Musings

Category

The Settling-in Process

I waffle on big decisions. To pick a place to settle in – at least for the next few years – isn’t an easy decision, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve made a few choices, did several turnarounds, then chose again and am still wondering if I’ve done it all correctly. Fickle, fickle, fickle. Melbourne (Australia, not Florida) is it for now, with the partner, which sort of makes things easier and not, with also the view that this might just be a temporary location before we pack and move again. An apartment in the Docklands via Airbnb for about a month and a half is what...

Getting enough (passive) income to travel

I think this post was inevitable, even if the title makes me cringe. But there comes a time when you start to wonder if your blog can start to make money for you. Or you start thinking about ways you can keep an income going while still seeing the world. I first started out blogging on an old (but free) WordPress account as a way of keeping people who were interested in what I was doing updated, until I became dissatisfied with the sloppy way my own posts and pictures were laid out. But to say that I bought my own domain, researched WordPress themes and paid for hosting was merely...

When travel becomes lacklustre

It isn’t often that I feel dissatisfied after a trip, but a recent 5-day one to Khao Lak had wrong written on it from the very start. I’d planned to dive in the Similan Islands, taking advantage of the early diving season, but a sinus-infection (along with a doctor’s warning not to do it) meant that I was on the verge of cancelling the entire trip, only to go ahead the last minute. The hotel I was in was overwhelmingly stocked with Germans; my room had a variety of insects and bees in it and the deck chairs reserved the whole damn day with towels on them, while their owners remained...

Dollars & Sense: 10 things to note when budgeting for a trip

The problem of trying to figure out how much cash to bring on a holiday is something that typically doesn’t have a good solution. Overdo it and there’s so much excess cash that sometimes tempts you to spend it on things you don’t need just so you don’t have to convert them back to your own currency. Under do it and you’ll be searching out another money exchange counter in no time, which frankly, wastes precious time. When I used to do bi-annual 2-week trips to Europe about a decade ago, I went on a strict budget and told myself that no matter what, this fixed amount – do or...

Staying fashionable while on the road

I’ve personally found it an impossibility to stay chic and fresh as I pull pair after pair of wrinkled pants (and shirts) out of my bags while moving from place to place. Even with hair that has thermally reconditioned (it’s a concession that I’ve been giving myself for the last decade to tame flyaway hair that can sort of still look alright in the morning), jet-lag and travel fatigue generally help guarantee that I wouldn’t be walking down any fashion runway any time soon. Those who look good effortlessly have my perpetual admiration and envy. Yet I’ve never really been particularly image conscious, until I started walking the streets of...

Speaking in tongues

My (ex)Icelandic tutor once told me that she was learning several Japanese phrases for an upcoming trip to Japan, despite knowing nothing of the country. A Travel Companion once, had even bought Turkish and Italian quick-fix language sets in preparation for those holidays. I’ve no idea if they actually succeeded in getting around more easily, but they’ve never worked for me. Should I bother memorising anything other than “Yes”, “No”, “Thank you” and “Please” in a language I’m completely unfamiliar with? I’ve often asked myself if I should even bother with the short section found at the back of every travel guide called “Useful phrases” in the language of the country you’re...

2016: What I remember

I’ve never been the sort who catalogues every good and bad moment of the year and up until now, it has been difficult trying to sort each and every memorable one out. The months and the weeks go by in a manner that makes me feel I’d been in a coma for several months; a bad blip rolls over into a good one, which sometimes stays on…until the next disappointment or roadblock hits. And on it goes. But now that I think a little harder about it, the good memories always tend involve the process of learning something new, either as a hobby or as skills acquisition (I hate this...

Embers and ashes

Not a week ago, an uncle of mine died very suddenly, in a hospital where he was being treated for a fall. He had been weak for some time, but his death was nonetheless a shock. He was joking with the nurses at 7 p.m. on a monday night; a half hour later, his heart gave out and he couldn’t be resuscitated at all. The details (and the full extent of) his ill health came later: the official cause of death was ischaemic heart disease, a ticking time bomb that was simply waiting to happen. My aunt – his widow – and the woman whom we know as Aunt D, had...

Staying Fit on the road

Being a creature of routine brings its own comforts when I’m back the my daily grind. After a few years, I’ve settled into a fixed sort of schedule that allots time for work and play and exercise. Going on the road changes that routine drastically and throwing in jetlag, the lack of movement makes me twitchy and sometimes, ill-tempered, because I think I can’t really handle sitting down and doing nothing for long periods. Long flights, needless to say, are extremely traumatic and painful for me. Some people tolerate it much better, but I think I’ve become a bear on planes. But I digress. There are some ways I sneak...

Dancing on walls

So said the climbing instructor last night, because climbers endeavour to ‘flow’ on walls, with one movement melding smoothly into the next in a series of twists, turns, smears and flags. Those definitions confound me and only make sense when they’re broken down into simple moves and repeated. It’s jaw-droppingly graceful when the instructor does it (so much that I felt like he needed a glossy magazine spread of his own), unlike my own stilted movements when I go from one hand-hold to another with gritted teeth. The last two weeks of sports climbing have been interesting, to say the least. Rather than learning rope techniques again, I signed up for a climbing...