The landscape changed again from Zanda to Rutog. It was so dry. Rock was exposed. Prayer flags shivered in the cold wind on the tops of the passes. Snow was shrouding the surrounding mountains as we drove in cool sunshine in the sweeping valleys. The geology of this area was extraordinary. Time folded and eroded in the rugged landscape. The Tibetan Antelope looked healthy and strong…and so did the herds of cashmere goats…. surprisingly, because the vegetation seemed to be sparse. The road was good. Recent tarmac which had been prepared by a different operator than a few hundred kms further south! This stretch we could travel about 80kms/hour on, but much more slowly on the hairpin turns which we are always very careful with. My job is to always keep an eye on the digital map on the iPad mounted on the dash…and let Max know when a hairpin is coming up… and also look for the exit-side of the hairpin for oncoming traffic. “Looks clear. Yes”…. is always a good call from me… but occasionally – “ Stop, Truck on our side!”, is a call Max doesn’t like to hear! Penny was running really baldly – coughing and spluttering ….and […]
Time to leave Qomolongma, but the Himalayas remained our companion to the left of us for many days. Sometimes for hours on end the snow capped peaks shouldered our route northwestward toward Kashgar, where we have a few days planned. The landscape was constantly changing. The valleys became wider and slopes softer. Harvest season was nearly completed and the hay which had been drying in paddocks for several weeks, was now being brought in to be thrashed. Nomad dwellings provided by the government lay blocked in strips in small communities along the roadsides. Autumn mutton hung on display to be sold as the seasonal source of protein. Nomads and their children gathered in groups to skin and butcher the sheep. Dung was being gathered and stockpiled to use as fuel for heating and cooking in the harsh cold winters. Construction, concrete, construction. New power lines were being constructed alongside a regional road to join the 219 to Kashgar; and regardless of the terrain, the large silver stands had to be installed. Huge flying foxes are used to transport some of the materials to the sides of the mountains, and sometimes donkeys are used to carry materials… even buckets of concrete […]
Tibet is so rich. The culture, landscape, and the Tibetans are so friendly. I love waving to people as we drive by; and nearly always I’m met with such vigorous waving in return. I have to admit that at times I’m brought to a little wave of tears when I wave to someone working in the field, and they return a wave with such generosity and joyfulness. Our days start early and leaving Lhasa and heading northwards – construction was evident. Newly constructed roads; bridges; cement plants; stacked concrete blocks; trucks filled with gravel; power plants; solar energy plants – everywhere eking into the rural landscape there seemed to be construction and development. The expansive plains and soft hillsides with freshly harvested grain gently rose in elevation and soon we were amongst the clouds and snow reaching our highest elevation of 5,440mts. It was so lovely seeing the yaks grazing on the pastures, but to learn from the nomads that they are unable to graze in their traditional highlands any more is disturbing. It seems like we’ve entered sheep territory and I was so delighted to see so many sheep. Their minders stood guard in the cold wind and bright sun […]
Hi julie Starting with another wet day, from Lijang to Shangri La we decided to take the motorway rather than the slippery mountain-road heading north on our way to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province in China. The road construction was evident throughout the day with a quite an extraordinary sight of a four lane suspension bridge being built for the new expressway to Shangri La across the river gorge of the Jinsha river which becomes the Yangtze further downstream. Tiger Leaping Gorge is the third deepest gorge in the world, and the legend goes that when the river is low, there is a rock in the centre which was used by a tiger to leap across the gorge. Regardless of this fable; it’s just an incredible experience hearing the swirling water rage down between the steeply rising mountains. It is so awesome, that thousands of tourists visit each day; and the buses streamed in, one after another; offloading umbrellas with two legs underneath scurrying to view the raging torrent. Many had shoes covered in brightly coloured plastic covers making the steep staired descent…. and a much more labored ascent unless you chose to negotiate a price to be […]
Into China now, and what a marked difference from Laos. Our border crossing was seamless, but it was apparent immediately that rules and regulations must be adhered to. After I was processed via the passenger lane at the border I went to Max and Penny at the boom-gate and had a friendly conversation with the border guard and hopped in Penny. My bad. I wasn’t supposed to do that, and it was indicated to me that I needed to get out and walk 5 metres ahead; when I was then allowed to get back into Penny after passing through the entry gate. Max and I realized immediately that our casual Australian disposition needed to be sharpened up a bit here. There was a four-lane highway north of the border, a marked difference to the rough dirt roads in Laos; and also now with lots of Police border checkpoints. Construction littered the landscape and huge grey concrete pillars grouped across the land. These fortresses are the roots of the proposed new highways and railways which connect China to neighbouring countries. The surrounding mountains were covered with rubber plantations, with several National Preservation Parks however, where there are Asian elephants in […]
Long, hot, fabulous days on the road from Northern Thailand; through Laos and now in China…. and I’m playing catch up with my Journal broadcasts and it’s late after another big day so I will try and do a brief round-up to give you an idea of how we’ve been going and what things I’ve seen along our Journey. What and full week it’s been. After leaving Chiang Rai we headed north-east to Luang Namtha. The rice fields became more prevalent and regardless of the increasing poverty, colours were everywhere. Buildings. Clothing. Motor-bike tyres were wrapped in metallic packaging to protect them from perishing in the sun. Umbrellas in all shapes, sizes and colours created shade in the oppressive heat. From Luang Namtha we then went to Luang Prabang…. 313kms each way so I could participate in a traditional weaving class with The Weaving Sisters. We had planned to return to Luang Namtha after a one-night stay in Luang Prabang, so that we could be relatively close to the border in preparation for our China entry on Tuesday 17th September. It took us 9 hours for those 313kms to Luang Prabang across incredibly treacherous bumpy road for many sections, […]
Being on the road again is just fabulous. I had forgotten though how absolutely exhausting it can be; in a noisy old car in the heat, humidity, rain, traffic, cramped conditions and at times treacherous road conditions. I do though so love driving along in an open car smelling cooking rice wafting from within the small thatched shelters; the damp smell of dark wet forests; pork fat rendering in blackened woks; rainforest blossom. Our first day was hot, but seemed to brighten the colours of the buildings and glistened the gold of the temples, Wat’s and statues of Buddha. The school buildings and fences were often pained in purple and adorned with flags. Buildings in blocks are differentiated by paint. Giant colourful statues of animals stood on display along the roadside. I could understand the roosters, deer, rabbit, tiger, pig, cow…. because of their reference in Buddhism, but I just couldn’t get my head around the significance of a giant statue of a giraffe or Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. We passed through so many check points along the road north close along the Myanmar border, and came to a section where every 100mts was a soldier with an automatic […]
We’re on the road again for our next adventure… well not quite. It’s been quite a while since my last broadcast and life’s been pretty full since last year. Max and I had the most wonderful time driving around Scotland including the Outer Hebrides and the Shetlands in March and April; I participated in many classes at Edinburgh Yarn Festival; then I returned home and had some skin cancer treatments, which included a skin graft using some of my forehead to make a new nostril. How cool is that, that surgeons can do that kind of stuff and the body heals so beautifully! I am so grateful. Healing is quite a miracle really hey? So… now we are in Bangkok preparing for our planned adventure driving in Penny our 1923 Vauxhall from Bangkok to London. . 22,000kms and 16 countries. 3 months. We will have a guide for our 29 days in China, but other than that we are on our own and winging it along our proposed route. We left Brisbane on 23rd August and on Monday 26th we went to the Freight Company to accompany the representatives to the port to collect Penny. We […]
Well… our next journey begins. Bangkok to London via the Tibetan Plateau in Penny, our 1923 Vauxhall. This will be a remarkable experience travelling; making new friendships and enriching existing ones; learning about myself and the world in which we live. 22,000kms… 16 countries… 3 months. I hope you can follow our journey over the coming months and I will share when I’m able to.
Road trip! On the road again in our beautiful 30-98 E Type Vauxhall on a trip to Merimbula organised by The Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia on a National Veteran and Vintage Vauxhall Rally. This rally was sponsored by the National Trust (NSW). We met with a fabulous group of Vauxhall enthusiasts who shared their passion and commitment to these remarkable vehicles. I wonder whether the engineers back-in-the-day ever imagined how capable and longstanding these machines would be and how much pleasure they would bring to all those who journey in them! Our vehicle is magnificent. She has been amazingly restored and amongst the collection of 30 or so other vehicles – was a stand-out. ‘The J’ – as Max and I fondly call her; is beautiful. Her idle needed a bit of attention – but other than that, riding in her was exhilarating… and yes a whole day on the road and 500kms can be quite arduous. It’s noisy. Max and I don’t really have conversations. Just comments about the smells… the birds… the landmarks… directions…. and when to stop for brunch or a cuppa and cake! We had such yummy food on our road-trip. […]
“Turn shit into fertiliser”. Love that saying, and on International Women’s Day I’ve reflected on those women who have done precisely that… and in doing so live their life with Grace… with “gratitude, empathy, modesty, attentiveness.”… “grace lifts us up out of our awkward difficult lives.” Sarah Kaufman One of my friends wrote something to me recently (which I will pop at the end of this post)… and I was truly moved to realise that someone had recognised the quality of ‘Grace’ within me. I then started to realise there were so many other women who also live their lives with Grace. I realised that nearly all of these women had experienced ‘shit’ in their lives. Difficult journeys. Misplaced trust and love. Lack of respect. Abuse. Manipulation. Workplace inequality. The list could continue but you get my drift. Each of these women I admire because of their resilience and the way they have handled themselves in spite of the ‘shit’ in their lives. Each has just got on with it and dug deep and used their shit as fertiliser to grow and be strong, resilient and beautiful. I have. These women demonstrate empathy, courage, honestly, strength, […]
My garden is beautiful at the moment...with fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables abounding! Such a delight harvesting lemons and limes.. onions and beens... planting peas and garlic.... picking oregano, mint, parsley, ginger, lemon myrtle and drying cinnamon.... gathering macadamias... collecting eggs. Such a wholesome life! The bright yellows of my border marigolds and sunflowers bring me such joy and remind me of our extraordinary adventures - particularly through India. The smells and sounds of India pass through my thoughts as see my marigolds... and I recognise what an amazing life I live.
You can see some of what we saw in India here - Here's a collection of posts with photos and stories of our wonderful journey.
As a thank-you to my loyal subscribers, periodically I offer fine-art prints and artworks exclusively for subscribers only. This is a sample of the set of images available for my next Subscribers Only offer is “Intimate Icebergs” as a part of my “Intimate Series” of small fine-art prints, which will bring the beauty of our world into your home or make wonderful, unique gifts. These small run fine-art series, which I print myself using archival materials, will only be available for a short undefined period of time. When the small edition runs out.. or the series is changed… that’s it. 🙂 I’m a go with the flow sort of girl so I don’t have a defined schedule for their availability. If you like an image, I suggest you hop in quickly to purchase it. 🙂 One of my goals in sharing how I view the world, is to add to the beauty already within it. I love creating beautiful photographs and prints which reveal the amazing natural world in which we live, as a reminder of how much beauty surrounds us all. The link to my next Subscribers Only “Intimate Icebergs” will be given in my next Journal Subscriber […]
#MeToo I am writing this in support of all those who have been sexually harassed, abused or violated. I have been sexually abused not by random strangers; not by family members – but by some men with whom I have trusted in both a professional capacity, or of friendship – who have taken advantage of, and misused my openness and lovingness as an opportunity and vehicle to meet their own personal and sexual needs. This predatory behavior was masterful in its’ execution; manipulating and blind-sighting me because of my naivety and open-heartedness. For me these have been abhorrent, deceptive and cowardly betrayals of professional conduct, friendship and trust; that pass through my thoughts as I navigate a path to not allow the perpetrators of this sexual abuse to destroy my kind, joyful and loving Spirit. Some may ask “Why didn’t/don’t you do anything or say anything against those men?”. Only those who have been the recipient of such deceptive sexual abuse will be able to understand and answer; as I understand and see thousands of women on facebook write ‘#MeToo’ who have never spoken nor revealed before of their sexual abuse. Perpetrators are often narcissists; […]
‘Struggle’. The natural world is my teacher and when I saw this iceberg in Antarctica this word came to mind. I saw myself. I saw a form trying to expand and be free, yet entrapped by dark ropes. I saw beauty restrained.
This powerful image was selected to be exhibited in an exhibition with the theme' Water' at the The Center for Fine Art Photography, Colorado. You can view the exhibition images here.
You can purchase your Limited Edition Fine Art Print of this image from my Online Store here.
Breathtaking! "We have driven down near there Jule."..Max said as we peered with an aeroplane view from 30,000 feet over China and Mongolia on our way to Helsinki. It was absolutely incredible knowing that we had driven in Penny, our 93 year old vintage car - just to the north along parts of the Gobi desert. I was so moved seeing from the air the landscape we had driven in the 2016 Peking to Paris car rally. It really hit me with such gratitude what an amazing life I have and how many incredible experiences I manage to fit into my life!
Now in Murmansk about to board the Akademik Shokalskiy for the
Buddha - Dhammapada - “If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows him like a never departing shadow. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts, suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of an ox.”
Internet at last!!!!!! ... on my way home with a stop-over in Bangkok. So much to share....
This journey to Bhutan for me has been such a spiritual one – connecting with the landscape; real Tantric Buddhist philosophy; friendship; and myself.
We spent some time with a nun at the Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup nunnery in Punakha, and her departing words from the text Dammapada have been in my thoughts and have been contributing to my deeper understanding of Karma through my own inquiry and experience as I am travelling through this amazing country.
We were so fortunate enough to be able to meet with the head Astrologer of Bhutan, a Lama who is the head teacher at the Pangrizampa College for Astrology in Thimpu; and after consulting with his texts he said I had a pure heart and that I give more to others than I receive, and that some speak and act unkindly to me behind my back; that this year has been a difficult one; and I have to be very wary and careful of a dark, demon energy and seek protection from that. He said I have a small number of friends with whom I am loyal to, and yet they have not been loyal to me.
My astrological animal sign is tiger; my element is....
The smell of the cedar-wood shampoo reminded me of my last trip to Kolkata a year ago with Max before our drive through India and Bhutan. I love Kolkata. Yes. I know. Some are shaking their heads. For some reason being here feels.... hmmmm... can't quite put my finger on it. I think it brings me back to earth and I deepen my sense of gratitude. I am in awe of how so many people here survive and still offer such generosity and kindness.... and work so hard just to survive.
The air this morning was damp and thick as the ravens reminded everyone of the smog, yet the small birds in the courtyard chirped that it was a new day with new opportunities to experience living.
As I looked out from under crisp white cotton sheets through...
Sydney was the place for a catch up with intrepid car adventurers; at Gerry Crown’s home last week-end. What a wonderful catch up with those who could come and share stories about travelling around the word in crazy cars… (not that WE are at all crazy!) This great gathering provided an opportunity for me to view from my window seat the cities I have such memories of; Brisbane and Sydney. I would like to share a collage of images which when immersed in viewing out the window… I found myself remembering and thinking how quickly time has passed from when I was a child, and over the decades of both flying and driving the route to Sydney.
The sun streamed on to my face at 3am as I stirred to realise my eye patch had become dislodged and I kept thinking that I wanted to write a blog post about our past few days. I had a little bit more sleep and now I’m going to pop out a brief broadcast so I don’t get any further behind! I’ve just popped on the this little verandah which hangs precipitously on the edge of a white institutional looking building; the curved railings laced and holding the crumbling façade from falling; and there seams to be hundreds of people already flocking around the cars in the car park. 5am and the world is awake! Day 19 Perm to Kazan The grey misty cover was cold again today and although we had the roof on Penny it was often at times wet. We didn’t have the water spraying up through the floor near the handbrake though because Max found an empty chip packet to pack into the hole. Who would have thought a shiny bright yellow and green packet could perform two such useful tasks….. the first one holding chips which were just soooo yummy.. and the second […]
I am celebrating. Last week I felt amazing – for the first time in a long time. My family and friends know of my personal journey recently and I’ve connected deeply with myself; grieved and now come to a place of acceptance. I realised that acceptance in something; means that there is nothing for me to fight for any more. I have accepted it – and it is time for me to move on to celebrating my life again and I marked that with a beautiful ceremony (and skinny dip) on a deserted beach last week. I connected with recognising that I will always keep repeating cycles if I keep the same foundation of my behaviours. I don’t need to live in the past; but I did need to revisit it so that I could determine where i wasn’t honouring myself. I needed to change the ‘soil’ upon which I was to grow. I revisited circumstances in my mind where I made choices which did not honour myself; choices in which I allowed spears to be thrown at me and for me to be enshrouded in black smoke – and I changed those choices in my mind so now I have an […]
Yeh!!!! Self-published my book of my wonderful journey through India, Bhutan and Myanmar with Max and Penny- or 1923 Vauxhall. “With the Roof Off” is being printed at the moment… and I will have some sample copies when I return from my next adventure from walking the incredible Osorno Volcano in Chile and my second adventure to Antarctica. 🙂 It is with humble gratitude I embrace being able to experience such amazing places and meet such a diversity of beautiful, open-hearted people; and have the opportunity to learn about myself – and that which is far greater than myself.
Not many days left in 2015 .... what a year it has been!
I have not only experienced many joys but also incredible deep grief and loss this year. After returning from an extended period travelling overseas, it is time for me to re-group, re-ground and distill what is important for me in my life... and see how my life will unfold from here.
I started the year with passion and commitment and dedication to a project that sadly didn't eventuate. I had the best birthday ever!!! and turning
Yesterday I ran the gauntlet before a late afternoon storm... and managed to go up NgunNgun whilst I could see the storm clouds approaching... and then went up NgunNgun a second time because I could see that the storm wasn't as fierce as was predicted.
I was treated with beautiful light... silhouetted mountains and a time to reflect quietly - as there were very few people climbing the mountain. I think the storm warning scared them off.
For those of you who know me ..I don't scare that easily... and I don't shy away from adventure... nor challenges. I am facing a challenge at the moment,....
In Antarctica, when I was observing the landscape I often asked myself “What part of me is….” …. and in this image many words came to mind. What words come to your mind???…..and what part of you is that word??? I still ask myself that question when I revisit my photographs of Antarctica.
In 10 seconds…. The ground can shift and rumble to crush tragically the lives of millions of people in Nepal and surrounding regions as did last week. In 10 seconds…. The ice and snow can avalanche devastation for thousands around the area of Base Camp as did last week. In 10 seconds…. Water can gush into the lungs and extinguish the lives of those sadly trapped in cars in flooded roads just near our home at Caboolture yesterday. In 10 seconds, the path of life can end; can change; or be diverted. If one survives these events – the way one sees the world and one’s circumstances shifts into a different and new reality. I reflected quietly yesterday afternoon in the warm soft autumn sunlight after my run, and wondered whether it only takes events like these to change the path of one’s life… or whether one’s way of seeing the world can actually shift one’s circumstances into a different and new reality; without having to experience such tragic circumstances. I wondered whether in 10 seconds one could change the way one thought about one’s life; and look at things differently; a new perspective […]
After each series of encounters swimming with various whales, there was a point where I knew and felt content that it was time for us to move on and leave the whales to get on with doing their 'own thing'....or to feel the cooler air and the softer light on my back to return to a little cafe at the pier where the delight of roasted coconut and salty, hand-cut, hot chips accompanied reflections and words which best described the day for each of us.... but secretly did I want more?
Throughout the day often ...
For those who would like to see some happy snaps whilst driving from Santiago to Puerto Montt - CLICK HERE TO SEE THE GALLERY OF SNAPS to give you a feel of where we went along our travels and some of the things which caught my eye.
Well, that was nearly a week ago now when our plane from Brisbane to Auckland was not due to land until two hours after our connecting flight from Auckland to Santiago was to depart. Eleven passengers were going to be affected by a delayed flight from Dubai, but it seemed
“Bonjour madame…. Passporte s'il vous plait”…. Oh my goodness… we are on a boat in Spain going to Morocco and the officer was speaking French. I am so confused!!! “Marhabah” I said with confidence to the Customs officer at the Moroccoan Port of Tanger Med only to be greeted with “Bonjour madame.” I couldn’t work out what was going on here. French??? I knew in Morocco, French was spoken...but
We had to cover some k's yesterday from Evora to Algeciras where the square, grey, rough granite cobblestones led to castles; and ashfelt and white lines led to cranes spearing out from near the ocean on the very south-east corner of Spain.
The plump green rolling hills were filled with ripening olives and gnarled
This morning was amazing!! After spending a night in a very ordinary motel which was undergoing renovations during the ‘quiet time’, Penny steadfastly carried us up through this spectacular landscape – climbing to 2000mts alongside the Zêzere Glaciar Valley where the slow moving block of ice gouged and rumbled a tract across the land; and now instead of a frozen mass, sheep graze and small plots of
After a two month journey across the ocean in a container, we finally were reunited with Penny as she sat forlornly in a wet storage yard at Pier 23 at Tilbury in the UK; unbeknownst to us having been unloaded the day prior and sat overnight in pouring rain awaiting for us to collect her. At last she was with us again and off we went, excited to be on our journey toward Morocco.
That excitement was shortlived as within a few hours, Max landed himself in a cardiac ward in Royal Berkshire hospital
Thank you to those who have dropped a quick note to say hi and check in because you haven't heard from me in a while. It has been a pretty full on 6 weeks since we arrived home from Europe; preparing Penny for our next adventure - and