All posts tagged: travel

Nepal 2: From one jeep to another, via 3 Buddhas

Did you miss previous post Nepal 1? Anyway, 2 Mums, 2 sons, 4 backpacks, 8 boots and 8 walking poles got into a jeep, leaving smoggy Kathmandu, intent on fresh hilly adventures. For a whole 15 minutes. Until there was a loud noise from under the car, and the clutch stopped clutching. So we all got out, and were sent up the road to a conveniently-placed shiny Buddhist temple, with 3 huge Buddhas. “If they can’t fix the jeep within 45 minutes, we get another jeep,” promised our guide. Fair enough. ‘Go with the flow’ is an essential mantra for travel in a developing country, and I’m happy to say I’m generally pretty good at it. Plus how could we not be grateful and inspired by these spiritual creations? There were no tourist faces around either, just locals doing their daily prayer practices. I wouldn’t have described myself as particularly religious, but I was moved to tears at the sight of young and old family members walking clockwise round the figures, whispering affirmations or blessings. Then …

Nepal 1: Kathmandu, I love your charismatic chaos

Above our cheap rooftop terrace (less than $100 for 3 nights for 2 rooms for 4 of us), beyond the dusty haze, tower the Himalayas. Supposedly. Because we never saw them from this busy, dirty, earthquake-cracked city, where pavements disappear, tarmac is intermittent, and power poles are a wire labyrinth. We landed safely though, ate multiple samosas from a streetside seller, admired grafitti, and did a little mandatory sightseeing. Just walking around the local tourist district of Thamel and older parts of the city was culture shock enough for my son ’18’, blessed as we are to live in a beautifully natural part of Australia: And the power poles; I just couldn’t get over the power poles. Nepal is in the Top Ten poorest countries on earth, with 29.3 million people squashed into a country 53 times smaller than Australia; almost a million live in Kathmandu itself, which sprawls through a valley my travel buddy can remember being full of rice fields 25 years ago… Of course, the victims of urban sprawl are the environment, …

Saying yes to a surprising adventure with my teenage son after final exams

By the time you’re reading this, we’ll be at the airport. By ‘we’, I mean teenage son and I; he towering above me, and thus carrying 2 extra kilos for me in his backpack. Where are we going you wonder? Well I can’t quite believe my surf-addicted ’18’ has agreed to this, but he did, so we’re off to trek in Nepal! Remember the stressful exams and dessert-eating he’s we’ve just been through? All the weeks days hours of study he we sat through to get this burden of his our school life finished  forever? Somehow we clawed our way across the challenge, and now a new chapter awaits. But first, a little thing called ‘Schoolies’ here in Australia has to happen. We live near the Gold Coast/Surfer’s Paradise, where approximately 22,000 teenagers descend for a week of festivities and alcohol-fuelled celebrations, renting out every hotel, motel, Airbnb, and dodgy villa they can find, determined to party relentlessly along the 3-kilometre beach strip. *Shudders Some parents send their young adults to Bali, or Thailand as …

Osteopath: ‘You’re all locked up, & we need to shift it.’ Me: ‘OK…’ *gulps

I’ve been back from England for 10 days now (16,886 kms away from home in Australia), and my valiant struggles with the dreaded jetlag are finally paying off. Last night I did open my eyes at 1.30am as usual, but instead of lying there till 4.30, wide awake and wanting some dinner, I went back to sleep within 30 minutes, so have woken up feeling relatively normal. This is joy. And I’m not going to whinge on about the incredible privilege of international air travel, when so many millions of fellow human beings are homeless or without access to clean water… But jetlag does suck bad. Plus sleeping on a shitty pull-out bed on Mum’s floor for 3 weeks had stressed my back, therefore a visit to the Osteopath was part of my self-care strategy on returning. I was massaged, manipulated, adjusted and cracked, especially my chest/rib area, front and back. You know, around your heart. Interesting that. I went home from the appointment feeling terrible: nauseous like morning sickness, grumpy, on edge, and prickly …

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 …

“Don’t blame it on the Sunshine/Don’t blame it on the Moonlight/Don’t blame it on the Good Times/Blame it on the Jetlag”

*sigh The Jacksons say it best Home 5 days, and still feel not quite here. Sleep is crap, creativity is pretty crap, and my ‘warm flushes’ seem to be getting hotter… I’ve had half a dozen ideas for blog posts, but can’t seem to find the motivation or discipline to get them down and out *sigh Even the teenager has not been inspiring, funny, or sweet, so I can’t default to using him *deep sigh Normal transmission will be resumed shortly (I hope)  

Blog tales for the Over 50s with positive ageing, dating & relationships

My bed. My cat. My pillow. My son. Yes, that’s the correct order.

  I’m home in Australia after 3 weeks travelling. I left my cousin’s place in London at 5am Sunday after minimal sleep, and used taxi, train, plane, 3 travelators, plane, bus, & 2 cars to get here. It was by far the smoothest return journey I’ve ever had, and I know not why. Everything just flowed, for the entire 28hr door-to-door ordeal. We even landed 30 mins early from Singapore, which meant I could catch the earlier airport shuttle bus rather than sit around for 3 more hours (which would have felt like a slow torture at that stage). I was deliriously happy to see my Australian sun setting: But not as happy as my cat when he saw me! He even woke me in the night purring and snuggling, but I didn’t mind. I felt the same. I missed him so much But not as much as my BED. And pillow. I can’t begin to tell you how much I  missed my bed and pillow… Son ’17’ is coming over this afternoon after school; I …

Final French flurry of fotos

12 glorious days in France has wound up, filling my heart. I was born there, in a tiny village halfway up a mountain, looking across to the snow-covered Alps, so it’s always special to celebrate an actual birthday there. I’m a very lucky woman, I know. I spent the entire time sucking the language and culture in through my pores. I literally feel a craving I can obviously quench no other way. So I just delight in all things French, especially the local markets and food. Cue the slideshow (except I don’t know how to do it, so a nice even-paced scrolling is now up to you):     I wish I could upload the smells.     And cheese galore, incl that end one which was as big as my entire upper body:     Plus everywhere, the passionate, poetic tumble of language that makes my soul sing.   And feel truly at Home.