Tag Archives: Adventure

Why write a blog? My one very good reason and my personal story written under Joshua Becker’s 15 reasons.

You will grow is my one good reason to write a blog (or just write). It’s not always easy and the self you grow may look entirely different to the one you imagined, but deep down I think you’ll find familiarity, you’ll find yourself.

Let me share with you a little of my personal blogging story. I started writing a book a few months ago and here is an excerpt from page one:

‘On that morning in Sydney [September, 2014] inspired by Janice Macleod’s memoir, Paris Letters in my first published blog post I would write about how I was feeling:

         ‘Something needs to change. I’m not living. I’m not enjoying life the way I should be. I’m not enjoying my kids the way I should be. I often feel overwhelmed as equally as I feel sad. Moving has never landed me in this position. I love moving. I know this is my life, I pushed for us to move here, I chose this path. I feel alone and I’m unsure of where I fit in. I can’t find my way in this city, this life is not me. We’re working really hard and there’s no time to breathe. I think one of my kids is anxious. I have no daydreams and it’s so loud here…maybe if we could take that sabbatical in France we’d always dreamed of? It seems so beyond our reach, we hardly even have the time to talk, let alone plan and finance such big adventure. Maybe this heartache is here for me to build a better version of myself. In her memoir Paris letters, Janice Macleod through simplifying her life did just that and along the way she found freedom’

I start to dream. I open a door to change and I start moving forward.

3 years later

On this particular morning [August, 2017] in The Netherlands, after 5 months of campervanning in Europe and inspired by Julia Immonen’s memoir, Row For Freedom in an email to One Girl Charity, I would write:

‘As you may recall we took off travelling at the end of last year following Zoë’s One Girl fundraiser. It has been an incredible year and now that we are stationary the first thing that seems important to both of us is ‘what can we do that matters? We live lightly, it gives us the freedom to explore life. It was this freedom that enabled me to stand behind Zoë and organise her fundraiser. It actually gave me a lot of confidence in my transferrable skills (I had forgotten I had them) and I felt empowered to ask for help because I believed in the cause. Changing girls lives matters, it’s bigger than feeling shy and I can’t do apathy (not anymore). I’m adventurer and I want to hike the Camino. I could use my  privilege and change my job title to ‘shit giver’ because you see I really do give a shit. A whole lot of shits actually. I know your applications for ambassadors closed while we were travelling, I wasn’t sure how to help then. I am now. I wonder if you would consider Zoë and I applying late if they haven’t all been filled? I won’t shy away from creating something so I can promise you this: A commitment with BIG love.’

I continue to dream. I knocked on a door and I start moving forward.’

When I wrote that first blog post I never imagined we would actually take that sabbatical. I never imagined I’d be creating a website and writing story based around an 800km trek for charity. If you had told me that I would have written the first 12,000 words of a *book I would have thought you were CRAAAY-ZEEE, absolutely out of your mind fecking CRAZY ‘I’m not a writer’ I’d have whispered nervously and genuinely embarrassed.

Yet, not only did we campervan our way around Europe, we lived in Ireland for three months and now we’re planted in The Netherlands. I learnt to grow food along the bloggy way, hiked more, made jam, made all sorts of stuff and reconnected with my farming ancestry and love of the outdoors. I started taking photos and writing words that connected me with a tribe of inspiring people from all walks of life. People I never knew I needed.

I would have been ok too though if we hadn’t been able to travel because I’d found myself again. I found a way to live that was aligned with what mattered to me.

I found my way home. Home to me – the woman who will always choose to see life each day as an adventure, the outdoor mum, the wife with the big dreams, the hiker, the minimalist, the storyteller, the dot joiner, the curious wanderer, the traveler, the follower of kindness, the confidently shy introvert and I also come home to my soul – I’d again feel like the creative, contented, optimistic daydreamer that I am.

Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist (one of the first blogs I devoured) wrote a post containing the 15 reasons why he thinks you should blog. I’ve referred to this post from time to time when I’ve had ‘the blogger doubts’ – it’s a thing. You can read it here.  Following are Joshua’s 15 reasons with my own thoughts on what blogging did for me:

  1. You’ll become a better writer:

I absolutely cringe when I read the first posts I published! Oh my gosh the spelling and the grammer (still my weak spot but I care less about perfection more about practicing).  They were wordy, raw and ALL over the place. I’m still wordy, but without a doubt I’m a better writer, more succinct.

2. You’ll become a better thinker:

I tend to follow my heart and my feelings (I think my gut’s strong). Writing about myself and my life has forced me to question ‘why’ I do things. The reflection has helped me clarify my actions and thoughts as well encouraging me to read other people’s ideas and philosophies. I’ve questioned my opinions, developed new ones and most significantly I’ve become confident in my own opinions and differences.

3. You’ll live a more intentional life:

I remember reading once that if you want to blog well you need to be out there living. Truth. My personal blogging story has been a journey of hand making my life. I started by embracing the principles of minimalism and slow living followed by creativity and adventure. If you’re out there journeying in your life, questioning your beliefs,  where they came from, the things that are important to you,  living in each day, noticing that each day is an adventure you can’t help but become more intentional.

4. You’ll develop and eye for more meaningful things:

When you start noticing you start seeing and feeling more. The word abundance is one of my favourites. For me blogging was a journey of knowing I have ‘enough’ and every day I question enough. Not only with ‘possessions’ but where my thoughts go and who I’m giving my time and myself to.  When we start to see life for everything that is meaningful, contentment generally follows (even on the tough days).

5. It’ll lead to healthier life habits:

Once I started blogging and questioning myself I found myself doing less of the things that bored and overwhelmed me and more of the things that fulfilled me. I hike more, eat more real food, shop more consciously, I’m often on the couch with with a kid close by (rather than attending to lists or even writing them in the first place), I spend more time reading, singing aloud to music and pondering – my daydreams are ALIVE. Now I am in the midst of writing a new story, one that connects all the dots that this bogging journey has taken me on. I am the same me, just a better version – I rebuilt myself. There’s still stuff I want to be better at but I’m a work in process, one big change at a time.

6. You’ll meet new people:

This has been the most wonderful part of discovering the blogging world and stepping publicly into the world. I like to think I’ve taken my time, found my own style and kept it at my own pace and this in turn has led me to the most incredible tribe of people. Each and every one of them has arrived when I needed them to, bringing their own unique something special to my life. It’s a way to build the community you need.

7. You’ll make some money:

This is true for some. I have chosen not to look for opportunities to make money. I am driven by the journey. I think when we start blogging with honestly and good intention the money will come (if that’s your purpose). I’m fortunate that my husband has an income that we can live on and I don’t take that for granted. We live lightly (without a car), we rarely shop for things other than food, only stuff that relates to our priorities (namely adventure and travel), we try to waste less, keep our day to day costs down (turning off lights, realistic kids activities etc.) and we travel cheaply. This makes living on a single income easier for us.

8. You’ll inspire others:

I am inspired daily by others and I have been on the receiving end of some beautiful messages from people who have been inspired by my journey. Last January when we were collecting rubbish I received so many photos from other mums with their kids taking their three for the sea. Just yesterday I received a message from a hiker across the globe who said that finding my words made her feel less lonely, that maybe there were others who were questioning the world’s preoccupation with more stuff, more noise and more stress.

9. You’ll become more rounded in your mindset:

Sometimes I’ve been on a wrong path and when blogging hasn’t feel good or it’s been overwhelming I’ve seen it as a sign to back up, reflect and adjust.  I’m sure most bloggers (or users of social media) can relate to that. That has related to my life too. I have developed a better ability to back up and then I often take a huge leap forward after.

10. It’s free:

Yes it is! All it takes is some time to write. Writing is also free. If sharing online is too much,  writing a journal can be just as valuable. Writing, especially ‘stream of consciousness’ writing is so powerful. It helps to uncover what you feel and think. Once you write it, you’ve verbalised it to yourself…then it enters your daily life – it can be pondered and dealt with (slowly and naturally).

11. You’ll become more comfortable being known:

This was hard for me. I am shy and an introvert. Yet, I feel compelled to start having a voice. Three blogs later and I feel that I have found a voice that suits my need to talk but not too loudly as well as enabling my desire to keep my life relatively quiet. I can’t ignore the things I am passionate about and I want to share the stories and people who do good and those who have impacted my life. I’ll never write a super blog or have a large social media presence (one ap. is enough for me) and that’s ok. I don’t want that. I can’t chase, it’s enough for me to connect along the way with people who want to hear my voice. Slow and steady, genuine and organic is the best fit for me.

12. It’ll serve as a personal journey:

Here I am about to trek the Camino Frances in 2018, all 769kms of it. Not only am I doing it for me but I’m doing it for a truckload of people and causes that matter to me. The girls that One Girl supports, the farmers in Tasmania who farm the Merino sheep whose wool I’ll be wearing on the trek and also for those who harbour the desire to adventure. People and causes have always been important to me but my blogging journey has connected me to a way that I can stand up for them. ‘Adventure for Change’ is what Amy & Kez at Travel Play Live call it.

13. You’ll become more confident:

I’ve learnt that often I’m wrong (there’s so much I don’t know), sometimes I’m scared (mostly of judgement and putting myself out there) and there is always a different way to approach something (different choices). That translates into me being about to change, learn form others, step into discomfort and to be creative – basically a more confident version of me. It’s been a journey of mistakes and practice. I have a sturdy nature but I’ve needed to learn to develop the confidence and right path for me to stand up in a bigger world.

14. You’ll find a platform to recommend:

Blogging for me has always been about discovering, sharing, creating and connecting. It started as a The Simplicity Journey, then Gentle Intention and now Slower Family Travels. I like to think my platform is simply to share what works in my life and to encourage a connection to ourselves, people, the environment and the choices we make. And to always to move forward (whilst recognising but not holding to tightly to our past, where we’ve come from and we’ve been).

15. It’s quite a rush with every positive comment:

Sure, of course having readers is the ultimate and when you start that’s the focus…but slowly for me it has become more about the story and the writing. Creating a life, questioning that life and documenting is ‘why’ I write. Readers and comments are amazing don’t get me wrong and when your writing starts to engage genuine readers who connect with your story it’s an incredibly warm buzz, but, the journey blogging (writing) takes you on – that’s the real magic ✨.

* My book is kind of on hold. I’m taking my time. I still have some living to do. I want to live this Camino story out first. In the meantime I’m documenting and practicing here and on IG.

If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.


Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project.

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here.

Support crews are everything. A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

If you want to be part of the change. You can donate here if you’re inclined.

Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:>

                  

There will always be another trip. The essence of slow living and slow travel is the same – stopping to notice and taking the time to feel.

One winter’s morning a few years ago I was standing on Oxford Street in Sydney waiting for a bus to Bondi. I noticed my friend who was catching the bus with me checking the time against the schedule, pacing, looking and wondering where the bus was.

Me, I was breathing and thinking ‘the bus will come when it comes, slow down mum (the friend was my lovely hikey mum).’ It stuck me in that moment that the essence of slow living is simply to stop long enough to notice.  We weren’t in a hurry, we were on our way to do the coastal walk, there was time. Even if we were late, could we make the bus come faster? I wonder if she remembers that moment, she often walks without looking my mum, I used to be a bit the same.

How much of our lives do we miss because we forget to notice, forget to be present, or worry about where we need to be next? Of course it’s not easy to be present in every moment of our lives but with practice it’s a handy tool and in time it can become second nature (nice default – mindfulness). It’s one that’s especially handy in the moments when we don’t have control of a situation. Those ones that are often the most stressful.

It was a late, hot afternoon and we were parked at a service station in the concrete jungle outskirts of Madrid. The kids were topless as they sweltered in the back of the van. We were 70kms from the caravan park we had chosen.

A red light had appeared on the dashboard and my not so car savvy husband thought is was an oil signal. At the service station he topped up the engine with a litre of oil. I sat in the passenger seat of the Travelodge (AKA our camper) who was now refusing to start, he was choking on an oil overload. Um…feck (👈🏼 nifty fecking Irish ☘️ swear word, doesn’t feel too sweary). I listened to the key turn over and I looked over into a vacant lot where I noticed, not one, but two rabbits.

A situation with all elements that would normally lead to frustration, arguing and blame, but it didn’t. I think it was because I could notice the rabbits. What could we do? We sat, waited and pondered. We called the camper owners and waited some more. Eventually the engine recovered and we were able to get on the road. It was slow going as the engine struggled to breathe so with our fingers crossed we drove towards our chosen campground.

Wouldn’t you know it…the supermarket wasn’t open and the pool was still closed (of course – some days are like that). ** Camper travel tip – be mindful about pools in Mediterranean countries, they’re not open year round! After a late night phone call to my brother who does know about cars, we soon discovered that we were not going to be able to drain the oil ourselves.

Lucky the bar was open and we could drink a cold beer while the kids sweltered in a fairly gross plastic ball pit that had seen better days. This was not going to be a camp ground worth noting.

The next day my not so car savvy but good at problem solving husband rolled the car down to a service station where they drained the oil for a 6 pack. The Travelodge had a little more grunt but still something needed fixing. Thankfully, we were in Madrid which meant there was a FIAT garage. A quick polish of the rusted spark plugs and bob’s your uncle! The Travelodge was ready to roll again.

Did we visit Madrid? Nope. It was a bus and metro ride from the campsite. We were done. Too hot. Little things that said move on. We can’t do it all and when we try to – the mindfulness, the noticing, the presence gets a little harder.

At 5 weeks into our time on the road Madrid turned into a stopover. A time to check in with how we were travelling? How much we were noticing? It was a time to stop and re-evaluate what was important, to pack away the puffer jackets, read a book, maintain the van and to realise that we we don’t need to push too hard.

Slow living, noticing the moment has also taught me how to take the time to trust and feel what’s going on. It’s the natural next step and  it makes adjusting easier when the fit is wrong. Slow travel is about knowing we can always come back. Or, maybe we won’t – but on this day the timing wasn’t right and pushing wouldn’t have been the answer (is it ever?). We packed up and headed off for the familiar comforts of something wilder where we swam across a lake together.

If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort. Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project.

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here.

Support crews are everything. A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

If you want to be part of the change. You can donate here if you’re inclined. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter but if you are and you enjoyed the read or you know anyone who might want to help, or follow along, I’m cool if you share. Thank you.

Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:

      

Some seeds spring straight from the ground, others take time. They all need water.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”  ― Robert Louis Stevenson

Walking the Camino is a seed that has taken a while to germinate for me.

My sister has always talked about it. I always talked about Everest.

When we sold our bike racks to a keen cyclist before we set out on this adventure he and I joked about meeting one day on the Camino. To be honest I didn’t really know anything about it then.

As we travelled it seemed to subtly keep finding it’s way into my life.

A conversation about world hikes on an Instagram post really sparked my interest.

I made a new friend online while travelling who has walked it a few times and seemed to have an incredibly meaningful grasp on life. Her comments on some of my travelling posts are still some of the ones I hold closest.

Naturally, there were signposts across Spain which kept it in my orbit.

I hiked and jogged in many remote places while travelling. It gave me strength and an increased wanderlust for more of this kind of outdoor travel.

    “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

Then there was the time towards the end of my trip where I became really uneasy about how travel was being ‘shared’ online.

At times it felt like a privileged hustle and honestly it made me hollow. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and questioning that, particularly what I want inspiring me in my feed and also how I contribute ethically.

One of the things we realised in our travels was that no matter where we lived our everyday life needed outdoor adventure.

I began making plans in my mind – otherwise known as ‘dreaming’. I was going to come back and cycle the Camino.

Once we stopped it didn’t take long to make a commitment to cycling the camino and to do for One Girl (we have a connection). If I was going to be privileged enough to walk the Camino I needed to do something meaningful with it.

Cycling seemed like the best option because I could cycle it in 2 weeks. Soon the cycling gave way to hiking.

It seems more fitting for me to hike it. I’m a hiker. Getting away for a long period of time is difficult when you’re a mum so I planned to do it in 3-4 attempts.

As the seed became more of a viable plant my supportive husband said he would take an entire month off so that I could hike the trail continuously.

And that’s where I am now.

A dream that started as a seed and is now a sturdy plant.

A start date has been set.

An adventure that is continually unfolding and at the same time unfurling me.

Not all our dreams become reality but some seeds continually whisper for water…that is how planning to walk the Camino Frances has felt for me.

I feel like it called me and it was slowly watered by dreaming, people, adventure, questioning my values, an opportunity to give, support and ultimately the right timing.

 

 

If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.

Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project. 

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here. Support crews are everything.

A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

If you want to be part of the change. You can donate here if you’re inclined.

I’m not on Facebook or Twitter but if you are and you enjoyed the read or you know anyone who might want to help, or follow along, I’m cool if you share. Thank you.

Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking the camino called life. A lesson from a sparkly eyed Roman.

Originally published 6-1-2017. I decided to re-write it as I take one of my lessons about how I want to contribute from this Camino journey. Opinion writing is a challenge. Fran.

“So when you see me alone at the trailhead, notice the shin bruises, the sunburn, the dirt under my nails, and a sparkle in my eyes, but please, don’t call me brave. I am just doing the things that make me who I am.” – Annie Mac

A quick google search of bravery brings up 943,000 quotes with images. It’s a well used word and one that I often wonder about.

We need voices like Annie. People who remind us that life is about being who we are. Stripping it all back to what makes us feel passionate, contented and connected.

We shouldn’t need to feel brave to stand with our own opinions, on our own feet and to choose what fits in our life. We shouldn’t feel scared to feel vulnerable because we choose something different that doesn’t always fit the mould. Yet, sometimes we do. I do.

I don’t always fit the mould of many things and definitely not of an online travel writer. I won’t tell you every place we went to and I won’t write you a list of what to do in every city. There are plenty of people already doing that and it’s awesome, that’s their thing and they’re great at it.

Mostly, we wander, loosing ourselves as we sink into the beauty of landscapes, cities, sounds, tastes, feelings and people. It’s how I try to approach everyday life. Given that I love to travel and musing about life there’s plenty to dig into.

Like this moment.

Feeling the essence of where I am and noticing the magic is the ‘why’ I travel. One recent summer afternoon in Italy a Roman with sparkly eyes made a comment that has stuck in my mind ‘let’s seek the pleasure by standing in the shade’. That’s it – it’s really that simple isn’t it and a message that’s not just relatable to travel life (and no it wasn’t the sparkles).

Can you stop and stand in the shade because it’s pleasurable if you don’t have the time? Would we even hear the beauty of such a comment in a rush or if we’re focussed on tomorrow?

“Not all those who wander are lost” ~  J. R. R. Tolkien

It’s a common quote this one, but not easy.  To give into the nature of wandering does require an ability to surrender. Yet, letting go seems contrary to everything we are being taught, told and sold.

If we listen to all the noise – there’s a way to do everything. There are items that’ll make everything easier. There’s that bucket list that needs ticking, trips to book – next year to plan and in the meantime, everyone is so ‘busy’. Which is fine if that’s working for you.

It doesn’t work for me, never has – that has to be ok too doesn’t it? To say I don’t do hustle because for me hustle and pleasure don’t mix.

I don’t feel brave creating and living my adventurous life. It’s who I am. I need to be connected to the outdoors. I need to hike, to have space, quiet and to keep it simple. Life isn’t a bucket list, it’s everyday. It’d be such a waste to tread through these days as though we just want to be somewhere else wouldn’t it?

So I dip into bravery to find my own place  in a world that’s always changing and busy selling a life that doesn’t fit with standing in the shade. When the sun is harsh and I need the shade I face the harshness, those feelings and I step away from what and those who make me feel that life is a hustle.

Practiced daily it gets easier. It’s saying no to things so we can put our heart into what matters. It’s knowing when to call bullshit on what’s holding us back and who we listen to online and in life. It’s knowing that most of us already have what we need on our door step to live an adventurously, connected and creative life – every, ok, most days.

“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” – Anatoli Boukreev

Living honestly is not competing. It doesn’t matter how many countries someone has been to or what their life looks like or how their kids are dressed. What matters is that we are who we are and how we can look back at our own life – was it well lived and true? Are we living in our life today? Do we care about the right things?

My travel writing is my life of adventure, the people, the places, the feelings and the experiences, they’re all connected. I’ll always join the dots and write a story because I travel everyday in life. That is my travel writing style. It’s important to understand our voice, the one we contribute to the world, don’t you think?

As I continue to write I’m always amazed by the growth that accompanies it. It’s opened up a world of connection with those who see their life as a camino. Walking each day with intention and grace.

The wanderers who live in their lives, everyday, honestly. The ones who are growing themselves and encouraging a ‘real life’ around their love of travel or whatever it is that makes their heart flutter.

Adventuring for me isn’t brave, it’s just being who I am and I’m privileged because I can. Bravery well that’s the courage to shed and ‘to seek the pleasure in the shade’.

 

If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.

Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project. 

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here. Support crews are everything.

A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

I’m not on Facebook or Twitter but if you are and you enjoyed the read or you know anyone who might want to help, or follow along, I’m cool if you share. Thank you.

Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:

 

 

 

My secret weapon to living my real life? Solvitur Ambulando.

When you flick through the photo albums in your mind what are the pictures that make you smile?

This is one of my favourites. It was of my birthday a couple of years ago and we were on a local trail in Sydney (the Karloo Track), at the time just an hour from home.

A lot of my favourite things and the perfect gift.

My people, the Australian bush, adventure, a chance to slip into my 20 year old hiking boots and the real world.

‘Solvitur Ambulando’ (Latin) – it is solved by walking. The response by B.C. Greek philosopher Diogenes to the question ‘is motion real’?

A year or so before this shot I found myself in a big, bustling, competitive, noisy life. It was a lonely place and it didn’t feel like my ‘real’ life.

One day, I sold all the high heeled boots that sat in my wardrobe. I sold them to someone who needed them for their life – I didn’t anymore.

I uncovered my hiking boots at the back of that wardrobe. The mere sight of them was enough to flood my mind with images and thoughts that reminded me of ‘me’. Memories that make me smile and feel glad.

I started walking again in this style. Seeking out trails. I found solitude and peace in the mini adventures that could be found on my doorstep – taking my family with me.

With each step I found ways to solve the problems of big, noise, hustle and competition as they pertained to our life. It was a way back to living creatively. 

To seek answers to how things could be done differently.

The silence and motion of hiking (walking) gives me space to think and a way in (to myself). The trees heal. I see it time and time again when my kids set out on the trail too.

Do I feel like each day I’m living my real life these days? Yep. Of course I’m not immune to the everyday stresses and all the normal emotions but I do have a secret weapon that keeps it all in check – Solvitur ambulando.

What’s your secret weapon?





If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.

Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project. 

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here. Support crews are everything.

A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

Lovely readers – I’m not on Facebook or Twitter but if you are and you enjoyed the read or you know anyone who might want to help, or follow along, I’m cool if you share.

Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors: