Travel Treasures

Travel, whether it be near or far is without a doubt one of life’s pure pleasures. It can make you feel truly alive, throw you out of your comfort zone and shock you with delightful new experiences, the way nothing else can (well actually kids can do this for you too, but with not quite the same thrill).

It’s worth noting that I did not take my first flight until I was 24 years…. old by some standards and that was to Sydney (just down the road). It was the following year that I took the plunge and decided to travel to Europe on my own for 5 weeks. And that was it, I was hooked. Who isn’t?

Travel has this rare ability to make you shift your thinking and force you to view things literally from another perspective. And in doing this, you cannot help but feel other-worldly. I remember visiting this beautiful beach (Baska Voda) in Croatia, along the Dalmatian Coast.

The natural geography of the place was so confronting and in-your-face, the history of war still so present, the squid we had for supper so fresh and tasty and the European bathers in all their comfortable nakedness, put me into sensory overload.

It all felt a little surreal and it was disarming to think that for someone else, this was their life, their environment, their culture and there I was, lucky enough to live it too, if only for a moment.

So, here (and under the page titled ‘Travel’) is where you’ll find my most treasured travel experiences for the soon-to-be traveller, the seasoned traveller or the hopeful traveller, because we all need a little ‘out of the ordinary’ to make us feel alive.

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I entertained thoughts of writing a truly epic novel today (after two cups of coffee I hasten to add). The kind that makes a profound statement about the human psyche and prompts us all to question big picture stuff. I figured if George Orwell can do it, why can’t I?book in coffee shop

Well, you can see how this quickly led me down a path that was never going to end well. Let’s just say the feeling of inadequacy speedily   superseded any grandiose notion I had of offering up a special gift to the human race. I also wondered if I should lay off the coffee for a bit.

There are those who have scaled great heights and waged countless battles, sacrificed what others have not and given their all, in order to offer up their gift to the world.

Einstein, Hemingway, Martin Luther King Jr, Malala Yousafzai, Mark Zuckerberg, are a few names who come to mind, each imparting their own unique gift into this world.

Then, there’s me (or us, if I can be so bold as to include people such as myself) who aren’t quite there yet. I mean, we’re aiming for things, occasionally set goals but if we’re honest, haven’t quite figured out what it is that we’ve got, that’s even worth giving.

So, it’s apparent that I’m struggling to grasp what my special talent or vision is. I’ve got some time on my hands this week and I’m willing some epiphany my way, so that I might make a start before life gets in the way again.

Like most people, I’ve dabbled in an array of ‘hobbies’, I spose you’d call them. I’ve become a member of different social and community groups over the years. I’ve sat and attempted to answer those heavy questions that ruminate late at night, after a few wines and awkwardly always come up short.

There are plenty of people, (yes people, not super special or genetically modified) out there who are making their mark. Whether it be in the sporting arena, the business world, the arts or science they’re doing it. So why can’t I, we, the rest of us?

I’m reading these magazines lately targeted at middle aged women and it’s full of profiles and stories of Mumtrepreners putting their talents to the test and making a great go of their gift. Mmm, what can I offer?

Then there’s my bedtime viewing of TED talks with their bountiful supply of inspirational personal tales. I love them, but drift off the sleep feeling ever so slightly deflated at my own lack of offerings and am none the wiser on my own personal road to gift giving.giving hands

I do believe that we all have something to give, something that is ours alone to give. Our challenge is to discover this in time so that we can nurture it before imparting it to this world. And I’m worried I’m running out of time!

I’m wondering if my rather normal existence, in my rather safe home and with my rather sweet family and friends are to blame (in a good way). Maybe the conditions or circumstances aren’t right for me to uncover my gift? Perhaps there are variables beyond my control that need to come into play?

When I look at each of these people and their gracious gifts, I’m struck by a simple truth; maybe one just needs to live, exist and give of themselves to others, without the desire for return.

My husband has one of these gifts (among many I like to think). He has the ability to see the lighter side to things; wave an arm about, pull a weird look and a crack a silly joke all in the name of keeping a balanced perspective. And this is a gift (I’m sure you’ll appreciate) worth giving to someone such as myself.

One of my good friends has the generous ability to simply listen…..to me. She’ll patiently and determinedly wait it out while I squander time babbling on about all sorts of things. I truly marvel at and value this ability of hers and while I’ve mentioned many times what a wonderful listener she is, she’ll quickly mutter some humble utterance and smile.

These may not be gifts making a packet in the retail world or solving issues of inequality in society, but they’re unique gifts, given selflessly and of value to those who receive them. And over time, isn’t this the true meaning of gift giving.thinking

So, I’m thinking I might start afresh tomorrow (maybe without the excess coffee) and simply try to be a good person to those around me and to myself. I’ll appreciate my ‘safe’ circumstances and try …..ok reeeeeally try, to let life just happen, content in the knowledge that that epic novel could still very well come to fruition, with a heap of hard work and sacrifice.

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