Wanderlust Women’s Everest Trek – get a $250 gear voucher when you book in October.

438_gear_on_us_2014April is fast approaching!

Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, yes, we need to get through Christmas and the New Year first, but really, April is only 5 months away!!

That’s how long it is to the Wanderlust Women’s Everest trek.

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I know there are a few of you out there who are ummming and ahhhhing about whether to actually step outside that little comfort zone you’ve created for yourself and come with us, but now’s the time to jump in and make a commitment.

And to encourage you – if the trip itself isn’t going to be awesome enough as it is – we have an added incentive.

If you book before 8th November you’ll receive a $250 voucher to help with buying your gear from Paddy Pallin.

Along with Brice & Turner Travel Associates we’re running this trek in conjunction with World Expeditions and, for the month of October (well, up to 8th November apparently), if you book this trek they’ll give you a whopping $250 to help out with all your gear.

So, I know you’re out there.

You’re the ones who are thinking about it, deliberating as to whether you can or not, whether you should or not.

Can you afford it? Can you get time off work? Can you leave the family for that length of time? Can you cope with the trek? Will you enjoy it?

Stop deliberating and cogitating and making excuses. Here’s your perfect opportunity to jump, leap, clamber or barge your way through those barriers that you’ve surrounded yourself with and make that commitment.

And when you do we’re going to reward you with this great offer.

Go on – DO IT!!

Call Shelley at Brice & Turner on: 08 93042933

or Freecall: 1800 605 044

or email; shelley_brice@travel-associates.com.au

 

 

  

Captain Cook’s Cottage – Stepping back in time.

I’m a history buff.

History

Take me anywhere and the historical landmarks, the museums and the landscapes where history was made are what draw me. I’ve walked up the ramparts of the Iron Age hill-forts at Hod Hill and Maiden Castle in the south of England, I’ve taken part in an excavation at the Fishbourne Roman Palace near Chichester, I’ve wandered the remains of the Mycenaean Palaces at Knossos and Malia and marvelled at the survival of the wall frescoes and I’ve visited all of the castles along the coast of Wales built by Edward 1.

The more ancient the history, the more interested I am.

Now I’m in Melbourne, where the history isn’t ancient but I do enjoy it’s historic buildings and landmarks, so I just had to make time to visit the oldest building in Melbourne. Not that it’s actually been here as long as some buildings have.

What? You ask.

Captain Cook’s Cottage

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Well, Captain Cook’s cottage was actually built in 1755 but has only been in Melbourne for 80 years.

So how on earth did a tiny 18th century English cottage come to find itself in the middle of Melbourne?

Good question, I knew you’d ask, so I found out for you.

It seems that a philanthropic Melbourne businessman, by the name of Sir Russell Grimwade , was responsible. He learnt that Cook’s cottage (or at least his parents’ cottage, as the story goes) was for sale in England, and he arranged for it to be brought to Australia to celebrate Melbourne’s centenary of European settlement in 1934.

The building was taken apart brick by brick and individually numbered. It was then packed into barrels and transported from the village of Great Ayton in Yorkshire to be reconstructed in the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne.

The Garden

When the cottage was dismantled cuttings were taken from the Ivy that covered the house in the English village and replanted around the cottage when it was rebuilt here on the other side of the world. Today the ivy covers much of the building creating an authentic picturesque English country cottage look.

A thorny Hawthorn hedge surrounds the cottage and a cottage garden, reminiscent of those of 18th century England, has been established around the house.
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The bronze statue of Cook that’s been erected behind the cottage is believed to close to life size – his naval records list his height as 6ft 3in (191cm) – and he is depicted in his naval uniform holding the tools of his trade.

In the garden you’ll also find a rack of 18th century clothing for visitors to wear and have their photo taken. I wasn’t game to don the outfits but a couple of youngsters were having a ball trying on the clothing of this bygone era.

The Interior

The cottage is very tiny inside and it makes you wonder how on earth a family, generally with several children, could possibly live in such a confined space. With our dependence on  a separate bedroom for each child, a family room, dining room, games room and large kitchen, maybe it would do us good to spend time in a house such as this and learn to appreciate what we have.

Downstairs is a kitchen and a small corridor, while a narrow staircase leads up to two tiny bedrooms. The main bedroom would have functioned as a bedroom for the whole family and may have been given over to visitors who came to stay.

The mattresses were filled with straw, duck feathers or even horse-hair and sat on a frame with criss-crossed rope.
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I found this little cottage and its history quite fascinating. It was a gorgeous sunny day when I was there and I spent an interesting hour or so wandering the Fitzroy gardens, the cottage and the conservatory (more to come on that later).

If you’re in Melbourne and you need a break from the shopping, the eating and the drinking , wander down to the gardens and refresh yourself.

Useful info.

Where: Fitzroy Gardens are on the corner of Wellington Pde & Landsdowne St, just behind the Treasury Gardens.

How to get there: The best way I found was to take the free tourist tram (no.35) which does a circular loop of the city. Get off at the Spring St stop near the corner of Flinders St and then walk through Treasury Gardens into Fitzroy Gardens and follow the signs to the cottage.

Cost to enter the cottage and its garden: Adults $6.00, concession $3.60, children (5-15yrs) $3.00, family $16.50

Suggestion: If it’s a nice day, grab a sandwich (and a cake) and have lunch in the gardens. Not only is it an inexpensive lunch option but you’ll get to relax to the twittering of the birds.

 

 

  

Ditching those holiday calories!

I’ve just spent two weeks on holiday.

Yes, I stayed with my daughter in Melbourne but I still did what we all do on holiday – I spent far too much time eating and drinking and piling on those holiday calories.

With my daughter at work and my granddaughter at school I took off most days during the week to do some sightseeing – I’ve finally got the hang of Melbourne’s public transport system, which was a mission in itself.

But, all of this sightseeing required the input of a fair amount of energy inducing calories. Coffee and muffins mid morning (so extensive was my research that I could probably write a thesis on muffin tasting in Melbourne and where to find the best raspberry and white chocolate ones) and lunches with wine in scenic spots.

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During those two weeks there was a birthday to celebrate (with cake obviously), when we could we had dinners out and on the weekends lunch took us to the Dandenongs and the Bayside suburbs and it was great and that’s what we do.

It’s part of travelling – eating and drinking in scenic spots, experiencing gastronomic delicacies, local produce and regional wines.

Melbourne food

When we’re away from home something in us says ‘we’re on holiday, calories don’t count,’ and I don’t think there’s too much wrong with that, it’s part of the enjoyment of seeing the world, as long as when we get home, we deal with the consequences.

And that’s what I’m trying to do now – cut the calories and get back into the exercise and training for my upcoming trek to Nepal, to Everest and the Cho La.

This is how I’m trying to do it. I’m no nutritionist so this is by no means expert advice, I just know what tends to work for me.

Breakfast

I’m normally a cereal or toast person for breakfast, but cereal (in my world) needs sugar and toast needs butter and jam. Loads of sugary calories there. This week my breakfast is of the fruit variety, with a cup of green tea. I’ve filled the kitchen and the fridge with bananas, strawberries, rock melon, kiwi fruit and mixed berries.

And I’m enjoying this type of start to the day.

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Lunch

Lunch today was a couple of rice crackers – I love the sundried tomato and basil variety – topped with tomato, cucumber and a small amount of tinned tuna (for the Omega 3 it gives me).

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Tomorrow I’ll probably have a green salad with a mixture of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, capsicum and red onion again with some added tuna (herb & garlic).

Dinner

Last night I had some skinless chicken (and that was very hard for me, the best part of the chicken in my eyes, is the crispy skin). I had a lovely green salad with it and I managed to find my willpower and leave the dressing where it belonged – in the bottle (I’m an absolute sucker for Paul Newman’s ranch sauce).

Tonight it’s a piece of fresh salmon with the salad.

In betweens

I’m a two coffee person most mornings, which is not good because, apart from the caffeine, I need two spoons of sugar in each cup – I simply cannot drink coffee without sugar, I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work for me.

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The last two days I’ve managed to cut down to one cup per morning and I ditched half a spoon of the sugar. The aim is to ditch the coffee all together and just go with a herbal tea.

If I get a bit peckish between meals I grab a piece of fruit or a low fat yoghurt. If the fruit’s there I’ll eat it, I just need to make sure that I’ve got plenty in the house and no sugary snacks to tempt me.
wineBut then there’s the issue of alcohol – damn, there’s always something going to trip me up when I try to stick to an eating regime. I’ll try is all I can say, but that bottle in the fridge is a magnet. Maybe if I drink it and then don’t buy any more. We’ll see!!

So, that’s the plan. Add lots of exercise and training – I was out at 6.30 this morning doing the steps - and the calories will, theoretically, drop off me.

With my mind in a positive gear at the moment I can see those little devils jumping from my waist and my hips.

How about you? Do you pile on those calories while you’re on holiday and then try to get rid of them when you get back?

  

International Day of the Girl 2014

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Today is the International Day of the Girl – a day to celebrate the amazingness of girls everywhere;  A day we get to appreciate what the girls in our life have, to understand how lucky we are and to attempt to spread the word and try to redress a few injustices.

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This is my eldest granddaughter Bethany who turned sixteen this week. She’s healthy and happy, she lives in a nice house in a nice suburb and she gets three meals a day with snacks in between.

She goes to school, she plays sport and she sings with the school choir. She eats out in restaurants and she flies across Australia each year to spend Christmas with the rest of the family.

She’s never had to fight for her education or her rightful place in society.

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This is Sabita, at 16 she had an eight-month-old baby boy. She was married when she was 14.

Sabita said, “When I was 14, my family started talking about my marriage which I couldn’t deny as this is the tradition in our village, it was a kind of pressure.

“We are poor. My mother and my brother used to work as labourers. I had to drop out from school when I was in grade two. During my first pregnancy, I wasn’t feeling well. I vomited and couldn’t eat anything except milk. Now, my baby boy isn’t very healthy. I realise my life has been negatively changed after getting married at early age.”
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This is Emily, she’s  my youngest grandchild and she’s eleven years old. She loves to dance and has lessons several times a week. She takes part in dance competitions and concerts and she’s a bundle of energy.

She goes to movies and shows with friends and loves to spend time swimming in my pool in the summer. She’s insightful and bouncy and loyal to her friends and she gets to enjoy her passion for dancing.

Emily finishes primary school this year and is excited to be going to high school with her friends next year. On a world scale she’s lucky. With society in general placing a lower priority on educating girls than on educating boys, one in three girls in the world are denied the education that we take for granted. Less than half of the girls in developing countries complete primary school.

Many girls Emily’s age are expected to stay home and help with domestic work, there is less concern for their health and nutrition and one in seven are forced into marriage before they turn fifteen.

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As a grandmother I am enormously grateful that my granddaughters have the choice to be who they choose to be and will not be forced into a life that will inhibit their creativity and stifle their drive and their determination to succeed in whatever they choose to do in life.

The fact that I have the ability and the freedom to visit a country where girls as young as twelve are forced into marriage and motherhood well before they are ready startles me at times. The lives that we lead are so far removed from those who live only a plane ride away.

I’m a great supporter of Plan International who have branches in several countries, and their Because I am a Girl Campaign. Through Plan I sponsor Pushpi, she’s twelve years old and she lives in the western part of Nepal, in a community that is gradually learning the value of education and health and sanitation.

It’s well worth having a look at the work that Plan do in attempting to not only redress the balance and educate communities as to the value of the girls in society but work in so many other areas also to improve the lives of so many.

Today on International Day of the Girl count your blessings. Look at your daughters, your granddaughters, the women in your family and in your circle of friends and  then think about the lives that some girls live.

Maybe you can help, in some small way, to change the lives of girls in countries with far less tolerance and understanding than our own.

It would be really great if you can share this post with as many of your friends and readers as possible – the more exposure this issue attracts the more positive the outcome could be for girls everywhere.

Thanks,

Pam

 

 

  

A day in the Dandenong Ranges

P1000209Last Saturday there was SUNSHINE IN MELBOURNE. I shouted that simply because when I visit it’s a rare and very welcome occurrence, it’s usually wet & windy – which is exactly what happened two days later. But, yes, the weather was glorious on the weekend and I made the most of it by spending the day with my daughter and granddaughter in the Dandenong Ranges, about an hour’s drive east of the city of Melbourne.

We headed off just after 9.00am and, after negotiating the Saturday morning shopping mob on the roads, we were soon wending our way up through the foothills and the scenery was changing, from the drab grey of the suburbs to the lush green of the Dandenong National Park.
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There is absolutely no way you can do more than scratch the surface of this beautiful area in just one day, the ideal would be to spend a few nights in one of the B&Bs, guesthouses or luxury resorts that are scattered throughout the ranges, set amongst this fairytale like forest.

But we only had a few hours to enjoy the landscape that was lit up by this sunshine. First stop needed to be morning tea in one of the hundreds of cafes that cater to the squillions of tourists that navigate up the scenic twisting road every day.

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We turned up past the entrance to the Dandenong National Park near Belgrave and wound our way up the twisting and turning road that took us through the middle of the forest, with the trees that seemed to reach up into the stratosphere providing a canopy for the ferns that waved to us in the very light morning breeze.

We drove through Sassafras (we stopped here on the way back down) and stopped at the Olinda Café for our morning caffeine shot – and a sugar hit to keep us going. It was a lovely friendly café with one particular waitress going out of her way to find a map for us when we asked for help in finding Olinda Falls. DSCN1819 (2)

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Olinda is the highest village in the Dandenong Ranges and has lots of fascinating shops to explore. and some very enticing restaurants & pubs. We were only passing through and after a short browse we carried on to our next stop but there’s lot’s that we didn’t see. There are several gardens that I’d love to visit next time – the National Rhododendron Gardens, Cloudhill Nursery & Gardens and Pirianda Garden – and there is also a thriving arts community with several studios open to the public – maybe next time.

Olinda Falls

From Olinda we continued on through the Mount Dandenong Village, past many more attractions, including the William Rickett’s Sanctuary that I last visited over forty years ago, and on to the Olinda Falls. This is one place that I’d researched before my trip to Melbourne and really wanted to see – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Taking a signposted small road right off the main road it was only a few hundred metres to a car park and picnic area. From the picnic area it’s a short 300 metre downhill stroll to the viewing platforms. It’s a an easy route to the first viewing spot and then a slightly more difficult track down to the lower platform.

Needless to say I headed down to both of the viewing spots.

That walk, through the stunning scenery with the sound of the falls hidden behind the undergrowth, reminded me why I love to do this. It was quiet, it was peaceful and it was energising (oh, and it probably helped to remove some of those calories provided by the Oreo cheesecake and muffin we shared at the Olinda Café).

Let me show you. Olinda track 2 DSCN1836 DSCN1850 On a world wide scale the falls are not huge but they’re in such a peaceful and calm location. As I got to the end of the track and came in sight of them it was obvious that they were a bit of a romantic hang  out – three couples sat perched in various spots around the area. I took my photos, enjoyed the view of the cascading water for a few minutes and then left them in peace :-)

It would have been lovely to spend the day there with a picnic but we had more to do and see so it was back in the car to continue along the Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd through to Montrose. Along the way we pulled into the car park by the Sky High café to get some shots of the amazing view. P1000216

Brunch Cafe

After all the exercise and sightseeing we needed lunch. I’d spotted an intriguing café as we came up from the falls so we headed back there. The Brunch café  is just outside the Mt Dandenong village and is one of those places that I’d love to live near.

This may explain why. DSCN1880 (2) Okay – do you get it? Café & bookshop rolled into one – and it’s licensed and it’s quirky and the staff are brilliant. We were greeted by the owner (very remiss of me not to get his name), he was friendly & chatty, as were all of the staff, and very proud of what he’d created up here in the mountains. There are several small rooms inside but we chose to sit in one of the couch areas on the verandah. DSCN1876 (2) There are also tables scattered throughout the garden so you can get right out there among the shrubs and the chickens and the birds. There are white cockatoos that fly around freely and are fed by the staff, I also saw some beautiful red birds but as I’m not into ornithology I couldn’t tell you what they were.

Inside, in the snuggery at the back of the café, a small library/bookshop has been created with all the proceeds being donated to the local Hills churches.
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The tasting plate we shared and the wine  (not to mention the Belgian chocolate waffles), the friendly staff, the peaceful ambience and the quirky character of this place are a winning combination. I’d highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

Sassafras

We could have stayed there all afternoon but we needed to move on, so it was back down the mountain to Sassafras.

One of the most popular villages, Sassafras is a haven for those who love their Devonshire Teas. There are lots of tea rooms and cafes in the village and one of the most popular, Miss Marple’s Tea Room, generally has a waiting list – you very often need to book your time in order to get a table.
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There are also lots of antique, arts, crafts & speciality shops here where you’ll find something that little bit different. If I didn’t have a weight restriction going back on the plane I’d have considered doing some Christmas shopping here.
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Sassafras

We had a great day up in the Dandenongs but it wasn’t long enough – next time I’ll have to plan for a longer stay.

Photos 1,5,& 8 courtesy of Beth Pamela-Rose

  

4 Top tips for stress free airport check-in.

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Today I’m busy packing for my flight to Melbourne early tomorrow morning and I’ve gone into pre holiday mode. I’ve got my list and I’m gradually ticking things off.

  • Cat food ready for my cat minder – enough to last the two weeks  – and then a bit more, just in case the cat’s extra hungry, or I’m late getting back or … whatever.
  • The bill’s are all paid, so the electric and water don’t get cut off while I’m gone.
  • The pool’s been super chlorinated –  it’ll probably still morph into a lovely shade of green before I get back though.
  • Maya, my feline friend, has been well & truly cuddled and assured that I will return and that her pseudo parent, Mr S, will take good care of her.

I’m an organised, list type person and getting everything sorted well in advance means that tomorrow morning I shouldn’t have anything to do except chuck the last few things in my suitcase and head out the door.

Which is just as well – I managed to book myself on a flight that leaves at the crack of dawn, actually, before dawn! The sun might just put in an appearance as we fly over the suburbs towards South Australia.

Airports – how do you feel about them?

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When it comes to airports you either love them or you hate them. They either fill you with excitement and anticipation or totally stress you out.

I fall firmly into the first category and it never ceases to amaze me how some travellers get so frazzled and confused when it comes to checking in and navigating the airport.

So, I thought I’d share my top 4 tips for stress free airport check-in and a successful start to your holidays.

1. Check …. then double check.

Check all of the details before you get to departure day and then again before you leave home.

Check the DATE and the TIME of your flight. This may seem self explanatory but I know of people who’ve turned up at the airport on the wrong day (luckily they were a day early, but still …)

If you’re heading overseas check that your visa (if you need one) is all sorted and that you’ve got local currency if you’ll need it for any taxes.

A cautionary tale.

I have a very well travelled relative – she shall remain nameless but she’s been backpacking around the world for the last fifteen months – and she was catching a flight from Adelaide to Christchurch. She’d been travelling around Australia and arrived at Adelaide airport 20 hours before her scheduled flight and …. she still missed her plane.

She hadn’t realised that she needed a return ticket before she’d be allowed into New Zealand and it wasn’t till she went to check in that she found out.

It was a frantic hour or so with phone calls to travel agents and emailed tickets before she was able to catch the next flight

As I said, CHECK EVERYTHING. Even if you think you have, do it again.

2. Be organised.

I am an organised person, always have been (some may say that I’m too organised, but I don’t see it) and it frustrates the hell out of me if I’m travelling with those who are organisationally challenged. It doesn’t take too much and can make a travelling life so much easier.

If your airline allows it (and most now do) check in the day before – it’s time saved.

Whether you have to check in at the airport or just do a bag drop, make sure all your documents are together – passports, tickets, visas. Get them all together in plenty of time and put them somewhere that’s easily accessible. There’s nothing worse for you, or the person in the queue behind you, if you’re having to zip open bags or rummage through your carry on to find your passport.

If you’re travelling as a family, nominate one family member to hang on to everyone’s documents as you head towards check in. The counter staff will thank you for it if you can just hand over everything in one go.

3. Be early.

imagesZYG2CUIY                                                   Maybe not that early!

Getting to the airport early does make life easier.

If you’re driving to the airport or catching a cab or even public transport you need to plan for any dramas you may encounter along the way. With a bit of luck there won’t be any but you never know when a tyre is going to blow or a taxi not arrive.

When we were in England a few years ago we were flying from Heathrow back to Perth on a late morning flight. We stayed the previous night a few kilometres from the airport and just needed to drop the hire car off on our way. We left the B & B in what we thought was plenty of time, but we didn’t count on the accident on the M25 that held up traffic and contributed to my near panicked state as we finally made it to the airport with very little time to spare before check in closed.

So yes – leave home or your accommodation with plenty of time to spare (and a bit more!)

By getting there in good time you should also be able to avoid those excessively long queues at the check in/bag drop counters.
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I’d rather get checked in nice and early and then spend time relaxing in the departure lounge reading, people watching and having a coffee or a glass of wine (possibly not the wine at 5.00am tomorrow) than arrive at the airport in the nick of time.

4. Don’t load yourself up.

Nothing gets me more frazzled (except possibly being late getting to the airport), than having too much stuff to juggle and cart around as I check in and negotiate boarding.

I try and stick to one suitcase and one carry on and not load myself up with anything that won’t fit into these two pieces of luggage.

Try not to overdo it with camera bags, handbags, loose magazines, computer bags – make sure your carry on will take all your bits and pieces. Then, once you’ve checked your suitcase it’s just a matter of grabbing one bag and not having to check all around you to make sure you’ve picked everything up.

Another thing that I like to do is put all the things that I’ll actually need on the flight – boarding pass, purse, book, notebook & pen –  into a small bag and then put it inside my carry on. Once settled on the plane I can put the bigger bag in the overhead compartment and just have the small bag with me by my feet.

Bon voyage

So, I’m almost packed, I’m organised and I’ve checked everything – several times.

All being well, and the gods of technology allowing it, my next post will be coming to you from the Melbourne suburb of Highett.

Anything in particular that you’d like me to write about while I’m there?

 

 

  

Picture Perfect: Himalayas

The inspiringly remote landscape becomes barren as you head along the Dughla Pass heading for the Khumbu Glacier, you’re on your way to Everest Base Camp, way, way up in the Himalayas.
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Wanderlust Women’s trek 2015

  

Top 5 Destinations that I just have to go back to.

Do you think you could narrow down all the places you’ve travelled to and give me your top 5 all time favourite destinations?

I’ve been invited by “Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There” to do just that. To write this post on my top 5 destinations, the ones I would love to go back to – and I’m finding it incredibly difficult.

But, after a few hours of serious thinking back over a lot of years of travel, both international and local, these are the five that I’ve come up with. They’re in no particular order – if I was given a choice I really couldn’t choose between them.

I need a disclaimer here: I’m likely to change my mind about this list, probably several times (my prerogative).

1. The Himalayas – Nepal

I couldn’t not put this on my list.

Up until a couple of years ago I wouldn’t even have considered stepping out of my comfort zone and travelling to a culture so far removed from my own. When I decided to trek to Everest Base Camp though to celebrate my 60th birthday, it was a decision that was to have huge consequences and change my mindset completely.
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The people and their culture, the chaos of Kathmandu, the incredibly inspiring landscape, all combined to make this one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on.

The mountains and the incredible calm that descends as you go higher is something that will live with me for ever.

What more can I say?

I’m heading back there again early next year. This could become a habit :-)

2. Paris

I’m going with general consensus here, I can’t possibly leave out Paris. I’ve been to Paris three times and I’d be quite happy to go back again and again and again. My ideal would be to rent an apartment, with a balcony of course, and spend a few months sipping on coffee or wine, people watching and writing my best seller.

It’s on my List. Not too much to ask for surely.
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 3.Crete

Idyllic, picturesque, relaxing – someone give me a thesaurus, I need more words. But, then again, words really can’t do justice to this gorgeous Greek island.
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After days of trawling the internet when we were planning this holiday in 2007, my daughter found us a beautiful villa to rent in the village of Hersonissos. It’s about twenty minutes drive from Agios Nikolaos on the western side of the island. We were there for a relaxing, chilled out three weeks … bliss.

Crete has a long history. It was home to the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations and the legendary King Midas and the Minotaur. Evidence of these civilisations still remains and you can visit the main palace sites of Knossos, Malia and Phaistos to see surprisingly extensive remains and some beautiful frescoes that have survived to depict life over three thousand years ago.

We also made a visit to the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Souda Bay where nearly two hundred Australian servicemen are buried. These men were all killed during the Battle of Crete in 1941 but, fighting alongside the allied resistance, the Australians forged a strong bond with the people of Crete.
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Apart from that – beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, beautiful harbour, beautiful spot to relax.

4.Flinders Island

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Flinders Island had me hooked. I was there for only four hours and the weather was lousy, but I loved it. It’s a quiet little haven off the north east coast of Tasmania.

There’s no overcrowding, no hordes of tourists buying souvenir t-shirts and no café strips. There are no designer outlets or gift shops selling miniature replicas of historical monuments and you won’t get guided tours of palaces or ancient sites.

What you do get on this island is a sense of peace, calm and tranquillity where you can relax in a natural, unspoilt environment and enjoy your surroundings.

It’s not the easiest place to get to but I will get there again.

5. Florence

I’d love to go back to anywhere in Italy – just give me a plane ticket and I’ll be there – but Florence tugs at me just that little bit more than the other Italian cities.
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Florence is unique. It’s not as chaotic as Rome and its mixture of architecture spanning the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles is simply stunning.
Florence Collage
Sitting in one of the many piazzas sipping chilled wine and watching the world go by, enjoying dinner in one of the many alfresco restaurants or strolling along the Ponte Vecchio as the sun sets over the River Arno.

What’s not to love?

Your turn

I know it’s a difficult ask, but now it’s your turn to tell us your top 5 destinations. I’m nominating the following to write a post on their blog on their Top 5 Destinations , linking back to this post and  “Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There” :

Carol at Reading, Writing & Riesling

Jo at Zigazag

Kathy at  50 Shades of ageing

Steph at Bookgrrl

Kay at Blonde Brunette Travel

If you head over to “Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There” you might find you’ve got a chance of winning a new IPhone 6 as well.

 

  

4 Reasons (excuses) why some Baby Boomers don’t travel – the counter arguments.

Go somewhere

I can tell you when man first landed on the moon, and who it was. I can remember when the Daleks were big, first time around, and I can remember when Gene Pitney was all the rage.

What has this to do with travelling? Hang on, I’m getting there.

I can remember when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were in their teens and when we had to walk to the public phone box to make a phone call and I can remember when milk came in bottles and was delivered to the door. And there are lots of us who can remember all that way back into antiquity.

We’re an ever increasing demographic, us Baby Boomers.

Travelling Baby Boomers

And … we’re of an age when consensus has it that we’re travelling in hordes.

We’re the supposedly grey nomads (although few of us have any tell tale signs of grey), and the media has it that we buy caravans and take off around Australia or Europe, that we book river cruises or we train for treks in remote parts of the world.

True. There are certainly many of us in our fifties, sixties and even seventies who love nothing more than to take off and explore the world, find those parts that we haven’t yet seen and experience so much that we know is out there.

Those that don’t – travel, that is.

But there are still a lot of over sixties out there who make any excuse in the book not to travel. They say they want to but there’s always something stopping them. I’ve come across quite a few recently. These people have spent a lifetime working for a living, raising a family, considering the needs of others before their own and at times struggling with what life has thrown at them. They’ve come through all that and now they’ve stopped.

They’ve put the brakes on, sat down and decided that this is as good as it gets.

I’ve got news for you guys.

Life, if you let it, has only just begun

When I talk to people my age or older, their reasons for not travelling seem to fall neatly into four categories so I thought I’d give you my counter arguments.

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  1. I can’t afford it.

Okay, this is a big one, but not one that can’t be overcome. First of all you need to be realistic. Don’t plan a world cruise on the Queen Mary if you can only afford a four day cruise up the coast.

Look at your budget. Look at your incomings and your outgoings and put a plan in place.

  • How much can you save each week?
  • Can you cut down on anything to be able to save a bit more? You can go without that coffee and cake when you go shopping, can’t you? Put those few dollars in a jar, that’s one more glass of wine for when you do go on holiday.
  • Maybe get a part time job a few hours a week or have a garage sale.

Even if you only save a few dollars a week, it’ll soon add up. Figure out how much you’ll have in 6 months, 12 months or even two years and then start planning where you can go with that money.

2. The family needs me.

Read. My. Lips.

The family WILL get by without you.

You help out with babysitting, you do the ironing while your daughter works to help support her family, you cook meals for your son who works twelve hours a day or you help out in the family business.

I know.

But you still need some ME time.

If you’re not there for a few days or a few weeks their world won’t stop – yes, they’ll need to make other arrangements, but generally it’s doable. They may moan about it but stick to your guns, they can actually survive without you.

Get up, make plans and go!

3. I’ve got no one to go with.

This is where I do a bit of sighing and despairing. How old are you?

Go solo

Okay, so life didn’t work out in that perfect way that you had planned in your idealistic youth. For whatever reason, you’ve found yourself going solo in life, you’ve got no one to head off into the wild blue yonder with.

Diddums.

GO. BY. YOURSELF!

You’re old enough to look after yourself, to find somewhere to sleep, to make sure that you eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty and to know the dodgy from the reliable. You’ve probably brought up children for heaven’s sake, sorting yourself out should be a doddle.

Travelling solo is also one of the best ways of meeting people and you may find you’re not as solo as you thought you were.
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Go with a group

If you really can’t set out by yourself there are lots of groups who cater for solo travellers – do a bit of research.

  • Take an organised tour.
  • Join a meet up group of like minded people.
  • Advertise for someone to join you.
  • Let it be known to family & friends that you’re looking for someone to travel with – social media can work wonders here.

Ladies – if you’ve decided a group is the way to go, I’ve got the perfect one for you. Why not come travel with me and the group of ladies who’ve decided that sitting still is no longer the way to go.

4. I’m too old, I can’t possibly do it.

There are those annoying comfort zones starting to close in around you again. I’ve spoken about comfort zones before and I’m a great believer in kicking them to the sidelines. We need to shove them out of the way, barge through them or leap over them, whatever it takes to loosen them up a bit and make our escape.
ComfortZone
We’re all so constrained by society’s expectations and our need to conform that we often don’t believe that we can extend ourselves and do whatever it is that we feel we’d like to.

One of the most common responses I get when I talk about my Everest Trek is

           ‘oh, I really admire you for doing it but I couldn’t possibly,

I’m too old now.’ 

You’ve got two feet and a heartbeat, you can do whatever you set your mind to.

You’re retired and want to travel overseas for the first time? Go do it.

You want to see the orang-utans in Borneo? Do it.

You want to go and live in Bali for 6 months? Hell, go do it.

You want to hike the Inca Trail? Yes, you can!

Be positive.

Don’t listen to those around you who tell you shouldn’t because you never have before or because you’re too old to start now or because it would be too difficult to organise it or they think you can’t afford it.

Surround yourself with the voices of those who believe in you and tell you to get out there and go for it.

Stop saying ‘no, I can’t’ and start shouting ‘hell, yes, I can!”

 

  

Wanderlust Women’s Everest Trek – an invitation.

Okay ladies – we’re on!

DSCN1209The presence of your amazing company is requested.

Occasion: Everest Circuit & Cho La Trek

Date: March/April 2015

Place: The Himalayas

BYO: Your sense of adventure, your zest for life and a determination to succeed in whatever challenge you set yourself.

I’m going back.

Next March/April I’ll be heading back to Nepal to do another Everest trek and this time I’m taking with me a group of ladies. Together with Shelley from Brice & Turner Travel Associates we’re putting together a group of Wanderlust Women and we’re going to tackle the Everest Circuit & Cho La.

You don’t need to live in Australia to take part in this trek – we’ll be meeting up in Kathmandu, so I’m hoping to find a few of my overseas blogging friends putting their hands up for this.

The Trek

This is a 22 day trip that includes a couple of days in Kathmandu at the beginning and end of the trek. We’ll be staying at the Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu (so, a little luxury to come back to after the trek) and we’ll be taking a sightseeing tour around the city. We’ll visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath and there’ll also be time for us to wander around Thamel.

The trek itself will take 18 days – we’ll fly up to Lukla at 2,800 metre in a Twin Otter aircraft and then begin our trek through the lush lower slopes of the Himalayas as we head up towards Everest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs we ascend above 4,000 metres our surroundings will change as the terrain becomes more barren and more uniquely beautiful, we’ll be in the presence of some awe inspiring mountains as they look down upon us and watch our progress. DSCN1140 The Everest Circuit and the crossing of the Cho La Pass will provide magnificent views of the highest mountains on the planet – Everest, Kanchenjunga, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam. We’ll look down on the stunning, green, glacial Gokyo Lakes and we’ll ascend Gokyo Ri (5,483m) and Kala Pattar (5,545m).

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Why should you come with us?

Simple really, why wouldn’t you?

This will be an unforgettable experience and a privilege to be part of. We’re about to take a group of women where they’ve never gone before – literally and metaphorically.

We’re about to harness that wanderlust and that sense of adventure, that lies dormant in so many of us, and take a leap way out of our comfort zone.

We’re going to have fun.

We’re going to laugh together and cry together.

We’re going to encourage and empower one another.

We’re going to prove to ourselves that we can do it.

We’re going up into the Himalayas.

You’re interested, right?

Places on this amazing trip are limited so:

Let it swirl around in your head for a day or two, go to bed thinking about it, wake up in the morning thinking about it.

Think about the experience you’ll have, think about the feeling of standing amidst the highest mountains on the planet and the sense of achievement you’ll feel when you succeed.

Then do something about it!

Next step – if you’ve got any questions whatsoever, if you’d like a bit more information or if you’d like to book your spot.

Contact me through the form on my contact page or ask me in the comments section below.

Or, contact Shelley at Brice & Turner Associates (and mention this blog post).

shelley_brice@travel-associates.com.au

Freecall 1800 605 044

or phone 08 9304 2933

Remember.

There’s lots of clichés I could use here, but we all know that life’s short and we need to make the most of it, Mark Twain was a smart guy when he told us that

              it’s the things in life that we don’t do

                                                           that we’ll come to regret.

I’ll leave you with this thought from Sir Edmund Hillary:

IT IS NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER

BUT OURSELVES.