Beach No 49: Manly – 10 December 2017

Summer has arrived and the beaches beckon. It’s a gorgeous, golden, shimmering day. There’s heat in the sun and cool in the shade. It feels, as it should, like early summer. I meet Aaron, Giancarlo, and Matthew for a late breakfast at Kansas City Shuffle in The Rocks. We eat, drink coffee, talk of politics, and life, and whatever else comes to mind – an enjoyable, engaged, all-in conversation. This was just the sort of thing I missed while I was travelling alone through France – this sort of free-flowing dialogue among people with enough in common to understand one another yet …

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Beach No 48: Malabar – A winter solstice beach (25 June 2017)

In 2014 I heard a story on the radio about ceremonies people create for themselves. A caller described a women’s winter solstice ceremony she had been conducting for years. The Winter Solstice, marking the moment when more light begins to fill your days, is the beginning of a new cycle and a nadir. The caller’s ceremony involved letting go of the past year – which I then sorely needed to do. I had then run my worst turn around the sun to date and was, finally, starting to recover. I’ve missed marking the solstice in 2015 (I was in the northern hemisphere) and …

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Long Time a Coming – Long Reef (No. 47*: 16 April 2017)

You’d almost think I’d grown weary of this project given how slowly I’ve returned to it after my time away, but that’s not it at all. I continue to love the idea but sometimes it just becomes hard to get there. While unemployed, my weekends weren’t a break from my labours – I could just as easily search for jobs at the weekend as any other time. Even if I wasn’t looking for work at the weekends I felt the pressure that, perhaps, I could be, I should be.  While unemployed, I was also more conscientious of spending money and …

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Getting Naked on Little Congwong Beach (No 45, 2 January 2017)

No 45: Little Congwong (Monday 2 January) Little Congwong is not officially clothing optional and yet it is. So it was appropriate that I should visit while my friend Matthew is in town. Matthew recently rode his bicycle from Eindhoven, the Netherlands to his hometown of Adelaide. I had been following his blog as I was preparing for my own big bicycle tour and, one day in December 2014, I was catching up on his story when I watched this video, and thought it was excellent. I complimented the video, and, knowing he was summering in Australia (wisely not riding …

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All of My Sisters in Burqinis are Enjoying Christmas Day at Lady Robinson’s Beach (No 44 – 25 December 2016)

In recent years, I’ve made the tradition of a Jew’s Christmas my own. In the United States that’s a movie and Chinese food. But this is Australia so: a swim, a movie, and Chinese food. Lady Robinson’s Beach is on Botany Bay between the mouths of the Cooks River and the Georges River. European settlers (invaders) named this Seven Mile Beach but it was renamed during the tenure of the 14th Governor of New South Wales, Sir Hercules Robinson. He served from March 1872 to February 1879 and the beach was named for his wife, Lady Robinson, or Nea Arthur …

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The Last Beach Before My Travel Began, No 43: Lady Martin’s – 17 May 2015

Is this a bit of a cheat? I visited Lady Martin’s on 17 May 2015 – one week before I departed for my midlife gap year – but never posted about it. I don’t want to visit it again so I’m going back to my diary from the day to write it up now. Lady Martin’s is a wee crescent of beach at the bottom of Point Piper. I suspect in any other country it would be privately held and divvied up among the millionaires whose mansions hover nearby. These include the current Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull. Of …

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An Irish Interval in My Midlife Gap Year – Part 2: 8 – 12 October 2015

Thursday 8 October I’m enjoying another quiet day in the Irish countryside. I’m writing emails to friends I might visit in the States, while chatting and hanging out with my friend and host, Cornelia, as she does stuff around the house. We Skype our mutual friend Jim – who we find fireside on an Australian spring evening with a glass of red wine in his hand. He waxes on about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up the book by Marie Kondo which his daughter has given him. We ask him to show us around his place to see the results …

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An Irish Interval in My Midlife Gap Year – Part 1: 3 – 7 October 2015

It’s my 132nd travelling day and I awake in Dublin. Saturday 3 October 2015 Dublin is overcast and cool this morning. I wake at 8 am and have breakfast. When I booked the Adelphi Guesthouse, I thought the breakfast was included but when I checked in last night found that the providers of my tiny €99 room with a shared bath, in a place which bills itself as a B&B, charge extra for breakfast. My look of disappointment led to the receptionist throwing it in for free. If you present yourself as a bed & breakfast, which they do, then charging …

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BERLIN! And a flight to Ireland (30 September to 2 October 2015)

We rejoin our story on day 129 of my mid-life gap year. Wednesday 30 September 2015 I wake in Berlin to diffuse autumn sunshine and breakfast in the sparse kitchen before reorganising my gear in preparation for putting my bicycle in storage and slimming down to just a carry-on bag for the next leg of my journey. With those chores done I set out for lunch and bit of exploration. Hummus & Friends proves too inviting to pass by and, oh my God, it’s so good. The hummus is creamy with just the right amount of tang – I could …

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