For the love of a good book

With school school holidays round these parts recently, while I’d like to say I ripped through a couple of books in two short weeks, I, err, didn’t. However I have puttered through a handful of them since the start of the year and am always open to other suggestions, (even if it takes awhile to get to them.)

The last weeks I haven’t even bothered opening a book because The Handmaids Tale happened. Have you watched it? Did you blitz through it in a haze of tightened stomachs, and firmly held breath? Of course you did, that’s how everyone seems to have been watching it. If you haven’t I highly recommend hot footing to your local streaming service and get viewing. I. can. not. recommend. it. enough.

But for now, it’s back to the books.

On the ever-increasing wobbly tower of must have books by the bed side table…

The Summer Book- Tove Janssen

Lombardia

Speaking Out- Tara Moss

Truly Madly Guilty- Liane Moriarty

Humans of New York- Brandon Stanton

First we make the Beast Beautiful- Sarah Wilson

How not to Die- Michael Greger

Womankind Magazine

Earth Garden Magazine

…and of course a few a others

 

Any suggestions? What else should be added to that pile?

What are you reading at the moment?

 

Damn straight your coffee makes a difference

So you plan your coffee drinking, you take your reusable cup everywhere just in case, (and you obviously drink organic fairtrade locally roasted beans.) Now if by chance you do forget to bring that when the caffeine call goes out? Well, you decide to sit down and drink it, or simply do with out.

Which is all rather excellent. But what next? How can we go that step further in reducing the 1 billion coffee cups that Australia goes through each year?

Talking with a friend recently who held a chai market stall, and was offering a discount if you brought your own cup. Not one person did throughout the day. Which is pretty disappointing really. Speaking again with another friend, I was appalled to hear that in recent times she had been charged extra to get her take away coffee, in her own cup.

There’s obviously still a fair amount of misunderstanding and opportunity for education still to take place.

Which is where you, the humble consumer gets to step in. While your individual coffee habit is clean as whistle, there are still multiple opportunities to step and lead the community. The ABC’s War on Waste is still a talking point for many people, so it’s created the perfect vehicle for conversation, and if you didn’t happen to see it, or know of the program at all, well, all problems highlighted on the show are going to be relevant for some time, so jump on in.

But how?

Start by hitting up your local community.

Here in Australia we have a great website called Responsible Cafes. Simply type in your address and it will show all the cafes around you that give a discount on your take away coffee if you bring your own cup.

To me this illustrates a few things. One, you are spending your important dollar on a business that is making a conscious decision in making an effort (albeit a small one.) Two, there’s a dramatic reduction in needless landfill, and three, hey, you get a discount.

If you find there are cafes in your area that aren’t listed, why not start that wonderful conversation at your local.

Ask if it’s possible. Generally cafe owners will respond to customers demands, if enough people ask for bowls of green diana-berry smoothies. Well they are going to fill that demand.

Same goes for those takeaway coffee cups. The way you drink it makes a difference. What it comes in makes a difference, and those conversations that you start?

They make a huge difference.

 

Helpful Links 

Responsible Cafes

War on Waste

Fixing your coffee Habit

 

 

 

Winter solstice

Winter solstice sunrise swim.

An early morning, when you question your sanity briefly, while taking off your two jackets, looped woollen scarf and gloves.

To submerge your exposed white body in water that threatens to take your entire breath away.

Hold tight you got this one.

Exhale and in.

(And of course it was worth it. Every. Single. Time.)

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For the fellow sea lovers out there. Take a peek at this truly beautiful little film. Divine.

 

It’s all pretty exciting really

It’s 5.15am and your alarm goes off.

Outside is dark. Stars still stand defiantly in the night sky as sunrise isn’t for another good hour and a quarter yet. You stumble into your swim suit, add another 6 layers over the top and silently tip toe out of the house, bundled up like a marshmallow woman. It is after all 7C out.

The trick is don’t let the cold sneak in. Don’t let it.

The stars are still there as you arrive. Looking our over the flood lit pool, and watching the wind whip up over the tops of the waves, you question yourself briefly. Although these days, the why no longer comes into it, it’s just something you do.

You wait patiently for the sun to arrive.

Swimming at sunrise at Merewether Ocean Baths throughout the year isn’t something that appeals to the masses (especially during these winter months), and yet to a select group of people this is the secret to a well lived life.

For over a year now I’ve been documenting these sunrise people, a visual story culminating in an exhibition scheduled for early next year. Over the next six months I will be sharing snippets of these ocean lovers, the magic of sunrise and a tiny part of the process in what it takes to create a body of work for exhibiting.

I hope you’ll jump on board for the journey, it’s a really exciting one that I’m tickled pink to be able to share.

In other news, there is a new website of mine if you are keen for a peek, and if you are still keen as a bean in finding out a few more super fascinating facts about me, I was kindly invited over for a lovely chat at Duckfeet on their Duckfeatures series.

Hope your week to come is good one dear people.

Conversations with Community…April, the Environmental Scientist

Today, another special post as Part IV has landed for Conversations with Community. A series focussed on some of the amazing women within our community doing some crazy inspiring things. People quietly changing things up, following untraveled paths, living creative lives, connecting in different ways that are often ignored in our culture of time racing, and today?

Today is a fascinating chat with April the environmental scientist, (also shark whisperer, fire pit lover and part time mermaid, but you have to read on a little further to find out about all that.) I hope you can grab a cup of chai, settle in and have a read.

Rightio, importantly, let’s set the mood… Tea, coffee, something to nibble? What shall I bring and where shall we go? 

Definitely a pot of fresh tea and some savoury snacks. I’m all about the savoury. A spread of cheese, crackers, olives, nuts, fresh prawns etc is one of my favourite things. Fortunately they also make a great picnic so we’d probably go outdoors, preferably by the water somewhere.

You work in the field of environmental behaviour change. Can you explain that area little further? (I feel like that’s at the frontline of all things really important!)

I originally actually had no intention of working in the space of behaviour change however as my career has evolved I have developed a deeper interest in this space. I had studied environmental science at Uni and the dream was to be a marine biologist and get paid to dive and conduct research. I grew up in a small coastal NSW town and the ocean was (and still is) a big part of my life, so my motivation was to save the oceans – so to speak.

It wasn’t until I started working as a fresh graduate that I was introduced to the concept of ‘behaviour change’. The organisation I was working for (and still work for) have the philosophy that if you are looking at an environmental issue, you have your back to problem. Meaning that to achieve any meaningful environmental change we needed to also focus on working with the people in our community (or organisation) to address environmental issues. This changed my perspective entirely. As an environmental scientist I guess I had always thought that, if you knew what I knew about an environmental issue, then you would care like I care, and make the changes necessary. Humans are way more complex than that and a bunch of facts and figures don’t really motivate people to change.

Behaviour change programs use the wisdom of social science to communicate complex issues to a community, to find out what motivates people to change, and how we can tap into that to move them through from ‘knowing’ to ‘doing’. It’s a softer approach compared to enforcement and has many benefits like connecting people with each other, developing solutions together, building a sense of community and developing a greater connection to place.

Having a gloriously green looking organic urban backyard farm is something that many people aspire to having. Is it something you’ve always had an interest in, and what’s your thing you are most proud of growing?

I had no interest in growing food until I met my partner Joël almost 20 years ago. He had grown up in the bush in rural QLD. As a kid his family had veggie gardens and chickens and he had spent many school holidays working for one of the neighbours picking grapes, or tomatoes or whatever needed harvesting. So when we first moved in together he dug up the back yard of our little rental house in Brisbane and started growing. We’ve had a veggie garden at every house wherever we went and I’ve always been really proud of what he’d bring in from the garden. Of course we’d talk about what to plant but I never really knew what I was doing so I left it to him and I would get busy turning food from the backyard into delicious and interesting meals.

It wasn’t until 6 years ago when we lived and worked on a farm in Spain that I truly understood what it felt like to get your hands dirty and the connection we have to the soil. After living in a yurt in rural Spain, being connected to the community we were living in, having much more reliance on the food that was grown, and the time dedicated to sharing with each other really lit a spark for me. So when we returned home, and moved back into our house we went about converting our backyard to a small urban farm. The goal was to minimise the amount of grass and maximise food production. So my personal interest and involvement in the garden is a relatively new thing.

I don’t think there is any single thing that I’m the most proud of growing, although we’re always trying to grow new and interesting things. The thing I’m most proud about is that we can create an entire meal from our backyard. Fresh eggs, herbs and vegetables can create a wholesome meal. It’s a simple delicious meal and that’s what I love about it.

Living in The Great Lakes area, water is obviously something that plays a part in your life, is water somewhere you feel comfortable?

Absolutely. I’ve never been able to stay away from water for too long, I need to see it, hear it, smell it and get in it as much as possible. My parents will tell stories where as a kid they would have difficulty getting me out of the water, in ANY kind of weather. I love adventuring along coastlines, and when I first started scuba diving I felt like I had come home. Being underwater felt like I was in my natural state. However the ocean has since reminded me a few times of her power and the thin line we walk when we are underwater and I definitely now have a deeper respect for the forces of the seas.

What’s the most exciting/scary thing you’ve seen underwater?

Am I allowed to say everything? (YES!) Underwater truly is like being in another world! It’s beautiful and exciting and harsh all at once. I’ve gotta say that the first time I saw a shark was pretty exciting. We have a few Grey Nurse Shark congregation areas around here and watching 50 or more sharks swim back and forth in front you is a stunning sight.

The scariest underwater thing I would say was an experience rather than anything I saw. I was on a dive trip to Vanuatu to dive a shipwreck ‘S.S. President Coolidge’, a popular dive site. One of the icons of this dive is a statue called ‘The Lady’ which is located in the first class dining room of the ship at 40m depth, and a must visit when you dive the Coolidge. We made it to the lady, I took a photograph and then blacked out. My awesome divemaster got me out of there promptly, for which I am forever grateful, but it was definitely my most scary underwater moment.

I see having a backyard fire has popped up on your instagram feed a few times. I love having a firepit in the backyard as it’s something I’ve aspired to for nearly two decades. Now that we finally have access to one (albeit an old style bbq, which I refuse to call it because firepit sounds so much better) it’s a highlight of our cool weather weekends. Why do they appeal to you?

My dad made our firepit out of an old keg and it suits our urban backyard perfectly. An outdoor fire has a way of bringing everyone together, to chat and connect with each other, to draw us away from our screens and other obligations and just be with each other. There’s no pressure for conversation either and sometimes just watching the flames can be meditative. Personally I feel like it burns away all the stresses of the day or week and makes me feel relaxed.

Considering we first connected on instagram, how does social media play a part in your life?

I first joined instagram because my friend Eartha had told me how awesome it was, and gave all of us girls a lesson one day. I’m a bit of an introvert when it comes to sharing things publicly, and I started our ‘freefunabundance’ account when I wanted to plug into the urban farming and growing community. I use it to share but also to learn. There is so much knowledge out there on all sorts of things and people are more than willing to give advice or help out. Plus I’ve met some great people on insta, including yourself.

I do like the extra ability to connect with people on social media, and to stay in contact with people I don’t get to see often, or relatives that live far away. I can also opt out for a few days or weeks if I need to and it’s no big deal.

As a parent though, I also make sure I’m across all the social media apps so that I understand the spaces that my children have access too. I actually quite enjoy watching the kids interact with their own communities (safely) and I make sure I have some fun myself.

Describe your perfect weekend.

Camping, by the beach, no phone reception, with a campfire and salty snacks!

Ahhh perfect. April thank you so much for taking the time for a chat. I feel like there a thousand more questions I would like to ask you, but for the moment…I say lets go for a swim!

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If you would like to see a few more snippets of April’s world, she is on instagram @freefunabundance (All pictures are supplied by April.)

conversations-with-community

Conversations with Community– a series focused on some of the amazing women within our community doing truly inspiring things. These are some of the people quietly changing things up, following untravelled paths, creative living, and connecting in different ways too often ignored in our culture of time racing.

 

Go on, take a few extra minutes to meet some of these inspiring, wonderful women here.

Educating your ears

The last couple of months it’s been all about the podcasts. And I mean ALL about the podcasts. Sure I’d listened to some here and there before but not quite at the rate I’m flying through them at the moment, (on reflection, it’s probably something to do with having three kids at school for the first time, yes ever- my ears are ready!)

Now, if I missed something interesting on the radio, I can catch up. If I have a particular subject I’d like to get to know a whole lot better there are generally oodles to choose from.

While there are some fantastic podcasts to choose from there are some eye crossing ones that simply don’t work for me and generally I’ll find the stop button fairly quickly. I’m all for giving most things a fair crack, but there is no point in listening to something that doesn’t resonate, I value that time and want to make sure I’m using it wisely. Educating my ears has been very enjoyable.

A few favourites in the last few months.

Conversations with Richard Fidler: so many varied topics in here.

A Small Voice: interviews with photographers.

Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: creativity and all her shades.

Chat 10 Looks 3: Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales talk about art, books, politics and everything in between in an intelligent and funny way.

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What are some of your favourite podcasts to listen to at the moment?

Speaking Up

When you come away from a weekend of listening to intelligent people articulating on topics that are very close to your heart, it’s hard not to be completely pumped up about that, (and perhaps ready to bend anyone and everyone’s ears that happen to cross your path.)

In times like this I’m thankful for this space. So I can consider and muse to my heart’s content without the side effect of possible ear weariness, that may be associated with anyone that happened upon my doorstep in the last couple of weeks.

While the topics spoken on varied from anxiety, death, masculine shaped communities, politics and the importance of women’s voices; for the sake of not writing a thesis today, I’m going to stick with the last one.

The importance of women’s voices.

Now as a woman, someone who writes, someone who engages in regular cultural questioning and as someone who often feels censored on various levels, this one was always going to be a big one. With Tara Moss, Jane Caro, Tracey Spicer, Emily Maguire, and Sara Mansour, this panel wasn’t going to be wishy washy.

A panel known for speaking up where it matters, standing to be seen, and making sure their voices are heard in ways where it counts. These women have established voices, words that have been finely tuned and (for some) have been articulating well driven words for decades.

So where does that leave the listener?

Or the person that doesn’t have the public presence, and has no interest in being thrown into the arena spotlight, but still wants to be heard and counted on matters that lie close to the heart?

To start with, think local. Now whether it’s your food system, your clothing or social change that you are advocating for, your local community needs you. It’s something i’ve banged on from the beginning in some shape or form, but your local community needs you. In regards to being heard; power and leverage comes from forming together. So keep it small at first and then if and when you are ready, widen your circle.

Remember you don’t have to be ‘nice’ all the time. Politely demand more, and then repeat yourself, and then probably again, and then, you guessed it again. (The Good Girl Stripped Bare– Tracey Spicer.)

Equal representation needs diversity. Those different voices need to be heard, otherwise you don’t have an accurate snapshot of the area in which you live. Who’s driving your community? Who are the ones speaking up within your schools? Your work place? Your public spaces?

Turn up and connect. Power is networks, use existing structures or like minded souls to make those changes. Often it will just take one person to get the ball rolling. Ripples become waves and watching a single voice turning into a chorus is a wonderful thing. (2017 Women’s March)

You’ve always got something. Always. Something to give, no matter how small that voice seems at times, it’s yours to be used. Whether it be in a letter, a protest, standing up, creatively fuelled, the written word or simply raising a question in a room where the conversation has never been challenged before, (and oooh, there’s plenty of those to choose from.)

Throughout the ages there have always been people who have moved against the tide, stepped out of line, thrown questions in a noisy room and refused to be silenced.

Those voices, with their diversity of backgrounds, experience, colour, communities and sex, simply put, encourage a more wonderfully inclusive and balanced society…and that’s certainly something I’d like to aim for.

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Silence and Powerlessness– Rebecca Solnit

Icelandic Women’s Strike– 1975

Nurturing Wild in our Daughters– with Steve Biddulph

Conversations with Community…Travelling Slow with Frances Antonia

fran

Today, a special post as it’s Part III of Conversations with Community. A series focussed on some of the amazing women within our community doing some truly inspiring things. These are people quietly changing things up, following untraveled paths, living creative lives, and connecting in different ways that are often ignored in our culture of time racing.

Today is someone that I first met through instagram. Someone that I felt I had an instant connection to, while also muttering damn it, why didn’t we meet when we were actually living in the same city? However we didn’t, and despite the distance of a planet between us now, I still feel a connection as this woman lives like she means it and that, is something I hold very dear.

Please take a little extra time to get know Frances Antonia

Fran thank you for dropping by for chat before you embark on the next chapter of your slow travel adventures. Before we go any further though, super important question first up… tea coffee and favourite thing to eat for brunch? (What shall I bring and where would we go?)

Coffee! I’m not a tea drinker, I gave it up, hoping that fares well now that we are living in Ireland. Could we eat at yours? A garden abundant with tomatoes, your lady baker sourdough and if you added an egg any which way (I’m not fussy) my perfect brunch. I’m a one-on-one kind of brunch date. We’d need to make time to eat because there is soooo much to debrief, never confuse a few introverts on the same page as quiet types.

In December 2016 you and your family of 6, packed up a life in Sydney, Australia to embark on an adventure that many people yearn to do, but few have the courage to see through. One suitcase each, six passports, and plans that are being made on the road. How long have you been planning this trip and how did you know it was time to get it started?

I read Janice Macleod’s Paris Letters while holidaying and the crazy idea of getting down to one suitcase each really struck a chord with me, with that came the dream of travelling Europe in a camper. Deep down I’ve always had that dream. I’m not sure I believed for a minute that we’d actually get down to a suitcase each nor take an extended trip travelling in Europe (2 adults, 4 kids) but I am a dreamer. Luckily I’m also a do’er, a ‘dreamy do’er’ (love these words, found that phrase on the onegirl instagram account).

At that time we were living in Sydney having moved from Melbourne for my husband’s work. Sydney was a hard adjustment for me. I found the pace in Sydney anxiety causing and at times I felt like I was suffocating. I actually for the first time in my life had panic attacks. I’m not someone who lives well with stress or busy but I am good at changing things up that aren’t working. Inward I went with the idea of one suitcase each and a dream to create a life where we could live more freely and travel more. I delved into the stories of those who were living a more minimalist lifestyle. I devoured the words of people like Joshua Becker, Sarah Wilson, Brooke McAlary and The Minimalists.

The purging began, Europe was still a pipe dream (mostly mine), my husband couldn’t see how it could happen. The more we decluttered the more life started changing. I started blogging and connecting with a pretty awesome tribe of slow living people, a whole new world was opening up. We became more about moments over things and I continued to take time out for solitude for me personally and my children. Simplifying wasn’t only about possessions but also about food, waste, commitments, finances…slowly the calm returned as did clarity.

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I found my (20 year old) hiking boots in the back of my cupboard, I put them back on and we started hiking regularly. It was life changing to disconnect from the consumerist society we lived in and back to what was real. We became road tripping campers on weekends and during school holidays, no longer just annual family summer camp trips. Fellow travellers and hikers are excellent people to surround yourself with, smiling storytellers.

I started taking the kids camping on my own during school holidays and on one particular camping trip in Byron Bay my husband flew up for the weekend. We had a straight honest conversation while walking barefoot along the beach under the moon and decided we were done with the Sydney life, he had caught up to where I was (thankfully)…there was just no way we could have the family balance and life we wanted if we stayed living and working in Sydney. It just wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

We started to plan, we’d use his long service and annual leave, keep our Melbourne home rented, we’d sell the car and all our possessions and we’d save to make an extended family trip a reality. We’d buy ourselves some time out. We liked the idea of slow travel, basing ourselves with locals and taking our time to explore areas. We also knew that if we could keep the costs low we could travel longer. I’d read a book called On The Road With Kids by John Ahern and we investigated the motorhome option he and his family used on their life changing year in Europe. Basically, you buy a camper with an agreed buy back option. If we stay in free camper spots and utilise networks like French Passion our accommodation spend would be affordable (cheaper than renting in Sydney) and we could also cook for ourselves. Although there will be meals eaten out, it’s the mediterranean.

We actually have 11 passports Brydie! A change in the law a few years ago allowed me to claim Dutch citizenship for the kids and I (mum is Dutch) so I jumped on that. Certainly having EU citizenship has allowed us to create a year of different experiences. When Greg resigned from work he was offered the opportunity to work from home. We debated that long and hard but felt that if we took that option our European adventure had a whole new realm of possibility. We would have an opportunity to create a lifestyle that suited so we took ‘work from home’ literally and creatively.

With my EU citizenship and Greg’s ability to work from home we decided to settle for winter in Ireland and live the country life. We have a family connection here and have gratefully been able to rent a furnished cottage from them. Australians can be in Ireland for 90 days but for sure our red passports have made it smoother. The kids are attending the local school and our adrenal systems are calm as we live in this community where everyone waves, the air is fresh, there’s not a billboard in sight and the quiet is simply blissful.

At the end of the school term we have 4 months of long service and holidays up our sleeve to camper our way across the mediterranean. After that we are open, with an ability to work from home, adventurous spirits  and pockets full of optimism we plan to stay longer in Europe to create a family chapter here. I think this quote from William Faukener resonates

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Was it hard getting rid of a lot of your things? How did you decide what would stay and what would go?

Tús maith, leath na hoibre A good start is half the work. Gaelic proverb I’ve learnt here.

We didn’t quite get down to a suitcase each. We have about 6 cubic metres of possessions left (2 pieces of furniture, the kids keepsakes, A LOT of lego, some artwork, our kitchenware and of course some special things). That for us is a comfortable minimalism and it has meant that we were able to shift it here to store comfortably until we decide where we will settle next (a tiny corner of a shed is all we need).

I found decluttering the easiest and least overwhelming part of embracing a more minimalist life. By nature I’m suited to a slower more minimalist life. It was a 2 year process and it took time, I had to always be mindful of the others in my house to make sure they came with me on the journey. I’ve never been particularly attached to things, well most things..I found the Pat Rafter US Open final videos hard to declutter (so I didn’t). I don’t miss anything and no one has asked for anything they used to own.

I started with things that we didn’t need, didn’t love and the those things that belonged to a part of my life that no longer existed. I started shelf by shelf, cupboard by cupboard. As a shelf or storage unit emptied I sold or donated it. All the excess plastic in the kitchen, the window sill full of tea light holders and dust collectors, the second TV, the Wii, toys the children had grown out of, bathroom cupboards, medicine cabinets, the stuff we were hanging onto just-in-case and any excess furniture, prints or ornaments that were taking up space. I sold all my (past life) high heeled boots, I never wore them and they were completely impractical as a pram pushing mum in hilly Sydney. I found those hiking boots I talked about earlier behind the boots and shoes…that’s how the magic happens, when you let go of what you don’t need.

The less toys there were to clean the less overwhelming the kids spaces were and the more creative they became. There were times when I needed to bring in the big guns, I do remember googling how to declutter books. Joshua Becker came to the rescue there, he’s written well about it. It was an ongoing process and I just continued to go with it as the momentum built.

The boundaries kept shifting. I would complete one room and then after a few weeks I could go back again and I’d be ready to move out more. We started getting down to what we needed, one back-pack each not three, slowly curating wardrobes that only took a shelf each. Did we really need cushions and rugs?? Nope. Another little trick I used was to think of Colleen from 365 things, every day declutter something. In 365 days that will be 365 things.

We moved house at one point and that was a great way to declutter a whole lot more, we moved with only the furniture we needed…it only took 1 day to unpack when we moved. I knew then that I had come a long way and was getting somewhere. We had moved to Sydney with 1.5 shipping containers a year earlier. Moving to a smaller house where all four kids shared a room (11, 9, 6 and 3 at the time) allowed us to save significantly more and give the kids some green space. I had to commute for the school run, that was hard but the sacrifice was worth it, it was a means to get to this point.

The things we kept had to be things we used, things we found beautiful and LOVED, nothing is doubled up and of course there are some sentimental keepsakes. I have a box of baby things but not their entire babyhood. We don’t keep old school books, just some writing and art work. Our entire CD collection is now digitised and also our paperwork. I have a couple of display folders with the important documents otherwise it’s all on a hard drive (and backed up).

I understand this is far less than most people would consider living without but without paring back this much this trip would not have been possible for us. We knew we needed to let go of everything to free ourselves to move our family without ties and honestly just to feel like we weren’t locked in. The stories I could tell you about the people who bought our stuff are a whole other conversation, so many interesting people. One day when we are settling down again, I’ll be one of those people buying from someone who is off on an adventure.

While travelling, what do you think will be a priority for you and your family?

There are so many awesome things about travelling as a family, I guess briefly in no particular order:

Time: Uninterrupted family time. Time to really get to know each of our children, to indulge their learning passions, to teach and learn from them while creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Slow travel: A very loose and flexible plan of where we will go. Meeting locals, enjoying customs, creativity and language. We don’t want to be bound by an itinerary, if we love it we’ll stay.

Adventure: We want to climb mountains, explore forests, swim in rivers, watch the sun rise and set, and wonder at a skies full of stars.

Food: We love food and the stories behind the food we eat. We want to experience local seasonal food, shop in markets, meet the farmers and be adventurous with our palettes. We are excited about sharing this with our children.

Growth: As our children grow we want to be there to help develop the life skills they need to ‘adult’ and as adults we are all still growing.

Values: Living with our values, voluntary simplicity, having a crack, kindness and a growing responsibility for our footprint.

It is not too different from how we try to approach our everyday life, we don’t always get it right but we keep at it.

Have you travelled a lot previously?

I do blame thank my parents somewhat for my gypsy soul. They were migrants who loved the Australian landscape so my childhood memories are filled with adventure, exploration and camping trips. Every holiday the station wagon was packed to the rafters and we were road tripping.

If there was a mountain to climb we climbed it, a wave to take we were on it, a pier to jump off we jumped!…I’m sure you get the picture. I also attend a Girl Guide World Jamboree in Indonesia when I was 12, there were people from all over the world and it was an awesome experience in my young life. My eyes were wide open and probably the seeds of wanderlust were firmly planted there. I glad my mum said yes when I saw the flyer and asked if I could go, I worked hard to fundraise for that trip and it was a door I’ll always be grateful I stept into.

My gap year was spent working in the Whitsundays which I know you know is an amazing adventure. A place of great natural beauty and of course many other young people from all over the world only to happy to explore and (drink) in the experience, I also enjoyed the solitude of hiking the Islands. I enjoyed travelling in my 20’s mostly Europe and Asia and my husband (then boyfriend) and I lived in Perth for a bit and also spent 3 years living in Amsterdam in our early 30’s. I think we’ve actually been plotting how to get back to Europe ever since, we feel at home in European culture.

You’ve just spent three months in rural Ireland and are now getting ready for the next chapter of your travels in a motor home in Europe. What are some of the things you are looking forward to when travelling on the road?

I feel like I have talked a lot!

So in a nutshell…sharing this adventure with my family, having my eyes and mind blown with wonder, conversations over food, meeting community on the road, home being where we park it, waking up with wild rivers and mountains at our doorstep, basically every single moment of this delicious chapter that we are so fortunate to have been able to create.

I never take a day for granted.

Fran, I truly can not wait to hear more about your wonderful trip as it slowly unfolds. To you and your dear family, travel well.

*************

If you would like to follow more of Fran’s journey, she writes for She Went Wild also hangs out, inspiring the masses on Instagram @Frances.Antonia and her blog Gentle Intention.

conversations-with-community

Conversations with Community– a series focussed on some of the amazing women within our community doing truly inspiring things. These are some of the people quietly changing things up, following untravelled paths, creative living, and connecting in different ways too often ignored in our culture of time racing.

Go on, take a few extra minutes to meet some of these inspiring, wonderful women here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slowing it down with Elvis

nostaligia festival 03 || cityhippyfarmgirlnostalgia festival || cityhippyfarmgirlnostalgia festival 02 || cityhippyfarmgilnostalgia festival 01 || cityhippyfarmgirlnostalgia festival 04 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Sometimes fast sneaks up. The calendar is suddenly full, the kitchen benches cluttered and conversation hasty as doors are closed and opened simultaneously. That’s alright though, it really is. Ebb and flow right.

For me, it’s important to balance all that out with a few days of slowing it down some.

There’s a long chat holding the boy’s hand. A walk in soft rain with a reluctant whippet. A short coffee somewhere different. Chuckles with friends. Lots of chuckles…chuckles are good for the soul. Taking the time to listen to stories with strangers, and hanging out with the family, somewhere different.

That somewhere different was the Nostalgia Festival in Kurri Kurri. A place where time has slowed right on down, Elvis is still the king, (and cars had a turning circle of half a football field.)

 

 

Bee B&B Hotels in School

Weleda Bee B&B Hotel || cityhippyfarmgirl

While there are many benefits to encouraging native bees within the home, and the surrounding area. Setting up a hive or an insect hotel in a public space and school is in many ways even better. Why? Because you are encouraging that conversation to continue, the education to spread and that beautiful enthusiasm to snow ball, running further than just your immediate household.

And who better to do that than our pint-sized enthusiastic future generations. Welcome to keeping and encouraging native bees at school.

Whether it’s an inner city funky-vibe school or a relaxed red-dirt outback playground, you are pretty much guaranteed to find room for a bee hotel.

 

bee hotel- best for your solitary native bees

bee hive- for your social native and honey bees 

 

While you can easily set up a bee hotel yourself within your school (or home.) The organic skin care company Weleda has recently started an initiative to get primary schools set up with a ‘bee B&B hotel’.

The project is aimed at teaching our primary school kids, the super important stuff like biodiversity, the role of pollinators, and with a starring role…our native solitary bees.  Doing this by building their own Bee B&B Hotel.

One dollar (A$1) from every product sold goes towards funding the project (until June), and with 70 schools involved already, they are looking at expanding that to further schools over the next few months, (this initiative is free.)

The company offered to send me one to make up with my kiddo’s, and help spread the word. While I’ve made an insect hotel before and also have a native bee hive, I’ve also got a soft spot for our native pollinators, and love nothing better than trying to encourage that amongst others…especially school kids!

 

Weled infographic 2016_V7

“Primary schools across the country are building a nationwide network of bee hotels to help conserve our native bees, improve education about the importance of biodiversity and ultimately, increase Australia’s food security.

The Weleda Bee B&B Hotel initiative has now launched with more than 70 schools on board, and registrations are now open for more schools to get involved.

The project gives schools an opportunity to turn their kitchen garden into a place for native solitary bees to take shelter and rear their young. The ‘bed’ is the bee hotel and the ‘breakfast’ is the school garden.”

bee hotel 1 || cityhippyfarmgirlbee hotel || cityhippyfarmgirl

If you would like to build you own, give it a go, and get creative. There are oodles of designs out there to play with. I whole heartedly believe that every school should have one or several of these. It’s incredibly multi-faceted in terms of education, while providing a practical use as well.

If you have a school that you would like to be involved…have a click here Bee Hotel Weleda

If you would like to read a bit further on native bees in general, jump back here.

Bee B&B Hotel || cityhippyfarmgirl