Tag Archives: Creative Living

Crossing Borders. Eating Pretzels. Wearing Masks And Chats With Mates.

We crossed three borders today. Starting from home in The Netherlands into Germany, through to Switzerland and on and into Italy. We ate pretzels, wore our masks for toilet breaks (first time for little ones, it was fine they get it). I had some really awesome what’s ap. and Insta private chats (each one significant for reasons that are unfolding, will come back to these in future writing). Flow though friends, always trust the flow, act on the gut instinct to talk.

Not once did we show our passports or face border control. I love the European Union Schengen zone. We did have to buy our 40 Swiss franc road sticker (this allows us to use the roads  for a year rather than tolls). The tolls start on the Italian roads (not as exy as French roads).

We drove past lakes and streams and towards mountains. Oh my heart danced when we arrived in the Alps. We crossed them via tunnels. Aaaah it’s a beautiful way to travel. As is hiking in or taking trains in Europe! Italy was our destination so we enjoyed the scenic route in. It felt like one freeway down.

And there was the oddness of the Corona. Naturally. It’s in our current lives. We stopped only for petrol and toilets. Masked up, gloves for petrol and hand sanitiser. Maybe over the top but this is a highly contagious virus and we don’t want to get sick. In Germany masks are compulsory. Switzerland not, but many wore masks.

We pack food, lots of food. *BIG TRAVEL TIP* We travel with a car fridge. Also had robes at our ‘motel’-  honeymoon style, the boys were beside themselves (future Christmas present idea maybe). Wraps are our go to for a road trip. We had enough for our roadside motel dinner too, so no need to go and find dinner anywhere. We also pack cherry tomatoes, mini cucumbers, apples, bananas, popcorn, chippies, biscuits and  sweeties. Drink bottles for each of us.

We pre-booked the motel so we knew how far we had to come, we  wanted to cross ALL the borders today. I’ve been watching Europe. I am sure we’re good here, no surprises I can predict. But who knows with the pandemic, things change. It’s the risk we take travelling. I wouldn’t be travelling the other way through Belgium, France and Spain right now (daily changes there).

Husband, legend who did all the driving. Mostly because he hates being a passenger is working from ‘home’ this week. We will leave early tomorrow and arrive before lunch when his first zoom meeting is scheduled. Is this not something interesting?! Changing up the home office to a Tuscan farmhouse villa for a week before taking a week off! Heck we could even stay on in Italy and he could work another week before we have to come back for school.

#writingstreak

#day27/31

#fromaroadsidemotel

#hopeyouareallwell

 

 

 

Mopping Myself Out The Door Towards Tuscany.

The roof suitcase is on! The boot is packed. The racks are ready for the bikes (mine and his). The car fridge is locked and loaded. Food is prepped and ready for a whole day’s drive. And the floor is freshly mopped. Tell me it’s not just me?! I almost need to audit the house before leaving to go away. Last minute jobs – check. All clothes washed, fridge cleaned and floors mopped. Thankfully we’re heading south because look at that weather would you. Dutch grey skies.

I am a tad excited. And now quite pleased after working through the last of the jobs tonight. Obvs it’s not our first rodeo, but man after having a house full of people since Feb the need to deep clean and declutter is building. You know shoe sorting, hand me down clothes sorting, school work shifting, under the couch cleaning, stains from gross kids wiping, parcels to send, letters to write.  When I get back all refreshed and ready to go I’ll attack that stuff.

Seriously though it’s been a long time since I’ve had the house to myself. Usually after the kids go to school I burn some incense, play some music, daydream a little. I realise I haven’t done my little things in months, months! All fine of course it is what it is and I’ve found new things to keep me grounded. Fingers crossed we are not thrust back into home school after summer.

Back to the house auditing before leaving to go away. Are you a mad scrubber? Do you need to come home to a clean house? It’s my thing. Also we live in a 1930’s house that needs a bit of fixing. It’s a work in progress. And we’ve had problems with house mice before so I don’t want to encourage them AT all. And basically it’s kind a hard to make a really old house with lots of gaps and four kids feel very clean for long. Mostly I’m cool with that but not the night before we go away. I’m a mad-ass scrubber.

As I tidied my garden today (yeah I had to sort that out too) I looked at the apples so ripe and nearly ready, I realised I’ll be excited to get back also. It is a lovely thing to love being home. To build a home. A nest. The apples will need to be preserved and hopefully the tomatoes will also be going gangbusters. Won’t that be a lovely surprise. ‘Tis the night before an adventure and we’re ready.

Did I mention I’m a bit excited? I really am. It is like I am twenty something and putting my backpack on to see something new in the world. Nope, none of us will ever, ever take the freedom to roam for granted again (not that I did just that it’s even more amazing now after the crazy year). Tomorrow night we’ll catch up from the outskirts of Milan, we want to cross all the borders in a day (let’s face it weird times with borders) and arrive under the Italian blue skies.

#writingstreak

#day26/31

#thenightbeforeanadventure

 

 

A Thing That Completes Me.

Did you know it was Dutch growers who cultivated the orange carrot? True. It was a tribute to William of Orange who led the struggle for Dutch independence against the Spanish in the 1500s. Traditionally carrots where yellow, white or purple. It’s not just colourful tulips here!

One thing I miss from Australia is the way they do food. It’s fresh, flavoursome and tasty! We love food in Aussie. Our deliciously migrant inspired cuisine. How many Masterchef series are we up to? It’s also easy to have a little food adventure with local growers. Farmers markets are a real thing. And there are many small scale, big love for organic practices farmers and farmhers doing exciting things. I’ve popped in on garlic farmhers, pasturised chicken farmhers and market garden farmers.

Produce here is a bit bland, maybe it’s because a lot of our produce comes from outside our borders. And humans have developed a taste for ‘out of season’ food. If we are eating berries here in winter, aargh they’re travelling a LONG way. Typically the Dutch aren’t foodies. In all honesty you don’t come to Holland for the food scene. Ok except for the chips and mayo! This is excellent.

I have been perplexed about food here. We have similar topography and climate to Denmark and yet they do far tastier food. The Dutch are growers. Huge growers. In fact they are the second largest food producer in the world. Last year the agri export industry was worth 94.5 billion euros. Punching way about their weight this tiny country, feeding the masses. Remember this country is half the size of Tassie with a population of 17.8 million (Aussie is 25 mil).

Even the markets often sell imports from all over world. I can buy NZ kiwis here most of the year. I don’t obvs because food miles. One of my goals this year was to get better at knowing where my food comes from. During my hikes through Holland I have seen many interesting farms complete with the farm gate, my favourite. By walking across this country I’ve seen there’s a local food movement. I just have to start tapping into it. And how I love the notion of walking across countries, best way to know one and actual most authentic form of slow travel in my mind.

I was super excited when my friend sent me the link to crisp.nl. They’re an online food delivery company whose mission is to sell quality food direct from the growers and producers to consumers. So easy. Simply down load the ap. order and the next night it’s one the door. I’ve only had one delivery but I really noticed the difference in food quality and taste. And the packaging was fairly minimal on the plastic which pleases me greatly.

I did ask about returning the delivery boxes to reuse but as yet that doesn’t happen. It’s a problem in process, hopefully a solution will follow. I think I may also raise the idea of wonky fruit. The fruit the farmers can’t sell because it doesn’t look perfect. I’d be interested in buying that. It didn’t seem a lot more expensive than the supermarket.

I really admire young start ups that seek to create something with meaning. Here they are trying to build a business based on supporting local farmers. I had contact via whats ap with then prior to my delivery and after. It was so personal, so positive and so tech convenient. Lol. I wish I had the energy of these entrepreneurs. Yeah this little find, this way of purchasing food, of knowing the farmer it is surely one of the things that makes me feel complete.

Tell me a little story of something that completes you if you like, if you have time. It’s actually is a nice way to smile inside and I’d like to know you a bit more. :)

#writingstreak

#day24/31

#justkeepwriting

#wontgiveup

#evenwheni’mblank

#showingup

 

 

 

Magic And Mermaids.

The most beautiful thing about holidays is the freedom to dream. Whether it’s at home or away. The escape from all the ‘real’ life distractions that opens the space for our imagination to run free. Isn’t the endless summer of childhood the most magical time.

An escape from the noise (and the desire to save and understand the world in her case) that allows the opening of a kind of mystical place where girls (and boys) can dream of things, perhaps of becoming mermaids. And the wonder of the summer season that allows the play in a setting which can indulge such fantasies. 

A time to light candles and brew the moon water required to perform the spells to find their tails. Is it the time they’ve been spending in the water, the freedom they have to cycle to this big new free world of theirs, or simply finding the friend who dreams with you that allows such wonderful indulging in dreaming, in feeling imaginative and very real joy?

Today I don’t doubt my parenting. I don’t doubt my belief in taking kids off grid, in giving them freedom to get out of their (my) comfort zone in nature. Kids often know their limits better than adults. My job has been to ensure the skills and boundaries are there to be safe and to create a life experience that encourages the freedom to play and dream. I’ve always known how important it is for all of them, but particularly one of them to know this world of escape exists.

#writingstreak

#day23/31

#atransitionday

#wemaytakeadrivesouth

#wherethemountainsmeetthesea

#wherethefarmersgrowtheolives

#wherethekidscanswiminmountainstreams

 

What Do Tomato Plants And Running Shoes Have In Common?

Back in March I planted a few seeds. There were the vegetable seeds (including these tomatoes) and there was the #runstreak. The streak where I put these runners on each day to run. This weekend I repotted the plants because they had well and truly outgrown their pots. And I hung my shoes up from daily running after 140 days, 20 weeks of streaking. The tomatoes had out grown their pot and I’d outgrown putting my shoes on each day. 

For a long time I knew I needed to keep running. To keep the streak alive. It felt easier to keep going than to stop. And my running was serving a purpose. It was creating a base of fitness and building some fire in my life. It was my quarantine (1.0) saving grace. I ran all the way through quarantine and beyond, coming out the other end with a stronger and more confident mind. I ran myself into a new challenge, the Amsterdam 1/2 marathon. Which, naturally, I’ll run in a school dress for One Girl because that is what I do!

When I look back to my IG post from the time I planted the tomato seeds I read the hint of another seed between the lines. It was the beginning of me starting to consider doing things smaller and in a more focussed way. Of transferring this idea of ‘not having it all’ into all I do. Of doing smaller things well. Not of not dreaming big things but of getting to those dreams in a different way. This is the magic of writing for me. Little thoughts shared aloud with myself. These thoughts sent out into my world for me to notice and work with,

I only hung my shoes for a few days! Today I ran the first run of my 12 week training schedule. I googled one and found one on runners world. I’ve never actually followed a running plan but a schedule seems to be working for me right now. Three runs a week it will take. I have no doubt the Amsterdam 1/2 marathon will be cancelled due to corona. I’ll still run it though. There is a 25km hike through the woods around our village. I’ll run that! In a school dress and I’ll rope the family in to ride along and cheer, document for me and share as I go. Lol. It it will be fun.

‘To pay attention. This is our endless and proper work.’ ~ Mary Oliver. 

This little tale of the tomato plants and the running shoes reminds me how subtle beginnings and endings can sometimes be. How gentle letting go can be. It isn’t always big and scary. Rather that growing into ourselves and tweaking with adjustments is a contant. And not everything needs an ending, sometimes it’s just a shift, a new pot, a more intentional goal or plan. I wonder .. will the repotted tomato plants fruit with me alongside my adjusted running plan?!?

#Day22/31

#writingstreak

#therunninglooksdifferentnow

#ireallylovethiswritingstreak