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Sometimes I know I’m delusional.. other times I like to believe that unrealistic dreams can come true. But for them to have any chance, you must take the first step.

For some it’s winning the lottery, losing weight, getting married, starting your own business .. for me.. it’s to travel the world on someone else’s money. Each of these requires a starting point.  Purchasing a ticket. Committing to a regime. Allowing yourself to be open to opportunities. Taking risks.  For me it’s a little bit of each of the last two.. being open to opportunities and taking risks.

So after putting myself out there to be critiqued by others (this blog does that) and opening myself and sharing my dreams..I put a wedge in the door on December 17th and submitted my entry in World Nomads 2012 Travel Photography Scholarship.. the prize… a trip to Oman with the opportunity to work alongside Australia’s own and world reknown photographer, Jason Edwards – How could I NOT enter..

To check out my pictures that are keeping my foot in the door and it slightly ajar, click here or copy and paste the link below into your browser:

http://journals.worldnomads.com/jean12/photos/36335/Australia/My-Scholarship-entry-A-place-I-have-visited

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Most of my life I have loved writing.

In earlier years it was a pen to paper.  I’m sure that the people who read the local Primary School newsletter back in the ’90’s got sick of me. In my high school years I entered competition after competition.. but alas.. I was not successful.

All throughout that time I kept a diary.. The Secret Diary of me.  A diary that I even drilled a hole in, just so I could loop a padlock through.. just incase my brothers found it. I out wrote that diary, and then the next came.. and the one after.. and the one after.  Somewhere in the flat behind Mum’s, and packed away in a box is the complete set of my diaries.

Over the years they have changed.. but there is the usual teenage crush wallows, teenage girls stuff.. school stuff… and then came the real life writings.  Stepping out and moving out of home, new jobs, problems at jobs, weekends away, breaking hearts, buying a house.  Intermittently I’d stop writing for a few days, weeks, months, but there was always something that led me back.

In 2006 when I travelled to Ireland, I started with the usual travel diary.. it too grew to a second, and a third, and a fourth… and I belive too that there is a fifth.  They became my 12 months in Ireland..

When I moved to Canada.. I started with great intentions.  Each night in the hostel I would write what had happened during the day.. as time went along.. I would write occasionally.. but not all the time.  Just when I got the urge..  Then finally I decided to give blogging a go.  Why not?  What did I have to lose?  and so it began.

My intention was to blog about everything and anything. To be honest and to open myself up to the world.  Honestly.. it’s a little bit harder than I anticipated.

But it was a step and a step that I hope to build on in 2013.  2012 has been great for many reasons… some you have read about on here and some that I am still to blog about.. but the biggest surprise of all has been the number of people who have visited my blog and the number of countries they have come from… THANK YOU TO EVERYBODY who has taken the time to sit back and have a read, a laugh, or even a cry.. I could never imagine that people from all over the world would be dropping by…and I hope to see you all, and many more in 2013.. xx N

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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mate·ship [meyt-ship]

noun

1. the state of being a mate.

2. Australian . a mode of conduct among Australian men that stresses equality,

friendship, and solidarity.

I find it hard to believe (yet proud) that mateship is considered to be Australian.  That a country such as ours can be considered to have such an awesomeness associated with it.

Every country can have this and perhaps they do.  Perhaps it is simply known as something else, but has exactly the same meaning – a relationship between men that stresses equality, friendship and solidarity.

But where does mateship begin… and where does it end?

As many of the people that I love and adore in our community are gathered together to farewell a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a friend, a protector, a mentor and a mate, I can’t help but think how lucky we were to have one of Dad’s best mates in our lives.

I’m sure that their friendship began as young boys running a muck in the back blocks of Patchewollock and as each of them grew, got married and started a family, that friendship turned to something stronger – mateship.

A mateship that was formed on similarities.  On country values and a respect for each other.  A mateship that faced illness and my father’s death. A mateship that stood up to be counted and remained with our family until last Sunday and will continue to remain within our hearts forever.

I will never know the true sacrifice that was made for our family.  Will never be able to explain it and no words of thanks would ever come close.

All I can simply hope is that two mates are now resting together.  Catching up on lost years, reminiscing about the past and watching down on our future.

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C – Claustrophobic
A – Anger
N – Negativity
C – Closed
E – Erratic
R – Regret
Cancer – a word that I have known all my life. A word I have grown to loath.  To hate and wish never existed. A word that I never want to hear, but sadly am hearing all to often and all too close to home.

In a sense I guess that I am religious. I believe in a greater being that created this earth, that created us and everything in between, .  But for that same being to create something as nasty and horrible as cancer.. please, it can’t be true… can it?

I don’t remember when Dad was diagnosed with his brain tumor, obviously I was too young, or simply I have blocked it out. I simply remember Mum and Dad going to Melbourne, staying with family friends for what felt like weeks and weeks on end and visiting Dad in the local hospitals.

I know I was naive to what was really happening and personally I prefer to keep the happier memories to the fore and the less happier ones locked away in the depth of my memory bank. But the sad fact is that they are there and when local news, like I have heard this past week comes through… so to do those horrible memories.

Somewhere out there, there has to be a cure. How many lives have to be affected before this monster is stopped? How many wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mums, dads, grandparents, friends and communities have to endure seeing their loved ones ill before it becomes unbearable?

A friend once told me “everything happens for a reason and if God didn’t think that we couldn’t handle it, than he would not have chosen that path for us.”.

In some ways I struggle to understand this logic. Why did our family have to endure the pain that we felt and still live with everyday so early on? What lessons have we been taught? But plain and simple…why us?

Perhaps there is some logic in his madness. Logic that we struggle to see and logic that may burden us, but hopefully it is logic that makes us stronger.  Enables us to provide support, love and hope for others out there that are now going through what we have been through.

In times like this it’s hard to see how you/we can offer any such support, but it’s the knowing that someone else knows how you feel, what you have been through, that you have continued on, which enables you to continue to look forward. To see that perhaps even in your darkest moments and after all the shadows have settled, there is still hope, there is still life and there is still family, friendship and community.

My heart always lies within our small strong community and I’ll be thinking of you always.

Xx N.

Photo thanks to designsbyjack.co.uk

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I don’t even know where to begin this blog!.

Everything about today has seemed dark and gloomy and honestly… the longer it went on.. the worse it got.

Ok, it’s true.  My secret is out.  Not everything about living overseas, on the opposite side of the world is all rosy and amazing.  There are dark days too.  Days when you wish that it wasn’t a 24 hour plus flight home.  When you wish that you could simply skip home for the weekend, get your family, your friend and your Mum’s fix of happiness, joy and laughter and return back to what is, otherwise an awesome opportunity.  But it’s simply not that easy.

I never expected it to be, and trust me, there have been many a dark days in the last 2 and a half years.  I’ve just never really spoken openly about them, nor have I allowed my family to see just how much it affects me.. perhaps today is some kind of reckoning that I am feeling. Perhaps I’m just sick of having this pent-up feeling inside of me and I simply wish that I could jump in a car and drive down the road, around the corner.. 10 – 20 hours, just to see those that I love… trust me.. if it was that easy and cheap.. I would do it.

To be able to meet my beautiful new niece who is now 5 months old, who is smiling and being pestered by two bigger and loving brothers each and every day.  To join in the 10-year-old birthday celebrations for my not so young niece who is growing up oh so quickly and to be able to celebrate my nephews 18th birthday.  To go to the footy each weekend and watch my nephews run around in the mini’s, or play their first U’16’s game.  To watch my nieces play their first game of A Grade netball, and to be standing beside them on the court too.. teaching them, guiding them.. to see them in their dance recitals… to simply “just be there”.

To witness friends getting married, to see the joy in their lives, to see their families growing and to meet and know their children.  To revel in every special occasion that I miss out on, simply because I choose to live where I am….

I am left wondering each and every day that I feel like is, what is harder??..

Knowing what you are missing out on, or missing out on what you don’t know?

There is no easy answer..

If I had not come here, had not stayed as long as I have, I would not know the beautiful and amazing people that I know now. The friends that make living so far away from home bearable, the friends that have become my family.  I would not have seen many amazing places, taken chances, gotten lost and re-discovered myself.

I would not have been able to share some amazing times with my Mum, brother, sister-in-law and nephews that visited, nor seen the awe in their eyes with the amazing scenery that is Southern Alberta.  Not had the chance to see the joy and excitement of my nephews when they experienced Canadian culture for the first time, saw bears, climbed mountains, watched ranch work that they had never seen before, nor gotten to know them in a different light away from their comfort zone, away from the farm.. I truly have something that only Aunty Jean can know.. memories that they will have forever..and more importantly memories that I will share with them forever..

I look at the photo’s on my wall and am reminded how lucky I am. So many amazing memories with people that I love and cherish.. Dog sledding, New York, Vegas, Florida, Pike Place, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Lake Louise, Cross Country Skiing, Snowboarding, concerts, Havana, Mountains after Mountains of stunning scenery, amazing rivers and lakes, mixed in with loved ones, family, friends, brothers, sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews…it’s what traveling and family are all about..

I truly am lucky…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

xN

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