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Quite obviously traveling is important in our lives.  I remember when I used to make it a point to see a new country every year.  There’s good reason for it too.  Travel awakens and ignites the spirit in a way that nothing else can.  So for what is likely to be our last post on this blog, we leave you with our Top 15 Reasons to Travel, in the form of famous travel quotes.

1.  “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

2. “The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” — Bill Bryson

3. “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” — Tim Cahill

4.  “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” — Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

5.  “The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” -G.K Chesterton

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6.  “The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page – St. Augustine

7.  “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” -Anonymous

8.  “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck

9.  “Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” -Isabelle Eberhardt, The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

10. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark TwainDarwin6

11.  “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, shouting GERONIMO!” -Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels

12. “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

13.  “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” -Gustave Flaubert

14. “I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

15.  “A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.” — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

So instead of farewell, we say Bon Voyage!

Dear Australia – Thank you for all your incredible adventures, sights, and memorable places.  We feel honored to have visited all of your states (with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory and with the addition of your Kiwi neighbors) and we will never forget our Daintree rainforest tour from Cooper Creek Wilderness, our sailboat adventure on the Great Barrier Reef, our trek around Tassy, the best sandwich ever from Circa in Parramatta and the most amazing Tiramisu Crunch from the Rocks Cafe.

Dear Melbourne – It’s been an amazing two years.  Thank you for making us feel at home.  We can’t think of a more perfect place to begin our life together as a newly married couple.  We will miss you and all the entertainment you provided.  Ryan is forever a Hawk’s fan.

Hawks scarf

We will miss some of our favorite nibbles and drinks, especially the coffees at Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder, the red curry from Thai Yim, the Carolina Sandwich from Big Boy BBQ, brekkies at Three Bags Full and fish ‘n chips from Seaford.

Above all, we will miss our friends who have left an immeasurable impact on our lives.

These are just a handful of things, of course, and don’t include the dinners we’ve hosted, the parties we’ve attended, the Parish we love, the dates we’ve had in the city, and the memories we’ve made.  There’s no way we could possibly say all that these two years have meant to us in a short blog post.  We suspect even WE don’t know the full impact of our time here and probably won’t for years to come.

Thank you for being the perfect host/home.  We hope to visit again the future, maybe with our kiddoes in tow, to show them where it all began.

Love, Ryan & Laura

Couple New

One of the things we will miss about Melbourne is the sheer number of things to do!  You could spend several days just exploring the city but if you wanted something more quiet there are heaps of things to do within an hour or so of the city.  We recently spent a couple of days on the Mornington Peninsula.  It was a birthday getaway weekend for me organized by my darling husband and just another way for us to soak in our last moments in Australia.

There were many amazing parts to the weekend but a few highlights included:

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  • An 8 km walk around Fort Nepean where the first allied shots were fired during World War I and World War II.  August 5 1914, a shot was fired from a gun barrel to capture the German ship Pfalz as she was attempting to leave Port Phillip Bay.  Then on September 4 1939, a gun barrel shot towards an incoming Bass strait trader Woniora who failed to stop for inspection.  Apparently those were the only two shots of aggression ever fired from Port Phillip.  DSC_0077-003
  • A fabulous and relaxing overnight stay at Summer Place B&B in Flinders with an absolutely amazing gourmet brekkie.  Meg and Norman were the perfect hosts.  Shoot me an email or comment below if you’d like more details about staying there.  It was heaven.

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  • A delicious fish ‘n chips from The Rocks in Mornington.  Sitting out on the outdoor patio overlooking the water we shared a fish ‘n chips and quinoa and veggie salad.  We looked dreamily at the super yachts and sailboats and savored every morsel of one of our last Australian fish ‘n chips.

Aaand I just noticed that most of our highlights involved food and eating.  For a second I thought about adding a few more of the “other” activities we enjoyed while on the peninsula but then I thought, Eh…we are who we are. 

Both Ryan and I have moved a lot in our lives so we know how this goes…we’re old pros.  For months out you can hardly wrap your arms around the fact that the place you’ve called home will become another past chapter in your life.  You may start a list, as we did, of all the places you need to see or all the things you need to do before you leave.  Camping at Inverloch at visiting Wilson’s Prom made our short-list.

Tent with moon

I have mentioned before that I’m not what you would call an “outdoorsy” chick but I do pride myself at being able to enjoy myself in most instances IF it is short-lived and there’s an end in sight. It is with this can-do attitude (ha) that I agreed to go camping over the Australia-Day weekend.  Well, that and a guarantee of toilets, showers, and a water-proof tent.

I’m happy to report that we had a wonderful time.  Inverloch Foreshore Camping is just an hour and a half drive from the Eastern side of Melbourne.  It’s a beautiful little spot with hundreds of campsites.  We had three unpowered sites which were sheltered nicely from the wind by lots of trees and greenery.  The amenities block had been remodeled this year so I have no complaints about the toilets or showers, which were, in fact really hot and had great water pressure.  Our Australian friends are tried and true campers so they had all the supplies this high-maintenance camping girl would need, including a portable ladies-only loo!

We had some wind, some rain, and a lot of sun!  Andersons Inlet, a calm, shallow little bay, not a 2 min walk from our campsite, offered the perfect spot for reading, relaxing, and brief dips in the water.

Inverloch Anderson Inlet

After our camping adventure Ryan and I decided to make a quick drive over to Wilson’s Promontory National Park.  It took us maybe an hour or so from Inverloch but it had been so highly recommended that we knew we had to at least stop there.  The Park boasts the southern-most tip of the Australian mainland but we didn’t make it that far since we figured we’ve been to Tassy so we have the northern and southern tips of Oz covered.

The scenery at Wilson’s Prom was very similar to what we remember from Tasmania.  It’s beautiful and worth visiting.  We made our way to Squeaky Beach, probably another 30-minute drive inside the park.  The beach has rounded quartz sand that literally squeaks when you walk on it.

Squeaky Beach

As we now count down the weeks (eek!) before we head home, we’ll be glad we made the effort to visit these well-known havens for outdoor enthusiasts.  Now I’m not a converted camper — not in the least — but I always appreciate a weekend of food, fun, good friends…and a little squeaking sand.

The Beginning of the End

It’s official!  We are returning to the US the first week in March.

A year and a half ago this day seemed sooooo far away but here we are, five short weeks away from leaving our beloved friends, our beloved apartment, our beloved life, our beloved Melbourne.

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Photo from the St. Kilda Pier

We’ve been keeping a “Melbourne Bucket List” for ourselves and we’ve been adding to it throughout our time here.  We’ve made our way through the list pretty steadily but if you have any Melbourne Must-Do’s…let us know!

Over the next few weeks there will be more to come including a short-list of our fave foods and experiences throughout Australia.  It’s hard to believe it’s the beginning of the end but as they say, “When one door closes, another door opens.”

I love beaches.   Sun, the smell of coconut oil, the sound of the ocean. Ok, so, correction, I love the idea of beaches.  The reality is unpleasant; overheating, getting an unwanted sand exfoliation, and nearly going blind from the combination of sunscreen and salt water.  I blame the fact that I grew up in the midwest because I’m perfectly comfortable swimming in murky lakes with fish nipping at my toes…but I digress.

Last time Ryan and I were in Sydney, we spent half a day at Bondi Beach.  We wore our swimsuits under our clothes but they stayed dry, of course.  Instead, we were lured by The Sculptures by the Sea exhibit, a coastal walk from Tamarama Beach to Bondi, held only at the end of October.

Bondi Beach

The exhibit features over 100 sculptures from artists all over the world and turns a familiar coastal walk into a 2km sculpture park which is free to the public.

We saw some amazing sculptures set on rocks and on cliffs with the ocean as the backdrop.  Here’s a small sample of the work we saw:

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Visit the Sculpture by the Sea website to see images of all the sculptures.

Giving Thanks

Ryan and I celebrated Thanksgiving on a Sunday with over twenty Australian friends, eager to share this American tradition with us.  There is something about celebrating a beloved holiday in a foreign country…

Having Thanksgiving in Australia heightened the meaning and significance of the tradition.  Yes, we all have so much for which to be thankful.  Not the least of which is our memories of Thanksgivings-of-the-past.  I was overwhelmed several times throughout the preparation with memories of Thanksgivings with my grandmother and her always-present-though-somewhat-irrational fear of running out of food.

Indeed, our spread of food was overwhelming; two turkeys, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn-bread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, scalloped corn casserole, honey-glazed carrots, deviled eggs, salad, and rolls — much of which was made at the hands of our Australian friends.

Spread

We finished the meal with teas, coffees, and nine pies!  We had three pumpkins, four pecans, and two apple pies which were all delicious!

Pies

Ryan and I had the best time, despite a few obligatory meltdowns, preparing for the special day.  We sent invitations (Thank you, Paperless Post), bought food, found recipes, bought more food, found flowers, arranged the flowers with friends, bought more food, and cooked our hearts out.

TablesBut it was all worth it. We gave thanks with our Australian friends over a bountiful feast.  We gave thanks for our family and friends, in Australia and overseas, especially for those who’ve passed away but while they were here, they taught us the importance of gathering to share a meal with loved ones.  It was a Thanksgiving to remember.  And…we didn’t run out of food.  Grandma would be proud.

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