life, travel

Realisations & friendly strangers…

For quite some time I’d entertained the idea of buying a house in or around the Dordogne region of France.

I’d spent countless hours scouring the pages of Rightmove bookmarking properties, yet when I finally arrived, it simply didn’t feel ‘right’,

The town of Brive la Galliarde was exceptionally beautiful, as was the apartment I rented. It’s circular staircase snaked upward through the centre of the building, stone steps worn from the imprint of many footsteps that tread upon them over many years, or possibly centuries.

A Juliet balcony overhung the cobblestone street that carved its way through buildings dating back to the 17th century. It was historically mesmerizing: but again, I didn’t feel it.

However rather than wallow in the disappointment, I embraced the fact that I was meant to come here and make the realization that this is simply not my place.

And that’s okay.

Yet still my love affair with France continues: it’s language, it’s people and it’s culture pull me into its melodic web.

And that sentiment shone brightly yesterday when I arrived in Lyon and stopped at a street cafe for a beer after a long walk to the hostel.

Just as I took my first sip, a group of people approached my table and asked me something in french. Obviously not understanding their quickly spoken words, yet as I’d perfected my short, french spiel, l happily blurted: ‘… ah je suis australien, et je ne parle en petit peu Français, parlez plus lentiment, s’il vous plait.

Basically saying, but probably butchering their beautiful language: ‘I’m sorry I only speak a little french, could you please speak slowly’.

There were no raised eyebrows or sly sniggers, quite the contrary. They graciously responded by speaking perfect English with oh so sexy accents.

Funnily enough, after exchanging stories bestowing them with more of my childlike french, they said when I spoke french, for them, I sounded sexy!!! Too many Pernods perhaps?

What I found most humbling during my time with these lovely people was their kindness and willingness to help me with my french. I was also extremely touched by their praise for my apparent bravery at travelling solo, however I never feel my solo travels are brave.

It’s interesting to see yourself through someone else’s eyes as I have never labelled myself as being brave.

So as dusk begins to ascend upon my travels and my time in Europe draws to a close, I’m humbled as to where I’ve left my footprint.

I’m grateful for where I’ve been, who I’ve met and what I’ve achieved.

So for now, I’ll spend my last few days in France enjoying the company of an old friend.

And the next chapter? That remains unwritten…


An Indian adventure…

I’ve always been one to splash my life with colour. It’s been said at times the colours I splash across my world are somewhat extreme, but hey, as the cliche goes, that’s life.

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Once again, I’ve changed the colour of my world and I’m heading to Udaipur, India. Not to visit, but to live.

I head there knowing, or should I say, suspecting it will be a proverbial attack on the senses. For whilst I’ve travelled to many countries in my life, India is not one of them and I’ve no doubt that I’m about to be plunged into a life whereby my emotions and patience will be tested.

So this is the first of many posts where I shall share the laughter, the chaos and the colourful characters that will awash my new life .


Photo credit @stefan_haworth


A little routine…

There is something to be said for routine.

Having made positive changes in my life, I am now a silent and content witness to watching life unfold, through routines that are complete and solid in nature.

Free to now shape my own routine, I fall easily in step with the established routine of others.Malaysia

He walks with bowed legs, a crooked stick aiding crooked legs. His smile is wide, shining its light upon those who share his morning. His frayed cap is tipped ever so slightly, a silent acknowledgment of my presence with his.

He runs. Panting, sensing and sniffing his well-travelled path. A worn, tattered rope connecting her to him, keeps him close and without flight. She too smiles and bids me good morning.

They are there with me, sharing routines.

As I walk, Regret does not walk alongside me. There is simply happiness and fulfilment for having chosen a routine that is reflective of who I am, and who I have always needed to be.



A catalyst for change…

When life deals us what we define as a cruel card, we are left crumbled and broken in its wake. But what if we were to look at that card as a catalyst for change?

Could that seemingly catastrophic chain of events be nothing more than a key that unlocks the door to personal freedom? And by personal freedom I refer to freedom from those voices that have haunted you for years. Those voices who told you, you were not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or loved enough.

What if that event allowed you to see you, for you. Allowed you to listen to your soul and hear just how fabulous you really are.

Because you are.190712_jenhammer_0446

It allowed you to see that you fit. You fit perfectly with yourself, and your self is all that matters.

And best of all. What if that so-called catastrophic event allowed you to forgive? And to say the words:I forgive you and I send you love.

And in the words of the wonderful Julia Stone:

The story is different now…but its all okay, for love will find a way to be where love is.



Snapshots of Life…

I’ve not had much time to devote to WordPress of late for I’ve begun a new chapter or maybe I could say, snapshot of my life. After many, many years serving the masses in a silver tube, I’ve hung up my wings and entered the world of ESL teaching. And with that has come study, and lots of it. This teaching gig is tough, in some ways tougher than doing my journalism degree. Or maybe I’m just out of sync with study – need to retrain the brain.

Max & Rob: Lake Annecy 2008

But I did take some time yesterday to look at some snapshots, some snapshots of my life. I smiled, I laughed and I cried as I reminisced over special times with special people.

Have you ever stopped to look at the ‘snapshots’ of your life? Looked at images that evoked memories?

My snapshots?

My beautiful children, my amazing family, my incredible friends… I have been lucky to have lived an amazing life so far: travelled to incredible places, experienced irreplaceable moments and loved by beautiful people. Near front row seats at the World Cup, cocktails on a rooftop bar in Capetown, shaking hands with famous people who made a difference, safaris in Africa, white xmas’s,European holidays with my fabulous niece and sons and being able to say I love you to those I love.

Sometimes we think life can deal us a cruel hand: sometimes it does, but look closely at the snapshots, you’ll see that life is what it is: beautiful, sad, funny, frustrating, but mostly, it’s full of love.

To the amazing people who have made my lifes’ snapshots so far, so incredibly beautiful – Merry Christmas to you all and most of all, stay safe, stay happy and stay smiling for your snapshots… xoxo


And at first there was the beginning…

‘Face your fears’ the financial guru said whilst interviewed on a national tv program. I thought about her words for a moment trying to put them into a financial context, then I got it. She was right, facing your fears makes perfect sense. So I asked myself, what are my financial fears? And my answer was honest, I strived for the approval of others rather than myself and in doing so had remained for a very long time in a high paying, yet highly unfulfilling job. Funnily enough though I was not aware of this when I handed my resignation in last week. What I was aware of however was the overwhelming feeling of freedom and happiness that enveloped my being the moment my resignation was accepted.
Now I fully understood why I felt so free: I had taken a forward leap and faced my financial fears head on.
I have no idea where I’m headed or what life has planned, but what I do know is that I have faced a deep seeded fear and embraced the unknown.
And now? Well, l shall simply await the wondrous possibilities that will undoubtedly unfold.