Tag Archives: Australia

On the Road Again: Beach Life Movie


Friends, it’s been a long time since I’ve last written. I blame my absence on wanting to dedicate my time to working on my book (1/3 written, woohoo!), but in all honesty, I’ve been a little lazy. I’ll summarize the last year, briefly. Many of these things deserve their own posting!

  1. I had the chance to live off the grid in a lovely, albeit dilapidated, cozy cottage in the Australian bush, with my little flock of chickens and guinea fowl. The nights were cold and long, spent huddled by the wood burning stove, slow cooking everything from hearty vegetable soups to fresh naan, on wood split by Tom and his step-dad, Pete. These may be some of my most unforgettable memories. Paradise on earth, with a glass of Shiraz and good company.
  2. I experienced the entire eastern seaboard of Australia during a 5,000 mile road trip to northeastern Queensland and back, in a little 2001 Hyundai Accent that cost only $1,500USD. A lovely little machine that didn’t let me down once! I looked at renting a car, but it was much too expensive. I was accompanied by the most wonderful new friend, Trang Nguyen, a 26 year old high school science teacher from Vietnam. We met on Couchsurfing, and I can’t believe my luck in travel companions. Trang had the brightest personality and the most mind-boggling first time experiences on this trip. Everything from sitting in the front seat of a car for the first time, to camping, seeing shooting stars, swimming in the ocean, cooking alfresco, eating a real hamburger… She showed such incredible tenacity and spirit of adventure. We had an absolute blast. I won’t continue, as I really should write up something dedicated solely to the Adventures with Trang! What an amazing person.
  3. Visiting home for two months for the birth of my newest niece, Livia Athena. Moments of total peace and love were found with her sleeping in my arms.
  4. I was fortunate enough to be able to share my Latin American motorcycle adventures to students and community members at Chico State University in California, the Horizons Unlimited event in Mariposa, California near Yosemite, at the Triumph of Seattle shop, and at Assumption-St. Bridget school, where I used to teach. The support and interest people showed was so uplifting.
  5. My trusty steed and I (the CGL 125 I rode up from Chile last year), rode down to Yosemite and back to Seattle, 2,000 miles, with my dear friend Ashley joining me for a good chunk of that trip (on the same bike!) Riding through the Yosemite valley and sleeping on a bluff overlooking Half Dome during a lunar eclipse was icing on the cake.
  6. I was recently sponsored by Garmont as one of their Garmont Adventurers, which means they sent me free (awesome!) approach shoes and backpacking boots to try out and review. I’m pretty excited to have some good footwear! Yesterday I did an 8.5 mile hike in the HOT Australian sun to break in the approach shoes. Knowing me and my very sensitive feet, I was really surprised my feet were still happy and blister free at the end! I think these are going to be my every day all around shoe from now on.
  7.  Motonaut also sent me some new straps and bags for my motorcycle here in Australia, which I’ll be testing out on this upcoming trip! The version I had last year were great, so I’m looking forward to seeing what changes they’ve made to their designs.

Now I find myself back in Australia, facing my next (shortish) adventure. In the next few days I’ll pack up my motorcycle and head south to Melbourne. From there, depending on weather and mood, I’ll either head to Tasmania or follow the coast up to Adelaide, across the Nullarbor Plains (big giant desert), and onward to Perth (2,500 miles). Some here tell me not to do it, as it’s remote and very hot. Others say it’s the experience of a lifetime. I’ll make an executive decision once I’m on the road.

More importantly, I’ve begun making short videos of my adventures. Here’s the first, hopefully of many.

Your thoughts are highly valued, so please give me your input! What would you like to see? Does my camera work suck? Should I talk?! Other movie ideas?


Back to the Bush: The Deua, Fat Mama and the Flock of Four

The Deua ran east through cool deep pools of forest green water, meandering through the Jurassic woods. Slender eucalyptus trees swayed in the breeze far above as prehistoric lizards, the Deua Water Dragons, splashed into the slow current, quickly crawling inland away from my baby-blue boat. They waddled away hoping not to be seen, hips and shoulders moving Continue reading Back to the Bush: The Deua, Fat Mama and the Flock of Four

Back to the Bush: The Upstairs Neighbor

I wake up at 3:48am to the upstairs neighbor stomping around. The ceiling creaks and groans, the sound of grating metal filters down through the thin boards. It sounds like a brick is being shoved across the roof, and with a clatter something hits the stony path outside the bedroom window. “I think our neighbor just fell off the roof”
Continue reading Back to the Bush: The Upstairs Neighbor

Back to the Bush: The Return to Oz, Day 1

The sun peaks over distance hills, setting the Aranda bushlands aglow. As I slowly jog through the same nature reserve I was lost in a year and a half ago, it’s hard to keep my eyes on the path. Above, I hear at least five distinct bird calls. I recognize some from when I was here last: Magpies, Currawongs, Cockatoos, Rosellas. The Maggies are my favorites. Black birds with a white beak dipped in black, white along the back of the neck and a big white stripe down the wings and tail. They sing enchanted lullabies Continue reading Back to the Bush: The Return to Oz, Day 1

Spirit of Tasmania


The Spirit of Tasmania rocked side to side and forward to back in the 9 foot swells of the Tasman Sea. I could hear loud booms in the distance as rogue waves hit the bow forcefully. I made myself concentrate harder on the show I had playing on my laptop to take my mind off my queasy stomach, but with only 24% battery life remaining and no outlet, I knew I was in for a long night. Tom had left to walk the decks and get some fresh air. At 4% I closed my MacBook and risked walking around to find him.

Pale faced and sea sick he haunted the empty midnight halls to a cacophony of blaring TVs in various lobbies and seating areas. It took some coaxing, but I convinced him to lay down on the long galley-style cushioned benches and focus on his breathing. Staggering back down the long hall and up the stairs, being swept right and then left with every second step, I retrieved our belongings from our assigned “Ocean Recliner” seats at the stern of the boat and joined him, head to head, to wait out the rest of the 11 hour ride from Melbourne to Devonport, Tasmania.

I woke just before 6am to my first sighting of Tasmania, the wild land of my childhood fantasies and Warner Brother cartoons. The harbor at Devonport was basked in sunrise; a beautiful shimmering orange globe hung low in the eastern sky, surrounded by shades of blue, grey and wispy clouds.IMG_7894

I barely kept my eyes open as we disembarked 45 minutes later and made our way through Tasmanian Quarantine in the Holden Ute we had borrowed from Tom’s dad. Setting the GPS, I promptly fell asleep and let Tom drive us to the northwest corner of Tasmania, just past Wynyard, to the dairy farm we had been invited to visit through Couchsurfing. IMG_7942

We arrived by 8:30am, but I was too exhausted and still queasy to have been very lucid during the conversations that took place with the generous proprietors, Sue and Max, and I’m still unsure what was dream, and what was real.

After a long morning nap, we woke to brilliant sunshine and rolling green fields and woods surrounding the little blue house we found ourselves guests in. We took a long walk along the river and up and down hills through various paddocks until we met Jo, a high school English and drama teacher who dreamt of being an actress in her younger years. These days she enjoyed spending her time with the ‘ladies’, bringing them in from the fields to get milked. It was a long slow walk behind those 450 lady-cows, and she passed the time by reading while strolling along, lovingly patting and coaxing her friends to continue on their way. IMG_7950