Tag Archives: travel

Skunks and Coconut Coffee

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I have been and gone. Travelled across North America, via car, boat, bus, plane and train. And it was incredible. It felt complete and I felt so relaxed, so inspired.

OK now the contrived sentences are out of the way…  I fell over onto a lady with my iced tea on the train, I was too scared to paddle board on the lake in Seattle, but redeemed myself in a much shallower lake (about 1 foot deep) later in the trip in Maine. I was given a T-shirt with my face printed on it as a gift. I wrote about 10 postcards, paid for postage, but then never posted them. I sat and watched San Francisco buses asleep at 1am, in their parking lot. I drank so many iced coffee and coconut milk beverages, I smell like a bounty with a hint of arabica beans. I read all the accreditation of the people from the cuddle shop in Portland, Oregon. I said hello to my first skunk by English Bay in Vancouver, and my first chipmunk at Crater Lake. We got along, to the extent I usually get along with wild animals.

(Breath)

I walked through a park at 9am on a Sunday in LA, and was the only one awake, and one semi-awake person dressed up like a Starbucks worker. I sat in a dining car travelling across North Dakota with an Amish couple, learning about their world. I filled my wallet with many one dollar bills, that I awkwardly pulled out and handed bar staff a lot. I read six graphic novels, for the first time. I slept on a sailboat in Seattle. I got to know my friend Jim much better, I got to know a black beetle more so. A cat and I exchanged sleepy nods in North California.

Now I am back. Many choices ahead, and do I get a puppy?

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The Book that always Helped/s

Seven years ago around this time of the year I jetted across the seas looking for answers and a home. In the process, I said goodbye to my concept of home, including my best friend at the time. She made a book for me that meant the world to me then and I found it in a shoebox (it seems precious things end up in a flammable and flimsy box). To this day the words still apply and they can apply to anyone.

What to say to you now? Am trying to imagine what this will be like for you – walking through those gates by yourself and then stepping out on the other side of the world… A whole new time in your life beginning. Completely out of your comfort zone, thrown into what you’ve dreamt about.

So just enjoy the ride Lloyd. Always remind yourself that this is exactly where you’re meant to be in your journey,and be at peace in that.
Your soul is so beautiful. I know that you will get through this and grow. You’ll do something amazing with your life. Something worthwhile.

You’re a safe place – there’s been so many times you’ve been there, holding broken people and being the comfort they needed.
You are a creative force. You have a unique ability to express what is at the deepest part of a human being. You also have a gift in creating stupidity and laughter!

You are intelligent. You’re organised and focussed when approaching the work you need to do.
You are a man, cause you’re going out to be independent, to make your way in the world.
You’re a man cause you answer to yourself, but also sacrifice yourself to take care of the people you love.

Many years have now passed and when I look back on this again I will laugh when I said “many years have passed” compared to when I do read this again.
I also found a key to the apartment I lived in, in London.
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The Lake House – Not a Sandra Bullock Film

I quickly discovered when I googled “The Lake House” in Daylesford, that it was a fairly big deal in Rural Victoria. It even sat higher on the search list than Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reave’s “The Lake House” (Hyperlinked for your enjoyment and additional knowledge for the day). So immediately I assumed, while I casually walked by the lake in Daylesford, I would not see any melancholy scenes  like this:

When in actual fact, after driving out of Melbourne and navigating the freeways for the first time behind the wheel (in this situation, not driving in general… just so we are clear) we arrived in the dark on a Friday evening at our destination. Stepping out of the car, the crisp clean winter air from the country could have summed up how different it was to where we just drove from. The soft lights amongst the trees framed the reception and restaurant, its big glass windows asking us to enter. So we did. We were greeted by a lovely lady who treated us like we were old friends, and we were immediately escorted along a gravel path and along next to some cottages to our own little home for the weekend. There was a duck (a fake one) at our front door and you could flip the sign around saying “Do Not Disturb”. He was immediately named the Privacy Duck.

The cottage looked across the lake and it was perfectly heated and had a classic and clean country feel about it. We left our bags and said goodbye to them, promising them we would be back later in the evening. Driving into the town of Daylesford we found a nice little restaurant to eat for the night (our dinner at the Lake House was booked in for the following night). An IGA on the way back from the restaurant provided me with some Ginger Wine. Classy night all round really, especially when it didn’t fit in the bar fridge so I kept it on the floor beside my bed.

Waking up the next morning, part of the package was breakfast at the Lake House every morning, and this was to be one of my highlights of the trip.

This was where I would experience the fantastic hospitality of the restaurant staff and the beautiful views across the lake. We could order anything we would like from our heads pretty much that was breakfasty. Both mornings I was pretty daring and asked for scrambled eggs, and low and behold, scrambled eggs arrived. I heard others ordered such things as waffles and omelettes. On top of the requests from the kitchen was the best buffet breakfast I have ever seen from the breads and home made cereals to the large bowl of freshly whipped maple syrup butter. There was one of those automated industrial toasters that has a conveyor belt. I always have a fight with them as I am too impatient and speed it up and then it drops off the other side and I lose it under the toaster. The view was beautiful, we saw the mist coming off the lake and a few local kookaburras were on the railing outside waiting for an obvious little breakfast from the staff. They flew away satisfied, as did we, off to walk around the lake. This was the second highlight.

Anyone who comes to visit Daylesford, I bring my megaphone out. Walk around the lake.

That afternoon another part of the package was a massage at Salus, the Day Spa at the Lake House. Really draining day I’d say.  It was another fantastic experience, walking out of there as calm as a turtle in tropical waters with no sharks nearby.

So evening came around and we entered the Lake House for our dinner. The atmosphere here was so very different and a new kind of beauty came out after dark. We were shown the corner window table, that was away from most of the other tables and it was not a tough decision once the menus arrived, there was a vegetarian degustation listed. The next three hours flew by with our fantastic host presenting dish after dish of intricate and creative courses, all from locally sourced produce. I love that it was such a seasonal and fresh menu. I won’t go on too much about it as I will once again start sounding like I run my own weekend TV show about the best dining experiences in Victoria, with montages of extreme close ups of steak and wine. It was one of the best nights of my year, as I had great conversation and great food and wine. We weren’t even sad we missed half of X-Men 2 that we had planned to watch that night, the crazy party going people we were.

After another quality sleep, and another breakfast that made me grin, we said goodbye to Privacy Duck and the Lake House. We began the drive back to Melbourne, but before that, we stopped in on the local markets grabbing some local produce such as olives and veggies. A weekend I won’t be forgetting anytime soon and would go back and do it all over again exactly the same, but maybe not argue with the toaster.

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