Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2012

In a couple of hours I will board a flight, an international flight….I am bound for Ubud, Bali.

I am excited about my 10 day holiday.

But I just got home from a café breakfast, walked home through the parklands, collecting my laundry from the laundromat on the way…

And with each step I took on my morning stroll, I felt self-assured, mindful of my sense in inner calm and inner peace…I guess you would call it HAPPINESS?!

You know you are in a GOOD place, when you are faced with the prospect of 10 days in a tropical paradise and you realise your happiness levels would remain unchanged if, instead, you stayed home for the same period of time!

Don’t get me WRONG…I am getting on that PLANE…there is nothing more I would rather do!….

But personal happiness and joy comes from within…I FINALLY get it…after many years of looking outward for joy, blaming my unhappiness on everything OTHER than myself….Not willing or strong enough to take accountability and ownership of the direction my life was taking…

Well that was the PAST

So today take a PLANE, and on this journey I take with me my new outlook and perspective, my suitcase packed to the brim with two particular travel items : Happiness and Mindfulness

Off to the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2012, a literally festival set in the tropical paradise. I am volunteering to work there, have been assigned the role of Main Area Supervisor for one of the festival venues…

Check out the Festival website…be inspired and transported to a place in which happiness is plentiful:


I can’t wait to immerse myself in the festival vibe, feel the hot humidity of the Balinese climate on my skin, take in the sights, sounds and smells of my holiday surrounds….be captivated by the smiles of the Balinese people.

I hope to write about my experiences in UBUD daily, keep a personal journal…When I get back to Australia I will share some to the wonderful tales that will no doubt have transpired….

Then again…I might not be able to help myself…So inspired I might be that I won’t be able to stop writing post blog posts at a rapid rate, 3 a day?

Who can say…But to truly enjoy a holiday, and the respite they provide from the everyday,  you have to be present in the moment, open to new experiences….not sat in front of a computer screen diligently recording events as they happen around you!

Happy Days Ahead!!

Bon Voyage to Me!!

Five Sentence Ficiton : Zombie

Word Prompt: Zombie

Alarm clock shatters the morning stillness……you shower, dress in a hurry and stare vacantly out the window on the commute to the city.

Sun comes up, the work day starts…sun goes down, computer switches off and homeward bound.

The cycle is repeated…not once, but five times….and then, only then,  are you rewarded with two days respite.

Yet you are tired, oh so tired, that the desire for sleep overshadows everything.

The laundry piles up, the dirty dishes, the unopened mail and the grass , it just continues to grow taller and taller…and then it starts again…another 5 day cycle.

Happy Birthday to Me

I wrote a pre-emptive birthday post yesterdaycertain the words I chose would reflect how I would feel on the day entered this world many moons ago.

But the arrival of a gift last night changed everything.

A necklace, pretty and elegant, with a message that was so finely inscribed on the pendant I could not read it.

I sent a message to my friend, to thank her and family for the present…and I said I was curious about the small print on the jewellery- ‘ Does it say something on the necklace…Is there a hidden message?’

I almost did’nt ask…I felt that I should have been able to make sense of the gift myself…but I could’nt…and knowing the person who gave the necklace to me…there knew there was more to it.

The reply came back instantly:

‘ She changed her focus and found herself’

She changed her focus and found herself

My eyes filled with tears…the changes that I have made in my life over the last year, the last couple of years, were  acknowledged, understood, recognised and applauded…all by this small pendant.

There could be no better birthday present.

The fact that my efforts were acknowledged, understood, recognised and applauded by the best of friends…only goes to make today the best of birthdays.

And so now I present yesterdays musings…still relevant, but slightly overshadowed by the beauty of a single gift.

Another birthday has crept up on me…today I am another year older…Am I ready to add a new digit?

I can say with all honesty, yes I am.

The last year has been just that, another year.

There have been happy and sad tears, belly laughs, hurt, anger, fear, the inevitable suffering that comes with loss…and an abundance of joy.

I have withstood it all and stand and at ready for whatever the next year has in store

Birthday…I love them….This love blossomed in my early 20’s, when I made a pact with myself to try and be in a new country each year to herald in my ‘special day’.

Some years I achieved this aim, other years I failed miserably.

Today might be one of those days…. for I am desk bound, sitting in an office block in Darlington, Sydney.

But truth be told…I feel like a winner.

The celebrations started early this year, 4 days before the new digit was to be added.

A dinner party in my honour…..a lamb roast with all the trimmings and a birthday cake and chocolate crackles.

And today I look forward to spending the hours of 9am-5pm with colleagues whose company I enjoy….This is to be followed by a birthday dinner with a group of girlfriends I treasure.

The weekend sees the celebrations take on a family theme Saturday night with Sunday providing the perfect backdrop afternoon drinks by the sea.

Birthdays…I love them…A chance to reflect on the year that was ….I stated in January that 2012 was the year that to ‘ Expect the Unexpected’…I continue to live by this motto…it will no doubt follow me into 2013 and beyond.

And today I add to that…a wise person recently said ‘We have to be in a good place with ourselves before being able to allow others to enter in our lives’

As I look back on the year that was, I smile broadly…for I know I am moving in the direction of ‘that good place’

So thank you…

  • To the people who have been part of my life what seems an eternity….I’d be lost without you!
  • To the people who entered my life in recent years, you have added great depth and colour
  • To the people out there I am yet to meet….see you soon.

Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday breakfast...prepared by me for me

My birthday breakfast…prepared by me for me

Five Sentence Fiction: Awkward

Word prompt : Awkward

The shop owner looked directly at the women and said matter of factly, ‘ I’m not pregnant’

The women, money in hand ready to pay for the oh-so-cute jumpsuit for her friend’s newborn ,froze, her face flushed crimson red, and in an instant was on autopilot, spewing forth a diatribe of words, a train wreck of an apology.

‘ I am so sorry…I just assumed…You working here with all these baby clothes….Your baby bump?…You knew exactly what size I was looking for…I am so embarrassed…Do you have children?…No, don’t answer that… I am just so embarrassed…I can’t believe I said that…I’ve never done that before…I’m just so sorry’

The shop owner completed the sale, wrapped the gift, whilst attempting to alleviate the obvious distress of her first customer of the day ‘Don’t worry, I get that ALL the time’

The women, face still red, apologised for the tenth time and hurried out of the store, comforting herself with the fact that as she was interstate on holidays, she would NEVER have to face the ‘ I’m not pregnant’ lady again.

R U Ok Day- 13 September, 2012

R U Ok Day, 2012

R U Ok Day, 2012

Today is R U Ok day- Australia wide

What is R U Ok Day?

 R U OK?Day is a national day of action on the second Thursday of September (dedicated to inspiring all people of all backgrounds to regularly ask each other ‘Are you ok?’

By raising awareness about the importance of connection and providing resources throughout the year, the R U OK? Foundation aims to prevent isolation by empowering people to support each other through life’s ups and downs.

I could not be more passionate about a day such as R U Ok day….I know first hand how important, powerful and life changing those three words can be.

I am an advocate for uttering those three words….

More often than not, when I ask people this questions the response is,’ I am fine’.

That makes me happy and  glad that I asked.

But every once in a while ,someone when asked, will say ‘ I am not fine’.

Then more than ever I feel happy and glad that I asked.

I am learning not to make assumptions about people’s feelings.

Asking questions is the only way to break down assumption.

Three words make this possible : ‘ R U Ok?’

R U Ok…three words that have the power to break down barriers for they provide individual with an opportunity to put a voice  their inner thoughts and feeling and more than happy to listen.

R U Ok day… a day that reminds me of my commitment to continuing to ask these three words and to listen to all responses that come as a result.

R U Ok day website: R U Ok Day

Five Sentence Fiction:Memories

World Prompt: Memories

It was September 12th, 2001 and my friends and I were standing in the midday sun on a ferry wharf  in Naxos, the Greek Islands.

The three of us, not a care in the world, doing what many young Australian’s do as soon as they complete their education…a gap year of travel, ‘a right of passage’

As we waited for the boat to transport us onto our next island paradise I glanced at the cover of the newspaper held by a man in front of me.

The man was German, and whilst I could not make sense of the text, what I saw that day drained the colour from my sunburnt face.

Two towers, two very tall buildings on fire….an image of a plane…fire, smoke,  dust clouds…a image of a lone man, his face awash with panic , terror, confusion, disbelief.

On this day one year ago…..

I am painfully aware of what I was doing on this very day last year.

I was boarding a plane, first stop Paris, then onto Denmark, NYC and London.

365 days later I find myself desk bound, in an office block in Darlington, Sydney.

What a difference a year makes!

Life events such as holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversary, deaths are reminders to all to just pause for a minute and remember….pay attention to a moment in time that has passed, the feelings associated with the event, the sights, the sounds, the smells.

  • I remember the excitement I felt about my impending trip and the tinge of sadness that I would be leaving Flora the cat for a one month sabbatical with cat-sitter extraordinaire, Astrid.
  • I remember that I ordered a double shot cappuccino the morning of the flight, as I had yet to pack my bag and needed a kick-start.
  • I remember that the weather that day was sunny, Sydney was in full bloom and I was questioning whether it might be nice to just stay home, bask in the sunshine, take a month holiday in my home town instead.
  • I remember feeling slightly nervous about 5 weeks solo travel…Sure I had catch ups locked in the various locations around the world, but I knew their would be alone time…that kind of scared me.

But it is with utmost fondness that I look back on the adventure that was….

I caught up with long-lost friends, truly beautiful people who I am fortunate to have in my life. The same holiday enabled me to add  few new ones to my social circle.

I saw Denmark through the eyes of my Aussie friend Liz, who now calls the place home…Going to Liz’s sons preschool was a real highlight…I was a real life ‘ Aussie Girl’ for ‘ Show and Tell’ that morning!

I discovered even more things to love about my three favourite cities in NYC, London and Paris.

Looking back it is hard to believe that with the passing of just one small year, so much has changed….I have lost loved ones, gained a new family member in the form of a sister-in-law, babies have been born, friendships have continued to grow and change, Flora the cat is 500 grams heavier and I too have changed…

I have changed because of the trip I took, the people I meet and the adventures I had.

I have changed because a year has passed…as with the passing of any year, change is inevitable.

I am a year older, a year wiser ( that is questionable!), more worldly, more certain of things the direction I am heading and the people I want to take with me on lifes journey.

Taking time to reflect on the events that make up my life story, is both necessary, important and vital.

On this day, one year ago I was boarding a plane…..

Happy Days in Cornwall, UK, September 2011

Happy Days in Cornwall, UK, September 2011

Related articles

16 posts under the category ‘ International Travel’

On this day one year ago

Five Sentence Fiction : Faces

Word prompt: Faces

The 24 hour flight from London to Sydney was a killer.

Each time work required her to attend business meetings abroad, she cringed at the thought of yet another long haul flight.

The only pleasant part of work travel was the welcome home she received at the airport terminal.

The smiling faces from her family..  her 5 year old son, his two front teeth missing, her two year old twin boys , complete with bed hair and her best friend, her husband.

Yes, the job required her to travel the globe, but on the return home, never was it more apparent that  her world comprised of just four smiley, happy, loving  faces.

Fathers Day

As a family, we don’t celebrate Father’s Day, or Mother’s day for that matter….

I guess as a unit we have adopted the saying ‘Everyday should be Fathers / Mothers Day’

But recently there was a day in August when the focus was solely on my Dad, a special kind of father’s day….a birthday.

My Dad, for as long as I can remember, had LOVED motorbikes. And whilst I know that he loves my Mum, my Brother, his daughter in law, me, his extended family and friends…His love of Motorbikes might just be his biggest love of all.

Dad, Chopper, Harley and Johnny Cash

Dad in heaven with Chopper, Harley and Johnny Cash.

For his birthday this year, I indulged this true love…we ate lunch in a motorbike mechanic shop…not your grease lined, oil stained variety….a store more like heaven for those who worship at the altar of the Harley Davidson.

In inner Sydney, there is a motorbike shop, no,  a  motorbike emporium, where folk gather to worship, pay respect, drool and lust over the two-wheeler.

It is a hipster hang out of the coolest variety….Deus Ex Machina, Parramatta Road, Camperdown, Sydney, Postcode 2050.

Deus Ex Machina

I have never been a fan of motorcycles, I admire them from afar, think people who ride them are cool, but my Father…his love affair is almost as long as his 62 years on earth…

A day for Dad…pure joy from start to finish… the bikes,the food, coffee, cakes and ice-cream

A treat for Dad, which in turn was a real treat for me…It is not often that you get to spend time spoiling a parent..I felt as if the roles had reversed…Finally I was making the smallest of dints in my unwavering gratitude to my Dad.

Happy Birthday to my Dad….and even though we don’t celebrate it, Happy Fathers Day too

I have inserted my two favourite photos from the day I will call ‘Fathers Day’…Photographic evidence that my Dad was indeed in heaven


Dad, Chopper, Harley and Johnny Cash

Dad, Chopper, Harley and Johnny Cash

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