All posts filed under: adventures

On driving 6 hours West just to discover who’s the boss

I love my part time job, travelling to festivals to perform and entertain. The work is erratic though, so every gig is a financial bonus, rather than my bread-and-butter income. I enjoy the adventure of being on the road, staying in weird and wonderful rooms, or sometimes a billet with a friendly local. Last weekend, my employer/very dear friend ‘W’ and I drove almost 6 hours west of the most easterly point of Australia, over the mountainous dividing range to Bingara, ‘The Gem on the Gwydir’. We were performing at their iconic ‘Orange Festival’, based around the annual harvesting of the orange fruit planted to commemorate the dead local soldiers from WW1 and 2. ‘W’ and I hadn’t seen each other properly for a while, so we talked non-stop almost the whole way there. The road got very winding up through the ranges, with sharp corners slowing us down to 45 or 35kms at times. If I hadn’t been driving, I’d have thrown up for sure. We checked in to our [shared] room at the …

The final pictures painted by Tasmania herself

Good morning Day 3. Let’s hike 19kms, but only carry our heavy packs for the last 2 hours, as we head out along Cape Pillar, then back. It’s a deal. Let’s look at the grand, and the tiny. Deal. Along the way, we pass ‘story seats’; beautifully-designed places to stop and share a Nature + Art experience, with accompanying notes in the award-winning guide book (I designated myself the Narrator, and am forcing myself to not tell you a hundred fascinating facts about some of these views). We went through a variety of landscapes, saw three black snakes (all venomous yes: either Tigers or Copperheads), and relished the lightness of our daypacks. Then we saw a wombat! It was SO big, and we got so close; it just squatted there yawning and looking sideways at us; it reminded me of ’17’, when he’s come home very late from a party, and just wants to be left alone, but could also maybe handle a snuggle and watching a film in bed, eating a late brekky before …

Let these pictures paint a thousand words

Tasmania, I love you. And so do my three friends. You are wild, fresh, magnificent, and pretty much pristine. Your vistas are incredible, but oh boy do your boardwalks and ascents make big demands on calf muscles and over 50 bodies. Your lunch views suck, but we dealt with it. Our 15kg packs felt heavier and heavier as the day progressed, yet your beauty compelled us on. Plus there was nowhere else to go but forward anyway, so I tried to focus on the big picture, and small details too, like moss, or wombat poo (they only do it every 16 days, and it’s kinda cubed). Then we saw you, rising out of the bush like an oasis: Hut Two. We’d made the 11kms of Day Two of the Three Capes Track! Another day, another architecturally designed complex, including a viewing platform with telescope (but still no fridges or hot showers). There was a cold shower, but I’d rather stay grubby (or use a quick body wipe). The sunset skies were stunning. And good news: …

My dehydrator frenzy: preparing vegetarian/vegan trail meals for a 4-day hike in Tasmania

I’d done a bit of research about pre-packaged dried meals for a camping/hiking trip, and came away disappointed in all the chemicals and crappy ingredients I’d have to put up with. It seemed at odds with the pristine, healthy landscape we’d be walking through in Tasmania, and my usual good eating habits at home. So I got inspired. And you can too. Within 10 minutes of posting on Facebook to see if anyone local could lend me a dehydrator, I had an offer of the top-of-the-range Excalibur. And thus it began. Who knew a whole head of broccoli could be held in your hand? Hope I don’t get searched at the airport though; does it look a bit suspicious? The tomatoes were fresh from the Farmers Markets the day before- so juicy- I couldn’t believe how evenly they dehydrated. The sweet potatoes are an experiment; kinda like chips I’m hoping. And so, totally inspired, I moved onto preparing my meals. I decided to just make my two faves, and alternate them for lunch and dinner …

Spectacular self care fail

Remember that blogging expert I had a meeting with a while back? Gave me all those tips and hints HERE? She also suggested I use lots of hashtags around ‘self care’ and ‘positive ageing’, as I’m over 50, and that is apparently the current trend I need to ride. I can do that. I’m definitely a health-orientated person, becoming a vegetarian at 21, and jumping on and off that wagon over the years. As most of you know, I dance, do Pilates, walk, don’t really drink, and love a good night’s sleep more than anything. (Side note: Years ago, in a flash of inspiration, I asked my then-six year old son to describe me in a few words, as I was planning to use them for my first online dating profile on OkCupid… “Health food Drama Queen” didn’t sound as good as I hoped though). Anyway, I’ve relaxed a bit in my old age, and after the stressful challenge of learning all those lines for our show a fortnight ago HERE, but having nailed it HERE, …

Our final show rocked

We did it! And here’s the ubiquitous backstage half-made-up ‘selfie’ [with apologies to the other awesome performer, but I’m protecting her privacy]. It took us 4 shows to get it perfect, but oh boy, did we soar with the last one; utterly worth all the stress, anxiety, rehearsal, and planning. I’d stressed about learning my lines in the last post HERE, and we did get last minute changes [waaaaaaaahhhhhh], but all coped. The sound guy turned up on time (always a good omen), and learnt the multiple technical cues fast. We had full houses (mind you, because it travelled through 4 rooms underneath a heritage building which had no aircon- I’m in Australia remember), we had to limit them to maximum of 50. It was officially ‘ an immersive & interactive colour adventure for 5-8 year olds’, and the cast of four did an amazing job; I’m so proud and grateful to be part of the team. Our Director was delighted, and industry professionals and promoters came to see the last show (hurray), so there is …

Oh how I hate learning lines! But it’s still the best job in the world

This is a stressful week for me: we’re opening a new show on Friday morning. It’s our fourth version of it, and at last, it feels like we’re getting it right. I actually pulled out of it before we began, due to the stresses of dealing with my Mum, and concerns I may have to fly over to England right in the middle of rehearsals. But she’s getting two visits a day from the community nurse, and my brother is visiting her for 4 days tomorrow, so that feels sorted; the show’s director rang me the morning after I resigned to check that I really didn’t want to do it before she offered it to someone else. Which was very sweet. And smart. Plus exactly what I needed to hear. So I said yes again. I do make a really good Red. But that means I have to learn lines, WHICH I HATE. And to be honest, I’m not very good at it either; it also gets harder as you get older. *sigh. I’ve looked …

relationships, online dating, raising a teenager, over 50, positive ageing

Last night I saved an echidna’s life

I was driving home in the rain after dropping my son back to his Dad’s. Narrow country lanes with many twists and turns, up and down hills, with bush and forest on either side. I rounded a corner, and suddenly my headlights picked out an echidna crossing the road. Do you Americans and Poms know what that is? Like a hedgehog or porcupine on steroids: I slowed down, as it was just passing my left side of the road, on its way across the right. Then I saw the beams of another car coming round the corner towards me; it would hit the echidna directly! I didn’t hesitate. I slammed on the brakes, poked on my flashing hazard warning lights, and opened my door. The echidna must have seen the lights of the other car approaching, as it paused, then turned around and hurried back towards me, and the safety of the bush from where it had come. It looked like it was going to waddle under my car, so I stuck my foot out …

How I climbed a small mountain, did something slightly ‘illegal’, & created the sacred

I chewed my quinoa and baked veg salad looking up at her; in 2 hours from now, it would start. After 16 years of no access, 500 locals had registered for ‘The Chinny Charge’, a 7km run/walk up our tiny but omnipresent Mount Chincogan, near Byron Bay. The queue to collect our numbers was long, and you could feel the buzz of excitement; even Colin, who won the first ever Chinny Charge in 1967 with a time of 38 minutes and a $20 bar tab prize, was enthusiastic (in that utterly laid-back, short-phrased Australian country way) “Stick to the rules, so we can hopefully do it again next year: wear shoes, don’t litter, stick to the path, and no fighting.” [Fighting? I’m going to be struggling just to breathe aren’t I? What exactly went on in the olde days round here??] Yup, I’m happy to agree to all that. The tiny mountain is on private property, so unless the landowners give specific permission (which they do a few times a year to local  school groups), …

Tackling the mountain, 200 steps at a time

We love our small mountain ‘Mount Chinny’. My son and I can see her from our verandah, keeping guard over our cute country town near Byron Bay, and she figures in many local photos: Supposedly, she’s the cap of the volcano ‘Mount Warning’, which blew her off millennia ago; you can see that parent mountain in the far distance: The base of Mt Chinny is on private land though, so access for the general public is restricted. But this Saturday, all that is going to change: 500 lucky entrants are going to compete in ‘The Chinny Charge’, which was last run 16 years ago, and won by a sugar cane cutter in his bare feet! I bought son ’17’ his entry ticket in the race, then realized I could just walk up it like other sane old people, and bought myself one too. I’ve launched into a heavy training regime. Not. I drive to the steepest hill around here, which leads to a disused water tower, and walk up it, listening to loud Australian hip hop. …