Australian Travel · Camping · Destinations · Four Wheel Driving · Free Camping · Home on the Road · National Parks · New South Wales · Victoria · Writing & Reading

A pretty Australian Australia day

“There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around”
“The Banjo”

What could be more Australian than reading about the life of Banjo Patterson while camping at Tom Groggin, NSW – the home of Jack Riley, “The Man from Snowy River”.

This past Australia Day weekend was our maiden voyage in the caravan since moving to the Snowy Monaro region last year. I know…..no caravaning for six months….. what the?!

Well this trip certainly dusted off the cobwebs on both the caravan and our noble steed, the Colorado.

Tom Groggin near Khancoban in the Snowy Mountains is probably one of the best camping spots we have stayed at…… golly I’m full of big calls lately! It’s totally true though.

On the banks of the upper reaches of the Murray River near the base of Mount Kosciouszko, Tom Groggin is picturesque, to say the least.

I wonder how much as really changed since Banjo visited in 1890? Apart from the obvious, you know – bitumen roads (any roads in fact), the odd “official” campground here and there with drop toilets, a smattering of picnic tables, parking barriers and fire pits. I really do wonder how much the natural portions of this region have changed…. I mean it is relatively untouched by humans.

Tom Groggin straddles the southern border of NSW and the upper Victorian High Country which as you can probably imagine has some great 4WD tracks.

We gave the Mt Pinnibar track a red hot go while we were out and about. Located in the Alpine National Park on the Victorian side of Tom Groggin, the track tackles the steep Mt Pinnibar (1727m above sea level) and it was rough – holy moly! It had definitely been chopped up and was one of the hardest 4WD trips we have tackled to date. If we had known what the track was like we probably wouldn’t have taken it by ourselves, there were plenty of people around so I’m sure we would of been fine if we became unstuck.

I will share some more adventures from Tom Groggin sooon…

Speak soon

S

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Australian Travel · Destinations · Home on the Road · New South Wales · Random Thoughts · Travel Photography · Writing & Reading

At home in the mountains

 

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It has been a looooooong time since I last wrote here……. almost a year in fact. As usual, the life of the Norris’ has been an absolute roller-coaster and a period of extended change.

It has only been in recent times that I have been reflecting on where we’ve been, who we’ve met along the way and what we have learned. If I could do it all again I would – the whole experience of living like an adventure book has paid out in trumps. Each of us have benefited individually and of course, our relationship has been strengthened.

So where are we now;

In mid-2018 we relocated from the sunny (and rainy) northern coast of NSW to the very (almost) south of the state! We made a home at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains in the sweet old town of Cooma – and sweet it has been. The Snowy-Monaro was an instant fit for us. It was like all the little Tetris pieces lined up.

We have been living here for over six months now and loved it so much that we bought a house here…… I know right! The nomadic gypsies who’ve spent the majority of our married life living in tents, swags, campers and caravans have ‘settled’ down! How did that happen? I think of this often and you now what, no matter how deep I dig – I honestly don’t know…… It all just snowballed (we all know I love a good pun!) It felt right – so we did it. There was no real umming and ahhing! It just kind of happened.

What’s not to love- the clean and crisp mountain air, the slow-down, the stillness, the peace, the variety of life in this region.

For those that aren’t aware – Cooma kind of has it all. BIG STATEMENT – I know! A population of about 6000 – makes it not too big and not too small. I guess if I was Goldilocks I would call it just right, but I’m not – so I will say it suit us. Our nation’s capital, Canberra is just over an hour up the Monaro Highway so the ‘city’ is at your fingertips, as is an airport to go anywhere. The beautiful southern beaches of NSW are just over an hour away in the other direction. And then the trifecta – the snow is an hour away up the mountains. The mountains are also spectacular in summer when skis and snowboards are swapped with hiking boots, mountain bikes and boats on the myriad of lakes.

You can wake up on a Sunday;

“What you want to do today?”

The city.

The beach.

The mountains.

In Cooma I guess you really can have it all…..

NEXT BLOG POST: Camping at Tom Groggin

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waiting

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We have done our fair share of waiting these past few weeks and it is clear that I lack any form of patience what-so-ever.

Even when a wait ‘deadline’ has been provided it still fills me with a mixed feeling of anxiousness, dread, negativity and worse-case scenario’s playing over and over in my teeny tiny head.

No matter how hard I try to occupy my mind and keep myself busy, my mind is on constant replay and makes up the most ridiculous scenarios.

Waiting can be tortuous and let’s be honest, it totally sucks!

I can’t provide any advice such as go for a run or read a good book because let’s face it I wouldn’t do that myself. I do try to write, like I am now but this only allows me to fixate further.

All you can do is go about your business, prepare yourself as best you can for either result and enjoy the now. No matter the outcome, we all have right now.

 

 

 

 

Australian Travel · Home on the Road · Motivation · Random Thoughts · Reader Interaction · Words of Wisdom · Writing & Reading

Life isn’t always greener

12301501_972324566140240_8452318694570986748_nLife isn’t always greener on the other side,

but this should NOT hold you back.

A lady recently asked me if I had ever heard the saying; “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

Of course I had!

Hasn’t everybody?

Her comment was made in the context of my lifestyle choices and our nomadic existence. She went on to say; “you may never find what you are looking for.”

It caught me off guard. I have never thought of it that way.

We live this life by choice. We are not looking for something in particular. We are not escaping something, not trying to improve on what has been or to run away from something horrible. We choose to live a life, full of change and exploration and there is nothing wrong with that. But it scares people because it is different.

My conversation with this lady really got me thinking. People have this life mentality hammered into them from very early in life. But what is wrong with dreaming of a different path or working towards a big life change or a completely new life? We all have the power to design our own life. We can change the aspects we don’t like or build upon the parts we do. You may go down several paths before you find the right one. But don’t let the unknown scare you from pursuing them. The grass may or may not always be greener but sometimes you need to spend some time amongst brown grass to move forward, to evolve, to change. You can always turn the sprinkler on, throw on some fertiliser and grow new green grass wherever you are. At the same time of wanting more you can appreciate what you currently have. Life is a journey. Our journey is constantly growing and evolving. We often get asked; “Why don’t you stay put?” We could ask in return; “Why do you stay?” But we don’t. Everyone is entitled to build and live their life their way. You need to be HAPPY within yourself. You need to build confidence in your choices. We are all capable of AMAZING things and whether that is building your dream home and raising your family or whether that is travelling across the countryside, it is completely your choice. There is nothing wrong with staying in one spot but this is not the way we live our life.

Why do people need to judge others to justify their choices? Is it human nature or is it purely to reassure themselves? Don’t be afraid of what is unknown to you. Next time a friend or family member tells you their plans or life dream don’t scoff at it or try to hold them back because you don’t agree, support them. It is their dream, not yours.

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how decluttering at home can help you travel easier

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If you live simpler at home it is easier to travel.

Bold statement I know!

But it is true.

How can you live simply at home?

declutter, declutter, declutter

Get rid of any excess stuff or white noise from your home! Do you have 50 frypans but only use one or two? OR do have a favourite outfit that you haven’t worn for 15 years but will wear it again “one day”? We don’t need all this STUFF to live fulfilled lives. When we travel we strip our life back, why not live this life at home?

The more we live simpler at home the easier it is to experience the best travel can offer. Travel is about collecting moments not things.

To live we need minimal “things” like shelter, food, water etc

At home it goes a bit further than this we need/want a bed, cooking appliances, clothing, some luxuries and so forth!

Here is how we have been de-cluttering at our placw these past few weeks:

  • Culling our clothes. (Vinnies now have 6 BIG bags of our clothes!)
  • Cleaning out our kitchen of excess items and double ups.
  • Culling out our pantry!!! Do we really need that can of whatever from 1999?
  • Removing our DVD collection from DVD cases and placing them in DVD wallets. Same with the CD collection.
  • Giving away our myriad of books.
  • Selling items which haven’t been used….. do we need 3 DVD players? NO! A second TV?
  • Setting our bills to e-mail to cut back on how much paperwork we have lying around.

What do you need to de-clutter at your place?

Next job for us is our linen closet and office/study !!

Welford National Park

Australian Travel · Health & Wellness · Motivation · Preparation · Words of Wisdom · Working on the Road · Writing & Reading

we have only one life

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Life is full of wonderful highs and devastating lows.

We have one life and one life only.

It is important to make the most of everyday. Appreciate the little things!

Live a life you love. Surround yourself with people you love and people who love you.

Do something that makes you happy every single day.

Yes there are going to be things that happen that break your heart and knock you down.

Cherish the good times and hold on to the precious memories you have accumulated thus far to get you through.

AIM HIGH.

DREAM BIG.

Let go of your burdens and live simply.

Don’t hold onto things or people who bring you down.

Surround yourself with people who raise you up.

Don’t let people scoff at your dreams.

If you can dream it you can live it.

Again, life is full of ups and downs.

But you can live a life you love.

We have only one life.

No regrets.

Never give up.

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Australian Travel · Destinations · Finance · Queensland · Random Thoughts · Reader Interaction · Travel Photography · Words of Wisdom · Working on the Road · Writing & Reading

to Longreach with love

To Longreach with love, 

We all love a sunburnt country, but we really need our rain. 

As we drove by drought-stricken paddocks, we saw your heartache and your pain. 

With each mile of endless dryness, and each dusty patch of dirt. 

We pray you get the rain you need, and pray it heals your hurt. 

You are strong and resilient, though this drought has pushed you far. 

Your strength and perseverance, shows us what Australians really are. 





Australian Travel · Health & Wellness · Random Thoughts · Travel Photography · Words of Wisdom · Working on the Road · Writing & Reading

stuck in a rut

There is often something new and exciting in the life of the travellers. However, like with all others on this beautiful Earth, there are trying times filled with ruts and slumps. “I’m stuck!” is currently my catch-cry. I cannot suppress the whinge! I’m sick of hearing about it so I am sure those around me are F-E-D up!!!

Why you may ask? No reason really! It is what is!! My itchy feet have kicked in and they are as itchy as hell. My indecisiveness is working overtime. So I am in that place…. I’m sure you have all been there!?!? Please tell me you have?! These are just feelings you have to push through or do something about. I’m undecided (dang that indecisiveness!) which way to go? So at the moment I’m pushing through and will see what happens.

Let’s talk about some positive things coming up for us Norris’!

We are off to one of our favourite Western QLD towns in a fortnight: Longreach! The Longreach region has been gripped by devastating drought conditions for years. The people of the region are losing hope and walking off the land. We will be attending a drought relief concert featuring Paul Kelly, Dan Kelly, Troy Cassar-Daly and Mick Lindsay! In case you are unaware we are BIG Paul Kelly fans, don’t worry  we love Troy as well! We are going to splash some cash around the region while we are there. So if you are around the area or even quite a few 100 kms away like us (800km people!!!) why not head to Longreach and help inject some money into this lovely Western QLD town. For more details contact the Longreach Info Centre

The next weekend we change it up from the bush to the beach. A much-needed break on the Noosa River. A nice relaxing long weekend (plus a few extra days) with sun, salt, family and water! We LOVE you Spring!!

Image from: http://www.avaya.com/blogs/assets_c/2013/04/digging_deeper_2-thumb-768x459-864.jpg
Image from: http://www.avaya.com/blogs/

Let’s hope these two upcoming weekends away help to dig me out of my rut!

What are your plans for the October Long Weekend?

Sarah xo

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tips for content group travel

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For our recent Simpson Desert crossing we decided to invite along friends and family. We normally travel by ourselves or with one other couple so how did we go with five couples and one family?

With no false pretences we had a fantastic time. Yes, there were difficult moments but it was a wonderful experience. Would we do it again? Yes. Would we do it every trip? No. Travelling as a group should not be entered into lightly. It should be entered with flexibility and eyes wide open.

Why did it how recent group trip work?

  • We were selective with who we invited. It sounds harsh but you have to be realistic.
  • We had reliable experienced trip leaders who took control of the messy side of planning. (preparation, bookings, group discounts, logistics and timing)
  • We had a well-planned trip itinerary which everyone had a copy of. It was open to changed and had several options at each destination.
  • We were all open and flexible.
  • Within the first few days of travel we were aware of each others strengths and weaknesses and factored these into planning.
  • As we were a group of 14 we were often privy to group discounts which was a travel perk.
  • We had plenty of “free-time” which allowed everyone to do what they wanted at their own pace.

At the end of the day everyone was there for the right reasons. We were all happy to be travelling through these amazing parts of Australia together. The key to happy group travels is choosing the right people and that we did.

 

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plans unravel but plan anyway

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We often get asked about our travel plans. More commonly we get asked do we plan?

The answer is yes and no.

Throughout our travels we have had itineraries planned down to the letter and other times we have had no plans at all.

Now for the honest truth. Neither of these two options suited us.

Itineraries that were too planned suffocated & stifled us while when we had no plans at all we felt we had lost our purpose. How? We are meant to be super nomadic, gypsy-like people who head where free love is and fly with the wind. We tried but in reality it wasn’t us. Free Love is great, free anything really! But it wasn’t going to keep us on track.

This line of thinking confused us. To think we couldn’t hop in our vehicle and head for the sunset no thoughts at all. We wanted to be carefree but we couldn’t! Why! For those of you who know us well. Sarah is a Planner (with a capital P) and LOVES lists but spontaneous! (yes, crazy right?) and Shaun is careful and thinks about consequences but leaves planning to Sarah (Yes, scary right?)

So what was the solution for us. We PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!! It’s so fun who wouldn’t? There are lists and more lists. Maps are checked, doodled on and re-checked. To counteract this we have become flexible. We have learnt to follow the ebb and flow of travel which is wonderful to embrace. If we change our plans we are okay with it. We even plan for the unexpected. We have all the time in the world for planning, so why not!

A perfect example is our recent trip across the Simpson Desert. We were joined by several other couples raising money for the RFDS. This trip had to be planned, well planned and it was. However, even this trip had hiccups due to weather and so forth but we kept on going, changed itinerary, made adjustments and you know what the world didn’t stop turning.

Our advice

When planning your trip of a lifetime, go your hardest! Check maps, write lists, fill spreadsheets, research and more! Why? 1. because it is fun. 2. a well researched traveller is a good traveller and 3. what better way to count down to your BIG trip then by living it through countless hours of planning. As you set off out your driveway you will have purpose, you will have direction and it will feel GREAT! Remember though even the most carefully made plans can unravel and as long you’re aware of this, WHO CARES? Plan anyway!

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