Sharing my dream

“Live a life with no regret” Deri Llewellyn Davies

That was a quote I shared on my talk the other day to a coaching meeting – some coaches, some coachees or in similar roles; entitle “It’s never too late…” I wanted to use my travel dream now lived as the content and inspiration for people to live their dreams, to try for what they want no matter how late in life it might be!  If I can you can too was the message.  I have not only lived my dream but it changed me for the better; I gained from it.  Another quote states that “Travel is the only thing you spend on that makes you richer”  – that’s for sure!

it's never too late ...to do it

As it was a short presentation of just 15 minutes along with four other coaches presenting in a more formal way and regular coaching insights, I did have the audience in stitches with stories, pictures and comments.  At least it seemed like that and not at me!  Ah well, even so, it was good to get people laughing, enjoying themselves and seeing a new perspective, new stimulants to beliefs and expectations!

Two young women came over after and excitedly shared they too wanted to travel alone but …ooh could I?  Yes, I said, a resounding Yes you should go!  I invited them both to link with me on social media, to ask questions and read my blog, and a couple of others too took the link for the blog and my card.  An older woman shared she had travelled for three months, and what made the presentation good was my passion and enthusiasm!   Again, how great is that!  It was a comment I got over an over again whilst travelling – but why not? I was out in a wonderful world, doing things I hadn’t even imagined, seeing things with my own eyes, being wowed and awed every day and meeting people, experiencing good and bad, smiles and tears, history and horror sometimes but it was a great mix and inspiring in itself!

So I achieved that goal too, inspiring people to try, to believe and to maybe go for their dreams too!  I do hope to get the change to motivate them to try, and maybe the post on nomadicmatt.com will also raise the momentum for them all!

Places I visited

As it was brief I had to cover a lot – diverse photos, the countries I visited, the things I did and the things I brought back…

– THOUSANDS OF PHOTOS!

– A DESIGUEL TOP – a new designer and style

– A NEW LOOK –  more modern style, international clothes, MAC make up, Manuka Cream

– INNER TRUST AND RELAXATION

– MIND MAPPING FOR REAL!

– NEW INSIGHTS – ACROSS THE GLOBE

– NEW FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK ALONE

– MEMORIES AND STORIES

– SELF BELIEF and RESILIENCE

– “THE MESSAGE” – “Nothing is impossible, Everything is possible”

– CALMNESS and CONTROL that I had previously lacked! 

– INSPIRATION FOR OTHERS as I was told – I hope so!

Sharing my memories …

Article Request from nomadicmatt.com

How exciting – I’ve been asked to feature on www.nomadicmatt.com travel site for an article re travellers over 40! So I’ve sent my write up and photos and await the publicised piece!

This site was my guide, help and inspiration at times, especially prepping for travelling, so this very exciting for me to be included! And I do still follow him now!

nomadic matt siteI still revere this site/writer and follow the blog even now I’m back.  It brings back memories, offers insights and future note-taking, and the option to share with others when I think they will benefit as I did!

His advice particularly on how to tell people you are going was invaluable to me as I made my plans!  Knowing people would try to talk me out of it – as he said, because they worry and care – he gave practical tips, ideas on what might happen and so prepared me to have it all clear in my head and secure plans and back up prep to put their minds at ease …and spur me on to go for it should I find their doubts creeping in!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be included, having completed a questionnaire in December 2016 by one of his contributors, and now it’s come back to this request!

I sent a few pictures too so they can choose from and I look forward to finding out about other 40+ travellers that I always read, to find out about their experiences too.

Why not have a look and see how the advice, tips and insights can help you enjoy your travel experience, or even inspire you to have a go if you are wondering about it!

Inspirational Talks too

I am also this week going to be sharing my experiences as part of a motivational coaching talk I have the opportunity to do with Potentialisation meet up group in Manchester, run my a friend/colleague I met through an NLP group several years ago, and his peers.

So again, a chance to relive my experiences, my very fond memories …especially now it is more than a year ago!   I have been back in the UK a year in June and can sadly no longer reflect that ‘a year ago today I was …’ which I have loved doing and loved sharing with interested people!

Dukinfield talk on travel dream

 

I also shared my experiences with an over 55 group in Tameside last month, which I loved and they did too!  Several people shook my hand, thanked me and said they were impressed by the presentation as I thanked them for listening and allowing me to share my memories, and hopefully inspiration too!

 

The future plans …

Well, now, on to planning the next experience later this year, maybe next!  I still like being in one place for now, my new flat albeit in the same place I called home before.

Still, plans or dreams ahead for changes in the future, and learning my Spanish – with new friends too – in preparation!   Having been given the benefit of people speaking my language whilst away which was so helpful and endearing, I want to be able to share at least some speech with others in their language too and make that effort!

Besides which I share discussions in my Spanish class group with other interested parties and also learn about the culture and insights from my Spanish Teacher Ana!

 

 

Fantastic Foz de Iguassu

Iguassu Falls (Foz de Iguazu)

 I had thought about the falls but not where the town around them might be or what it was called so Foz de Iguazu was small, a little boring and unkempt to some extent.

However, nice friendly people, and a taste of real life again that I always want to experience.

My first experience was landing at the airport, in the evening, having to find my hostel in the town and take a bus – again with no map or language!  A pattern here that I learned to adapt to.

Waiting for the bus, once I had sorted my head around which of the two buses out I needed to take without the help of a map, I talked to a young man who turned out to be so helpful – not only to me, speaking English, explaining the bus route and where I needed to get off and even, at the other end, sorting out a teenager at the bus station going my way who took me to my hostel!   How lovely of them both!  He also helped another young woman on the bus and took her himself to where she was going, hence he found help for me.  NO need to, but was helping us all as he spoke English.

Once there, it was basic, not very friendly and open but corridors, clean, safe and breakfast bar with buffet each day.

I had to find my way on day one there to the falls on this side – Brazil, and tomorrow planning to get to Argentina – for the day, as you do!

I ate that evening at a restaurant around the corner, finding my way around by wandering, and eating in the meat served at the table style of a Manchester place called Bem Brasil which I now understand!   Various meats cut at your table, according to the green card you  are given, and when you don’t want it for now or any more, turn it to the red side and they don’t ask.

There are salads and side dishes buffet style, all for one price.   And they speak Portugese Brasilian Spanish!   So the waiters didn’t speak English, one a tiny bit, but we made friends and they taught me how to say thank you, please and such using the masculine-feminine requirements which was lovely of them!  Obrigado or Obrigada I learned from them!

I got the bus to the falls easily enough, and it was spectacular.  I was here because Becca and Ruth had told me to visit, unsure in the jungle where I was heading, and told me to do ‘both sides’ of the falls – so vast they stretch over two countries and yet you can see the people on the ‘other side’ from there too.   Bizarre!

Coati at Iguassu Falls (see below)

The second day I had to cross borders, which even after so long travelling I wasn’t ‘good at’.  I didn’t get off the bus with my passport as I should have on the way out as I didn’t understand the driver and another family of tourists sat in front of me were unsure too.  However, I survived even though I could have been in real trouble, when the young man on the return journey over the border -where I did get off – asked where my stamp was, I said I didn’t know, and he looked frustrated and then decided to let me go without a stamp back in either!  No doubt, saving effort and paperwork and I probably didn’t seem a threat thank heavens!

 

Advice?  Find out the details, a few key phrases to ask the drivers at the borders etc!!

Now, the Argentina side of the falls was simply AMAZING!  Just beautiful, awe-inspiringly huge – high and long – with so much water over the falls and along the rivers, it looked like it could swallow the earth!  Rainbows lay over the waters at times, the spray so high and damping everyone around there most of the time.  Falls so deep below and so far stretching along the cliffs to Brasil from the wooden walkways built from entrance to end, through woodlands and little furry beasts called coati who would bite and injure and poison you potentially so many signs warning not to feed or touch them.

Otherwise, they looked for food, wandering around the walkways, on the fence tops above the rivers, along the walls and nuzzling near the restaurants where weary workers tried to shoo them off all the time!

It was a long but lovely walk through the falls area in Argentina.  I had realised late that I needed money so the hostel gave me the money and I had to work out costs and coins to pay!  Another thing I rarely considered early enough at times but a habit in the airports to pick up some for at least day one or the whole stay there.

I liked Iguassu though, and my stay was nice if brief, and the restaurant, mall and banking new for me.  Not much else to see there.

My next trip was to move to Curitiba on my way to Rio de Janeiro in the east, near the coast.

Capybara Haven

The largest rodent in the world, the capybara, prefers a habitat of dense forestry and bodies of water. They live in social groups ranging from 20 to 100. Adults grow to about 20 inches tall and 4 feet in length, with brown-reddish fur. They feed on grass, tree bark, plants and fruit. Consuming their own feaces provides them with a source of bacterial gut floral that aids in digestion. Although they can live up to 10 years in the wild, they are prey to many predators. Their predators include anacondas, ocelots, jaguars, pumas, caimans and eagles.

 

 

Ibiza at last!

My first and maybe only Ibiza adventure!

Ibiza, I found, is not just a party island either as its reputation suggests but the many holiday-makers there show another side to it – and again, a stunning place, arid and dry, a little wild (not just at the party towns either!) but the seas and beaches, the houses and villages, are just ornate and interesting – picturesque and pretty, quiet and lived in but unquestionably beautifully built too!

We managed, last minute, to find an hotel in the far north-east of the island but it was very ‘English’ when I arrived a day before the girls got there.  I was worried they wouldn’t like that, and I would have preferred less English food, pubs and speech than I found but in the end it was a lovely resort.

Again, the resort was new for me after living as a traveller for so long!   The food was English but a change at least, and the girls enjoyed the holiday with the beautiful private pool we paid extra for by the beach, the beach sunbathing after a discussion or two, and the various restaurants we found in the town too.

We all had different wishes for this break together, and my first with them as adults I guess so we had to wrestle with options, co-operate with choices and at times, find space to do our own thing in our own ways!

Interesting at least!   We enjoyed time together, chats and memories, sharing and information we hadn’t had for a year.

We did go clubbing at DC10 as the other bigger venues were only just opening as we were leaving, and a boat party that was new for me with a DJ we knew and one I knew of from the past!   I loved it.  I love to dance, I love the atmosphere and music, and I just get lost in dancing!   I did argue to stay longer but didn’t win, and we went home ‘early’ at 3 am (I wanted to stay until 6 am when it closed as my potential only chance to do this!)

We met some lovely restauranteurs and went by local bus to Ibiza Town and to San Antonio for the boat party, which just wasn’t how I expected it to be, nor the venues outside the towns in the middle of nowhere almost!

Expensive (and these were early days of the clubbing season) and not easy to get to or home other than taxis (and one lost phone …).   So it was a new experience for me really and I will go again!!

The music boat in the middle of ocean, beautiful blue skies leading into red and pink sunsets from the back of the boat as we returned to land, I loved it!  Outdoors dancing to great DJs on board, fun people who just wanted to enjoy the music.   I didn’t feel out of place at my age with the other people, who ranged from 20s to 50s like me and everyone just got on with the business of dancing.   No drinks allowed except those bought on board, and perhaps checks for drugs as well which no doubt would affect licences.

We did have a drink – some tiny bottles I had in my bag that were missed and I found, so that’s what we had plus the ones over a difficult lunch where we argued about not having information, uncertain where the boat was and how it all worked but we got over it and enjoyed the day!  ON my way off a guy we had met asked if I was coming again next year – and I said yes, I’d loved it!

DC10 club on the island was great and apparently really popular – three rooms, one outdoor courtyard area, each with different music/DJs playing and the main one had no air con!  Phew!   But I just loved my first ever Ibiza club night and again, just danced and danced!   If the beat is right, I don’t need to know the music or DJ, and I will chat with anyone and everyone or no-one at all.

I arranged to meet the girls under a large tree by the bar in the outdoor area if we lost each other – then didn’t go when I lost sight of them, whilst apparently they were hanging round for me!   Oooops!  But I was loving my time there, didn’t want to wait around and realised we couldn’t really get lost in there and knew they would survive and get on eventually!  Then I found them again, and sort of apologised!  The girls were chatting to people and at one point I was supposed to say where I had come from when introduced to a group and didn’t, and instead just said I hadn’t been ‘brought’ there by my daughters – which the guys thought was weird and obviously seemed so – but I brought them!  Again, ooops!  Wrong image to portray.

We had arrived the week before the opening season so missed the major club openings – as the girls arrived the morning of the opening nights for Space and Cream so I was disappointed to miss those!   However, expensive to get there when we knew we were in the north of the island.

Still, it was all an experience.  A beautiful island, stunning views, gorgeous old town Ibiza and a mix of relaxation and partying, expensive but a great time when you’re there!

Es Canar was very English, unexpectedly and unplanned, but a lovely bar-pool down the road from our hotel where we relaxed, drank cocktails, sunbathed and swam right next to the sea.   Ate lunch there, on paying a price for the day – the beds, the pool and the great music that I just wanted to dance to again!

There was a ferry around the island, and we used the public bus once over too, I wandered the beach and went alone when the girls stayed in bed or weren’t quite ready, ate lunch (tapas of course!) on the beachside cafes.

 

Kangaroo Island, Aus

Kangaroo Island, off Adelaide S Australia really does have wildlife abounding – I saw the echidna for the first time ever!  Roos up to 6 foot tall within feet of me, mum and baby in the bush and rare birds above us on a trek out with Paul!

A rook talked to me, distracting me from the bus I held up watching him, and koalas just sitting above the roads and creeks we visited or drove by every day on KI …

Seals on the beach, wind hewn rock sculptures, wild seas and a fun ferry ride were just some highlights!   I went into the bush alone – really alone, no one around, at times with the two dogs of my host who found something in it’s burrow but sent them away and still don’t know what it might have been!   I still haven’t, though, in all my travels in Aus or elsewhere seen a wild, live snake although I have come close twice I didn’t ‘see’ it!

I walked within three feet of the seals basking on the sand, watch penguins wander in after surfing onto the beach in front of me!   Watched them swim, play and surf huge waves into a rocky cove under a rock arch below me on one trip!

Seals within feet of me on the sandy beaches, penguins dropping home too, and the never before seen echidna I followed as he snuffled the ground for grubs for dinner!  I was fascinated, above us koalas, lizards rustling by, birds calling and flying overhead…

I saw koalas just sitting in trees as we drove the roads as well as the many on the trek through the trees (at least, I think that was in KI!).  Not to mention the birds, the possums, the lizards and wild cats that abound all of Aus and especially close to on Kangaroo Island!   Yes, it is an amazing, beautiful if hot and dusty paradise!

It was a treat and for me, ‘real Australia’ – sunbaked red mud, white bleached sand and grey dying trees; lush green grasses watered by bilabongs for farm sheep; sea water fish and shellfish farmed outside my window where I stayed, and swam, running the beaches with the dogs and hiking the trails up and down the hills from coach to coast!

Wind and salt hewn incredible rocks on KI

I loved KI.  I met a farmer of 1000 acres, so big you can’t see the ends of it, and watched him tractor with Paul to get his wandering cows back into the ‘field’ – they wandered out of an open gate, regardless of the fence having fallen down or been walked over by the first few!  We talked of money and investments, cows and building new facilities by hand for guests to come and stay in real Aussie farm bushland, changing an old cow shed/barn/shearing shed into exciting if basic ‘rooms’ and cots!   

I walked rivers to seas, bridges over creeks and went out at dusk to find hundreds of kanagroos basking, eating, bouncing and family life in the cooler evening bushland …

The rough tough truckers, farmers and workers – shorts and boots, tanned muscled legs and arms, ‘sunnies’ on and occasionally the requisite bush hat!  No corks but having experienced flies on my face, trying to get into my nose, mouth and eyes at the pier and the bush trek on mainland Aus, I can really understand the need!   Or the netting I eventually bought having seen other tourists wearing them …if only I’d known before those two days!

The tiny airport on KI and the bridge over creeks where local campers go for peace (it’s all fairly slow paced and peaceful here!)

 

Further information:

http://tinyurl.com/k8sdaww – Guardian article on travel – Kangaroo Island that reminded me of my trip and promoted this post!

 

Peak Experiencing – an elephant ride!

What is it like to live your dream?  Mine was travelling, for a year, with a backpack, living simply and experiencing culturally.   Those moments that remind you consciously and may seem bizarre or surreal that you are actually there, seeing what you see, doing what you do and being who you want to be and now you ARE there!   I wanted those every day – and I got it!

In Chiang Mai –  riding an elephant bareback through the jungle in Thailand was one ‘peak experience’ I had on this journey.  A journey in real life, practically, really (but also a journey in life emotionally and psychologically too for me too!)

Elephant ride

I hadn’t quite planned to ride one, just see them as the cruel training put me off.  But I found this one, Eddy seemed to love them, they were happy enough, we had fun and fear riding with nothing to hold on to …and rather than watching Wandee’s  footing along a narrow path on the edge of a drop, as he swayed along beneath me, feeling a little nervous at his apparent rebellious trumping, I just looked up ahead…and saw a trail of elephants with their passengers slowly, carefully and gently making their way up the hillside in front of me and moving left on the jungle path.  And I was, for a moment, wholly there, in the moment, seeing this magical picture of peace and tranquillity, of what it was once like for jungle life and from an elephant’s point of view, too!  My breath stopped, I thought: “Wow! Amazing!” and tears sprung a little, wonder to my heart and I was ‘peaking’ my experience of something I didn’t expect or would probably do again!  A once in a lifetime experience …

I will never forget that ‘moment’ in time, nor the many other moments I experienced that year.  The chuckle at the end of the ride when my mahout had been shouting for ‘Amy’ to look at the camera, I had assumed he meant the elephant beneath me but thought that was my name!   I had come to care for ‘her’ when in fact I think he was a he! 

His rebellious trumpeting at one point when he took the right side of the path round a stone – towards the edge, and a drop I could see from the tree tops to my side! – when all the others had gone left I noticed!   But he was sure of his footing of course, because not only I would have toppled but him – unless he decided to say too far …!! Arrgh!   But they know the path, they travel it daily, since, like the baby in front with his mum, from an early age, learning behaviour, routes and commands from the mahouts that cared for them.  Nor the wetting I got from an elephant behind me, watching the changed faces of my peers on the ride and then realising why as we bathed ‘our’ elephants in the river that we were wading through, and stopped.  it was fun, watching them rolling in the water, touching each other, letting us pour water on them and brushing their tough hides too.   Nor the huge whole bunch of bananas tossed up to me that I thought would send me toppling from my unsteady perch, by the mahouts, as we arrived at a rest stop for the elephants to feed.  Wandee demanding banana after banana with his trunk bending back to me, calling urgently and never stopping!   This was their reward, our fun and experience and a chance to reflect on the survival, feelings and achievement we felt on riding an elephant in the jungle!  Cool!

EElephant and me

I sadly lost my CD on route of the rides, river washing and photos, so I will have to rely on the memories of that day, a few photos of those wonderful animals – and the people like Eddy and his mahouts, and my fellow riders …

 

Eddy, of Eddy’s Elephants, Chiang Mai, I am sure was a caring owner, taking his fathers gifted elephant and those of his siblings to start this business, learn English in England and make a healthy living from the rides and the fun!

 

 

Phnom Penn Temples

Wat Ounalom  was big yet I only discovered it when I saw it online tourist research and went in search.  It was ’round the corner’ from where I ate most nights, had looked for hotels (in fact, that may be how I discovered it!) .  It is in the centre of the city, near Sisowath Quay where I sat most evenings, wandered along and just a short walk from the Royal Palace of Cambodia which is also worth a look although this costs to get into, and may not be open every day (!!!)  As I was sightseeing, I was told by one tuk tuk driver that it was closed for the day – I later learned this wasn’t true, and they do this to get you to buy their trips that often aren’t great!

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When I saw it it looked ancient, grey and worn and I was so excited to explore!   I wasn’t disappointed … As the seat of Cambodian order of monks, it is the most important wat and the center of Cambodian Buddhism. Established in 1443 with 44 structures that are interesting, with soldier statues, and it seemed ‘closed’ so I just wandered around.

An old man who took me into a tiny cubby hole, sprinkled me with ‘holy water’ and lit a stick in front of a small gold Buddha  – I knew he expected paying for this, even though I hadn’t asked (been able to ask) for it – a new experience, unexpected, real and interesting!

Damaged during the Khmer Rouge period it has since been restored –  the main complex has a stupa that contains what is believed to be an eyebrow hair of Buddha which I didn’t bother to look up!  These abound in Asia!

Other sightseeing

The palace grounds are hot, with no seats and soldiers on guard as it is a working palace, so not unexpected.  Expensive for what it was but one of the things to do, as is a visit to the museum not far from there either, and a lovely building!

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Watching the people live their lives on the boats moored below the Quay where they live poor lives and thieve to survive!  I even saw this – a student stopped to chat with me, telling me I wasn’t safe on the quayside, then found his motorcycle helmet had been stolen off the bike near us (although I hadn’t seen him arrive!) but I had seen one of the boys off the boat with one …ooops!

I was aware of the beggars and thieves around me, relaxed but watchful and able to dash across the walkway and road back to the safety of my hostel, owned and run by an Australian guy who was very nice and friendly.

One night, I couldn’t access my money from the bank transfer having been delayed, and then even through the money transfer shops I had seen but didn’t realise what they were until I needed one, and that took a day to sort!   I had nothing for food, so had to go back and ask for a nights money back, cancelling it and hoping I could sort it that day later if needs be!  Anyway, as it was, I moved on then.

I did take a tuk tuk ride and it was fantastic, bless him cycling round in that heat, taking care of my bag and telling me to hide/hold it close, and a long ride, very cheap so I gave him a little more money!

He was a nice person, compared to some other rude and rough ones I wouldn’t trust!

Lost money

I did lose my purse here – and some say it was stolen by the well-known stealthy thieves there, but I think I dropped it when I got a scarf from my bag, to cover my burning back as I walked down the front, to a temple I wanted to see.  When I got there, a guard chased me to get my $1 entry and then I realised I’d lost it!  I went back to the travel agent to see if I left it on the desk – unsure if he would be honest anyway, but £60 lost!  I can and did only hope it went to help some of the many children like Fagin’s children in Oliver Twist!

From Phnom Penh I travelled by boat up the river to Siem Reap ….

 

 

Cold Asia! What a con!

What is Asia’s obsession with air con??? Yes, Westerners might struggle with the heat and humidity but at night, sleeping or on trains not moving much, it gets freezing!!! I have experienced this daily now for months!!  I, like many others in dorms, struggled with icy cold air con, either one setting or changed by the various people in the dorm, coming and going.  But it does stop us sleeping, or seeing the views, making conversation or other activities as survival mode kicks in to get warmish!!!

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On the train to Singapore from KL it was like this for the first hour!  Everyone huddled in sarongs like me, towels like the woman across, sweatshirts and hoods just to be a little warm.  We started complaining to staff, moving to the canteen or standing in the doorways to warm up!! Eventually someone did turn it down, as he just had when I followed him out of the carriage!  I’m still sat in the canteen so unsure yet if its better or not but for seven hours it’s ridiculous they think we want this, or need it – even locals.

Paraty beach touring!

9th May 2016  

I saved a fish today!  I was on a trip to the beaches ( really all one beach,,), walking along one with Jo the guide, she pointed out a beached fish gasping for water….so I picked it up, paddled in to the sea, and put it in deeper water but not above the waves and it scuttled off…😄

I was with three Brasilians, apparently sister and two brothers as I found by the end.  She wasn’t in great health and older, and her brothers helped her in and out the van, she sat and waited for them to do their thing and at the end, although we couldn’t communicate that well, guide and driver either, we had a chat and a giggle (and I tasted cachaca – banana fire water 😜!!). In the end, Carmen ‘loved’ me, and we hugged, and her brothers William … (very cool, cute too) and Sergio (funny and hidden English talent!) shook hands and Sergio said I was ‘very good company’ – as they were!   Such a nice easy day on lovely beaches with amazing waves!! Got knocked over twice so not the cool water babe I aim to be …🐠💦

Fresh water pool running from the waterfall, grey seas quite calm whilst some waves rose to 7ft high before crashing loudly onto the beach, at the foot of the 7ft high sandbank we were sat on!!

Carmen chuckled at how excited I was at the waves – my childish side again! 

Reality of Australia!

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Sitting on the train on 10 Nov, from Sydney to Melbourne, not long after we set off, I was looking out of the window about 8 am and was surprised – confused – about the countryside I saw.  It looks a ‘little deserty’ I thought!  Then I remembered it was desert-like and dry .. because I was in Australia and not England; still confused to come to English speaking country after Asia, readjusting to familiar things like people understanding me, foods I know, asking directions in my native tongue and not using sign language to support my enquiries and trees, dress, skin colour all life long familiarity. 

From the Aussie train then – the reason I like train travel – I watch rolling hills, different types of trees, some familiar English like, others slim, grey barked bushland trees; grazing cows and horses too, something I saw few of around Asia!  The low rise, colourful bungalow homes and farmsteads, with lots of open space around them, huge grasslands of farm holdings and horse stables, bushy tufts on the ‘fields’ and muddy creeks and water holes. 

I can see roads in the distance, lanes nearby, deep blue skies and light white  clouds but not the radiant green of well- watered English grassy fields, as the underlying red sandstone rock peeps out at times too, and rocky outcrops appear from nowhere.  Lets hope the blue skies hail a warmer sunshine than Ive had since arriving in Sydney!! I had to buy a cardigan as I only have light clothes and short sleeves!!! 

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I can feel the excitement when I pass the first Aussie suburb, with industrial sites on the outskirts, one road running through and out into distant hillsides; herds of cows grazing under trees and fields on the left, wilder bush-land to the right through large clean windows I can see a lot!!

The train journey is part of my ‘enjoyable journey’ including the stop list including Wagga Wagga (pronounced Woggawogga)  and  Warranbatta not quite so familiar to my ears as Broad Meadow is! 

The train is great – clean, spacious in first class, varied menu and nice food in the buffet; locked doors between stations, regular and clear information over the tannoy, thorough and detailed.  Also, regular trains are also double decked, entry with a few seats along the side then a few steps upward and down to many more forward facing seats!!! Again, clean, respected and well managed with friendly, helpful staff at stations and on board!!!  So far, enjoying my travel experiences, including the hop on/off tour in Sydney that got me everywhere I wanted affordably.  Taxis too have GPS and drivers are friendly, helpful and polite.