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Aloha! A new adventure

Aloha! A new adventure

You would have thought the Jet Star rep had just announced the end of life as we know it; an enormous crisis of some abhorrent, unprecedented, universe-altering magnitude. I spooned some more Pad Thai into my mouth and watched with amusement as the chaos erupted around me. Children were crying and clutching at their mothers hems, men were red-faced and twitchy, women were anxious and screechy. Somewhere in the vicinity voices were being raised, and distraught phone calls to loved ones were being hastily made. I can only assume that cancellation of a flight to Hawaii, is, naturally, something of great vexation to normal people- with only two weeks’ vacation and expensive reservations in paradise, it is somewhat less than ideal to find yourself herded to a hotel in Brisbane, of all places, I’m sure. But my disposition these days is such that very little, outside my control that is, really bothers me in life. My travel mantra (one of them) is this: provided I am psychically unharmed and remain in possession of my passport and credit card, then nothing is insurmountable. I had only a $30 hostel bed awaiting me, and personally- something which everyone around me seemed to be curiously forgetting- I had no real desire to fly 9 hours across the Pacific in a vessel with a broken windscreen. Call me cautious, but I was only too pleased to wait for one which wasn’t going to deposit me gruesomely into the clutches of a shark. Original image source: Creative Commons  That aside, I was admittedly rather chuffed to suddenly find myself, alone, in a five star...
Leaving Australia for Peru: My life is a tangent

Leaving Australia for Peru: My life is a tangent

To say that my life has been busy the last six months is a woeful understatement. It has been sheer chaos: beautiful, beguiling, life changing and wonderful… and it has largely kept me offline. Which- I’m not going to lie- I have relished. I do, however, have many stories to share (and I do like to share), and they are being bashed into my laptop at every conceivable opportunity.  I am playing catch up. My bad. But sometimes, you just have to get busy living. The internet isn’t going anywhere, but my time on this planet is.   Leaving Australia I am working hard on a whole series of posts about how living here changed my life. Like, for reals. Watch this space. Australia pays rather handsome wages, and I am fortunately gifted (or rather, well-practiced) in the art of stretching them. You can preach about ‘high cost of living’ all you like, the fact remains that when my working holiday visa expired at the end of November, I had saved $7000 Aus. And I had $2k worth of kite gear, yeeewww! (I’m still shit, btw, and still loving it regardless) As my visa was up, I went to Bali (on a visa run and yes, a jolly), and came back officially a tourist. Cue a rather indulgent three months of couch surfing, kite-surfing, and… well, just surfing, as I moved around, on the tourist visa, visiting all the beautiful souls I had met that year.   Did I spank $7k on a three month holiday? You bet I did. Do I regret it? Hell no– I’m actually PROUD to admit I...
A cheeky little visa run to Bali

A cheeky little visa run to Bali

Do you know what excites me in life, what really pushes me over the edge? Transitions. This visa run to Bali is one such transition. Specifically, moments of blinding clarity at the airport. Where one chapter ceases to be, and another, practically simultaneously, but not altogether quite seamlessly, begins. The watershed. The final frontier. The moment that will never again be. The brief interlude in life’s dancing- when you could hear a pin drop- as someone changes the record. You wait with baited breath for the needle to hit the vinyl, to hear the fresh beat, and to learn a new rhythm once again. In that blinding flash of silence and nothingness… There is simply sweet, sweet, anticipation. And to a lesser extent some lingering- but rapidly diminishing- melancholy, reflections. Whatever it is, it just ended. And whatever the new thing is, it is just beginning. Right here, right now. The longer I play out my days in collections of temporary existence, the further I descend down the rabbit role of nomadicy… The more I treasure these moments. They are the hallmark of my existence. The stitches holding together the peculiar, varied- occasionally threadbare, but more often than not rich and velvety – patches of fabric which make up my patchwork, but aggressively couture, hand-designed lifestyle. Nothing will ever intrigue me like the unknown- the moment you sit alone in an airport lounge and have no idea what the next few days will bring. So today, this glorious moment I am so intoxicatingly balls deep in right this very second, is a transition. It is so IN THE MOMENT...
Face-planting paradise: 5 ways to NOT suck at life (and kiting)

Face-planting paradise: 5 ways to NOT suck at life (and kiting)

Suffice it to say, I am not gifted with athletic prowess and natural sporting ability. Nor am I gifted with patience. I learn new sports slowly, with great difficulty, carrying within me an enduring frustration that I am not as good as everyone else. I am perpetually angry at my shortcomings, cursed with an unfortunate compulsion to crack the shits and throw all my toys out the pram because… I. JUST. CAN’T. DO. IT. Which is unfortunate, because one of my challenges this year has been learning to kite surf, many thanks to Zephyr Kite Tours over on magical Cocos Islands, where I was lucky enough to do live for almost three months and do some of my second year visa work. And kiting on Cocos has broken me. Mentally and physically- face-plant after face-plant, tangled lines after tangled lines, walk of shame after walk of shame- broken me. So I’m going to have a rant; because if there is one thing I’m actually good at, in all my British glory, it’s having a good old fashioned moan. But it’s a rant with a positive spin (which is something, given my epic struggles, manifesting themselves in an insatiable desire to go ‘full retard’ and hack up my kite with a kitchen knife), because face-plants and tantrums aside, I am learning some valuable lessons. And I wanted to share them here, to inspire anyone else that is one tantrum away from giving up on something. These lessons are borne of my kite surfing woes, but in reality, they are universally applicable…   1) Quit worrying what you look like Who are these women that rock...
When wanderlust’ers don’t know where to wander

When wanderlust’ers don’t know where to wander

I’m the little blonde scruff with brown skin and bare feet and a shell tied round her neck, sleeping alone on the airport floor. I wear mosquito bites instead of make-up. My only brand is necessity. I’m clad in the veritable armour of K-Mart’s cheapest sleeping bag, with a bright yellow minion hat on my head, and a tatty backpack by my side. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Or the next day. Or any day. This is my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.   A wanderlust update Three days ago I left a paradise island in the Indian Ocean. I had been living there for two and a half months to finish my working holiday visa extension work; and to tend bar, to learn to kite surf, to get very brown, and to have a million heady adventures atop crystal clear waters and palm fringed beaches. I have some stories to tell you (some will not be repeated), and I will post them very soon. Paradise was not conducive to being chained to my laptop, despite my best intentions, and, as per, I have much catch up to do. Now, however, after three days back in Perth, I of course find myself thousands of kilometres across the country, curled up in a sleeping bag possessing similar qualities to tissue paper, on the floor, at Adelaide airport. Surprise! Would you expect any less? An absolute YOLO moment. I feel alive with recklessness; despite being told several times that I would have to sleep outside (like, literally, outside) because the airport ‘closes’ at night. I laughed. Like, I...
Do YOU want to live and work in paradise? Cocos Islands are looking for WWOOFers!

Do YOU want to live and work in paradise? Cocos Islands are looking for WWOOFers!

For those of you that read my site or follow my adventures, I have doubtless been making you all sick with jealousy these past couple of months. I’m sorry. But I really do live in paradise, a Utopian speck of little known euphoria in the Indian Ocean. Cocos Islands, Australia’s best kept secret. And I really do spend my days doing nothing more than writing and kiting. And I really am in love with it. But I’m only partially sorry for making you jealous. I’m partially sorry, because my aim is not to make anyone jealous; my aim is to inspire you that you could be doing the same as me. So if you see my pictures and I depress you and demoralise you, then I am sorry. That’s rubbish. But the rest of me isn’t sorry at all. Because it’s not like I ripped my way into this world (quite literally, sorry Mum) with a ticket to paradise strapped to my umbilical cord. None of us do. And it’s not like the job offer just floated through my window one day, gold-plated and clutched majestically in the talons of a eagle, as a chorus of woodland animals sung of my greatness. I am not special. I just work hard at making things happen for myself. The truth is, that the vast majority of you could be out here too if you so chose. Granted, not all, but I’m aiming this post at backpackers and travellers, for the most part- and at all those who keep emailing me saying ‘for the love of all that is holy, how do I do what you do?!’....
Barefoot elopement: A cocos Island wedding

Barefoot elopement: A cocos Island wedding

How bored are you, really, of seeing weddings and rings and baby pictures in your newsfeed? I mean no offence to those that are blissfully loved up, and/or blissfully (or otherwise!) knocked up; but some of us just don’t want to settle yet, some of us just don’t want anything clawing its way out of our special place just yet, and us single girls don’t really enjoy being smacked in our ever-ageing ovaries with the tick-tock of reality.   BUT, yesterday I ended up attending an exciting paradise wedding on the beach (as you do), that challenged my outlook, and as such I wanted to share it briefly. Not only has the experience just made it into my list of top peculiar travel encounters,  it has made me feel alive; because it has reminded me there are people out there who really do live life in the fast lane, DESPITE getting married- which I have always assumed, if I’m honest, to be the beginning of the end.   Weddings scare me   What does marriage mean to me? It means you’re a grown up, you’re mostly done. You’re just a mortgage, a 9-5, a sensible car and a screaming baby away from death. I’m sure there’s some comradeship and some cuddles thrown in too? Great, but the thought of picking one person and being bound to them forever is quite frankly terrifying. Bleak I know, but I’m the girl who gets itchy feet after three months in the same place. I’m the girl who looks at babies and feels her (incredible, thankyou very much) pelvic floor muscles recoil in abject horror. I’m the...
Life lessons from my ipod

Life lessons from my ipod

This will be a cheesy post.   Because I’ve just run 10km through paradise and I’m buzzing my absolute b-cups off. Wherever I travel, I try to run. I think about my future as my feet hit the ground. I throw my thoughts at the bush stars, or I bounce my ideas off palm leaves. I sink my determinations into mountain ice, or tropical sand, or red outback dust, or park grass, or city tarmac. It matters not where I am; I carry my sweaty determinations with me everywhere.   I get out my tree with endorphins, and my thoughts become drunk with aspiration. Usually about ten minutes into a good run, nature dumps her drugs in my bloodstream. The music swims from my ears to my pumping heart, propelling bass right into my muscles, which rises up to meet nature’s euphoria like a cresting wave. This crashing surge of electro breaks upon a beach of pure adrenaline, and all I can hear is the roaring tide of my fierce thoughts. In this moment, I could take on the world. It is the clarity of a racing heart and pumping muscles. It is a headlong sprint into a million exploding aspirations: I am a strong, powerful woman, I am a force to be reckoned with, and I can achieve anything I damn well want to. But it is the music too. Flowing like an oxygen-rich life-blood, pumping through my veins as if it carries the endorphins themselves. Synth like honey. Beats to echo your pulse. Lyrics to pull you upwards. It feels like when oil mingles with water- silken...
Cocos Islands: A Barefoot Paradise

Cocos Islands: A Barefoot Paradise

Cocos Islands: for the free of sole, and the free in soul. Do you like secrets? I’m going to share with you a delicious one. It’s about a little known speck of tropical paradise that sits forgotten in the Indian Ocean. It’s palm trees and white beaches and land crabs and coconuts. It’s unlocked homes, keys in the ignition and perpetual bare feet. It’s turquoise waters, it’s an intoxicating tropical breeze, and it’s the best darn kite-surfing in the world.   It’s Australia, but not as you know it. And I’m going to let you peek behind the palm trees of this clandestine utopia…   Welcome to Cocos! Now remove your shoes. Welcome to beautiful, and little-known, Cocos Keeling Islands–  one of Australia’s 7 remote off-shore territories– an atoll of 27 islands some 3,000 kilometres from the mainland. I’m living here, on West Island- the lesser populated of the two inhabited islands (120 people). So, I have done it- I have found the best darn visa extension work in the whole of Australia. In exchange for food and accommodation, I work 20 hours a week on an organic food farm for Cocos Tropical Foods. While most backpackers – for their 88 days rural work in order to extend their visa for another year – bust their guts on melon farms or have their fingertips erased picking mangoes (this is an actual thing), I am frolicking in absolute paradise. Not a hostel in sight. Not a job board in sight. Not a drunk 18 year old German backpacker in sight (no offence, but you guys are everywhere in Australia). Not much in sight, actually, except pristine white beaches,...
From the bush to the Cocos Island beach

From the bush to the Cocos Island beach

Moving from the outback to a remote tropical island I’m currently at the airport, embracing one of those beautiful transition periods where I move seamlessly (ha!) from one surreal experience to the next. The sun is just coming up across the runway, the tips of planes illuminated pink in the morning haze, and I’m so very excited. I’m off to live on a desert island, can you believe that? I’m flying to Cocos Island – which is actually a collection of smaller islands, most uninhabited – up near Malaysia, though still a part of Australia technically. I’ll be helping out with a small organic food company, Cocos Tropical Foods, in exchange for food and board and the rest of my second year visa work signed off. There will be also be a paid bar job on the side I’m told- for when I’m not busy exploring the pristine beaches and kayaking off to any of the 27 islands. Just, wow. As if chasing bulls around the bush and playing cowgirl in the outback for two months wasn’t enough… I’m now going to live in paradise for a couple months too. I am so utterly blessed, and I have Gumtree to thank for all of it! Of course, I still need to write about my wild outback adventures, and that is something I plan to do over the next week. Watch this space, I got some stories…. But while I have a spare half hour before my plane boards, here’s the latest in this crazy narrative that is my life…   Goodbye, outback I left the Kimberley with a good...