??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness

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Canada- a Covid armchair ride. Riding the Rocky Mountaineer.

Today my armchair isn’t a beige leather seat rather it’s my silverleaf seat aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. I would probably have just finished lunch. I would have drooled and savoured every mouthful of the hot, gourmet breakfast and lunches and gourmet snacks and sipped the complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Yesterday, leaving from Banff, I would have marveled at the spectacular scenery across ranchlands, along rocky lakeshores, over high mountain passes and through the remarkable tunnels that form part of the rich rail history of the Canadian Rockies. My camera would hold a photo of Craigellachie, where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven, the climb over Rogers Pass, Kicking Horse Canyon, the Spiral Tunnels and the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. I would have been that annoying passenger expressing my amazement verbally.

Today I would be leaving Kamloops experiencing the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon and the steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River. Leaving the desert-like environment of the BC Interior I’d be heading to the lush green fields of the Fraser Valley, through forests and winding river canyons surrounded by the peaks of the Coast and Cascade Mountains. The night would see us arrive in Vancouver.

Instead I had a picnic lunch in my beachside locality yesterday and today I have a good book to finish ( and some housework 🤦‍♀️).

I also will look at the voucher I have and contemplate when I might do this trip at a later date.

It won’t happen overnight but it will happen. 😊

In my mind I can see those majestic mountains.

Have you been a (paying) guest on the Rocky Mountaineer? Tell me about what you enjoyed most.

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Covid travel from the arm chair – arrival in Calgary

We would have arrived around noon 24th August after connecting with a domestic Air Canada flight from Vancouver. Hopefully the 1 hour 55 min time between flights would have been sufficient.

On arrival in Calgary we would have travelled to our hotel by cab.

As I try to make most use of my time, I rely heavily on planning. It’s not my style to leave things to chance.

I had mapped out the map for a 3 km walk exploring some of Calgary. The hope was to beat the jet lag by keeping busy. An early night would (should) see us ready to live on Canadian time.

A late lunch was planned at Alforno Bakery and Cafe, then at the end of our scenic route an early dinner. No restaurant was chosen as it would depend on how tired we were and if we were still walking or cabbing it.

Monday 24th would then be finished.

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Covid travel from the arm chair – flight to Calgary

Today I would have been up early to watch the airport wake up. I’d watch the early flights take off as I packed up ready to head to the airport by 7 am for the first leg of my flight- Sydney to Vancouver. At Vancouver I would take my 2nd leg, a flight to Calgary. I say 7 am as 3 hours before my flight but I’d more than likely be racing that 150 metre distance around 6:15ish – not one to be late to the airport, you never know what interruption might happen to make that 2 minute walk longer.

No matter which airline I travel with ( though I have only used about 5 or 6 different airlines) the check in counter is always far from where I enter the terminal. I drag my case, dodging people, taking a moment to marvel at a suitcase being plastic wrapped, admiring some of the suitcases, oh and of course a million stops to check my passport, phone and wallet are still in my handbag. I’m not exactly sure where I think they will go as I clasp that bag tight and am always very alert to what’s happening around me.

On arrival at check in I’ll be a little less stressed once my passport is checked, tickets are printed and my suitcase is taken.

Now it’s a head through security. My liquids ( in their purpose bought resealable plastic bag) will be placed in the little blue tray along with my 5 ventolin puffers ( never be too sure if you have enough – nor if they should stay in the handbag or not). My bag will be placed in the blue tray. I’ll be watching that tray as closely as I can.

Based on my own statistics I will then be chosen for a body scan. I always have ‘hot spots” requiring a pat down. Of course I’m hot, I’m on high anxiety in this part of my travel adventure.

Then as if it’s not enough to have a pat down, I’m usually chosen for the Explosive Trace Detection wand.

Next I recheck I still have my passport, wallet, phone and now tickets still in my hand bag then head to customs and border control. I’m better at feeding my passport into the machine now. Once I pass through that gate I check the walk time the flight board advises for my gate.

By now I need food and while I’m hangry I also want to eat as close as possible to my gate. Don’t want any last minute dashes to make the plane. Only once has this part of my plan gone horribly wrong when there was a last minute gate change for a flight. Of course it was from one end to the other. I had to race off dodging those passengers who enjoy window shopping and chatting in little groups. Argghhh!!!

Then I sit at the gate ( usually with a long wait cause I start so early for check in).

Today’s flight was to be at 10am. I had an extra leg room seat on the exit. The flight price was so cheap as I bought it on an Air Canada ‘Australia Day Sale’. The disappointing bit is the voucher we now have will barely cover one of us to travel- unless of cause another Australia Day Sale happens next year! Fingers crossed 🙂

When boarding is announced I finally get really excited. I sit in my seat with seatbelt tightened as I watch the plane fill up. I play a game bringing the unknown passengers to life in my mind – why they are travelling, where they are headed, did they book on the sale like me, who have they left behind, who’s excited to see them at the end of the flight?

As the plane taxis out of the bay I’m the one staring out the window…even if I’m not in the window seat. 😊

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Groundhog Day

Writing this while I listen to the PM’s daily update.           cvid

I have frequently watched this movie, laughing at its absurdity…until the day I woke up in my own Groundhog (or Covid19 Day).

One of my favourite DVDs

One of my favourite DVDs

Around March 15 I put myself in what I called social isolation. It wasn’t because I had had any (known) contact with an infected person or a close contact of theirs. It was because I knew this virus lurked in a cloak of invisibility amongst the general population. That person that served you in the supermarket or fruit shop. A fellow shopper. Possibly my family. Possibly on that delivery from the post office. When I did venture out (twice) it was a fast dash, and a manic woman screeching at those who attempted to invade my 1.5 metre personal space of social distancing. It feels like I’ve been doing this for months but the calendar suggests only 3 weeks.

Every morning the alarm goes off at 7 am.


My dog has diabetes so he has insulin at 7 am and 7 pm daily. If he is being fed so must the cat, else her miaowing persists. While I wait for ten minutes after eating to pass to give the insulin I scroll Facebook and Instagram. I secretly hope that while doing this I will read the post that declares the vaccine has been found for the virus.

After this, the TV goes on and I watch an episode of any series I’m watching at the time. The most recent is Tiger King (worthy of a whole blog post). Then it’s time for the Gladys (Premier of NSW) report the state. It’s on a run, with the same people speaking, saying the same things, while the journalists ask questions too softly to be heard …though I always hear Ruby Princess in their questions.

Breakfast happens now around 9 am …yes, I know it seems like more than 2 hours, thats because it’s  2hrs CV19 hours . A Covid19 hour definitely has more minutes than a regular hour.

Then I fill my day with :-

**a speck of housework. I don’t want to peak too early by finishing it, I may have 6 more moths to fill according to the politician leaders.

**Lots of social media


**some ukulele time. Found myself a 30 days of lessons to join

**Lots of social media


** Covid reports from leaders


**Too much social media

** Covid reports from leaders

**some ukulele time

**outside for some sunshine (if it’s not raining)

(rotate through these things several times until 7pm)

**Feed the animals and give the dog his insulin




Then the alarm goes off….. clock


I hear the rustles…

This is me. The last few weeks have seen my old insecurities and fears begin to bubble to the surface with the strengthening of Covid19’s spread.  Attempting self-isolation of a kind, a bonus of retirement. Have closed my home’s borders here to permanent residents and past residents only. I am thankful for the internet as it has allowed me to keep contact with family and friends.



Bushfire – too simple a word

A sunrise with a cool breeze blowing. A peaceful vision with the song of birds heralding the new day.

Hard to believe just over 200kms away this sun is the same one my friends and families are viewing, hazed by heavy smoke. They view from fire evacuation centres or while bunking with family and friends, breathing in the acrid bushfire smoke for yet another day. Not knowing the extent of destruction that may have happened to their homes overnight. Hoping they have been lucky with winds in their favour, but that is bittersweet knowing this means hardship for others. Animals without a voice are shown no mercy as the destructive flames overpower the environment.

Though heart wrenching, houses can be rebuilt and with love turned into homes again. But, this harsh demon hasn’t just wrapped it flaming hands around homes, but lives of those at its mercy as they try to calm this beast. This is the harshest rebuild back.

A destructive war, fought by brave heroic people. A war where, try as they might, the enemy is so larger and not retreating. It will be conquered but the toll of destruction will have widespread implications for a very, very long time. Life has changed. War does that.

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Today is Thursday but Friday at home

Today is Thursday in Waikiki however it is Friday where I live.

Today, is an important milestone in my life. It’s far from the most important, but a milestone of importance nevertheless.

Today I complete my life as a worker. Close of business, at 3:20pm in NSW, sees me officially retired. For 34 years I have been employed permanently as a teacher in the public school system. From that 34 years I must subtract 5 years as a stay at home mum and 2 terms leave without pay to travel. I’ve used all of my LSL also… to travel, be a HSC mum twice and this year to be a wedding planner, grandmother and myself, no longer answering to bells 🔔.

I filled out ‘separation papers’ to retire. Yes, that’s what they are called and, from the amount of love, sweat and tears I put into my job, it was like a marriage.

I have many fond (and some not so fond) memories of my time and I was a lucky one because I really enjoyed what I did. It was an honour to be part of so many children’s lives as they journeyed along life’s path, hopefully to a place where they love learning. Learning is not something that happens in a room. The room teaches how to use tools to build their learning with. It was an honour to be entrusted by so many parents with their most precious cargo. I was a part of their joy and hardships.

Work is a lot more than just making money. It was an opportunity to make friendships with fellow staff members and I cherish those who are still part of my friendship circle.

So, at 3:20pm Sydney time, 25th October, I will raise a toast to the door that closes. I’m sure I will have a small tear cause that’s me. But it will definitely be a happy tear for I already see that next door creaking open ( I’ve been having a sneaky look all this year 😂)and behind it I can see so many new things and most importantly I see time. Watch out family and friends 🥳😍.


Relaxation is the name of the game

I only really and truly fully relax on my own. Give me a sun lounger, a pool and a sea view, and I’m happy.

Miranda Hart

This is how I spent my day-well a lot of it. I had those things , plus my ukulele and a lot of YouTube videos.

Enjoyed the pool alone today as Brian returned to Pearl Harbor to see what he missed out on yesterday-Arizona Memorial and a few of the free exhibits. I saw it all yesterday as I didn’t do all the things in as great a depth as he did.

Eavesdropping as I like to do I heard lots of people excited to see the same people they see here every year. They came from all across the USA. With a hat on and sunnies I managed to remain the unfriendly person I can be and kept to myself.

They were discussing what they had been going for the past year and where they had been in Waikiki since they arrived. Was intrigued by one lady who said she hates the beach so never goes there but just stays in the pool. But they were definitely leaving cold weather behind so I suppose that’s the attraction of Waikiki. One pair had left Dakota in snow. I can only imagine that difference in departure and arrival. How difficult that must be when choosing what to wear in the plane. And here’s me worried cause I haven’t packed a cardigan for my train ride home from the airport on Saturday.

After turning my body a rich red I returned to the air conditioned comfort of my hotel room.

The city sprawls way past the Waikiki high rise skyline. The mountains are magnificent and their folds and greenery spectacular.

With the curtains drawn back I watched the view of the mountains as I set up you tube and played ( struggled to press strings ) along on my ukulele. I think I can now play ‘C Major’ and Row, Row, Row your boat. Sounds impressive to those that aren’t musical but the song needs one note only and that note needs only one finger. Starting slowly haha.

Tried G Major chord next. Let’s say my fingers don’t seem to be agile nor long enough to meet the right string holds. But the video did say it takes a lot of practise. I’m trusting that ( and secretly hoping my fingers grow longer). When I can master it I will be able to play “Singing in the Rain”, which brings back memories ( funny of course!!) of a school dance festival 😂😂

Tonight found us back at our favourite dessert place…The Cheesecake Factory. We have eaten at a different place for mains every night.

Although I know it’s a lot of cream, I secretly was a little disappointed that the salted caramel cheesecake was decorated in thick caramel not extra cream. That was until I tasted the caramel.

If you haven’t been, take a look at the menu of cheesecakes here. Which would be at the top of your list?

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Somewhere over the rainbow

If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.

Jake Shimabukuro

My bucket list for Hawaii consisted of just a few things. In no order of importance…

1. Watch a hula show

2. Eat shrimp from a truck on

the North Shore of Oahu

3. Buy a ukulele and play it on

the beach

4. Eat cheesecake at the

Cheesecake Factory

With just three days left I took a look to see what was left in need of ticks.

Number 2 was ticked off on our Island road trip.

Number 4 – well I’m working my way through that that menu 🙂

Tonight we watched the hula show in Kuhio Beach, not far from Duke Paoa Kahanamoku’s Statue. That meant number 1 was done too.

Chief blowing the conch shell

Hula dancing

This left only number 3… and guess what?? As we strolled down the street after the hula show, in search of dinner, we found a ukulele store. There are others I have seen but knowing my commitment to new hobbies I didn’t want to outlay hundreds of dollars to add the ukulele to the pile of other unloved instruments and gadgets at home.

This one is ‘Designed in Hawaii – but assembled in China.

Couldn’t eat dinner fast enough to get back to the hotel to strum my ukulele. I have been on YouTube learning ‘ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT’. Might be a while until SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW is in my répertoire.

Found this little poem on a site of ukulele poems.

I hope I don’t stay this little girl!