How many people have an old laptop hanging about with nowhere to go? Phones yes, but laptops? A few years ago, I went through my electronics and cables and was able to get rid of a lot, but I found things like laptops harder to pass on quickly. You have to log on and remove the data; after all, it has to be at factory setting before someone else gets it. Well, finally, I got to tackle it along with a few hard drives. Oh, that was a happy day when they all went! Continue reading
I was a teenager of the nineties. It felt like it then, and maybe it’s a phase that continues today that all teens go through as my niece surely collects them, but teenage girls love teddies. I loved my teddies. I had that cute and cuddly bedroom filled with stuffed animals. I was gifted teddies. I had my precious ones from childhood. And then, in the age of Skill Testers, I mastered the art of winning them. Naturally, my collection grew to be sizeable. But teens don’t stay teens forever, and while I struggled to store them when I lived at home – in nets from the ceiling and an old-fashioned wicker trunk – inevitably I grew up and they all moved into storage.
I think they did move around a little bit. I found them last year in my parents’ spare room still stowed in the wicker trunk. But the time had come. I pulled them all out, gave them a wash and took pictures of those that were the most memorable. Gifted ones with love, still soft and fluffy ones, and my favourites. I knew they deserved a better life, to be seen as real and loved and cuddled by smaller humans. Continue reading
It has taken a lot of hard work and determination, and deliveries from various outlets, but I finally have something resembling a cosy home. I’ve decorated in pinks and greens, and tried to mix up the textures, lots of soft blankets, cushions and rugs to make it feel all girly. But the best joy is coming from the kitchen. Continue reading
I have always been a busy girl. Priorities out of alignment. Letting work or study or clutter take up all my time. Everything else would get an excuse, sit lower down the priority chain. If I could just get X out of the way then I’ll have time for Y, I’d think. But it never happened. When I was last working, life genuinely was busy in my job, always having kids to chase, parents to answer to, my own impossible expectations to meet. I started this idea of making tea, taking that moment while the kettle boiled, to breathe, to do nothing, to think nothing, to be mindful. To notice the sound of the kettle, the smell of my herbal tea bag, the feeling of my feet on the ground, my back pressed against the counter. I didn’t drink hot drinks, especially in the Middle East, so even if I forgot to make or drink the tea, which I frequently did, in boiling the kettle, I started buying into this notion of taking a mindful moment for myself. Continue reading
I moved my stuff in my new apartment the other day. Boxes upon boxes of stuff crowding up my living room. It was stifling. Overwhelming. But full of hope. Here we are five days later and I can start to see the rainbow at the end of the storm. I think, I can see why people have housewarming parties. It’s to celebrate the joy of making it through the physically and emotionally draining process of decluttering and packing up, hauling your worldly possessions to somewhere new, and then unpacking it all, designating new places for things, buying and building new furniture pieces and making a house into a home. Well I’m on the final stretch now and after the lessons learned, and the pain and problems I’ve been through, I’ll be well and truly ready to share the joy when this is over. Continue reading
When I first arrived back from Africa and spent my days in quarantine in a hotel, I was very deeply wrapped up in overwhelm. All this free time lay ahead, but so many things to fill it with! I had new businesses to work on, my storage to tackle at long last, my photo storybook project! But there were also priorities! I needed to work through the stages of my welfare claim, find a place to live, get my car back from my family, call people to continue a sense of connection and reassure everyone I was ok. I had travel insurance claims to deal with. On and on the list went, partly started with the list I began at New Year, but a few new things, more urgent things on the list as well. And I. Just. Couldn’t. Cope. Continue reading
It’s the first days of forever for me. One chapter has closed and another has begun. In the last 20 years, no journey out of Australia for me has been for less than two months (a couple of times), or less than a year or two (most times). I’ve reached a new chapter that sees me settled in Melbourne, no more travels except short holidays. Having a home of my own. Owning actual furniture. Forming habits and routines. Being normal not nomadic. Over the past year, during an almost one year sabbatical of travel, whether I was walking through Europe or riding a truck across Africa, I was listening to the podcast The Art of Decluttering, dreaming up what life would look like settled down. Envisioning my home, my future, and deciding on what podcasters Kirsty and Amy refer to as “visions”. Continue reading
It may be May, and this was written back in January, but, in isolation, every day is New Year (or at least a new beginning), so it still seems as good a time as any to talk about it. Every year I make a one-word motto for my new year’s resolution. It’s not so much about setting an impossible goal I fail at by February, rather a word that can spring to mind across the whole year, a word to live by. It’s evolved over the years, initially being more like an obtainable goal like switching to cloth options instead of disposable things like tissues and paper towels. Then as I wrapped up ten years of study it became about change and new beginnings. One year I focused on improving my physical and mental health. The idea is to do better, live better. This year my word is clear and easy, like a breath of fresh air: RESOLVE. Continue reading
So here we are. Three years after I last blogged regularly and about seven years since I first started writing them. I had grand plans to write again this year, but I’d fallen out of habit and just couldn’t focus hard enough to get the thoughts out of my head. I found too many distractions. I was on sabbatical, happily travelling the world for no reason other than to tick enough places off my list that I could throw away the travel brochures in my storage unit. Europe first, then Africa; for almost a year I was taking the first major, independent holiday of my life. I had this list of things I planned to do as I travelled; setting up a business, read many of the books in my e-book collection, write. Instead, I happily got caught up in watching tv series’ season by season, and, by the time I was sitting on an overland truck crossing Africa, I’d gotten addicted to a mindless game app. I didn’t mind too much, I mean, what else to do on a truck for six hours each day? When I tried to write, I got motion sickness. I couldn’t focus on ideas for the business, I couldn’t even get through podcasts. My mind was firmly set in enjoying Africa doing nothing in particular.
In the background was this ever-changing world. Coronavirus was spreading, first China and parts of Asia. Then Italy. Passing Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, we got maybe five minutes a day of wifi if we were lucky. So, while we knew it was out there and spreading, we existed in this cosy, isolated, news-free haven of our truck and while some worried about what they read, I felt untouchable. We were fine. COVID-19 had not hit Africa, other than a case or two; we were safer than if we were at home, oddly enough.
Then one afternoon in Namibia, everything changed. Continue reading
And Letting Go
It takes six months to pack up, six months to unpack – David Pollock, Third Culture Kids
Mentally, emotionally, literally – Pollock, the late expert on nomadic expat life was right. When I left Australia in 2002, it was an exit I knew was a long time coming. Travel was all I ever dreamed of doing. And, months before I gave notice in each job overseas, I realised that I was emotionally ready to leave. Sometimes it was due to visas running out, other times because with families ever-growing and changing, the time was just right. Now, after three years here, I know it’s time to go. Mentally, I have been coming to terms with the exit for months, planning how to wrap up work projects, working out what jobs big or small, need attention. Making and checking off a list of sightseeing and experiences to finally do. Pollock is spot on – much as it does take months to emotionally plant your roots in the new destination and feel connected, likewise, the emotional pack up, the mental preparation to leave, equally doesn’t happen overnight. After so much practice, moving here, moving there, I’m still in amazement of how well it’s going. Continue reading