I have often said that one of the best things about travelling is coming home, and I still find that to be true. I walked into our home and relinquished myself to the comfort and familiarity of a space that is ours. I am so full of gratitude for our windfall in the lottery of life that has us living in Australia, it’s not called the “lucky country” for nothing.
For the last week we have both sunk into the couch, with a distinct unwillingness to move for any real amount of time. We returned to a cold Brisbane winters day where the daytime temperatures only got up to about 19°C and night time was as low as 7°C, I know that’s like summer in some places. The apartment gets no sun in winter and the tile floor, which is better suited to a hot summers day, is cold underfoot We venture out for small excursions before once again curling up on the lounge, Fonzie the dog at our feet and the heater on. We are reluctant to return to “normal life” too quickly so we do it in bite sized pieces. We sit wrapped in the comforting cocoon of our home.
I know you have all been wondering………..who won the bet? How much is the cost of an accident in the USA? How much did it cost to receive treatment after my water skiing accident in the U.S.? Well wait no more.
We arrived home last week, and there to greet us was a mountain of mail. Amongst the letters was ‘the invoice’ from Lakes Regional Healthcare in Spirit Lake, Iowa. For those who missed the excitement of my accident, you can relive it with me, by clicking here. In brief, my mind was younger than my body and I thought I could still do a deep water start on one ski, despite Continue reading →
Travelling has certainly changed in the years I have been moving round the world.
I’ll never protect my airline ticket with my life. Airline tickets used to be as valuable as your passport and they were difficult to replace if you lost them. You couldn’t just log onto a computer to get another copy. Each flight sector had a separate voucher and carbon copy which were pulled off when you checked in. If you were doing a lot of flights you were almost carrying a book with you.
I’ll never request a non-smoking seat. When I first started travelling you could smoke on planes. Not being a smoker I would request a non-smoking seat however the smoke didn’t seem to respect the demarcation line. I was shocked to discover that planes were not all smoke free until the late 1990’s. Flying is now much more pleasant and there is no need to request that non-smoking seat.
I’ll never regularly queue at a foreign bank. Gone are the days when you queued at the bank to cash in your travellers cheques. For those that don’t know, this was how you carried your money. You obtained your travellers cheques before you left to travel and signed each one of them in the bank. You then went to the foreign bank when you were overseas to exchange them for local currency, signing them again in front of the teller. It was a challenge to work out how much money you’d need for a trip and obtaining extra funds was expensive and time consuming, but at least you didn’t run up a credit card debt.
I’ll never restrict the number of photos I take.Film used to come in 12, 24 or 36 rolls and depending on where you were travelling it could be difficult to obtain, and even more difficult to develop. You also had to choose the type of print you wanted when you bought the film – slides, colour or black and white. In the digital age we always take that extra photo, just in case, it’s so easy to delete those 100’s of unneeded photos, but often we don’t. I’ll just keep clicking away.
I’ll never load my luggage with a pile of books. I am a fan of the mini ipad to read on. I love that no matter where I am in the world I can download an ebook or an audiobook from my local Brisbane library, or buy one. Though I do live in fear of a flat battery and a long flight with no reading material.
Sadly, I’ll never swap books with a stranger again.Depending on where you were travelling getting your hands on an English book you hadn’t read was like finding gold. My reading repertoire expanded extensively in this way as I would read whatever was available. I remember obtaining Freedom at Midnight through swapping a book with a fellow traveller in India. This powerful book described events in the India independence movement and ended with the death of Mahatma Ghandi. What a wonderful way to get an education, reading that as I travelled by train through India. Digital reading has stopped this sharing, I don’t even know what Steven is reading.
I’ll never loiter outside a post office. Before emails, Facebook and Skype the only way to stay in contact while travelling was through the occasional long distant phone call or treasured letter from home. Family sent letters “poste restante” to a city that you anticipated you would travel to. Mail would be held for a month and you needed to show your passport to collect it. Long distant phone calls would also be made from the post offices. In those days the post offices of major cities were hubs of emotion as you lined up either to be delighted at receiving a letter or devastatingly disappointed by no mail.
I’ll never write an aerogramme. An aerogramme was a thin, lightweight, blue piece of pre-folded and gummed paper for writing a letter. The letter and the envelope were one in the same and it was much cheaper to send this than a regular letter. I have a treasury of aerograms and letters that Steven and I exchanged when he went travelling not long after we met. I wonder if we will re-read digital love emails in the same way.
What have I missed? What will you never do again while travelling?
Whilst in Mexico City, we found ourselves at the centre of Aztec and pre-Aztec (Mesoamerican) civilisations, dating back to 100BC. Mexico City is the oldest capital city in the Americas, and was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325. We had the privilege of Continue reading →
About three years ago I started making papier mâché “things”. First I made a small garden dweller, then a larger fortune teller that I titled “Looking for certainty in an uncertain world”. Next came a range of fantasy type plants made predominantly from newspaper and discarded nepresso pods because I love the colours they come in. Until three years ago I had never done anything artistic and my work is very “primitive”.
I still don’t really understand why I ended up doing papier mâché but I love the process of taking what others see as rubbish and making Continue reading →
Whenever possible we stay in apartments in preference to hotels, and over the last six months we have used Airbnb for accommodation in Phillip Island, Australia, Long Island and Manhattan, USA, and our current five night accommodation in Mexico City, the last stop on our trip. Airbnb in Mexico City we love you.
Airbnb offer three types of accommodation, shared rooms (too old for that), private rooms where you share communal space with others (probably too old for that) and private houses or apartments (perfect).
An apartment offers much more space to relax in than a hotel, more privacy (no house staff interrupting), a washing machine, better wifi and you can eat breakfast in your pj’s instead of sharing it with Continue reading →
Cuban life is delightfully complex. Money in Cuba is more confusing than anywhere I’ve ever been as they operate two currencies at the same time, Cuban Pesos (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). The CUC is what most tourists use and are valued at 24 times the value of the CUP, though tourists can use CUPs and Cubans can use CUCs…. confused yet? The Cubans use CUPs as their currency to buy food and shop at the government-run stores, which offer a very limited range of products. I believe that the dual currency system is a hangover from the days when Continue reading →
A number of years ago, Anne and I took salsa lessons and had our first taste of Cuban music. Whilst we enjoyed ourselves, we never really mastered the art. It’s like anything…..if you want to be good at it, you need to practice. Sadly, we didn’t. Now, after watching the Cubans on the dance floor and in the streets, I wish we had kept it up. It seems that they are born with rhythm running through their veins (as well as their hips and backsides). For them, when hearing any “son” style music, and, no matter what time of the day or night, they are soon Continue reading →
The most enjoyable aspect of travelling in Cuba is the opportunity to engage with the friendly, humorous and gregarious Cubans. During our fifteen day tour of Cuba we stayed predominantly in “casa particulares”, which simply means private houses and this maximised our opportunity to meet Cubans.
The family live in the house however they have rooms that are let out to tourists. At any location our group of 9 will be split over a number of casas within the same area, with one house acting as the main house where we reconnect. Most of the houses probably started as a one room building and over the years rooms have been added as needed. Continue reading →