Tag Archives: Travel



In a couple of weeks I’m embarking on a three-month trip and I’ve finally got the semblance of an itinerary! Still plenty of gaps to be filled along the way. Recommendations most welcome!

Melbourne → India (Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi) → Zurich → Frankfurt→ Italy (Rome, Via Francigena) → US (Portland – World Domination Summit, Chicago, NYC, San Francisco) → Melbourne

Loving this song

I’m getting ahead of myself by a month, but this classic song by Soup Dragons is on high rotation in my brain.

Don’t overcomplicate. Don’t oversimplify

Time for another tip!

Image credit: Tito Ambyo

Image credit: Tito Ambyo

99 tips for a better world: don’t overcomplicate. don’t oversimplify (13 of 99)

I spent a fair chunk of my twenties studying and working overseas. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times (as they say).

It was the best of times because I felt that glorious sense of ‘this is life!’ ALL. THE. TIME. I had days when it felt as if I’d learnt more in six hours than I had ever learnt before.

It was the worst of times too when I had my heart broken, or my boss was awful, or I was about to fail an exam. Just ask my mum. She got the long distance phone calls.

Over the past three years back home in Australia I’ve had the (often maddening) luxury to contemplate what I would like to do with my next decade.

My first impulse is to get back on the road! Plan an adventure that involves big cities, remote villages, jungles and huts on beaches.

But I remember the hard bits too and remind myself not to wear rose-coloured glasses (as so many of us do with our travel fantasies). I also contemplate the future, trying to make a plan for the next year that I won’t regret in 10 years.

I diligently think about my past experiences and try to uncover which parts worked and which parts were disasters. I want my next steps to be informed by where I’ve been and what I’ve learnt about myself.

On the way home from work yesterday I was walking past some men smoking and drinking coffee. I noticed the mingled scent before I noticed the men and I was transported to a place somewhere in my memory. ‘Yes! The coffee and cigarettes! The old men who sit in the same place all day! I want to be there.’

I didn’t know where “there” was exactly. But my longing for distant lands leapt out, grabbed me by the arms and shook me.

Whoa, I suddenly felt painfully aware of my longing for travel…and so marched forth an epiphany –

I had been overcomplicating the whole thing. I didn’t need to think about the next decade. Right now, planning out the next few months would be fine. Indeed, just taking the next step would be fine: I would buy a plane ticket.

I had also been oversimplifying the whole thing. Even though a part of me said ‘travel!’ another part said, ‘rose-coloured glasses!’

I experienced heartbreak, bad bosses, failing exams while travelling. But these are all things I probably would have experienced, in one way or another, even if I’d stayed home. I had thrown the travel baby out with the life-is-tricky-sometimes bathwater.

Also, I’m not in my early- mid- or late-twenties anymore. I won’t necessarily run into the same trouble again. There is probably a whole fresh round of trouble for a thirty year old waiting for me.

I don’t need aptitude tests or career coaches to know what my next step should be. I will buy a plane ticket and start my decade with travel. If it bothered to leap out at me on the footpath, the least I can do is listen.

Maybe it’s as complicated and as simple as that.

Find some time for healing

With a new week comes a new tip over at Lip!

This time, I went to a Balinese healer.

99 tips for a better world: find some time for healing (8 of 99)

I started writing today’s tip curled up on a rattan chair in a gorgeous Balinese villa, surrounded by lush greenery and the clicking tails of geckos. Peace was in abundance.

I, however, was unable to enjoy it. It was 3am and I couldn’t sleep. I’d made it to Ubud but was still running on Melbourne time. Not just the three-hour time difference, but the brutally early mornings, the relentless brain activity, the familiar feeling that something wasn’t done, that someone was waiting for something I hadn’t delivered.

I usually strive (read: try with limited success) to maintain a balanced life, but the last month or so I was a poster child for the insanity of modern life. I rushed everywhere, said yes to everything I was asked and, to accommodate the busy schedule, said no to sleep and exercise.

I allowed myself to work and work and work with disregard for anything else because I knew a glorious relaxing week in Bali was on the horizon. How better, I thought, to reconnect with my long lost sweet inner life than lie in a hammock surrounded by lush tropical growth. It was also efficient! A year of stress and sleep deprivation would be erased by a week of relaxation…right?

At 3am I faced facts – you can’t shift from harried office worker to Zen master yogi just by hopping on a plane.

That night I wrote:

So I’m awake at 3am. My stomach has that low-level churning stressed feeling that doesn’t seem to go away anymore. I’m on my fourth night of holiday sleeping (no alarm!) so the pure exhaustion appears to have receded and now I am left to contend with the bruised and depleted self left over.

I was pretty fed up. I wanted to begin a revolution against modern living.

A revolution, however, seemed like something that should wait until after my holiday, so instead I decided to get proactive about my personal wellbeing and visit a Balinese healer.

This morning, fully equipped with traditional Balinese offerings, my travelling companions and I drove out to a village and into a grand but run down family compound. We were ushered onto a rattan mat by a leathery old man who looked somewhere between serene and uninterested.

The healer sat in a chair and I sat down in front, with my back to him. He poked and prodded my ears, head, face and neck and ran through a list: ‘Balance, OK; stomach, not bad – wait does that hurt? Yes, could be better; intelligence, OK; mind, oh dear; lymph nodes, not good.’

Then his mobile phone rang.

As he answered it, he instructed me to lie down on a dais. When he hung up he took a long wooden implement that looked like something you would use to fasten a bun in your hair and pressed the insides of my toes. He pressed the first couple of toes and when they didn’t hurt he said, ‘See, OK’ as if confirming his diagnosis. As he got to my third toe he pressed the wooden implement with what appeared to be a glint in his eye. The pain as he pressed was breathtaking. ‘See, problem!’

‘Your mind is a problem! Too much worry. You need to relax. You have stomach problems? This is why.’

My companions laughed and nodded as if to say, ‘It’s true! Her mind is a problem!’ I looked forward to them having a turn on the dais.

Once diagnosed, it was time for healing. Still lying down I put my arms beside my head, leaving myself open for the healer’s medicine. He took a small brush and ‘painted’ me with air in an elaborate pattern down the length of my torso. Then he brought my hands together against my heart as if to pray. ‘Now, pray to your God.’ He continued to run the brush over me and then declared, ‘OK, you’re fine now.’

I got up off the dais and sat back down with my group. I felt a strange tingling sensation in my stomach. The low-level churning had disappeared. I couldn’t stop smiling.

At 3am this tip was going to be: ‘reexamine the insanity of modern life’. But these 99 tips for a better world are supposed to be small, and there is nothing small (or very original) about that.

So instead, today’s tip is to find some time for healing. If you’re troubled, or worn out, or just have that sense that you could feel better, visit a healer of whichever variety you choose, or clear your schedule and go to bed early. Go for a walk, pick up the instrument you love to play, or put on some music while you make dinner.

As for me, I’m off to enjoy the rest of my holiday in a hammock surrounded by lush tropical growth. Low-level churning not included.

(Image credit)

99 tips for a better world: take a break (7 of 99)

I mentioned last week I’m going back on the road. Which is another way of saying I’m heading off to Bali for a week for a rest.

And so, today’s tip over at the glorious lip – take a break.

An important part of achieving an ambitious goal is taking time out to rest. As God rested on the seventh day of creating the world, I am going to rest on the seventh of 99 tips for a better world.

I’m going somewhere quiet to sleep in, read books and go for long wandering walks in the middle of the day.

So this week, instead of 600 words from me, a few words from Wendell Berry on rest.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

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