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What’s your excuse?

Here’s five for Friday…on Wednesday

Copyright: Louise Ralph

the silver path less travelled…

EB and I are always talking about one day… that mythical time when we take the plunge and go off on our golden gap year to cycle through Europe or travel around Australia.

But (and there’s always a ‘but’) there are so many reasons (excuses) why we can’t shake off the bowlines and sail away from the safe harbour

Here are our ‘bowlines’ – maybe you recognise some of them?

  1. Employment – we can’t give up our businesses just yet, it would be too hard to start again or get another job, and we have to keep earning…
  2. Money – we need to pay down debt, sell our properties, eat, save to support ourselves in our old age so we’re not a burden on our…
  3. Family – because being FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) parents and grandies sounds fun and exotic but it’s heart wrenching being away for a long…
  4. Time – because we never have enough of it, our schedules are crazy, it’s never quite the right time, and…
  5. What if… we throw our lives up in the air and it all comes crashing down in a heap, and we can’t rebuild it and we live to regret it.

But that’s the point, isn’t it?

Regrets. In the end, we would regret NOT doing it, which would define us more than money or business – or existing for our family (who want us to do it, if only so we’ll shut up about it).

So when I look at our list of bowlines (reasons or excuses), they seem pretty lame really.

Even family, because how inspiring would it be to know your parents or grandparents were out there in the world somewhere, living the life they’d imagined?

How much nicer to arrive bearing gifts, and leave while they’re still clapping…?

Perhaps the real questions are: Do you want to keep earning money to pay for a lifestyle you don’t want? And if not now…when?

What’s holding you back from your adventures?

The dolphin, the whale and the manta ray…

Pottsville is a quiet coastal town in the northern rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. It may be somewhere families return to year after year for their camping holidays, but it remains a sleepy outpost that hasn’t quite achieved the stunning growth predicted a decade ago. This is our new home but, as so many people ask us (ex) inner-city dwellers, why Pottsville?

Four years ago, EB and I were sitting on the beach at Kingscliff, not far from Pottsville. I know, sitting. It doesn’t happen very often.

We’d been looking for property in the area and were talking about where we’d really like to live. Was it here?

Gazing out to sea in a rare deeply-zen moment, I said I’d like to live on the coast surrounded by bushland and wildlife. We both laughed. Now that would stretch the limits of our bank’s generosity.

In front of us, people were doing their beach thing. Glistening bodies catching rays, watchful parents making doomed sandcastles with sun-protected toddlers at the water’s edge, kids giggling and squealing as they took on the fiesty waves, surfers waiting for the next perfect set.

Suddenly, out of the deep blue, three dolphins powered towards the shore where we were sitting. At the last moment they turned and, leaping over some kids who’d managed to catch a wave, disappeared back out to sea.

We were stunned, but not nearly as much as a little boy who had no idea what the huge thing was that just leapt over him. I think he’ll be scarred for life.

Microsoft clipartLater that evening, walking along the beach, out of the corner of my eye I saw something that looked like a big sack being tossed up in the air. Impossible.

As we peered out to sea in the dusky light, there it was again. “OMG!” I tugged at EB’s shirt, “It’s a manta ray!”

Who knew manta rays could leap like that? Apparently they do because there it was again, leaping out of the water beyond the last break.

But wait, there’s more. In the morning, we woke early, as you do when you’re camping.

The sun was just creeping over the horizon, turning the sea to liquid gold. And there, close to shore, was a humpback whale breaching, waving its fins and slapping its tail on the water.

Our jaws, quite literally, dropped.

That afternoon we heard about an environmental estate on the outskirts of the township of Pottsville, two minutes from the beach, and we thought… hey, what have we got to lose?

Today, moving into the house we bought back then, felt like coming home.

It’s taken us a while to make the move, but it’s not like you can argue with a dolphin, a whale and a manta ray…