger miners or to set up in business as publicans, merchants, bakers, millers, butchers and administrators.

The farmers among them purchased cheap government land and attempted to duplicate their self-sufficient homeland lifestyles in the countryside. They built farmhouses of stone, handmade brick and rubble in the typical rural Swiss and Italian style, most with wine cellars and cheese rooms and often named after their home towns.

Old Macaroni Factory, Main Street, Hepburn Springs

They planted vineyards, raised cows and pigs, produced milk, butter, cheese and sausages, grew wheat, fruit and vegetables. Many of their farmhouses remain, either in ruin or occupied by their descendants, giving the area a unique European flavour among the native eucalyptus trees of the Wombat Forest. Italian ‘bull-boar’ sausages, made from beef, pork and herbs, are still sold by the local butcher and homemade pasta can be found on the menu at many restaurants.

Standing sentinel as you drive into the small town is the Old Macaroni Factory, a monument to the true Italian spirit. Well, doesn’t every Italian community need an inexhaustible supply of fresh pasta?

Long before the Gold Rush, many thousands of years before, the aborigines knew of another kind of gold to be found in the area – the naturally carbonated mineral springs that emerged in the ground everywhere. To the local Jajowurrong tribe this was known as an area of healing.

As it became for me when I made it my home.

Read more of my incredible story in ‘Back to the Wall’.

Best wishes,

Neil