travel

A walk across Spain…


A few years ago I watched a beautiful movie titled The Way. A touching story about a man whose life changed after walking the Camino de Santiago.

Call me ignorant, but I’d not heard of the Camino before watching this film, but in the aftermath of its ending, I was left feeling the need to discover more.

And on researching, I realised I wanted to walk the Camino. Not because I needed to mirror the impact it had on Martin Sheen’s character, but because I simply wanted to experience the emotional and physical challenges the Camino appeared to present.

As a self-proclaimed empath, it’s the emotional challenges that will undoubtedly be the most confronting. Why? Because the thought of having to share ‘personal space’ with strangers is terrifying as my need for solitude is a profound part of my being. Without it, I tend to become anxious and withdrawn. Couple that with my fear of socialisation and you have to wonder why I’m subjecting myself to such obvious personal adversity. But isn’t that what life is about? Finding ways to challenge adversity, albeit personal or otherwise?

Yes, I could opt out of dormitory accommodation and choose to stay in private rooms, but what is the point of that? In doing so, I’d be taking the easy way out and not honouring my reason for walking, which is, to experience the challenges.

And that brings me to the physical challenge of walking up to 30 kilometres a day across diverse terrain. Funnily enough I’m exhilarated at the thought of placing one foot in front of the other, hour after hour. These long treks will be my emotional charging station. My time for refection, my time for solitude. My time to allow the weight of past hurt to slowly slip away with every forward step. Of course fear is there, I’m human after all, but the need to discover things about myself is far greater than that fear.

My walk across Spain will undoubtedly present a myriad of emotional, physical and social challenges. And as I write these words in the comfort of my home , surrounded by my beloved dogs, I’m ready, ready to embrace whatever the Camino places in my path.

It's a dog's life

Living a Sausage life..


A dear friend messaged me the other day and spoke about how the best ideas are those that come from the heart. And when you follow those ideas with passion, those ideas are more often than not, successful.

For a very long time I had an idea, one that was born from love and driven by my passion for animals, in particular dachshunds, aka Sausage Dogs.

My idea was to create a space for Sausages to come and stay whilst their humans are away.  A place where they feel loved, secure and a place where they socialise with my own beloved Sausages.

So I took my idea and made it a reality: Stanley & Bear, a hotel for Sausages is open and thriving. 

travel

Manifesting dreams…


I’ve often read that in order to manifest a dream, send it out into the universe.

It can be sent via many mediums: daily mantras, thoughts, meditations, or by simply writing it down on paper or screen. I’ve no idea if the universe does indeed listen, but does it matter?

I don’t think so. For what really matters is having a dream, albeit small, then believing in that dream.

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Annecy, France

And my dream?

  1. Create and build my acreage sanctuary where my beloved dogs and visiting sausages roam, sniff, enjoy and embrace.
  2. My beautiful adult sons creating and living their life choices and thriving.
  3. To be there for my animals. Create a space where they experience kindness, love and serenity. A space where my animals roam freely: breathing in the scents of a happy life.
  4. Publishing my book.
  5. Living a peaceful, tranquil life surrounded by the love of animals and family.

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Soft, green hills…

travel

Penghu: a garbage truck and a giggle …


A few years ago I was living and working as a teacher in the Penghu islands, a small archipelago off the coast of Taiwan. As part of my teaching contract, I had an apartment on the first floor of the school, it was small, yet it offered a great view of the surrounding area from my bedroom window.

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From this spot I was able to voyeuristically take in the daily rituals of many. Yet it was the nightly garbage collection that had me perched at the window every night.

I shall explain.

Firstly, garbage collection is a weekly ritual in Australia and somewhat straightforward and boring. In the early hours of a council appointed day, a garbage truck noisily makes its way along the street, emptying the contents of each wheelie bin into its large bowels.  There is nothing interesting about the process it is simply what it is – a garbage collection.

In Penghu, it’s different, entertaining and occurs every night around 9pm.

With a similar sound to that of an ice-cream truck, the garbage trucks of Penghu fill the night air with upbeat, happy music to herald their impending arrival.

On hearing the familiar tune, residents rush out of their homes laden with bags, boxes and a variety of other vessels containing their daily waste.

At certain points it stops, and as residents know these points, they uniformly wait in line for the trucks impending arrival, then in a very orderly fashion they deposit their rubbish into the back where it is then churned, crushed or devoured.

From my  vantage point, it appears to be a beautifully choreographed show with all players performing their roles with the utmost precision and patience.

And as the music fades and the truck’s lights disappear from view, I watch as some residents return to their homes, whilst others linger: perhaps taking this moment to re-connect and socialise.

This seemingly simple, nightly garbage collection encapsulates what I love about travelling: experiencing a city’s unique and quirky rituals and how they shape the way of life for those who live there.

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Penghu travel information: https://guidetotaipei.com/visit/penghu

photography

The many faces of isobella…


A number of years ago I was introduced to a young girl who volunteered to be my model whilst I was studying. In the years following that meeting, I’ve had the pleasure to not only photograph Isobella many times, but to also experience Isobella’s incredible ability to adapt her look.  Not only does she photograph beautifully, she is also an incredibly beautiful person. Here’s a collection of my favourite images.

 

travel

Alongside the laughter: reposting travel tales from Blogger….


I love Europe, but I am also Australian, which is somewhat problematic when wanting to indulge that European passion.

On the bright side though, I was also an international flight attendant.  For many years I served the masses from overloaded trolleys whilst hurtling across oceans in a sleek, silver tube bound for new adventures.

Needless to say this employment allowed me to partake in a number of my own, off-duty adventures. Not all were in my beloved Europe, nonetheless, they all offered adventure of various description of which I documented in a blog I no longer use.

A  few posts in particular captured the adventures of a few wintery weeks driving through regions of France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Rather than let those moments that were filled with mayhem and hilarity, yet also quiet contemplation melt into cyberspace, I have re-posted here.

Feel free to read on – maybe grab a wine or coffee as it could take awhile…

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It's a dog's life

the serious business of being a dog…


Being a dog is a very serious business.

It’s a dog’s business to inspect, sniff AND sample all foods a human consumes.

It’s a dog’s business to always accompany the human to the bathroom.

It’s a dog’s business to occupy 2/3’ds of the human’s bed.

It’s a dog’s business to always travel in car with the human.

It’s a dog’s business to love and be loved.

Ah, the serious business of being a dog…

 

vegan

Delicious vegan tzatziki…


tzatziki#2 (1 of 1)Just as music can float us down memory lane, so can certain foods.

For me, I can be transported back to a Greek island by simply savouring tzatziki on a slice of warm, crusty bread.

However as a vegan, that perfect tzatziki, without the tangy flavours of yoghurt was difficult to find.

So I started scouring through foodie & vegan sites and stumbled upon a wonderful site called, Lazy Cat Kitchen where I found Ania’s perfect plant-based tzatziki recipe.

I was eager to try it, but discovered I didn’t have any cashews on hand. Seeing as I was impatient and didn’t feel like driving to the supermarket, then having to wait for the cashews to soak, I decided to substitute the cashews with tofu.

Ania from Lazy Cat Kitchen says using tofu can tend to leave an aftertaste. I didn’t find that so much, but I think it comes down to individual choice: some taste buds may go ahhh yuck, others may rejoice.

I plan to follow Ania’s exact recipe sometime soon and look forward to discovering the comparison.

Enjoy 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkt medium firm tofu
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried mint, adjust to taste
  • a few pinches of salt, adjust to taste
  • ¼ tsp white (or black) pepper, adjust to taste

METHOD

  1. Grate the cucumber coarsely.
  2. Squeeze the water out of the cucumber using a fine sieve and a spoon to press the grated cucumber down.
  3. Place tofu, lemon juice and olive oil in your blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Season with raw garlic, salt, pepper, dry mint or fresh dill and some apple cider vinegar for extra acidity.
  5. Transfer into a bowl or container and mix in grated cucumber. Place in the fridge for about 3-4 hours to allow the flavours to deepen.
  6. Serve with crusty bread and an icy cold beer…

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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