My travelling spirit

Europe December 2018

Watch this space …

Amsterdam

Prague

Vienna

Budapest

Bitten

21 September 2017

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I know this is a cliche, but I have bitten by the travel bug. The Collins dictionary defines the travel bug as, “a passion for travel; an urge to travel; a strong desire to travel and; a behavioural addiction to travel”. I know that I am entirely affected. The signs are definitely there. For me, it is this strong desire and intense urge to travel. It really came on instantaneously after an upsetting week involving my daughter. She is okay, she made a bad judgement call as a heady teenager and lost a fantastic opportunity as a result. As my only child and her mum, I felt it as strong as if I was personally experiencing it. I am attributing it to the power of the mother-daughter bond. It was pretty intense and quite upsetting as we manoeuvred through disappointing waters. Oh, by the way, get used to the puns, they will be thick and many in this upcoming travel memoir. There I found myself, painfully sharing an unexpected moment with my daughter who was discovering the harsh lesson of actions and consequences. A hard lesson was learnt, but she is still safe. That’s one thing, thankfully she is safe. And then I found myself, sharing the disappointing and hard side of life and I began to feel that life really is a precious and precarious thing. Life can change at any time, throw you the most beautiful moments and then throw you curve balls that can just take your breath away Leaving you in tears within emotional anguish. And then it happened. Out of the blue. I was bitten hard. I now have this insatiable need to travel but, not just travel … to walk, hike and cycle through amazing places. To see sights that are precious and unique. To view the wilderness in all its purity. To meet people in their everyday. It was the most breathtaking moment, and I felt alive and inspired. Dare I say … happy. Passion and desires can fuel happiness and purpose; such a positive equation for one’s existence.

These musing and entries I am hoping to share will one day become a travel memoir. I am inspired by other people’s journeys of travel. How their trips and experience feed them, heal them, give them purpose and allows them to thrive. I just want to share my own experience, and maybe I can also inspire others to leave themselves open to also be bitten and in turn develop the courage to travel more and experience what this fantastic planet has to offer. This memoir will take years to write, and if you pick up my travel writing through my Blog, you will also come on the journey with me. By the end, hopefully, over the next 10 years, I will have a decent and engaging memoir to read. I plan to have a new memoir with each new decade I start – if there will be enough material to publish. I just turned 50 and thought, what a perfect opportunity to start working on my first decade of writing. Then hopefully one for my 60s and beyond…

I hope! Other than sharing my experiences, I want to share my discoveries on how I can achieve my  desire and urge to travel in my 50s, when I am a wife and mother, have pets, work full time as a teacher (weeks off are many but only during specific time) and the biggest hurdle money. I believe that with planning and determination I can plan at least one trip, if not more each year. That’s 10 chapters baby! Minimum! I will record and document how I do this, how I stumble and fall, and hopefully, how I get up and find another way. One thing that works in my favour is my Capricorn traits of being stubborn and, believing in not just having a Plan B or C, but D, E and F!!

Already I am feeling the barriers of not being in my 20s, carefree with no responsibilities. And so, in case you missed it earlier, I must insert here that I have turned 50. Which is probably why I have all these new desires and urges to enrich my life. Something does happen when you get this far in life. Once you have lived the innocence and wonder of a kid, been the angst and anxious teenager, be carefree and wild during your twenties, falling in love, getting married and setting up my own home, falling pregnant and raising a child (who has just turned 17 at the time of writing this) and amongst all of that, studying and building a career while meeting new friends and dealing with family both joyfully and … well … not always joyfully. So I begin my journey to travel more. However, for me, I am unable to just get up and go, because I am a teacher and tied to school holidays. Already my search has found some amazing trips but they all occur out of school holidays. I am not surprised. Everyone knows that the price to travel in the school holidays just hikes up! Another pun people! Then there is the fact that I am still married, and happily too, and that my daughter, who is about to start her HSC and is living her own version of the angst and anxious teenager who needs me. Even though she will not always admit it. She is worried about her life and the prospects. This young woman has not had the privilege of learning that all things come to an end and that life is really not as scary as it appears when you are 17. Boy, that is a long sentence … I wonder if it would pass the edit if this travel memoir gets a publisher?? For me, the reality is that it isn’t as simple as just booking a trip and up you go. This is one of the reasons for this memoir. How to do it. How to achieve this desire to travel more and to travel solo. This memoir will be a combination of planning, patience and courage. Maybe something that helps other women.

The first thing is to think small and just start to get going from there. For me, it is starting with day trips. I have joined a few Meetup hiking groups in Brisbane and will be doing some hikes with them. I will also be planning weekends away and 3-5 day trips booked in the school holidays. These smaller trips will be local, within Queensland and other states in Australia – keeping it local as I cut my teeth … or should I say feet can make it achievable. These successes will help me to become experienced and proficient in travelling solo on my own.  I know there are companies who help you with the self-guided tours and I have made contact with them. I will share my experiences of these with you too. In regards to money? My plan to is to have a dedicated saving plan. I calculate that $50 a week (which equates to less coffee and lunch ($20-30) bought and fewer dinners/brunch out, even less ordering – forgo a $10 smoothie or that dessert at $10-$15, reducing shopping expenditure in a month – fewer shoes, clothes, books can make it possible. Even walking and not taking the bus saves $7 on a round trip. There it is … $50 per week … booyah! Therefore, my calculations confirm that $50 per week per year equals $2600. As I am planning my own personal/solo overseas trip every two years, then this adds up to $5200. It is achievable. Why every two years? We still plan to travel as a family. Thankfully my hubby still wants to travel, so in between family trips, I will do my solo walking/hiking and or biking tour. Our next family trip is in New Zealand next year at the end of the school year. As a family, we have already had a trip to London and Paris in November 2012 and a wonderful trip in the USA in December 2014/January 2015. We are due for another. That’s a start!

I think at this point it is a good time to put down my to-do list, I don’t like calling it a bucket list, too connected to death and “a wish” list always alludes to a dream that may not be a possible reality … but for a Capricorn-who-is-stubborn-and-determined and likes to jump into the deep end to make her do stuff, then, a “To Do List” is the one that gets me into action. As of today, the 21st day of September in the year 2017 my to-do list is:

I know it is a long list but it is a start … and there are just so many wonderful places to visit! So here we go … each time I go somewhere, be it for a day, a weekend, a few days or few weeks, locally, within Queensland or Australia or overseas, I will document it all.

For now … I am planning that trip to Port Douglas. I will keep you posted.

Happy travels and ciao … xxx

1 October 2017

Today I did my first hike. It was to Buchanan’s Fort in the Lamington National Park Southeast Queensland. A 90 minutes drive south from Brisbane.

Amongst the majestic crags of the McPherson Range in the Gold Coast hinterland stands a rocky sentinel called Buchanan’s Fort (28° 17′ S 153° 04′ E). In 1867, John Thomas BUCHANAN (1847-1936) applied for and received a selection of land at the very top of Christmas Creek which was called ‘Glenlamington’. 

Today’s hike represents my goal in travelling and experiencing new places. As I moved from Sydney to Brisbane in December (9 months ago) I am determined to discover the wonders of Queensland. This also includes the rest of Australia and the world. I know we feel that to travel is to go to a distant country, to a new culture and usually on a long plane ride which leaves your bottom numb but I believe that travelling can be classified as any new place to experience.

Robert Louis Stevenson said, “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” It doesn’t need to be costly or take a lot of your time. I just know that there are amazing places you have not experienced or would like to revisit on your own doorstep. There are plenty on mine!

Today I discovered that I love the exhilaration of hiking in nature. It was breathtaking to be away from the hustle and bustle of the urban environment and be one among the wilderness. The trees and the wildlife. We saw wallabies, parrots and a green tree snake. We were even followed by cows as we ventured onto their field at the start of the hike. They were so curious.

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Wilderness in the Lamington Ranges South East Brisbane

The climb was intense and hard but it was a fabulous workout and you had all this fresh air to breathe in. My guide nicknamed me “the pocket rocket”. The weather was cool and a lovely breeze followed us up and settled upon us once we reached the peak. The area is known a Buchanan’s Fort as there is a sheer rock face that acts like a fort. When we got to the peak, we were at 819 metres elevation. The view was amazing. We did stop for morning tea along the way perched amongst the trees with a view that was just beautiful. Once we got to the top, we sat and had lunch, shared food and stories. Food just tastes even better when you are sitting high up within the beauty of nature. The storm clouds started to gather which was our cue to start heading back down the mountain. The downward climb was hard going and the leaf litter made it quite slippery. I had a few falls onto my butt but all good. I was well prepared with long pants, sturdy hiking boots and gaiters. I sprayed myself liberally with insect spray to keep the ticks. mosquitos and flies off me. I did overpack my backpack and I brought enough food with me, though I left some in the car, to feed myself for a week if I got lost. I think I over thought the food situation! I am learning and I will get more experience as I do more long-haul hikes.

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Buchanan Fort

I came home gushing and empowered. The great news is that my husband is now also keen to join me on the hikes. This is so great. I love his company and being with him and having him with me will make my hikes even more special.

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