random thoughts

View towards Surfers Paradise

There is no place like the place you call home and for us it is the beautiful Gold Coast. This view from the walkway around the Burleigh Heads National Park has always been a favourite and having travelled right round Australia this compares with all the amazing places we have seen.

The first question I am asked is “What is your favourite place?” I find this a very difficult question to answer. How can I compare the wild flowers of the West with the ocean in all its moods, or the mountains, or the unique formations of the Kimberley and the Karijini and Katherine Gorges. Then there is the endless vista of the central plains with the waving, shimmering Mitchel grass: drovers country, with its stories and history of men and deeds that opened up the out back. The huge river systems flowing to the sea. The steep pull, up and over the Snowy Mountains that Matilda handled so well, then the awesome vista of layer up on layer of ariel perspective that truly takes your breath away and the camera working over time, thank goodness for digital technology. Of course there is the iconic roads that criss cross the country, each one a marvel of engineering skill, the Great Ocean Road built-in the depression years using picks and shovels and wheel barrows and an army of men. Oh the list just goes on. So what was my favourite? I have to say it was the country and the huge diversity that makes the journey so memorable.

But the scenery is not the only thing that stays forever in the memory, it is the people we met that really enrich the journey. The people we met briefly in the caravan parks and shared “happy hour” with. The many camp fires lit in free roadside stops and along river banks and cooked and shared our meals with fellow campers. The 9 couch surfing hosts that generously opened their house and hearts to complete strangers and became friends. The revisiting of WWOOF friends we made in the past, and 15 years later still welcome us to stay with them. Special mention goes to Rob and Raye who have become very special people when we shared the amazing poets weekend at Rob’s farm.

The year on the road passed so quickly and it is in retrospect, when you sit back and revisit the photos and reread the journal that it really sinks in about what a fantastic year it was.

Categories: australian travel, random thoughts | Leave a comment

lorrikeets in rain video

lorikeets in rain video, originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.

Well it is hard to believe but we have now been home 6 weeks, where has the time gone? I did intend to keep the blog posts going but some how life has taken over….We have been busy sorting out the granny flat we are now living in, and though it is just a one room studio style place, with a small kitchen, and very small bathroom, after living in Matilda for a year it seems large to us, and we are enjoying the relative space.The mammoth, but enjoyable, task of sorting the photos is taking time. I am also an obsessive collector of data and information, ie: how much we spent on petrol, eating out, groceries, alcohol etc. So now I have taken the time to work out some of the stats.

  • Travelled a total of 26,996 kms
  • Petrol total cost: $4,336. Most expensive was $1.97/ltr at Dunmarra in the Northern Territory, cheapest $1.17/ltr at Mount Gambia.
  • Freedom camping: 23 nights
  • 4 WWOOF hosts:21 nights
  • 9 couch surfing hosts: 59 nights
  • 2 friends met on road: 11 nights
  • 1 relation:2 nights

116 days we did not have to pay for accommodation, this was a great help to the budget and made it possible to travel for a year on the pension…

  • 206 nights in various priced caravan parks.
  • Most expensive van park was Skenes Creek at $45 on the Great Ocean Road during January school holidays. It was also one of the worst being dirty and very over crowded. 
  • Most expensive accommodation was $98 for one night at the Buddhist Temple near Wollongong.But well worth it for the experience and peaceful atmosphere.
  • To have a break from the rain we left Matilda on her own and stayed in cabins at 3 separate places for a total of 6 nights.
  • During May and June we returned home to the Gold Coast for 46 days.
  • Total accommodation cost: $4,437 , averaged out at $21.50 per night.
  • Very special extra excursions: full day flight to and walk through the Bundle Bundle in the Kimberly, cruise down the Katherine gorge, 4 wheel drive trip into the Karijini Gorge, cruise along the Murray, cruise along the Ord river, cruise through the Geikie Gorge.
  • Caring for Matilda: 2 services, 4 new tyres, 1 replaced windscreen…

We were on the road for a total of 329 days. Including all costs we spent on an average $495 per week….

Was it worth it, definately. Would I do it again, yes, yes, yes….

 

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Categories: australian travel, Camping grounds, couch surfing, free travel accomadation, random thoughts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Versatile blogger award

Well how about this!!!!

I am honored to be given this award by another WordPress blogger who came by and read my blog.

She found me by the couch surfing link, she also is a host CS. The amazing thing is she is from USA how mind-boggling is the internet, it can connect people from all over the world in a click of a mouse.

Of course I went to see her blog, What a talented person,http://artandwhine.wordpress.com/ go check her out…

One of the conditions of this award is to tell a little more about yourself and pass on the award, so…

  • My favourite smells, fresh mown grass and sweaty horses.
  • I’m terrified of my head going under water, except in the shower…
  • I’ve now discovered that my favourite flowers are the West Australian native wild flowers.
  • I’m addicted to travel ( but I think that one is obvious)
  • I’m also an organizer freak, love a place for every thing, and every thing in its place.
  • Do not like large, new houses, consider them a waste of resources and space.
  • Am addicted to muffins.
  • Love the computer.
  • But could survive without a mobile phone

OK well I pass the award on to

http://wrongwayround.org/?feed=rss2 Met up on our trip in Denham and admire their style of travel

http://meandthegirlfromclapham.wordpress.com/feed/ These subjects get me thinking

http://friendfeed.com/timethief  this is a site that gave me lots of help when I was first learning about blogging

Categories: award, couch surfing, native flowers, random thoughts, travel | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Decisions, decisions….

Well it really is crunch time now. What is the minimum amount of clothes and shoes we can live with. More importantly what can we leave behind?

Our very small one room granny flat looks like a bomb hit it as I spread “stuff” all over the floor, leaving tiny pathways to tiptoe through every thing.  One pile is for the kitchen; cooking and eating utensils. Another pile is bedroom and bathroom; ie. towels, sheets, sleeping bags (do I think we will use sleeping bags? After all we are planning to follow summer around the country, maybe one blanket will take up less space…) Jack has put aside an arsenal of tools, I hope we will not need them, but better to be safe than sorry. A very important box contains our play things, cards, dominoes, sketch pads, pencils, camera and battery charger, cds, maps and camping book. For outside the essential mosquito nets, tarps,ropes and bungy cords (NZ term for occy straps), rain coats. The list seems endless

Todays task is to sort through our clothes, BIG decisions, but of course if I only take a bare minimum it will be a good excuse for shopping when I, either, get fed up of the same things every day, or wear them out….

Only 4 more sleeps in our own bed…

Categories: australian travel, photos, preparing to go, random thoughts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

New header…

I have changed the photo in the header to a panorama of Burleigh Beach.A sort of farewell gesture. I had found another unique feature of WordPress that allows you to change the header as often as you feel like it, so tried it out for size. What do you think of it?…

10 more sleeps in our own bed….

Categories: Burleigh Beach, random thoughts, Wordpress lessons learnt | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Getting ready….

The van is now checked out and ready to go, so now it is time to get our check ups.

  • Skin scans, I’m ok, the doctor said the years between 6 and 14 are the vulnerable years for forming of skin cancers. I was living in England and did not get much sun exposure. Jack on the other hand had 4 big ones cut out a month ago, and, thankfully he now has the all clear and they have , almost, healed.
 

From Jack’s jottings…. I love a sun burnt country, I lived down by the sea, and except for melanoma there’s no better place to be. So when you are in Surfers keep an eye out for a shadow obscured by SPF30, a shadow cast by me.

  • Doctor check up, blood tests, flue injections including the swine flu injection, and a top up of pill prescriptions. Both checked out OK.
  • Eye test. Jack no longer needs glasses after the cataract surgery and his eyes are good. This time I needed new glasses, oh so expensive, and the optician said that I will need the cataract surgery “soon”….
  • Dentist check for me…This was the most painful of all as I need major overhaul. Don’t even like to think of how much that will cost…

 

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Jack is reading a good book and he keeps saying “listen to this one” and “I will just read you this”

This quote is so appropriate for us that I think it could be our “mission statement”

Life is mostly about what you do on your way to your destination.

This was from “Pursuit of Perfection” by Tal Ben Shahar

Categories: Books, photos, preparing to go, random thoughts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

WordPress lesson on inserting google maps

As we travel around I would like to be able to put a map of the area we are in. So I went to the WordPress support area to see if it could be done and found the answer was “yes”

So this is a map of the first leg of our trip.. It will be March 4th before we leave but I am getting excited about the thought of going as it is now getting so close.

We have not made any plans as to where we will go after Stanthorpe, and this will be a first for me, as usually, when I travel, I like to plan things almost to the second and have an itinerary worked out months in advance. This time it will be a very broad plan of which direction we will head and leave the details to chance…

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How to insert Google maps

Google Maps

, , ,

    You can easily embed Google Maps into your WordPress.com blog.

1) Visit Google Maps.

2) Type in any street address or geographic location and click Search Maps.

googlemaps-search

3) Once your map is fully loaded, click on the Link option found on the top right of the map area.

googlemaps-link

4) A popup will appear, as illustrated below.

googlemaps-code

5) Place your mouse cursor in the text box titled Paste HTML to embed in website. The code will begin with <iframe. Copy the code.

6) In your WordPress.com dashboard, go to Posts->Add New or Pages->Add New (or open an existing post/page in editing mode). Paste the code directly into your visual editor.

googlemaps-paste-code

7) Click Save Draft, Update, or Publish depending on the status of your post or page. You will notice that the code has changed. WordPress has converted the HTML code into the working shortcode.

googlemaps-shortcode

Categories: australian travel, google map, random thoughts, Stanthorpe apple and grape festival, Wordpress lessons learnt | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Date is set and we will be on our way….

I can hardly believe it, suddenly the time has slipped round and we have a firm date and, more importantly, some where to go.

Every thing has fallen into place so seamlessly that it seems we were meant to do this trip at this time.

The gradual working through “the list” culminated last weekend when we welcomed Hamish and partner, with 2-year-old son, into our life and our home. They answered our advert for a house to rent, along with  a number of others, but they seemed so perfect for our house we were very pleased when they decided they would like to move in. They had just spent 6 months travelling round Australia, another coincidence, and needed some where to move into immediately. That created 5 days of furious activity to finish moving the last of things into the flat, full top to bottom clean of the house, including touch up painting in one bedroom, and a major clean out of the garage.

Phew……

But now we are almost ready, just a few loose ends to tidy up. Then another couple of  coincidences, a friend asked if we could house sit for a week while they were on holiday. The date, FEBRUARY 24th has now become our “D” day(departure day). Another friend told us about the Stanthorpe apple and grape festival on March 5th, 6th, 7th.  “Of course,” John said, “it will be hard to get accommodation this close to the festival date.” I googled Stanthorpe accommodation and struck gold, we have booked into Sommerville Valley tourist Park

 March 5th is our combined birthday, what a good day to be on the way…

26 days to the start of our gypsy life….

Categories: Camping grounds, preparing to go, random thoughts, Stanthorpe apple and grape festival | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Taking stock…

It has been all go since the new year began. Time is certainly speeding up and it is now time to take stock of were we are at and how much is left to do.

It all started back in October, and that seems a decade ago now, when we read “The best  life money can’t buy” written by Andy Deering. It inspired us to get out of the complacent life we had slipped into and follow a dream to travel around Australia.

We were now fired up and enthusiastic.

In the “third age” of our lives if we didn’t seize the day and “just do it” it would quickly become too late and life would then just be a case of  “if only”.

I made lists. We set a date. Then cruised along.

Suddenly we found the perfect camper van to take us on our journey.

"Sunny boy" our home away from home.

We were just looking and had not planned to buy a van till approx February, but this one was too good to miss. Suddenly our plans and dreams became reality…

  • Since then we have sold our Toyota Corolla car.
  • Had a garage sale
  • Sent surplus “stuff” to the Salvation Army.
  • Thrown away lots of “junk”.
  • Moved all our belongings into storage in the basement.

The last major things on the list is to give the house a complete, top to bottom, clean. Then find tenants…

So we are on track. Of course there are still a hundred and one little things to do, but the big ones have been accomplished and in 10 to 12 weeks we will be on the road.

Categories: Books, photos, preparing to go, random thoughts, travel | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Another word press lesson…

I am going to write this post in Microsoft word and then see if it can be pasted to my blog. I am also using the font “Georgia”, will it reproduce this also?

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I have inserted the following from word, very easy, but it didn’t reproduce it in the font “Georgia” and reduced the size to the normal size font used by default in the word press posts…

Christmas 2009 is now behind us and we are racing toward 2010. I have great expectations for the coming year and the adventure that lies ahead of us.

 In the meantime I am having a lazy few days and devouring a good book. “What the psychic told the pilgrim” written by Jane Christmas (very appropriate surname for reading at this time of the year). A story of a 50-year-old woman’s pilgrimage along the Camino trail. Told with inner feeling, humour and great insight of human nature.

The first couple of paragraphs rang so true I couldn’t stop reading….

Impulse is intuition on crack. If intuition is the prudent angel who carefully directs your spirit, impulse is its mischief-making twin, the “imp” in “impulse”.

Impulse scoffs at the notion of second thoughts. Before you can apply a smidgen of rationale to your actions. Impulse has dragged you to the launch pad of adventure, where you find yourself staring bug-eyed at the bungee cord around your waist and asking “How did I get here?”

 

But I think without impulse to charge you on head first into adventure, you may have second thoughts, and would miss out on some of the most memorable moments that as you get older you look back on with satisfaction.

This coming year is in many ways fuelled by impulse….

How I did it…. Click on this small symbol in the menu bar and it opens up to show the “kitchen sink” among these extra symbols is one to enable you to paste from word. That will be very useful as I can prepare posts as we travel along then insert them quickly when we have an internet connection. So I am trying it out to see how it works…..

 

 

Categories: Books, random thoughts, travel, Wordpress lessons learnt | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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