Treat Yourself

Work hard, play hard. This is my motto. I mean, is there any other formula to be productive and live life to the fullest? I’m proud to be a hard worker. The relationship I have with my work is a perpetual motion. My work provides me with continuous energy, I provide my work with energy in return. It’s basically the same energy transferred over and over. But sometimes I do need to release this energy – this is why I’m occasionally treating myself to the money I’ve been saving over the years.

How do I treat myself, you might ask? Well, when the time comes and I feel the need to refresh, I give myself a day or two just to think about what the next step should be. I try to surprise myself and not follow my standard consumerist bucket list. For instance, the last time I went to the mall there was a store that I did not really understand. The inside was filled with all kinds of machines and devices with ventilators, and I ended up furnishing my whole house with air purifiers. I never thought I would do that, but it turns out there are a lot of positive benefits for everybody in the house.

Now it’s time for a new shopping spree. Currently, I am in my vacuum phase, thinking of my next step. Lots of things I need go through my mind. A new computer station maybe, with all the flashy gadgets and maybe a new desk setting. Or maybe I should just go with a full-body treatment; manicure, pedicure, massage, aromatherapy, and maybe even go to a chiropractor. Or maybe both. The possibilities seem to be endless. There is so much I can do.

But know what?! I’m definitely going to a pet shelter first. Once there, I’m sure that I’ll end up with a pet. More pets, more love! I’ll buy them toys, food, and all the other accessories they need. They will add up to my flow of energy and I can share my happy moments with them. I kind of surprised myself with this decision. So now, I’m going to explore, seek, and find what I need. Maybe that process is even more exciting than anything else.   

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Don’t be a Victim

Getting out alive is what survival is all about. You could be trapped, starving, injured, or otherwise threatened in some drastic way. Whatever the situation, and no matter how dire and whatever your age, you want to prevail. It can happen if you are lucky and among the chosen ones, or you can prepare and ramp up your odds in the face of any catastrophe such as a mugging on the street. You can do it if you keep a clear head about subjects like self defense and not running from the obligation of preparing yourself in advance.

No one likes the idea of carrying a concealed weapon. People often ask me about how to defend yourself without a weapon. Older people are victims of crimes and are not in a position to do some kind of fancy maneuver to fend off an attacker. Forget going to a martial arts class. You may not have the skill and the strength. Learning a few tips may save your precious life. Life-threatening situations are hard to imagine when daily life is humming along nicely. You have to get outside your normal mindset for a moment to envision them. It will put you in a good place, however, when the time comes. Meanwhile you have peace of mind knowing you would be in control and equipped to deal with the unforeseen and the unwanted. This blog today is about becoming more aware.

You can’t underestimate personal threats to your safety. Looting and home invasions can take place. You’ve seen it in dozens of tense movie scenes. If you get aggressive, you may incur retaliation. Perhaps the most basic strategy is to avoid the problem in the first place. Starting a neighborhood watch is advised. There is nothing more fulfilling than survival as a group and overcoming enormous odds as you pull together and fight the unforeseen and unexpected, natural or manmade. A true neighborhood watch is usually a partnership between the police and the residents.

If something terrifying does happen, it is important to keep your wits about you and practice the following principles:

  • Do not argue with assailants
  • Hand over the money or jewelry as demanded
  • Appeal to moral, ethical, and religious principles calmly
  • Do not make a sudden move that might appear as if you are reaching for a weapon
  • While experts say to scream or make a loud scary noise, the response may not be what you expect. It is true that attackers run when they are rattled, but you are taking your chances.
  • Carry mace or pepper spray. It can be your best defense. Also consider a taser, stun gun, or personal alarm.
  • Do not volunteer any item on your person.
  • If you are unharmed, be grateful you are only losing a few bucks.

Self defense is a vast topic and we are offering a few tried and true suggestions to help you address it for the first time. You may have heard of other strategies which we are welcome to hear about and share. Old and young, we are all in it together like it or not.

Do Yourself Up Right

No matter how old you are, you want to look glamourous. People see you look the same all the time, so why not surprise them with a new look? If you don’t care about how others see you, do it for yourself. Most of us shop for makeup, jewelry, or new outfits just for the fun of it. It doesn’t have to be a habit, but a pastime nonetheless. Try to focus on something different each month or quarter (if you are on a budget). Accessories like shoes and handbags are on my list. You can’t have enough. But if you want to keep the spending down, get some cosmetics. Use the right foundation and you will have a rosy glow. Red lipstick is the epitome of glamour. If you want to go in a completely different direction, try false eyelashes. You can get them in fancy department stores, the drugstore (you must apply them yourself) or a specialty chain store like Sephora. They will attach them for you. Young women love to use them for a special date night or party. As for us seniors, anytime is right. I believe in living it up.

Other glamour items are earrings and watches, maybe a pretty long scarf. It adds excitement to the dullest outfit. A necklace or pendant will substitute if you prefer. We can’t all afford designer clothes so this is the way to add a nice touch without going overboard. We live in a casual era, anyway, so you can just spiffy up your jeans and tees. For me, the eyelashes are the most dramatic change you can make to your face. A new hairdo can start the process along with the makeup I mentioned. You can go all out or do one or two things alone. Eyelashes, either the false kind or as extensions, deepen the eyes and outline them in a flirty way. You’d be surprised how little a set of Eyelashes to Die For would cost you. There are a dozen styles from which to choose from spidery, fluttery, cat eye, or baby doll. It is so simple to change your image for about ten dollars. If you have them applied professionally, they will stay put for two weeks. You can be a glamour girl virtually all the time. But beware. When you remove them and don’t use mascara, you will have naked eyes.

Yes, false eyelashes take time to put on and take off. You can buy remover that is gentle and nourishing to the delicate skin of the eyelid. You have to be careful that your natural lashes aren’t damaged by the glue. The cheaper the glue (it comes in a tube), the more harm that can be done. You can put oil on your own lashes a couple times a week to protect them from the chemicals. I know it sounds like you will become a high-maintenance gal, but it will soon be a simple routine.

Look in the mirror and admire those lashes. You will never look as divine as right now.

Sunk without the Sump

Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink. That describes my basement after the sump pump broke. I was off on holiday with a few of my buddies from the club, touring the beautiful Gold Coast, when it happened. Of course I didn’t know about it. I was having a right good time with no thought to such a disaster. No one was checking the basement, that’s for sure. I didn’t arrange for such a task as who would expect a high quality sump pump to go haywire. Not me.

Upon returning from a great trip, my great mood soon turned foul. One look and I was disheartened and dismayed. A sump pump is such a beast of burden and you don’t expect it to go on the fritz during its lifetime. The water was up to my ankles and not receding in the slightest. I had to call the plumbers and sat fuming in wait.

Water does intrude on its own in my basement, hence the need to install the pump in the first place. Water follows the path of least resistance under the house. We got it to handle any unforeseen event: seeping ground water, water leaks in the walls, overflowing gutters, excessive rainfall, poor drainage, improper downspouts, odd landscape mishaps, and the like. We thought that covered it. What we didn’t figure on was the pump itself going south.

Having a wet basement is not untypical, but having a virtual flood is. No doubt residual stains, mildew, and odors will live to tell the tale. There will be some nasty cleanup, done by someone other than myself! I use the basement for storage and a few things on the floor have now seen better days. Some have found their way to the bin. Others have some hope for a renewed existence.

Was I remiss in having sump pump maintenance? Who knew? I thought the thing was sturdy enough. Doesn’t it sit idle, twiddling its thumbs, until the rain comes and it jumps into action? Now I know that you have to check that vulnerable float thing. Also debris in the sump pit. You have to look at the check valve and clean the impeller to avoid jams. The instructions say to disassemble the pump if you can’t reach it. Yikes! Meanwhile, you also have to take a gander at the electrical parts/connections and the circuit breaker if it goes off. That is if you even notice that is has gone off! Did you know that some work on batteries?

After reading all this, I am almost an expert. Certainly I will not let a problem of this dimension happen again. I will be the troubleshooter par excellence. I might even teach the club a few tips and tricks that I have hopefully mastered. So the bloody thing is working now, and for the moment I am content to leave the premises without worry. I will however, ask someone to stop by and check the basement, while I am gone.

What a Muddy Mess!

We don’t let a little bad weather deter our fine group. We get out in the wilds during the wet season just as we do in the milder times. We are adventurers. Northern Australia can get rugged, especially when the rains soak the ground. Oh, God, the mud! You know what? We take along a light, portable pressure washer just in case (found a good one online at www.pressurecleaned.com). Our progress is never impeded with this handy device in tow. You toss it in the trunk and forget about it until it’s needed. That time will come.

When the sun comes out after a downpour, you know what the car or van looks like. It is caked with mud and practically invisible at times. If you are in a caravan, it looks like a row of exotic brown beasts with elephantine skin. It could be a parade of dirty mammoths. You need more than a normal amount of elbow grease to get the muck off. Here’s where the pressure washer does its job. As for the mates, they only take hot showers. The nozzle is not for delicate human skin.

An RV needs care and feeding, if not some regular attention. You can’t do it every day and have to let the weather take its toll. Then again, there are those times when you can’t even see through the windshield. There might be a critter in the road or a mighty kangaroo. I don’t care so much for dingos, but I wouldn’t want to hit one! I want visibility, pure and simple. Wiping the glass with a wet rag just smears mud around in a lovely circle, like finger painting with goo. Not my idea of fun (although it would appeal to the grandkids).

If there are many of you on the road together as a cohesive unit, a few pressure washers are called for. More than one of us possesses a decent one. I like to test mi ne out before taking off from home, making sure I have the fuel or electric connectors, the appropriate nozzle, and assorted brush attachments. You don’t need the fanciest or most expensive model for basic use. For those known to be a bit absent-minded, don’t forget to bring it back with you. You might not notice until the next trip…and then it is too late.

Our group likes to explore the back trails—the byways, not the highways. We like to take chances and encounter the unexpected. We have had our run-ins with hunters and protective locals. In good weather we can get out and chat, make friends, and be on our way. We are a harmless bunch out for fun and games. We don’t trespass or raise a ruckus. We are laid back and fancy free. Those who go along are up for some good times. There is a little manual labor, okay, but it is what you have to do to earn the privilege of life on the open road, even if it is for a moment or two.

Keeping the Scales as we Age

Don’t toss that bathroom scale out with the trash just yet. This, my gray-haired friends, is the time to use it the most. It is that time of life when the pounds start creeping up even faster than before, amplifying the midsection and thighs; and thus it is the time to start getting a grip on the importance of diet and nutrition. Take heed!

After all, we want to be super fit when we travel and see the world in our senior years. We have the time and money (ok the kids inherit a little less) but you do need your health if you want to walk the Great Wall of China, hike to a glacier in Switzerland, or waterski in the south of France. Whatever your passion, your body is your great limitation. The mind can get you only so far! Work out the former and you are halfway there. No one wants to miss some of the best years of our lives.

Your gain pounds as you age, we know that. But did you also know that you burn more muscle and that’s why older folk look untoned and slack. Don’t let this happen to you. Get out there and exercise more; choose something you enjoy all year round, or that you can rotate with the seasons. Do it with your buddies and you will stick to it a lot longer. There is something to say for camaraderie when it comes to fitness and longevity. A group activity we find to be the perfect solution to almost anything.

Schedule a get together and form an exercise club. Publicize it on social media to attract participants. Post photos and tweets. Everyone will want to take part. Have a meeting and give away a really good digital bathroom scale to the 10th person to sign up. Make it a theme of a lifetime. Everyone will throw in an idea or two to get things rolling. Challenge the overweight and reward them for good results. Go out and celebrate together. This is a wonderful new way of life for retirees ad those with free time. Everyone benefits.

How much exercise is enough? Probably none, meaning you can always do more. Requirements are not stringent for older citizens, but it is recommended to do something physical every day. You won’t have to watch your diet or the scales quite so often. A major travel event could revolve around fishing, camping, sightseeing, or other outdoor activities. Fresh air, sunshine, a brisk breeze—they are all good for the soul.

Make it often enough to be meaningful and have an effect. Routine exercise, like constant vigilance with what you consume in the way of calories, is best. No crash dieting! You have to do it right. Track your weight regularly with a quality digital scale. Counseling could be part of your early group meetings. Sharing recipes, favorite health restaurants, and articles adds to the common store of knowledge. Rotate locations for the meetings and discover new possibilities and places. Remember, it is all about stimulation and looking forward to things as life becomes a bit more routine.

Backpack on Board

Wherever you like to roam, a backpack on board sure helps. You can load it with essential items such as basic toiletries, a sewing and/or first-aid kit, travel books, and more. There are so many to choose from that it can become an insanely complicated decision.

Units that are waterproof and easy to clean stand out as good choices – and if you’re like me, although you’re not a 22 year old hippie that is backpacking around Europe anymore, having the right luggage is essential for an enjoyable travel experience. Hiking and moving about in the countryside entails some hearty weather at times. Remember, you can keep raingear inside! Meanwhile, space is essential with pockets (zippered preferred) and recesses for sorting special items like a cell phone, protein bars, money, medicine, and the like. It is a blessing when you need something fast to find it in a flash.

Backpacks come in luxurious models in nice leather in black and tan or a plastic hybrids in bright colors. It might be nice to identify yours at a glance by its hue, size, tags, or other surface features. This is practical if you travel in groups. What is not practical is a really expensive status bag that will be marred and otherwise damaged in no time. Select a good, strong backpack that holds everything but isn’t too heavy or cumbersome. It’s important to remember when looking at backpacks that the best backpacks are very much about your personal preferences. The designers know what they are doing, so don’t worry too much. Scan the available models and see what you think will work best for your needs based on destination, amount of storage required, weight, etc.

Some packs can be converted by altering the position of the straps: lengthening or shortening for example. You can then have a handheld tote in minutes. This might come in handy when entering civilization so you don’t look too rural when dining out, entering a tourist shrine, and the like. The idea is convenience and simple adaptation. Again, assess your needs when making a purchase. Price will also be a major factor; but when it comes down to it, usage counts more than economy.

A word about the lining: you should be able to wipe it down without harming delicate materials like leather or suede. In fact, it should be cleanable with soap and water or a solution. Things will spill so this is a vital point in keeping the backpack new-looking and smelling nice. You may be an outbacker, but your belongings need urban treatment. A little style also never hurt anyone and packs are quite chic these days. Ladies, in particular, will appreciate this fact and can use them double duty in their daily lives for the gym or as a baby bag. If you can get the laptop in there to go to the local coffee shop, so much the better.

Making life less difficult is important no matter where you go and what you do. Selecting the right backpack is up there with good nutrition, cleanliness, and health. It could be that important if you are a well-traveled regular. The more seasoned experience you have, the more you will know what we mean. Stowing gear for an outdoor trip is an art, and the right backpack will practically do it for you. Get organized and get ready for hours of fun.

Kitchen Faucets That Can Help You Travel the World?

If there’s one thing I love more than anything, it’s being able to see something truly brilliant in this world. There are so many hidden wonders and little secret spots that there is always something fascinating and new to see, even when you’ve spent a lifetime traveling! This hobby of mine gets to be expensive at times, which means I need to be smart about how I spend my cash every day.

That meant for my recent kitchen remodeling job, I had a choice to make: did it make more sense to redo the entire kitchen… or did it make more sense to just update the look of it to give it a modern appeal?

I went with the second option and decided to upgrade my sink, my faucets, and restructure my counter just a little. Here’s why I did that.

An Undermount Sink Speaks To Sophistication

After taking a look at all of my options, I knew that putting in an undermount sink would be the best way to improve my look. I know this won’t necessarily work for everyone, but I’ve got a sink that’s situated on a central island in my kitchen. All I needed to do was remove the old sink and faucets, then remove the old block of countertop that was there as well.

Then I could install the undermount sink. If you’ve never seen one of these before, they sit underneath your countertop instead of on top of it, so your look is more clean and modern because the counter goes right up to the sink! It takes a little more work and you’ll have to drill through your counter to install your faucet, but the investment in time and money is worth the cost.

I’d also heard that undermount sinks can create a lot of mold and mildew when they’re not installed properly. I made sure that we took extra care and time during the process of fitting the new undermount sink to have everything fully sealed off so no moisture could get trapped in the counter/sink joint.

What About the Kitchen Faucets?

The reason why I chose the undermount sink was that it opened up a world of possibilities to me for the style of faucet I wanted to install. Many of today’s traditional sinks have three or four holes that are pre-drilled into them and this limits that type of faucets that you can select. You’ve either got to choose one that has dual handles or you’ve got to make sure a matching counterplate comes with the product to cover the extra holes.

Since I had to drill the holes for my faucet, I could choose whatever type of faucet I wanted. Even the heavy brass faucets would work with my new look because I could reinforce the mounting position during the sink installation process. After spending a few hours reading kitchen faucet reviews online, I decided to go with a single mount, solid brass faucet that weight about 7 pounds so it will still look good over time, yet still give me a lot of durability.

I love to see the world, but I hate to compromise on quality just to save some cash. In doing this remodel, I got the best of both worlds. That’s why I’m sharing this: because maybe you can save some cash and travel too.

Caring for your Health While Living on the Road

Living on the road causes a few health issues with people’s feet. One common problem is circulation in the legs and feet. If the person sits for long periods of time without getting up to walk, such as on a very long drive, he or she can suffer from blood clots which can slow down or prevent circulation to the feet. The symptoms of this condition can be pain in the calves or feet, coldness or numbness in the toes, swelling of the feet, pins and needles sensations in the feet and redness of the toes. This is a serious condition that if allowed to continue untreated, can result in gangrenous feet and amputation. Travelers should keep the circulation moving by stopping to stretch from time to time and keeping the legs moving even while driving.

Corns are a constant concern, especially with tight fitting shoes. If they are uncomfortable to walk in, they aren’t good for sitting in either, particularly on a long journey. Change into larger, comfier shoes at the first opportunity and avoid those pinching problems that result in bone deformities in the feet. Hammer toes are one symptom of wearing too tight shoes and they can be very painful so it’s important to wear shoes that fit properly at all times, especially when traveling. People with diabetes need to have unrestricted blood flow to their feet if possible, so wearing restrictive shoes and socks that pinch, can result in problems with the feet for people with this condition.

Athletes foot and toenail fungus are problems that can occur while driving for long periods of time. Basically these conditions result from not washing the feet enough and not changing the socks and shoes often enough. The retired traveler should spend a little time barefoot between driving sessions to air out the skin of the feet. Sweat can accumulate in the folds between the toes, which can result in bacterial infections that cause itching and irritation, such as athlete’s foot. Toenail fungus results from moisture being trapped against the skin and if the feet have lowered circulation as some elderly people have, the situation becomes worse as the body can’t detect the problem as easily. Visiting a podiatrist for all foot symptoms while on the road is an excellent choice to help prevent reoccurrences.

Ingrown toenails cause considerable pain due to the pinching and cutting into the flesh that happens with improperly formed toenails. The nail digs into the surrounding skin rather than simply sitting on top of it and the result can be serious infections. Once again, this problem can be exacerbated by wearing tight shoes, where the toes are restricted in their movements. If the toes are restricted, the toenails are probably going to become malformed at some point. This can be treated by visiting a podiatrist and also by keeping the nails trimmed closely at all times. Cutting the nails straight across and giving them time to heal before hitting the road again is helpful.

Travelling around Australia in a campervan – Part 4

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Hello everyone, this is the final entry of our roller coaster, coast to coast, cross country trip with our friends Carol and Alan.

We arrived back in Melbourne a couple of days ago, all pretty exhausted but so pleased that we completed the journey. It truly was a lifetime experience and we all feel that it was something we’ll never forget. The country is really huge and living here, you never really think about it. It makes the adventure all the more meaningful because you feel that you’ve really connected with the environment and understand the land you walk on every day in a more intimate, personal way.

Anyway let me quickly take you through the last few destinations we visited. After Gold Coast we headed for Byron Bay, in New South Wales. The town is a favourite hangout for young surfers and was apparently named after the grand father of poet Lord Byron who was a famous navigator in the 17th century.

Next in line were Newcastle and Sydney, the two biggest towns in New South Wales. Newcastle as you can imagine was named after the British city port. Historically, Newcastle was an industrial town and its port remains a vibrant and very active trading centre. Newcastle also has one of the largest universities in the country. After Newcastle, we arrived in Sydney, which of course needs no introduction as a city. It is the most populated city in Australia with almost 5 million people living there and it was the first British colonial settlement in Australia. The city is a very strong economic centre and the richest town in the country dominated by very strong services, banking and technology industries. It is also one of our most culturally diverse cities, both culturally and ethnically, with people coming from places as diverse as Lebanon, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, India and Greece.

Sydney also has iconic architectural structures, which are very much symbolic of Australia all over the world. To name but a couple, the Anzac bridge, across Johnstons Bay is a unique construction built in memory of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who contributed to the War effort during World War II. And of course, the Sydney Opera House, overlooking Bennelong Point, undoubtedly one of the most famous and instantly recognisable buildings in the world. It was built by a Danish architect and officially opened in 1973.

After Sydney we travelled to the city of Wollongong, an industrial town which has considerably modernised itself over the years, and our last stop before coming back home to Melbourne was the city of Canberra. Canberra is the capital state of Australia and not Sydney as people often think. Most of our political life takes place there and it is a city with its own character, displaying great architectural works like the National Museum of Australia, the Shine Dome and the Australian War Memorial.

That’s it folks, it’s been a blessing for us to undertake and complete this journey, I hope it will inspire to go out there into the great wide open and find out for yourselves what a beautiful country this is.

Spending the Kids Inheritance Responsibly

When I was working I could not wait for the day that I would be able to retire. Now that I was able to stop working all is not as peaceful as I though it would be. I was not worried about myself and paying for my expenses. My house is paid off, my car is working fine, and I had a decent job with a nice pension plan. I am worried about my adult children. When I die I do not want to leave them with a large amount of debt. There are things that I am taking care of while I am still alive and in sound mind. Instead of leaving them an inheritance I am using the money in responsible ways in order to get all of my affairs in order.

I know the costs of funerals are very expensive. That is why I am prepaying for everything. I do not want a big affair but just the basic services can cost several thousand dollars. I want to be cremated when I die and I have already chosen a provider and paid for the cost of cremation. The urn is already bought and paid for too. I found a funeral home and already paid for a simple service. I went to the cemetery and bought a plot for my ashes. When I go I want to be put in it with my wife, whose services and cremation are paid for as well. I have some money set aside in a separate account if the children want to have some kind of service after the funeral.

Since all the final expenses have been paid for I am also making sure there is no outstanding debt that will be passed down to the children. I paid my car in full when I got it. I had to save for a couple of months but there is no car payment to have to worry about. I pay my credit card bills in full every month so there will be no debt with them. The taxes on the house are paid a year in advance. The car insurance is paid yearly instead of monthly. This will ensure that everything is current and up to date. There will be no outstanding debt to creditors. However, we still have plenty of money to travel and see Australia and the world as well.

While many people work hard to get leave behind an inheritance for their children I would rather leave them free of debt. They will not have to worry about coming up with money for my final expenses and outstanding bill. This way no one will have to fight and argue about who is going to pay what as well. While there is not going to be a lot of money left in my bank account everything will be taken care of so I will not have to worry about my family in my final moments.

Travelling around Australia in a campervan – Part 3

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Hello my good readers and welcome to Brisbane on the South East Queensland state.

It’s been a bit of a trek since the last blog so I’ll try to fill you in about what happened. We left our van in Ayers Rock as you might remember and flew over to Cairns as planned. We had a good flight and it was a bit strange to think of how many miles we had covered over the last few weeks. Cairns is a big sunny city, which is the ideal spot to start exploring the Territory of Queensland. One of its most famous attractions is the Great Reef Barrier, which is a breath-taking site.

This part of the country has always had to deal with extreme weather conditions. Cyclones are not unlikely to take the area by storm and it can be a bit overwhelming to live here sometimes I must admit. It is still a very popular tourist destination, not least because it is a good entry point for Chinese businessmen and visitors throughout the year. It is also a town which Australians like to visit during those cross-country trips. A bit like the one we’ve undertaken just because it has that sense of being a part of the journey as one of the country’s major cities.

Before arriving to Brisbane, where we are now, we stopped over by Townsville, on the North east coast of the state of Queensland. The city is known for the crucial part it played during World War II for the Allied soldiers. A lot of the American troops that battled against the Japanese during the Pacific War were stationed in Townsville. They still have many historical sites in memory of the veterans who gave their lives and I think they even have a couple of American military bases stationed there too.

So after Townsville we arrived in Brisbane yesterday. This is about as big as you’re going to get in terms of population for a city in Australia, there’s almost 2 and a half million people living here. It’s a city that has gone from strength to strength economically, it’s one of our most modern cities. There’s a lot of money going into high tech industries and information technology related businesses. Brisbane also has a lot of major cultural events that are renowned internationally. The Royal Queensland Exhibition, the River Festival, as well as the Queensland gallery of Modern Art are very popular and attract a huge turnaround all year long.

After Brisbane we’ll be leaving for the Gold Coast, another “must see” sight for cross-country trekkers like us. It has splendid weather all year long and again very popular with visitors to Australia. We do have the advantage of being a country with great weather almost throughout the year and it certainly helps our economy a great deal. Another thing we will be looking forward to see is the works they might have started doing there for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. We’ve always been a proud participant in the Games and it will be an honour to host the event.

I’ll look forward to catch up soon. Bye from Dave.

Travelling around Australia in a campervan – Part 2

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Hello good readers! Sorry for the lack of updates on the road – the internet connections have been less than reliable until we’ve arrived here in Broome.

We’ve been in Broome for a couple of days now and it’s lovely to be here. Broome is a seaside town famous for its oyster pearl culture. The city has historical ties with Japan, since it was Japanese immigrants that were initially employed in that industry. Broome is a very dry place in the summer apparently and you’d better make sure that you are not overexposed to the reflection of the sun if you don’t want to get burned.

Last night we saw some of the celebrations for one of the festivals that celebrate the Asian influence in the community, “The Festival Of Pearls“, a lovely name for a very nice event. We drove up to Broome from Perth, which is further down on the West Coast of the country. Perth is the 4th most populated city in Australia. It’s a big place with lots of Arts events all throughout the year. A very busy town indeed and a tourist favourite, not least for its great architecture.

The next leg of the trip is going to take us to the Northern territory to the cities of Katherine and Darwin. Katherine is a renowned stop over for people in their 60’s like us, who undertake this kind of journey. It ‘s a little bit like a sort of “rendezvous” point. The town is literally swamped with recreational vehicles and it’s a lovely atmosphere, you meet a lot of nice folks on that part of the journey.

Next is Darwin, which is a few hundred miles North of Katherine at the tip of the country’s Northern Territory. As its name probably indicates, Darwin was named after the famous naturalist Charles Darwin whose ship the Beagle sailed into the town harbour in 1836 on its way to the Galapagos Islands.

Next it will be Alice Springs, which is further down the road but still a part of the Northern Territory. It’s a nice settlement, which is well known for its support to Aboriginal art. From there, on our way down to Ayers Rock. Now I must admit that’s something I’ve been looking to see for a long time. The Aboriginal name of Ayers Rock is Uluru. It’s a very large Earth mound formation, almost right in the middle of the country. The area is so popular that it’s become a National Park that attracts almost half a million visitors on a yearly basis. It is reputed to be a stunning sight. The climbing of the site was allowed until a few years ago but disorderly behaviour in some instances forced the authorities to discontinue the climb. But we’re still very much looking to catch a sight of that unique example of Earth formation. That will also be a bit of a turning point for the journey, as we will be leaving the camper van there. We will be taking a plane to Cairns, which is located on the Eastern tip of the State of Queensland. We’ll carry on the travel blog from there.

Cheerio.

Travelling around Australia in a campervan – Part 1

mt-blue-lake-to-look

Hello there, it’s Dave again.

It’s been a busy weekend looking after the grand children but it looks like we might be in luck. My wife Maggie’s friend Carol and her husband Alan have decided to go on a little cross-country trip next Saturday. They did it last year but we couldn’t make it, we had family come over to visit us. Maggie and Carol had a chat about it, did what girls do, got everything planned and arranged before we could put a word in edgeways and it looks like this show is ready to hit the road. Alan’s a good guy, always liked him. He used to run a construction company, which he passed over, to his sons. Carol’s great too, she used to work with Maggie at the doctor’s practice. We’ve known them for 35 years; saw our kids growing up together, always lived in the same neighbourhood too.

So the idea is to go on a 2-week trip around the country. Each couple will rent a campervan and we’ll have stopovers in different places. It’s very much the done thing for people our age, it’s the perfect way to have a nice holiday and discover the country, which is a huge territory. The idea will be to take the Great Ocean Road all the way to Mount Gambier. From Melbourne, where we all live, it should be a 6 to 6 and a half hours drive. The Great Ocean Road is a little bit like the Highway 61 of Australia. It’s very famous because it was partly built by World War I Australian soldiers upon their return from overseas and it is a bit of a memorial for those who didn’t come back. It’s a beautiful road all across the southeastern part of the country. That’s where kids who are into their surfing go in the summer. Mount Gambier is a lovely town on the South Coast of the country. Maggie and I have never been before. There’s great wild life there and the landscape is apparently breath taking, so we’re definitely looking forward to that.

Then we’ll be headed for Adelaide, which is the biggest city in South Australia and the 5th largest one in the country. We won’t stop there though because we’re supposed to get to Perth before embarking on the next part of the journey. We’ll be driving through Nullarbor Plain, which is quite an unusual sight. It’s right in the middle of what used to be Aboriginal land. It was considered inhospitable for a long time because it is a long stretch of desert. This land is the heart of the Australia Outback and it is a feat to cross it. That in itself, should make the trip to Perth worth our while.

Ways to Earn a Bit of Extra Money as a Retired Traveler

Retired individuals sometimes need to have a little extra income on the side and in some cases this should be work that older people can handle easily depending on the individual’s health. Doing a little freelance work online using freelancing websites can help bring in that extra income, as long as the traveling retiree has access to the money earned, such as through PayPal or some other type of online money depository service. Directly depositing that money to a bank account makes it easier for the traveler to have access to his or her funds through the internet. Some types of jobs that are available are article writing, photography, voice talent, such as reading stories aloud, performing small tasks, or doing surveys.

The retired traveler can earn considerable extra cash by retrieving sellable items out of dumpsters. Known as dumpster diving, this practice often results in considerable extra income through sales on online marketplaces such as eBay. Some folks even make their entire living this way. People throw away perfectly good items all the time and some of them are quite valuable. You need to be aware of the laws regarding going through trash in the state where you are visiting before attempting this, however.  A few moments online doing research on the subject will give you all the information he or she needs before starting.

In some places soft drink and beer bottles and cans are returnable for a small amount of cash. Again, research is necessary to find out where returns are and aren’t allowed. In Australia, there is a 10c deposit on bottles and cans sold in SA/NT only. Picking up empty bottles and cans not only helps immediately clean up the environment but also gets those items recycled, which prevents them from ending up in landfills. It’s a win-win situation and the person collecting the bottles and cans gets a little extra income, not to mention some exercise out of the situation. Another related job opportunity is scrapping, where people pick through trash to find metals that can be sold to scrap yards. Discarded metals are everywhere and scrappers can pick up considerable extra cash doing this.

Part time jobs are everywhere. The retired traveler can pick up a job at a store as a greeter, or perhaps in a pub or bar serving beers. There are a lot of businesses that actually prefer hiring older people because they are often more reliable than young adults or teenagers. If the retired traveler is planning to spend considerable time in one place, then getting a part time job would be a decent idea. Just note that for some jobs, you are required to hold certain qualifications or certifications – i.e. to serve alcohol in a pub, you may need to hold a Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate. These are fairly easy to obtain, and most people choose to get it online, which allows you to work at your own pace and print off a certificate in about 2-3 hours total.

For those who prefer to be on the move all the time, getting a job that requires considerable travel, such as door to door sales, might be the thing to try for, if the person has an aptitude for that sort of thing. Driving a truck and making deliveries is another option as long as the retiree gets a special driver’s license before-hand.