This is a 2-Part Post, the first part written in February 2017…
The Bucket List is a wonderful film starring Morgan Freeman & Jack Nicholson it is one of our all time favourite films and was on TV recently we watched it again. Clearly inspired my partner has been dreaming again of things that he would like to do too. I hope that he gets to do them.
So as I try to think of the ways that I will actually begin to tick things off my bucket list. My partner is thinking of ways that he can make it happen for me.
What is a little bit bizarre is that although things get mentioned from time to time. It is not written down anywhere. So he is going from memory which at times can be a bit sketchy. But it seems that he is quietly planning my bucket list for me. Making it happen. Like the trip I mentioned where I find as many Art Deco and art nouveau buildings and photograph them. Well, I as anyone reading this regularly will know I am just back from Barcelona a last month. Within a week he was already pointing out a hotel break, 2 days in Venice in a beautiful 4 star Art Nouveau hotel. Would I love to go? Yes of course I would. What worries me is that he has no intention of coming with me since travelling by air is an issue. It has been for some years, but now he is concerned about his respiratory system since he has been so ill lately. But he wants to send me. He told me at New Year that I would have to get used to travelling on my own. I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I guess this was why which is so much better than the alternative since I can comeback and tell him all about it and drive him crazy looking at the photographs and now write about it too.
Of course I wouldn’t have to travel alone if a friend or family member wanted to join me, so that’s always an option. I don’t know how I’d be abroad totally on my own. I think I need a bit more confidence before I take that step. But there’s hope for me as I’m only uncertain not terrified at the thought of it. Time would be my own and I wouldn’t have to do a particular thing. There again though it wasn’t like that when Mum and I travelled, it was very relaxed. We did not have an itinerary just expressed a wish of things to see and she noticed things that I did not when we were out and about. A beautiful doorway here and there, or architectural detail. Something on the bus which I made her get off to show me so I could capture it.
We did say that it would be interesting to see how many of our photographs were of the same things since we shared a keen eye for so many of the sights.
I don’t claim to be an expert on anything, merely an enthusiast but I would love to make a living doing this.
Yes, I am an enthusiast of so many things.
So along with my growing list of things that I’d like to do this year. I’m afraid my bucket list is growing too and I don’t think that’s a bad thing really. It simply means that I have not had enough of the experiences of this world. There is more and more that I wish to see and do before I die and if I don’t get to do it all soon, then I’ll just have to live a long and happy one. I don’t know how long it will take me to get to Australia but I will get there one day and collect hugs from my extended adopted family when I do.
April 2018… Continuation
It is strange that this post has remained in my “Draft” folder for over a year untouched and incomplete but what is even stranger, for me at least is that I have just ticked another thing off my Bucket List. It was a big one of the things which I had no clue as to when it might happen, my only hope was that it would. As you will have seen from my posts recently, I got to hug my extended adopted family in Australia sooner than I thought and I travelled there alone. (Does that count as two things, I wonder?)
Of course this has not quenched my thirst for new experiences at all. If anything I am relishing the thought of what will come next. Its turning out to be an exciting journey after all. Now how IS that ever increasing Bucket List coming along?
So as I return home after a month in the Beautiful Queensland Coast with my dear friends, I am struck by how down to earth I felt about this wonderful place. I immediately felt homely in this unknown place. As I left I knew that I would miss the family so much and that saying my Goodbyes would be difficult. But we are all happy in the knowledge that this will not be my last trip to Australia. It is just the beginning of my travels to this part of the world. I guess that hasn’t quite sunken in yet as I sit on the first leg of the flight home. I have rung my partner and heard that they are alright (as alright can be) at home and as my friends family will all be asleep now having journeyed back to Eudlo, where they all stay, part of me is wishing that I was also tucked up in a nice warm bed, but that is for tomorrow.
As I figure out in my fuzzy head a way to get my family over to Australia in one piece, if only it is his dream too, I could perhaps satisfy my wanderlust with regular trips if some of my contacts might put some work my way. Time to make a few more phone calls I think.
Today, my last day in Australia, we visited Coolum Beach, a lovely area which was absolutely littered with blue jellyfish, which apparently have a vicious sting to their rather lengthy tail.
Since I was attacked by a green ant only yesterday, I was not inclined to repeat the exercise with one of these beasties today, so we dodged rather a lot of them along the beach, but the waves were high, we wrote messages on the sand, whilst the boys played and ran up and down. The sun was shining and I looked at the iridescence of the water as the tides crossed my path. It was beautiful and for a moment, I lingered there not wanting to leave.
Swept away in the moment I was transfixed by the waves which reached the shore. Only being brought back to the present when the boys called out to us.
We went on to Coloundra, which is a favourite since my friends Mum currently lives there and it is where they began their time here, just after emigrating. There was a fish restaurant which served wet fish too, it was on a main road, not particularly inspiring as places go, but my meal was enjoyable nevertheless Calamari and Swordfish steaks served with chips and a side salad.
I was quite pleased to see a Pelican fly over the car as we arrived along the beach front and he rested upon the wall of a block of flats. I managed to get a photograph of him before we left. Another thing that I will remember of Coloundra.
There is snow back home, just a few small flurries here and there so I am told, but I hope that he brings a warm coat to the airport, despite the layers I have packed, I know that after the warmth of the Sunshine Coast I am really going to feel the cold at least for the first few days. I may even have to resort to Thermals, but lets hope not.
So what will I be taking with me from this trip?
Positivity, that there is so much that is better and that is actually available to me in this life, not having to wait until the next one to experience it all.
Do I believe in reincarnation…
Hmm, although I have long thought that we get one life and should live it. It’s one of those things that I hope that we do get some kind second chance if the odds have been against us in this life thus far. Not necessarily if we live a pure and chaste existence, but if we do good unto others, try to help people along the way and such like.
I have met up with someone who gave me some wonderful advice regarding writing. She has been an inspiration for looking for the good in things, even when I have felt really low. To meet her in person after all this time, could have gone well, or not and neither of us were sure. We arranged to meet in the last week of my trip. Over a coffee and cake. It was an absolute joy to spend an hour or so with her, chatting about all kinds of things and finding out that we got along just fine. It seems that we have indeed become friends and we will be keeping in touch.
As we drove back from the beach and I squashed all of my luggage into my cases in the hope that I didn’t have to take anything out. My beach combed shells carefully placed in the luggage so that they will not get broken. The beautiful “Blue Shell” given me by my friend, who said I should have it. We sat outside on her verandah in the sunshine and made jewellery from the Quandong stones which we had collected from the garden. Or rather, I drilled the holes, my friend strung them and made them into two rather lovely necklaces, which are enormous, almost architectural in their style. But I also learned that sacred jewellery is made from them by the Aborigines.’ The kids decided since there were so many of them left over, that they would also make some one for their mum and one for a friend and each other. We had picked up and cleaned up much more of them than we first thought from the garden and yet they still litter the floor at the back of the house, there are probably thousands of them and there will be many more when fruit season comes around. It is a shame that I did not get to see the blue fruit, but they have long gone, only the debris remains. But we have seen the jewellery made by the monks at the nearby Buddhist Temple, Chenrezig up on the hill nearby. The only difference being that they have added a bead and tassle to their ones. Ours are simpler, but hang beautifully as a double necklace, made by my own dear friend. There is one for me and one for my mother. Along with a bracelet one of the boys and I made from all of the beach shells and coral that had natural holes in.
I tasted custard apple for the first time today, it has an interesting taste, I think I am more taken with the Mangoes and also the quite amazing Fruit Salad Fruit, a strange looking fruit which as it ripens and sheds its outer skin, you are left with something which resembles a skinned banana, but you can taste so many other fruit.
We each described it differently after a taste, one thought pineapple, another melon, and another banana.
I tried Jack Fruit, which is another native one, it looks a bit like a hedgehog on the outside and has a pungent smell to it when it is ripe, but makes an awful mess and leaves a glue like substance, its sap which is difficult to remove, on everything that it touches. It was my friends’ first taste of the fruit too, she had read that you could prepare it and use it like a vegan version pulled pork, which is very popular. It had a sweet taste in its raw form, which was quite pleasant, definitely fruity. But once cooked takes on a whole new persona. It lost its appeal somewhat and then only took on the taste of the spices and sauce which it was cooked in. So isn’t something I’d be likely to try again.
I thought that I would do some things differently whilst I was away, but didn’t. Firstly I thought that I would write lots of poetry, but didn’t write any at all.
I also thought that I would meditate but although there were times when I sought peace and calm I did not, not even once! Well, not intentionally although the calm swept over me every time my toes hit the sand.
I thought that I might struggle to drive a manual car again on roads which I do not know, with the different layout and rules, but I took to it once again like a duck to water. One drive out in the car, ten minutes in and it all came flooding back to me, the first drive in an unknown place. The South of France all those years ago, it was as natural as breathing. I soon learned some of the routes to enable us to get back home. We did have the mobile sat nav, but when the signal was non existent or the batteries low, we somehow still made it back.
The fact that I was open to trying new things, experiences and directions, meant that this was the holiday that I needed it to be, filled with wonderful places, beautiful sights, friendly and welcoming people. It was a very pleasant surprise to be wished a safe journey, by the people I met around the town before I left. They had observed my arrival, as a tired unwell traveller and observed the change in me finding my feet and would all stop to talk and find out what I thought of their little town.
The nearest town Mooloolah is more like one of our villages, spread out over a greater area, but with similar facilities to a British country village. A few essential stores and a fuel station, but there is a good network of regular trains going past at the bottom of the garden. I have never seen such lengthy freight trains, but maybe next time when I return to this part of the world, I will take a journey on the train with my friend.
As I said Goodbye to the house, the area, my friends and their transport which has carried me safely on this journey, I watched the greenery whizzing by as a passenger in the car, thinking of many of the things that have captured my heart about this place and the many things I have yet to see and feeling quite emotional about leaving.
I will return one day, to my friends again and this place which has captured not just the imagination, but reignited my spirit of adventure and also a little piece of my heart. There is so much to see and I have barely scratched the surface, I simply have to see more.
Not to put to fine a point on it, most of the last year or two has been toxic in alot of ways. It has not gone well, besieged by illness and tormented by the past and situations which I felt powerless to change. But underneath it all, little did I realise that actually I was changing. We are ever changing and sometimes, it creeps up on us and whacks us over the head with the proverbial hammer. Sometimes it needs to.
I needed to change, so many things. My self-destructive thinking, my approach to people always thinking that it was my job to make them like me and getting awfully disappointed and even upset if they didn’t. My attitude to myself and general way of thinking. I had to stop taking things so personally, but the trouble with being an empathetic soul means that unless you take time to protect yourself, then it feels as though it is all on you, your responsibility to make things better for others, to listen, to advise etc, etc. Sometimes it is just too much to cope with.
Then someone wonderful sat me down for a little talk, well actually a lot of talks over quite a long period of time. She told me that I was a nice person, (I have always tried to be) that I am loved and that people should be proud to know me and work with me, that I am an inspiration and encouragement to others and if they didn’t like me, then it was their problem and not mine.
That last bit, I have to admit was a bit of a thunderbolt. I don’t think that I was equipped to deal with it at the time, but it was nice to hear it. But there it sat, at the back of my mind for months and months. Slowly over time, I began to view myself differently, I looked at the things that I could do, the ways that I could help people and even in some small way, I decided that if people didn’t like me, then that was it. I wasn’t going to beat myself up trying.
This was a sign of a new me emerging. I also found my usually reserved thoughts, creeping out, when someone made me angry, or sad, or hurt then I became vocal about it. I occasionally swore, whereas the previous me would have done almost anything to avoid this, I have become more like my siblings who don’t hide their emotions. It didn’t always make me nice to be around, but as time has gone by, I have been fighting invisible illnesses which people do not understand and trying to keep a brave face. Sometimes the cracks show.
I have looked into myself, rediscovered my spirituality, things that make me tick, instincts which I have long neglected to follow, recognition of things that I know to be true. I have looked at alternative ways to heal physical ailments. Having been let down by medics who are supposed to help, left out in the cold I decided that it was not good enough and would look at alternative therapies, return to reflexology and homeopathic remedies in the hope that it would start to make a difference and slowly it did. Little steps, bit by bit I began to change.
I have consciously tried to regain my confidence that had been ripped from me by the people who tore away at me. By the circumstances which have caused havoc in my life lately and by the grief caused by the loss of loved ones.
But, I am still the new me in progress. My eyes have been opened to so much in the past few months. The toxic people and relationships which I have had to sustain in the workplace just to get along, are gone along with the job. I have found that by having time to work things out in my head and realise people for what they were has given me a better understanding of their behaviour.
I miss working, in the normal sense but I now realise that I don’t have to accept their bad behaviour any more. Lately I have been concentrating on getting my health back to normal and I am still a way off. I am less trusting of people now. I no longer take them at face value, I watch for the signs, body language and follow my gut feeling. As someone who was watching my back once said, “if something looks too good to be true, it usually is” the same can be said for people.
The environments that I had been around had become toxic, there was bad feeling all around me and it was making me more and more sick. Those of you who have followed the blog for a while will notice that some of what had been happening, or had happened in the past has been mentioned sometimes at length and this has been part of the process of healing from it. Fixing my mental health along with my physical health and finally I feel as though I have turned a corner.
I took time out from the norm, actively encouraged, (well pushed and shoved kicking and screaming would be more apt) to go off and take some time out, to see friends not knowing how my health was going to be in the future it was arranged for now. I was also encouraged to do things which caused happiness and to get creative, which I have been busy doing for a while now. In conclusion it has been exactly what was needed.
So have I rebooted my system, for want of a better phrase? I hope so. I think I am becoming a different person and it isn’t just about growing up and being an adult. Time changes us, situations change us, relationships change us, so we remain ever-changing, evolving into hopefully a new improved version of ourselves, before we get to grow old disgracefully, having the time of our lives, surrounded by loving people who will miss us when we are gone.
As two girls who used to spend a lot of time at the beach when we were younger, we have spent a fair bit of time at the beach whilst I am here on this trip. It seemed the logical place for us to go here on the Sunshine Coast.
If there is a beach which we can get to and from whilst the kiddies are at school then we have made it our mission to go and see it, walk along it and go beach combing. As a consequence I have lots of sun sea and sky shots that I’ve taken whilst transfixed by the waves sights and sound of nature at its wildest doing its thing.
I have collected shells and stones which I have visions of all kinds of possibilities relating to artwork, we have found lots of beautiful things which I would love to take home with me, put on a wall and cherish.
Sure some of them have been smashed in the storms which have battled the coastline whilst I have visited here. To me these are somehow even more beautiful since although they are fragments of their former shapes and size they were resilient enough to force their way through raging waters up on to the beaches we walked along and be found by us.
The Shell, Coral and Sea Glass, shaped by their journey. These are the pieces that I would make into artwork for it signifies to me what they have gone through and the fact that their beauty still remains.
It is something that should not be underestimated. the Warmth of the Sun.
Before I came away on this trip, I was feeling tired. For tired read totally exhausted. My body felt as though it was giving up on me, failing me at almost every opportunity and although I believed that there was a light at the end of a tunnel, I just couldn’t feel it. But I had to keep believing in the fact that it was actually there.
Depression had taken quite a grip of me for a while, despite my attempts to “not give it any house room” and as simple as it sounds now, it has become clear in the past few weeks that what I needed a holiday. A real, relaxing, holiday with the sun on my skin and heat which warmed my bones from the outside in. Away from all of the things that had caused all the stress. A break from it all. Despite the trip to Barcelona last year, this has been my first downtime holiday in eight years. Since we got the house, that has been our go to place away from it all. Which was my off switch from work when I needed to get away. But due to the lack of work seems to have become another on the list of unfinished things which we have been unable to resolve. I love being there, it truly feels like home when we are there but it needs a lot of money we just don’t have spending on it to get it up to scratch and I know that it is weighing heavily on our minds that the climate causes us issues which even if we got the place tip top, we would still suffer in the winter there, thus requiring a warmer climate for at least part of the year.
This holiday has been wonderful. I have spent quality time with my friends and their family, which has been great. I have seen so much and felt the excitement of new experiences running through my veins. A renewed zest for life. I felt as though I have reset my system to deal with things that the future may hold and I feel much calmer now. I have also had some awful nightmares in the past month, but I have awoken from them knowing that they were just that, bad dreams and being able to let go of the details. The angst that has followed me around for so long, the looking over my shoulder spending waking moments and sleeping ones thinking about the antics and ravings of a disturbed neighbour had worn me down so much that I no longer felt safe in my home, or the life that was happening around me. As though every last bit of control that I had over my life and destiny had been removed. It is not the way that a life should be lived, little more than existing from one day to the next. It is not the life for me.
I don’t have it all worked out yet, clearly it is one step at a time. But I do feel better equipped mentally to deal with what is coming my way in the future. I have been trying to figure out my purpose as some of you have read for a while now, I still don’t have the answer, but I feel that I am now much more open to opportunity should it come my way and I may even be able to see it, if it presents itself instead of missing it by a mile.
I have missed my family a lot in the past month. I am reliant upon them for love and support and I am looking forward to seeing them again. I am looking forward to the intimacy of holding them close to me seeing their smiles in front of me, not just as a memory held dear.
I know that I need to find something for work which physically I am able to do. My physical capability has diminished so much in the past year that I do not know what I will be able to do, but there has to be something. I had hoped that a huge amount of sleep would mean that my energy levels would go up but honestly I can’t say that has happened. I am still incredibly tired. So maybe the Dr was right maybe CFS or Chronic Fatigue IS what has been happening to my body. I found out that I am not able to sleep at all if I miss my painkillers. I tried, but all of the pain that was there previously returned with a vengeance. So it hasn’t miraculously gone. I do not take lots of them but going without is foolhardy.
It was a huge relief to be told that the results of my MRI were clear and good, so there was no neurological reason for the seizures that I had last year, or the shaking which has at times taken me over. But what I have noticed as clear as day is that the warmth of the sun and being in this climate has stopped the tremendous pain that I have felt for months in my hands and feet. Although I still have it from time to time it is a lesser scale and less frequently. It took some getting used to the heat here and I don’t know how I would cope when it gets hotter but, this introduction to a warmer climate seems to have done me the power of good. It has also made me realise that if i can feel the benefit of this in just one month, then think of the effects that a move to a warmer climate would have on us as a family in the long term. Conversation with my friends here extolling the benefits of the warmth make me realise what I already knew from previous jaunts to the sun, that not only does it suit me, but I like it. Which is bizarre since it has rained a lot here in the last month. But it is generally warmer and you can’t feel that consuming damp that gets deep into your bones.
I don’t know that my partner would cope with the Australian heat particularly well, or that he would make a trip out here and it certainly wouldn’t be fair on our dog to make a long haul, but it has reaffirmed that we should attempt to get to warmer climes and Southern France or Italy still looks incredibly inviting and much more likely as a place where we could happily settle.
Could I make a living being a writer? I know that hat I keep asking this question but it’s because I don’t know the answer. I honestly don’t know, but I am not giving up on that idea. I have to find something. I have realised that I do need to find my career niche, but I may have to settle first with a job, just something that covers the bills. It depends on the location we find I guess, I only hope that health improves to enable that to happen.
I am relieved to have some sleep on the second part of this journey.
We passed by Bengalaru and Goa and Colombo and have been crossing the sea. As we travel I am thinking of these places, wondering what some of them are like. I never studied geography at school, I foolishly thought that I would never get to see the world. Dreams and ambitions were not to be encouraged and neither were flights of fancy. Curious as to what I would see and experience at ground level. I make a mental note to look such places up later and find out more about the wonders of the world in which we live. We have Drawn level with places named Nikitin Seamount and Investigator Ridge which are on our right whereas to the left of us are Phuket and Singapore A short while ago we crossed the equator and suddenly the blue hue that has been with us for many hours changed.
I ventured along the plane to see what the outside looked like. A wonderful skyscape there before me, like icebergs silently moving by amidst the blue waters below. But here we are above the clouds. It plays tricks upon the mind, as though you have seen something entirely different. I take photographs not only to savour the memories and moments but to paint such things later on.
I knew that I would be making memories on this trip. I am visiting beloved friends who I dared not hope to see so soon, after all they emigrated to the other side of the world. Normal people don’t get to go and visit.
I wanted to show my Mum and my Dad these pictures. I took video as well. It reminds me of a very early memory I have as a child, when my father showed us slides on a projector of his flight to Italy in an aeroplane, there were a lot of photographs of clouds. At the time I did not understand the magic of being above the clouds. But as I have grown up, it is something that I have grown to love. I have no fear of flying just anticipation and joy at the new things I get to see along the way.
As I did on the other flight at what looked like sunrise to me. I am utterly confused and have just witnessed the most beautiful sunset and have been basking in its glory. As I glanced out the window It looked just like God’s feet are sticking out from the heavens reminding us that he is higher still than we can even imagine. It is about 7.30pm wherever we are currently travelling past. Touched by it’s beauty I am overcome with emotion as this part of the world our sky is plunged into darkness. I feel totally alive. I hope that I never forget the feeling of being up here travelling at 37000 feet and cruising at almost 600 miles per hour. The sun as it breaks through some hours from now and the clouds again look like a swirling seascape of surf underneath us. Looking as though we are barely moving but being transported on cloud nine, my new experience has definitely begun. What a wonderful way to experience a rebirth, to recognise that the future is going to be different and better and fun and I will embrace whatever energy I have to experience whatever I am able to.
This is such a gift for which I will be forever grateful and indebted to he who loves me and decided that I should go now whilst I am still young enough to enjoy it.
In the words of Nina Simone which ring around my head “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feeling good.”
We have reached the halfway point on this leg of the journey as we head onward past Jakarta and towards Australia and all the treasure that it holds.