When life closes a door, open it again.
It’s a door, that’s how they work.
Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
Some wisdom from the Vikings this week – and it’s great advice. Because what’s gone before is a lesson, and what’s here and ahead is potential. Yours.
It’s easy to get caught up in superficial living – like how you look, how many wrinkles you’re getting, whether you’ve got the right ‘look’ going on, and more. Which is why I love this quote – and this crazy fun rice wine maker in Vietnam…
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WOO HOO – what a ride!’ ”
That’s the plan… 🙂
As travellers, it’s easy to focus on the epic adventures and forget that short breaks can be exceptional too. That’s why we went back to Bundjalung country this weekend – to hit the mental reset button…
The Black Rocks campground in Bundjalung National Park, New South Wales, is tucked in behind the dunes of Ten Mile Beach.
It’s a truly remarkable camp spot, with each secluded site set up with its own fire pit, picnic table and even a clothesline.
It really feels like you’re the only people on earth – especially when all you can hear is the crackling fire and the soothing sounds of the heathland’s nightlife.
As we soak up the sun in the chilly morning, we’re mesmerised by the vibrant tiny birds flitting among the banksia trees and getting drunk on nectar. Some of the little tweeters even stop long enough for a photo opp! Pure joy right there.
Sometimes, there are only glimpses of colour and movement. If you blinked, you’d miss the Blue Wren preening his feathers in the safety of a spiny bush, the echidna scurrying across the road, and the honey bee collecting liquid gold…
The last time we walked the Jerusalem Creek trail, we were up to our calves in puddles and mud most of the way – but that just added to the fun. This time, the track is just as stunning – and we don’t need to ditch our shoes. Bonus.
Along the way, we pass a bunker built back in the 1930s.
In this and others around here, soldiers trained to protect Australia when the country was under threat during World War II.
By the 1960s, vast areas of heathland were being cleared – not for farming or logging, but for mining. Rutile and zircon black sands were mined here until 1982. But the heathlands are slowly reclaiming the land.
The walking trail meanders between the creek and the ocean until they finally meet. This is a truly beautiful place where shorebirds come to rest and raise their young. But there’s a dark side too.
As we walk along the shoreline, I pick up one sea-worn plastic bottle cap – then another, and another. After just 10m, both of us are holding piles of rubbish… mostly plastic.
And that’s just the beginning. Soon we’ve collected enough to fill our small backpack, and a plastic bag a passing fisherman gives us.
It’s not necessarily wilful tossing – but it does make you realise just how much plastic is circulating our oceans. And it’s heartbreaking.
Finally, we walk the 4km back to camp, carrying our load of plastic waste. Yet, as we walk, we can’t help but be captivated by these wild places – places touched by humans yet somehow triumphant.
Being here is about perspective, after all.
Read more dragonfly posts about Black Rocks:
Are you ready for a short break?
It’s been a few years (um, decades) since we’ve been out on the streets past midnight – but Seville does that to you.
This city literally comes to life at about eight o’clock at night. And by ten, the locals come out to move from bar to bar with friends, enjoying one tapas and one drink at each place (well, that’s the idea anyway).
It takes bar crawls to a whole civilised and delicious new level – and it’s a way of eating, drinking and socialising that fits us perfectly.
Even the late nights feel early, perhaps because the sun stays up late too.
And there’s always those ‘recovery’ sleep-ins, because nobody emerges until at least ten in the morning. Except a few of the keen tourists of course.
More about this fabulous city later. It’s getting late – which means it’s time for us to hit the streets… adiós for now!
Tasty tip: We went on the excellent Seville Gourmet Wine and Tapas Tour with Manuel from Pancho Tours (booked with Viator). A great way to get familiar with the tapas scene and hang out with like-minded vino and food lovers.
In a few days we’ll be literally on the flight path as we take off on our 10 week trip to Portugal and Spain, with stops along the way in Japan, Switzerland, Morocco and Singapore.
And, of course, the pre-travel madness has set in.
What is it about travel that makes you get everything done before you go? Talk about emptying the in-tray. Sheesh.
I mean, all we’ve been doing these past few weeks is renovating our house (at least it’s lockable now!), closing EB’s business (after 30 years, because he’s over it… wait, that happened 29 years ago), getting my own work projects wrapped up before I go, and all the usual family dramas (mostly the mother/granny-lou-thing about leaving them for over 2 months).
I’m exhausted already.
And did I mention the packing dilemma? Our trip will involve lots of train hopping, so travelling light is the only way to go. Between us we have two cabin-size bags and a couple of small backpacks… and even that feels like too much!
So the countdown is on. Just a little bit excited now. See you on the flight path…
It’s easy to get to the end of a year and wonder where your resolutions went. If you’re like me, you left them at the gym about mid-January.
But don’t despair. This is the perfect time to write your ‘done list’. The big, small, easy, fear-facing, clever, inspired or a little bit dull kind of stuff you actually did in 2015.
Even if it was buying that bike ready for your touring adventures or sticking at swimming when you still feel like a whale caught in a shark net…
Because if you look at what you’ve done, not the un-conquered to-do list, then you’ll feel a whole lot better about you and your life. And that has to be a good thing.
Someday soon you’re going to pack up that touring bike and head off, or have your mermaid or merman moment.
Whatever it is you’re dreaming about, start now – in a great leap or small steps.
Today you turn to a fresh page. It’s time to start writing your adventure story.