All posts filed under: adventures

Yet more photos from the Australian desert during a silent bushwalking adventure (Part Three)

Hello Folks, thanks for dropping by. I’m trying to upload more photos from my Meditation walk, but the dumb smartphone is not complying. How I wish I was back in the desert, just walking (Part One and Part Two are here). I miss the circle of power as we meditate together, which makes my brain buzz. I miss the break from no admin, no work, no housecleaning, no driving, no cooking! I miss the incredible gift of walking among Red Cabbage palms who only grow here, in a narrow gorge, with scientists still wondering how they arrived and thrive. I miss the simplicity of only having two outfits: walking clothes, and back-at-camp-&-sleeping clothes. Keeping warm, then safe from sunburn, then warm again saw a juggle of hats/beanies/scarves & sarongs (even though it was ‘winter’ in the desert, the sun is still strong). Fashion sense did not apply. It was such a relief to be silent. To walk and eat in silence; to pack up and down in silence; to spend time with new humans in …

More photos from the Australian desert during a silent bushwalking adventure, with brumbies & a camel (Part Two)

Hello folks, and welcome to Part Two of my Yatra photo blog; Part One is here. Remember, a Yatra is a silent, meditative walk, a journey from the quiet heart… Except when it’s not. Wild brumbies galloped down the rocky river bed one night, making me fear for my tent and belongings. A sick-sounding camel moaned its way along the river bank, and the nightly howl of dingoes (both far and near) reminded me that we were out in the Australian desert, a long way from safety and suburbia! Not to mention the sometimes-very-annoying habits of my fellow travellers, particularly snoring. But that’s in another post šŸ™‚ From the big to the small, I loved it. The chance to walk, think, rest, meditate, walk, swim (SO COLD), eat vegetarian food, and walk more, with like-minded folks of all types and ages, was such a blessing. I did one a year ago HERE, and really hope I get to do another next year, and every year after that… Yatra Australia pick different places to explore (this …

Photos from the Australian desert during a silent bushwalking adventure, with a vegetarian cook & dingoes (Part One)

Hello folks, I’m back from the yatra, as calm and settled as can be nowadays. “What’s a yatra”, some of you wonder? This explains it, from the Yatra Australia website: “A yatra is a unique journey providing a special environment to engage with and enquire deeply into the potential of ā€˜human awakening.ā€™ In the company of like-minded people, it takes place within some of the most pristine landscapes of our natural world. A yatra offers an integrative experience, combining physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual explorations in a secular environment. Being primarily based in the Buddhist tradition we also respect and draw from the wealth of many other wisdom traditions such as yoga, advaita, tao, modern science and tribal cultures. A flexible combination of yoga, meditation, silent walking, dharma teachings, experiential exercises, story telling around the camp- fire, wholesome meals and our intuitive way of ceremony and creative expression support an unfolding process. Got it? Let’s get on with it then. So we flew to Alice Springs, got the 4WD bus out towards Palm Valley (2 …

From Brooklyn to the Bush: going out to the Australian desert for some silence

Hello folks- do any of you recall my Yatra last year, meditating and walking the South Coast national park after the terrible bushfires, with a group of mainly over 50s? It was stunning, and even made me delete the Candy Crush app, check the post HERE for details. Well, I’m going again. But this time, to Alice Springs in central Australia, hiking along the Finke River: “TheĀ Finke River, orĀ LarapintaĀ (Arrernte), is a river inĀ central Australia, one of four main rivers of theĀ Lake Eyre BasinĀ and thought to be the oldest riverbed in the world. It flows for only a few days a year and when this happens, its water usually disappears into the sands of theĀ Simpson Desert, rarely if ever reachingĀ Lake Eyre.” (Wikipedia) I’m very excited, as you can see from this freshly-snapped selfie as I type! And my living room is a mess, as I air all my thermals and sleeping bag, trying to pack minimally yet effectively. Last-minute washing needs to dry, and I can’t decide whether to take poles or not… So for once, …

“You should get your gun licence”; words I never thought I’d hear, nor consider

Hello from the glorious Australian rainforest, full of fecundity and native animals. But we also have feral pests, and that’s who I’m battling at the moment. This young female koala was photographed 2 days ago on my driveway: I want to offer a safe place for her to grow up and breed. I’ve written before about my challenge to catch & dispose of feral cats wandering our property; my wildlife camera also caught footage of a fox. One wild cat can kill 1,100 animals/lizards/birds a year, and foxes have been named as one of the most destructive invasive species in Australia (introduced in the 1800s by British colonists who wanted to continue the sport of fox hunting). My horror on seeing one in my garden has been increased with the news that some foxes have learnt to climb trees, seeking baby koalas (NO!), and sugar gliders or possums, who are all tree-dwelling (and previously therefore thought to be safe from this nasty apex predator). NOT ON MY WATCH FOXY. So I’ve lent my camera to …

And now for something completely different: my Top Five Tips for trapping a feral cat

It started innocently enough: I borrowed two 24-hr wildlife cameras, and set them up on my 2-acre rainforest retreat on the East coast of Australia. Can you imagine my horror when amongst the cute snaps of pademelons, the lace monitor, wallaby mums with joeys in the pouch, and yes, a hurrying koala, I saw a big tabby cat? I was shocked to say the least. Then the other camera revealed a second fat brindle cat, and even a fox! My image of our property as a wildlife sanctuary crumbled. Feral cats cover 99% of Australia, and are the Number One threat to our native wildlife (foxes are 2nd). “On average, each feral cat in the bush kills a whopping 740 animals per year.  In a year with average conditions there are about 2.8 million feral cats, but that figure can double when good rain leads to an abundance of prey animals. “On average each pet cat kills about 75 animals per year, but many of these kills are never witnessed by their owners.ā€ – Professor Sarah …

How a silent walk made me delete the Candy Crush app (Part One)

Admit it: do you have a game on your phone you love unwinding with? Scrabble with friends? Chess? Candy Crush? A few years ago- I can’t remember why- my son and I both downloaded Candy Crush, and became a little competitive. Of course, he streaked ahead in levels, then quickly bored of it and never played again. I stoically continued, and got myself slowly but surely up to Level 691. Then 2 months ago, I had to get a new phone… and somehow, all my apps froze as I transferred the old info, so I found myself back at the beginning of the Candy Crush map again. What’s all this got to do with a silent walk you wonder? Well, last month I had the privilege of going on a 9-day Yatra, which is a Buddhist-based bushwalking adventure, filled with daily meditations, talks on Buddhist philosophies and practices, plus walks and meals in ‘noble silence’. 30 of us (mainly aged over 50) travelled to the South Coast of Sydney, which had been ravaged by bushfires …

Why my obsession with this spoon is re-wiring my brain

Hi Everyone, from cool Autumn days in Australia that make it worth putting up with the dreadful heat of summer. How are you all? I keep finding myself sitting on my deck, surrounded by the rainforest, staring at this spoon. Not just staring: stroking, smelling, turning and touching. Is it a magic spoon you ask? Well yes, in some ways it is. Because I carved it, from White Beech. OK, so for some of you ‘handy/crafty’ folks, this may not seem like a big deal. Or for those of you who know that spoon-carving is a bit of a ‘hipster’ fad at the moment, perhaps you’re rolling your eyes? But I don’t care. Because I’m the girl who hated sewing at school; who wasn’t allowed to do woodwork classes (because of being a girl), and who has spent 5 decades baulking at using tools/drills/saws because of an assumed ‘hopelessness’ with them. How did this change happen? It was my darling cousin’s idea: “Try this workshop with me G, it will be fun, and a bonding …

My car crash to end the car crash that was 2020

It’s OK: I’m OK! It’s been a month, and I’ve been waiting to feel better before posting. Happy New Year everyone, especially ME, because I am literally glad to be alive… [Content warning: images of crashed car coming up.] I’d left home at 5.45am, in a light drizzle after a great night’s sleep, keen to drive the one hour trip to teach my Pilates class. I definitely drove more slowly than usual because of the newly-wet roads, up and down through the winding hilly rainforest, listening to the radio, looking forward to my horse ride later that morning. I came round the last big corner before town, no other cars on the road, driving 10kms below the 80km speed limit, when suddenly my back end began to slide out. I corrected a bit but didn’t brake, just took my foot off the accelerator, but kept fish-tailing… then realised I was heading for the grass bank looming in front of me. “This is like a bumper car/dodgem car game, but a bad one!” I thought, struggling …

Mushroom growing update: me vs every forest creature. But I won!

Remember when I said I was making a Wine Cap mushroom bed under my old lime tree? Well little did I know, as I toiled to layer the cardboard, bark chips, and compost, but I was being watched by a number of excited forest crittters, waiting to see what gifts I was bringing them. I very quickly found little scratch marks and tiny holes dug out all along the sides of the bed… “No way buddies! I’ve worked too hard for this!” So as you can see, I went back to the hardware store, and bought metal stakes and netting to protect my magical mushies. Determination can be my middle name, and hang the extra expense. Didn’t work. Damn critters just dug in under the netting, even though I’d then weighed the sides down with rocks, boulders, and thick branches. I felt a little disheartened, and stopped checking every day, wondering if I should transfer the bed to my fully-fenced secure veggie garden… Can one dig up mushrooms and just shift them I wondered? But …