Posts Tagged With: thoughts

The pro’s and con’s of travel

Travel is a challenge. It takes you out of your comfort zone. Each day is an unknown factor; what will we see; who will we meet; where will we sleep.

These are the pro’s of travel….

The places you see can be exciting, interesting, fascinating or sometimes mundane and boring, but always different. What is round the next corner urges you on. The scenery can be breathtaking, the soaring, rugged mountains, rivers winding through deep gorges or sometimes these are just a dry, sandy riverbeds between banks and stands of river gums and paperbark. If the rains and storms come they will once again become a torrent of raging, rushing  life-giving water. Then the endless stretch of the Mitchel grass plains as they unfold to the horizon and always the bush in all its forms from the dry outback to the lush tropical north.

You learn about the history and absorb the atmosphere of the pioneer settlers as you browse museums and visit heritage houses and buildings. It paints a vivid picture of the hardships endured in this harsh land by these sturdy and brave immigrants. I am in awe of how they survived.

We came across the indigenous people, the original custodians. For thousands of years they survived by understanding and living with and off the land. For many years they have been denied their place in our history. As we pass through the small northern townships we see them aimlessly wandering along the street or sitting in groups in the shade of a tree. Their culture is in tatters  Slowly they are being acknowledged and museums tell of their culture.

These are the con’s…..

You sacrifice a great deal when you travel for longer periods. You miss out on sharing the special times with your family. Having friends drop by for a cuppa and a chat. Sharing meals with friends and family. Wandering around the shops with a favourite girl friend. The comfort of your own bed and having a place for everything and everything in its place. (I’m a bit of a control freak). Being able to wake in the middle of the night and know where the bathroom is. Even something as simple as knowing which tap is the hot and which is the cold without having to look closely for the red or green symbol.

Then I miss the garden, seeing the growth, watching the flowers unfold. The daily wander around to see how the plants and flowers are surviving in this dry season. Stooping to pull a weed then finding a couple of hours have slipped by. One of the first things I do on returning home is walk round the garden with my friends who have cared so lovingly for the garden while I have been away.

What pro’s and con’s do you find in travel?….

I would like to share my garden with you so I wandered around with the camera. I like the new format WordPress have given us for the gallery so I will put a photo essay of our garden in a gallery…..


Categories: Australia, australian travel, garden, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

The travelling experience, seen in retrospect….

Our home hidden in the garden

We have now been home 4 days. Looking back on the trip it has been very interesting. Staying at the Backpacker hostel was the most interesting. It is nearly 10 years since I stayed in backpackers hostels. We now observed at close quarters the backpacker travel species both international and local and how they had changed in that time.

They are gregarious creatures and usually travel and congregate in groups of two or more. In the evenings they gather in larger numbers to talk, chatter,laugh and swap stories, loudly, till very late at night. Sometimes, actually most times, accompanied by alcohol They are the young of the species, generally in their teens to late twenties. Their body clocks are set at a different time to ours.

So for two weeks we would go to bed after midnight, when the hostel quieted down. Then sleep through till about 9am. Our usual pattern on the road is bed at 9-00pm, up at 7-00am. (We did revert back to that pattern once we were back on the road).

They are a friendly crowd, most are electronically wired with computers, tablets, a few had Kindles and they all had mobile phones, usually the smart phones. Their dress is trendy, casual, not a daggy pair of old blue jeans to be seen. Their diet surprised me as in the communal kitchen I observed some very healthy meals being prepared. Not too many instant noodle meals.

After two weeks we were pleased to mix again with that other travel species, the “grey nomad” and “baby boomer”. The types that inhabit the caravan parks and camp grounds. Travelling in a variety of vehicles.

That got me thinking of other sub-species of travellers…

The tourist or group traveller that travel on buses and move around in packs led by a dominant organizer. They generally inhabit hotels and graze in restaurants.

Within this tourist group is the traveller on the cruise-liner. They prefer to sleep in one place, the cruise ship, but be taken to different countries. They are loosely organized but have the option of choice at each port.

There is one more species I can think of and that is the lone traveller, dedicated to long distance travel, carrying their few possessions on their back. They travel light, sleep rough in either tents or cheap hostels and have a very basic diet.

Can you think of any other types you have met in your travels? I would love to hear your stories…

Categories: Australia, Backpackers, travel | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Our pisces characters are coming to the fore…

We have a decision to make….

What do you do when you are both Pisces? Not only are we both Pisces but our birthday is on the same day…. Notice our sign is 2 fish swimming in the opposite directions… It is getting colder on the Gold Coast, you North American folks and other people who suffer freezing winter temps may not consider 8 to 10 degrees as cold. Since we bought our lovely Toyota Hi-ace camper, Matilda, we like to head north and find the beautiful winter sun. Winter 2010 was spent in Northern West Australia, 2011 we were in North Queensland.  So where is it to be this winter? This is when our Pisces characteristic trait shows up. We keep putting off making a decision. We are dreamers and drifters and generally just take life as it comes. She’ll be right!!!! Live in the now… But I think we will make a decision very soon and then it will be up up and away… When the decision is reached I will blog about it. Matilda goes in for her check up tomorrow so she will be ready what ever we decide…

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

Green, green grass of home…

The beautiful, green, rolling Waikato country. My green,green grass of home

When you have changed nationality 3 times which country do you call home?

It is a very hard question to answer. I was born in England,( the Kiwis referred to me as a Pomme but only in a friendly way).  I left the UK when only 18 so did not really have time to put down roots. “They”, whom so ever they are, say the country of your birth forever pulls on your heart-strings, that is the place you look on as home.

I came to New Zealand to marry. I fell in love with this country as soon as I arrived. I never felt any twinge of home-sickness for England. New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful place. The people are friendly. The lifestyle is laid back. So I became a kiwi citizen. The ceremony was a very simple affair, after filling in the relevant forms, paying over my citizenship fee, I can’t remember how much it was all these years later, I presented myself to the post master at the local post office and swore my allegiance to Queen and country, no pomp and ceremony, a shake of the hand with the post master, and then I was a Kiwi….

I was here for 37 years and spent many of those years dairy farming in the Waikato. We had 2 beautiful children who still live in New Zealand, hence the reason to visit.

The trip around the South Island was a bonus. I never realised how different it would be to the North Island.

Since 1982 I have been in a new relationship and Jack was an Aussie. He loved New Zealand, but to him Australia was home and he wanted to go back there when he retired. So in 1998 I had a difficult decision to make. Would I be able to adjust to the climate in Australia? It can be very hot and humid in the summer months. I had only travelled over to visit Australia in the winter months.

Well I am pleased to say I just love Australia. This wide brown land, so much space, so much to explore and so many places with air conditioning to take my perspiring body to when the temperature and humidity climbs to unbearable. After 2 years I took out Australian citizenship and became an Aussie. What a different ceremony over here. Filling in the forms and paying your fees was the only similarity to New Zealand. The ceremony was all pomp. About 100+ people of all nationalities gathered in a large hall. We could all bring up to 3 guests. The mayor was there in his ceremonial robes and chain of office. Local MPs and councillors lined the stage. A choir led us singing “Waltzing Matilda” then the “National Anthem” Speeches were given by everyone, before we all filed onto the stage one by one to receive our citizen certificate and small Aussie flag from the Mayor. When we were all duly accepted as Aussies we then had an afternoon tea of Vegemite sandwiches, small meat pies, lamingtons and a cuppa. On the way out we were presented with a native shrub to plant in our gardens.

I have rambled on in this post, but back to my original question, which country do I call home? I love Australia and I now call Australia home,( that is a very emotive song over here )… But New Zealand is still the place that claims my ancestral feeling of home, and where my roots are. So I really love being able to visit all the places I love over here..

Categories: New Zealand | 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…



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…


How to insert Google maps

Google Maps

, , ,

    You can easily embed Google Maps into your blog.

1) Visit Google Maps.

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


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


4) A popup will appear, as illustrated below.


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 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.


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.


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.


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?


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

House for rent…

Our house surrounded by tropical garden.

We now move on to the last major job on      “the list”. Finding tenants…

We had an ad in the local paper on Saturday and had a few people come round to look, but for various reasons no one decided it was for them. Maybe too close to Christmas and a quiet time for house moving so we will try again in January. Still plenty of time…

Of course there are still a lot of smaller jobs on the “to do list”. They will all be put on hold till after the Christmas season.

We wish all our friends that read this “blog” and also anyone that drops in for a visit and a read a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Now it is off to the shops for all that last minute buying…

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

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