It was in August 2013 when my attention was drawn to the cover page of a leading business magazine. Large letters proclaimed “Sabbatical, at last”. The idea of stepping outside our usual routine – at least for some time – obviously must be a desire within many of us. Why else would a profit oriented monthly publication dedicate its main article to it? Anyway, the headline fulfilled its purpose. I bought the magazine and started reading – and dreaming.
After our 4 weeks in the Philippines, it is a good moment for a short reflection. This is, where we usually would have taken a flight home to return to work the next day. But instead of boarding an aeroplane bound to take us back to our usual rhythm of life, we felt strange and happy at the same time to go to the Qantas check-in counter in Manila to fly on to Sydney and from there further on to Auckland. We started to realize: This is just the beginning!
A little bit of luxury for a couple of days – together with friends we stayed at this extraordinary vacation home in Kiama. We all agreed that it was virtually impossible to get too much of this view – wouldn´t you agree?
I have heard lots of jokes about golf like this one: “To play golf is to spoil an otherwise enjoyable walk”. Now I can personally testify that there is a hidden truth in it (which wasn´t so hidden for anyone watching me play). While I was trying to drive a ball towards the red flag and almost injured an innocent elderly lady standing by. She just smiled at me and said “Oh, you are just beginning to play? Please, don´t give up!” Well, there are probably not many sports more humbling than golf. In the end it was an enjoyable walk – thankfully not spoilt too much.
After trying golf in the morning, the late afternoon with its scheduled wine tasting and dinner was back in my comfort zone. But the experimenting didn´t end, as there were some interesting wine varieties to be discovered at Crooked River Wines: Savagnin (white), Arneis (white) and Chambourcin (red). It also was the first wine farm I have come across, that has beer available for tasting and selling (Uncle Joe´s Pale Ale), which is brewed by the son of the owner!
Taking visiting family back to the airport, we all had the chance for some more sightseeing in Sydney. As public transport in Sydney also includes the ferries that travel to and from Circular Quay, there is no need to book expensive harbour cruises to get a different angle on the Harbour and the Opera House!
We are looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner later, which we are invited to. THANK YOU to the hosts already – one more thing to be thankful for. It doesn´t take much thinking to come up with loads of things to be thankful for. Some of them are described in the 80+ posts below but of course that´s not all! What I love about this day – and I am sure I am not alone in this – is that it puts the focus on the positive! So why don´t just keep it there?
During the summer months, the Royal Melbourne Botanical Garden on some late evenings allows itself to be transferred into a huge open air cinema. You can upgrade your experience by renting a bean bag to lounge even more comfortably on the grass, while enjoying snacks and drinks and the movie – if it´s not “Allied”. That was the only drawback of an otherwise wonderful evening with friends at a stunning location! So when you come to Melbourne in the summer months, you might want to google “Moonlight Cinema”.
When you have friends that are farmers, it gives you options. Like the chance to get an extra workout. We volunteered to help bring in the hay – and yeah, no need to pay for any fitness studio! That being said, it was endless fun! Probably also, because we do not have to do it every year. On top of it, we learned the difference between hay and straw (straw is usually cut after the crop has been harvested of its stems).
Torquay usually attracts lots of surfers to famous Bells Beach. But you don´t have to be a surfer to enjoy Torquay. Just get a boogie board and you don´t have to worry about falling of any surfboard. Just enjoy the ride! Anything else required? Ah yes, sunshine and waves. The former was supplied by the Australian summer, the latter by Jan Juc Beach.
Fire alarms in hotels – especially at night – usually lead to a small Pajama Party outside. It wasn´t any different in this case. We were told that something had gotten out of hand in the smokers room. Anyway, it wasn´t a big story and we all were able to go back into our rooms soon after, which allowed me to take this shot from our balcony. The lights of the fire fighting truck add an interesting ambiance to this rainy night.
This is blog post No 99. After visiting the Philippines, New Zealand and the Cook Islands we started our journey through Australia in Sydney. And now – 25.000km later and having seen but a small fraction of the country – Sydney is where it ends. The time has come to return home. We do so with a deep happiness and a great sadness. We are sad, because we are leaving behind truly wonderful people we had the privilege of being around. We are happy because we know that we were blessed to see some of the most beautiful places on this planet, that we had the unique chance to experience a great family time and last but not least – that we were able to use the time to learn, to reflect and to look forward. And having done that, we are happy to know, that the best lies still ahead of us!