Journey into indigenous Australia
A CARVING of a long-necked turtle hangs around Jeremy Donovan's neck, nestled against his pink polo shirt.
Much more than an eye-catching charm, the turtle symbolises the bridge the Sippy Downs resident walks between two cultures.
“My traditional name is Yongurra Yerin. It means the neck between two worlds,” he said.
“When Yongurra Yerin, the long-necked turtle, touches the water, his body is still on the bank of the river. He's bridging the two worlds: the land and the water.”
Jeremy is organising a unique cultural experience next month, and his Aboriginal name reveals why he is the ideal guide to take visitors on this journey into indigenous Australia.
The Sacred Tour will be a six-day journey on Kuku-Yalanji land between Cooktown and Port Douglas.
Included are two nights at the five-star Thala Beach Eco Lodge, and the rest of the nights are spent camping under the stars.
The tour will give participants a chance to live and experience traditional life of the Kuku-Yalanji, including bush food and sacred healing practices.
“What makes it unique is that you are getting a six-day cultural experience where your two guides are from that land,” Jeremy said.
“You're going to be sitting under rock paintings, and sit with two people who know the language behind those stories.”
The idea for the tour came to him in May last year after doing healing ceremonies in Arizona and he thought a similar concept would work well in Australia.
Known as a “Keeper of Wisdom”, Jeremy has worked as a healer and keynote speaker throughout the world, but his family wanted him home.
“I missed the bush. The land literally sings me home,'' he said.
Born in Cairns, Jeremy grew up in Sydney and admits until he was 16, had no knowledge of his Aboriginal background.
That may surprise anyone meeting Jeremy for the first time, as the well-spoken young man exudes charisma and has an air of spirituality.
“My grandfather taught me to have a strong understanding of my culture,” he said.
“He really wanted me to start sharing the culture with people so they could gain a greater understanding.”
The Sacred Tour is designed not as another novelty tourism venture or even as an expedition to a living museum, but as an immersion in another culture.
Participants can experience traditional healing, and discover men's and women's teachings.
But it will also be a camping experience, Jeremy warned. Beds will be canvas swags, showers will be running streams and washing will be done using soap tree leaves.
The Sacred Tour is limited to 10 people and runs from March 27 to April 1. The cost is $2200 per person, and includes major meals, transfers and accommodation. Flights to Cairns are not included. For more information, phone Jeremy on 0410779789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.jeremydonovan.com.au.