Category Archives: Packing light…

coastal life + city fix

There is an ideal view of the world. From our office window in Pottsville – and in our heads. But reality bites…

view from the loft

A few months ago, we followed our hearts and moved down to Pottsville, a small coastal town in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

Now, hanging out in the Douglas Albert in a caravan park just outside Brisbane’s CBD, we can’t help laughing at ourselves (a little hysterically). What were we thinking?

With both of our businesses based in Brisbane, we thought things would bubble along as usual, meeting with clients a couple of days a week and working from our ‘loft’ overlooking the ocean the rest of the time.

Instead, we leave home on a Monday morning at 3.45 to miss the traffic, set ourselves up in the ‘trailer park’, work with our clients for the week, then head home after 7pm on Thursday to miss the ‘car park’ on the M1.

C’est la vie. What’s not to like about a life in motion?

It requires being more organised than usual (did I mention I hate packing) and a lot of adjusting.

But we’re discovering new parts of a city we thought was beyond familiar and we seem to have more time to enjoy it. After all, playing house in a motorhome isn’t exactly a lot of work.

And driving back to the coast at the end of every week just feels right. Not quite home yet, but that shift in energy as the ocean comes into view is an amazing feeling.

Recently, rolling back into Brisbane as dawn bathed the city in hazy gold, we realised how much we loved this coastal life + city fix. Not forever, but for now…

We can feel that subtle shift as ‘the end’ of our comfort zone moves further away. Which just goes to show that change isn’t only good, it’s revitalizing.

There’s another upside. We’re now prepped and ready for those grey nomad wanderings in the DA. And it could happen sooner rather than later now.

This lifestyle is addictive…

A different journey

My only fridge magnet...

My only fridge magnet…

When you’re planning your next trip, you usually start with your beginning and end dates.

You hope for adventures and experiences to write home about; to be inspired, surprised and challenged.

But you know it’s a finite thing, and you’ll be back home to the familiar – back to the comfort zone, the stress zone or a bit of both and trying to hold onto that holiday feeling.

What you hope for is a different perspective and life changing experiences…

Moving house, from inner city living to a small coastal town as we’ll be doing next month, is a different journey.

And (to really mix my metaphors) even if it is a taste test rather than the place we intend to put down permanent roots, there’s that same breathtaking moment you get when any journey begins and you don’t really know what’s ahead.

One thing we know is that we’re not going to be in our comfort zone any time soon, and we’re unlikely to return to this city we’ve called home for 30 years – except to visit our kids, grandies and friends, and to work.

Among the new experiences will be the one and a half hour commute to meet with our city clients, instead of being there in the usual five minutes. But we’re thinking that arriving home at the beach after work will be incentive enough…

Like any journey, it’s overwhelming and exciting at the same time. We know the path won’t all be easy and smooth – if it was there’d be no stories to tell.

And stories, as some wise person said, are the difference between being a tourist and a traveller.

Hinchinbrook wanderings – a retrospective

copyright: Louise Ralph

Mt Bowen on Hinchinbrook Island

My only resolution this year is to ‘seize the moment’.

So EB and I have been lapping up the holidays, paddling the Brisbane River and freewheeling on our Bromptons around the city.

And while we’re at home, it seems like the perfect time for a little ‘armchair travelling’ – retrospective style.

Here are some memories from my first through-walk effort with EB…

October 2007: A friend of mine has just come back from Fiji and she’s still floating on ten days of waves lapping the shore just outside their beach hut, water of the perfect colour and temperature, cocktails and smiling happy people…

We’re off to the coast next week ourselves. Except I’m carefully packing bush camping gear, insect repellent, dehydrated food, snake bandages and two changes of undies into a backpack that looks big enough to carry me.

We’re getting ready to walk the Thorsborne Trail on remote and beautiful Hinchinbrook Island, off the Queensland coast near Townsville. When I say remote, I’m talking about the only way out being evacuation by emergency helicopter – or on foot.

copyright: Louise Ralph

Achtung! Crocs hang out here.

So, once the ferry drops you off, you’re on your own. Unless you count the company of estuarine crocs, marine stingers, bush rats that steal your food, and a variety of bitey insects.

I’m sure I’ll appreciate the cloud-covered mountains, fragile heath vegetation, patches of lush rainforest, sweeping sandy beaches and rocky headlands – once I’ve dumped my pack for the day.

Did I mention I won’t be able to have a wine for a week?

But there’s bound to be a bit of whine-ing going on! The whole ‘experienced and fit bushwalkers’ thing has me shaking in my sturdy footwear. What was I thinking?

Next time my intrepid adventurer partner EB decides we need a holiday, I’m going to be there when he books it.

Five days later…

copyright: Louise Ralph

As we wait for the ferry to collect us at the end of our Hinchinbrook walk, you could knock me over with a feather. Not because I’m exhausted, but because I am in shock.

I started the walk thinking I’d be counting the days and the kilometres until I reached the end. But here I am, feeling sad that it’s over and wanting more.

I’ve lugged my 15 kg pack along rocky trails criss-crossed with tangled roots, negotiated slippery creek crossings, scrambled up and down rocky sections, and (almost) got used to March flies with a fatal attraction to my hair.

And I’ve loved every bit of it, with the possible exception of EB whacking me over the head constantly (It’s a March fly, he says. Yeah right).

Even with the bities and the humidity, it’s a fantastic walk. One moment we are deep in cool, lush rainforest or rock hopping across crystal clear creeks, the next we’re walking through mangrove and palm swamps, open eucalypt forest or grass tree shrubland.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Zoe Falls

Along the way, we stop to cool off in deep forest pools beneath cascading falls or slide into the pristine blue of one of Hinchinbrook’s bays.

At night, the island comes alive in a very Jurassic Park kind of way.

There’s a whole lot of squawking, hunting and foraging going on beyond the campsite – which is strangely comforting, except when you want to go outside for a pee.

Who would have thought carrying all your stuff on your back for four days could be so relaxing?

Hinchinbrook has left us both floating…and there wasn’t a cocktail in sight. Perfect.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Crab art on Hinchinbrook

The count down begins…

Only a week and a bit before Frankly (aka the Energiser Bunny or EB) and moi take off for our French adventure. Can’t wait to shake off the busy-ness, take a deep breath and bolt…

Did I mention I hate packing? Grrr. I was obviously traumatised as a child, when my mum and dad went psycho at each other before every camping trip. Mum always wanted to take the kitchen sink, apparently.

In those days (ancient as I am), cars didn’t have seatbelts or airbags. But mum made up for it. Us kids had so much stuff jammed around us, they’d have had to dig us out if we’d ever had
an accident.

So. Packing. Tell me it gets better with practice…