the sell out

I’ve done it. It’s true. I’ve sold out.

I finally booked August’s holiday and after all the to-ing and fro-ing, what did I book? 5-star Thailand.
It was dirt cheap, which is what I can afford. It’s Asia, which is what I love. But it’s 5-star, which is what I seem to have gotten used to and I don’t like to settle for less these days.

Once upon a time I didn’t care. I had my backpack on and as long as I had electricity and running water I was set. Once I even flirted with a hostel manager to secure a spare bed in the staff rooms after I had been left without a room in a fully-booked city. I did what I could and lived on the thrill. Now I couldn’t think of anything worse.

I’m staying away from Khao San Rd on this trip (well, it might pay to visit anyway) and I expect King beds, welcome cocktails, spa baths and 24 hour room service. My main aim in Bangkok is to acquire tailor made fashion and jewellery, then we will head down to Hua Hin to to lie on the same beach as the Thai royal family.

The silly thing is, I’m really not spoilt. Though I say I couldn’t think of anything worse, sometimes I actually feel like doing it again – because travel isn’t about the creature comforts, even though they’re nice to have sometimes. It’s about the experience, making new friends, learning new things, forming new memories. Every time I head away I come back a slightly different person because of thethings I’ve seen or done. I may get the opportunity to try the nicer places sometimes because of my job, but where I sleep is never the bit I rave about when I come back.

The purpose of this trip is to spend some much needed time away with Boyfriend. We have been working so hard and we’re so strung out. Plus, this will probably be our last getaway for a while as life will be busy for the next 18 months or so, and there will be some massive expenses to boot. I just want the kind of holiday where everything’s taken care of and we’re free to roam around, shop, lie on the beach if we want to and not have to worry about where we’re going to sleep tomorrow night.

And after writing that last paragraph, the concept isn’t actually sounding too bad to me anymore…

happy birthday nelson!

A short post tonight; I just wanted to say a big happy birthday to someone who is a big inspiration to me.

He doesn’t know me; he doesn’t know I occupy a place in the world. He certainly doesn’t know how much I admire and respect him, or the influence he has had on my thoughts, beliefs or the way I view the world and the people in it.

Happy birthday Nelson!

We all see the world in different ways, through different eyes, and in different contexts. Some of us are religious, some aren’t. Some of us are “upper” class, some of us are “working” class. Some of us are black, some of us are white, some of us are lots of variations in between. For me, with my background and beliefs, this is what I feel: Jesus told me to practice forgiveness, but Nelson showed me how to do it.
chillin’ with Nelson, March 2012

the lucky country

(slight language warning)
Today I was lucky enough to hear about the journey one of my clients had been on before he reached Australia. It’s disjointed, it has big holes where I didn’t pry to get further information, and I have no proof of any of it. I don’t care. I consider it a privilege that he told me.
Born to a Turkish father and an Iraqi mother, he was born in Iran but denied a birth certificate or passport in Iran because of his mother’s nationality.
At age 12, his parents passed away in an accident.
He travelled through Turkey to Malaysia, who sent him to Thailand, who sent him to Indonesia. He then ended up on a boat headed to Christmas Island.  It was a 12 day voyage but after seven days, all the food and water supplies were gone. People died on the boat, and many were ill.
When he arrived on Christmas Island, he repeatedly asked for water, but his request was denied until processing was finished. He then remained in detention for nearly three years.
He’s here now, working hard and studying to make a better life for himself. He’s friendly, funny and a little bit flirty too. Yet a lot of the time, the reaction he gets when he strikes up a conversation is “We speak English here, so fuck off until you can talk properly”.
So many things about this story break my heart.  I guess the main thing though is that after everything, this young man was bounced around from country to country like a pinball only to be held like a prisoner in a country that values freedom as highly as ours – and that doesn’t sit right with me. I also hate that we are lucky enough to have political stability, a bicameral parliament with representatives of all citizens sitting in it, and an unalienable right to vote, yet we have a bunch of clowns running our country who are incapable of doing anything about this issue.
I find it incredible how opposite the two of us are. He spent his whole life travelling, trying to find a home, while I continually leave my home in search of something greater. I hope I can continue to remember this next time I have my passport stamped (after all, I’m one of the lucky ones just to have a passport).

european daydreams

Seven reasons I wish I was in Europe right now:

1. My BFF lives in London

I keep forgetting this fact. I bought a new car a little while ago and went to cruise round to her house, then realized she doesn’t live there any more. I went shopping with Boyfriend and he just didn’t help (bless him). I just want to rock Oxford Street with my bestie.

2.  Edinburgh Fringe Festival

My favourite city. My favourite festival. The world needs a laugh and Edinburgh is the perfect spot to have it delivered. This place serves to remind you not to take life too seriously.

3. Summer Solstice

Because I’m just desperate for sunshine!

4. The weather

See above my friends! It’s freezing today and when I look out of my office window it feels like night time.

5.  Tour de France

I love the atmosphere of Paris at any time, and I love the French countryside ten times more. I love the Tour Down Under and am so lucky to live in the beautiful South Australia, but combining the Tour with the lovely France is just a winner.

6. Euro 2012

There’s nothing like a bit of European rivalry and football brings out the best of it. I love the passion a football match invokes in the crowd and I could use the excitement right about now!

7. The food

I’m on a diet. It’s no fun. I’m trying to look good for a black-tie ball this weekend but I’d rather be sitting at a café in Santorini or Venice eating and drinking the day away. It’s my favourite part of traveling.

sailing croatia, 2008