??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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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!


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Cinderella – a modern day tale – a Zoom to Broome  

Once upon a time, Cinderella was transformed to a princess for a weekend, and flown to Broome. Her fairy godmother QANTAS cast the spell after viewing Cinderella’s competition entry video. You see, in this story, it wasn’t a prince looking for a princess but QANTAS sharing the celebration  of their 30 years of Frequent Flyers program with ordinary folk , also celebrating a special milestone in their lives. The competition involved either 25 words or less, explaining the milestone ( but as those that know this Cinderella know, this wouldn’t even see me finishing my introduction ) or a 30 second video. With a picture saying a thousand words, Cinderella saw this as her best chance. Her milestone was 30 years of marriage.

Proud of her effort she waited anxiously for the day the winners were to be announced. The day came and went and Cinderella thought the fairy godmother hadn’t chosen to be hers. But, just a day or two later, a phone call informed her she was in fact going to the ball….oops Broome. With a loud “Whacko the derrio” in the ear of the poor girl on the other end of the phone she zoomed on cloud nine before deciding just who her  lucky 3 guests were to be.  She took her own prince, and to accompany them were to be her son and daughter in law.

But fairy tales are narratives, and as such need a complication. This came in the shape of a broken ankle for her son. Surgery to place two pins and a metal plate ,  the wearing of a  moon boot and nil weight-bearing  provided  the complication. Seeking solutions she was met continually at brick walls as she searched her family for who to take now.  Her daughter and life-partner couldn’t make it logistically due to distance. Two sisters – maybe- but again one was distance challenged. Two  sets of ‘inlaws’ arghhhh….but then, one hadn’t been to Broome. And so the complication was solved. 

She started her magical adventure at Sydney Domestic Airport. After check in ( yes she needed a bag for all the clothes and accessories she would need for her 34 hour adventure) she headed off to the first ‘ballroom’ aka QANTAS lounge.  Entering the ( normally for her) forbidden doors she glided up the escalator with a grin rivalling the Cheshire Cat!! She wallowed in the fun, made herself a toastie and lined up for a barista coffee. 

Then, the flight board announced time to move to the next ‘ballroom’. Cinderella flew in the luxury of a private QANTAS flight on a 737-800. She sipped on cocktails and wine as a princess should. She ate foods that a princess should. The staff was so magical and ensured she was treated like a princess should be! On arrival in Broome a fairy godmother ( aka flight attendant) went the extra kilometre to allow Cinderella to sit in the business class seat and the flight captain let her peek in the cockpit. 


Cinderella’s bucket list already had so many ticks. Could it get any better?? Well it is a fairytale so we know anything can and does happen. Whisked away on a charter bus, she arrived at the resort to be entertained by a champagne reception. Even Mother Nature played her part with temperature ( 30C – excellent winter’s day !!)  and the bluest of clear sky. 


Entering her room at Kinberley Sands Resort, Cinderella noticed two bags of goodies.  Each contained a beautifully soft, large round beach towel, QANTAS bag tag ……and wait for it…QANTAS pyjamas- something Cinderella had only ever dreamed of, being an economy flight traveller. The room was beautiful and overlooked an azure pool, which at night was lit to a beautiful deep sea blue. 

A splash in the pool and then it was time to prepare for the dinner to be held at Cable Beach. A white dress affair, Cinderella managed to borrow suitable attire from a friend. It’s quite hard to find white summer clothing in the middle of a freezing winter. 

The sunset at Cable Beach deserves a photo. The hues change and colours deepen as the sun slinks to hide behind the ocean. As an east coast girl, sunset over the ocean thrilled Cinderella. Silhouetted against the sunset, a camel train made its way over the sand. A smoking ceremony signalled the beginning of the evening feast. And that it was, a feast for all senses!! Dinner was a night of sparkling pearl white, with a delicious menu to devour, washed down with quality wines, while listening to a melodic duet. Cinderell ate and drank like a princess should and had many laughs and interesting conversations. 

Next morning, saw Cinderella partake in a sumptuous breakfast before heading to Willie Creek Pearl farm. Here she held pearls that she could only have dreamt of ( one worth approximately $8000),  and enjoyed learning about the pearling industry, before taking a short cruise on the crystal blue waters to see the pearl farm. 

Regretfully now  for Cinderella, the hands of the clock seem to speed up. Before she knew it, she had boarded the flight home and was seeing the familiar sight of the marvellous harbour that is Sydney.  Her fairy godmothers and godfathers, in the form of QANTAS  staff, waved her a fond farewell . Cinderella doubted they could ever know the impact their actions had made on her. She did tell them, but knew they deserved more. 
On behalf of Cinderella I want to thank QANTAS for running this competition . I’ve often been a naysayer thinking these types of competitions weren’t won by real people but now I know different.  I encourage you, if you see a competition that has a prize you want, enter. You have nothing to lose and who knows, you too might be another Cinderella.

The glass slipper of memories will live forever in this Cinderella’s mind.
And someone missed us while we were gone for the weekend.


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Bruny Island -Day 1

Today we made our way to Kettering to catch the car ferry to Bruny Island. I was excited to see Kettering as a couple of months ago I had watched an intriguing TV series based in the town. I have a few of the landmarks to visit there when we return to the mainland.

Arriving for the 11am ferry we had a 40 minute wait. The dock is well set up fir this by having a cafe there. We ate our breakfast watching boats bob on their moorings and before we knew it we were back in our car ready to drive on the ferry.

The trip across takes about 20 minutes. We were on an outside lane so could watch the shoreline disappear as we crossed the still waters.


My original plan was to explore the top half of the island today and the bottom tomorrow. Our accommodation is about midway on the island. Arriving on the island however, we noticed we had just a quarter of a tank of petrol. As the only petrol was on the bottom half of the island we decided to head there and to reverse days.

With a full tank our first stop was the chocolate factory. Due to health and safety rules they are no longer able to have the public visit the chocolate making workshop, but they did have a video of it showing. We sampled lavender fudge and chocolate fudge and then purchased a large selection of fudges and chocolates. Such good customers we were the sales lady tossed on a free bag of chocolate coated honeycomb that was ‘irregular’ – like as if my taste buds will know it’s not perfectly cubed haha.


We saw where Captain Cook , Abel Tasman and William Bligh had landed at different times, then headed to Cloudy Bay and on to the lighthouse. The roads start off tarred but very quickly change to gravel. The roads aren’t very wide in parts, so as you pass traffic going the other way you need to slow a bit. The car has changed from white to brown, a visit to a car wash will be needed before we take it back at the end of the holiday.




The views from the lighthouse area were spectacular, added to by the light mist.

We checked in to our accommodation as we were passing the hotel. As if he new me , the man at the hotel reception assured me to look inside the motel room before passing judgement…it was a little square box from outside!! He said inside was new renovations, and the view amazing and he was right! It’s like a regular motel room inside. The linen is crisp and clean ( I checked as soon as I entered haha). It’s regular hotel size and we put on the room heater and the room was warm fast. It’s not luxury but it’s definitely comfortable and so reasonably priced.


The view is across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to Satellite Island.


We ate dinner in Hotel Bruny and again were impressed , just like their hotel room.


The menu was large and the meals even larger and delicious!!! The staff were really friendly which added to the atmosphere. We were really challenged to eat all our dinnrer. We started with garlic bread , served on a wooden board with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Brian had chicken parmigiana and o had Tasmanian scallops. Neither of us could totally finish our meal !  Definitely recommend staying and eating here if you come to Bruny Island. 


We will sleep well after all the walking, concentrating on gravel roads and such full tummies. And yes, we still found room for dessert hahaha


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Dreams do come true!

With Father’s Day tomorrow in Australia, I was looking through early posts on my blog. I knew I had written one about my dad and wanted to re-read it. I found it (take a peek if you like). I also found a list of dreams I had written – not dreams as in sleep time but dreams of things I wanted to achieve. I wrote it 2 years ago so decided to see if I could tick any off the list.

The Ticked

Visit Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest

Almost ticked. The flights and accommodation are finalised and we will be there in around five weeks time. We are traveling around Cairns to Kuranda and up as far as Cape Tribulation. It will be a planes, trains and automobile style trip ( oh and throw in a cruise ship too!)file2101291129795

Visit the Blue Grotto and Pompeii

In June last year my family (husband and two grown up kids) traveled to Italy. It was an amazing holiday, made extra enjoyable by us all sharing it together. We didn’t actually get inside the Blue Grotto. Heavy seas, high tide fast approaching and a long queue of boats meant we only saw it from the outside. But, still we saw it (and a lot of other pretty grottos on our sail around Capri

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Pompeii is hard to put in words. It’s like you can still feel the lives of the people there both before the catastrophe and as they faced it. I cannot even imagine the fear that filled them as some struggled to escape (but to nowhere) nor those that curled up tightly with their family aware they could not beat this beast. And, there, looming in your vision is the all powerful Mt Vesuvius.

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Do a Sound of Music Tour

What an amazing time we had in Salzburg (July 2015) fulfilling this dream. The Mirabellplatz Gardens were opposite our accommodation. This Garden is the scene of the ‘Do-Re-Me’ steps, gnomes and trellises .Of course I sang the song as I jumped steps,tapped gnomes on the head and of course skipped ( yes skipped!!) through trellised walkways. I also did an organised SOM bus tour where I danced around a rotunda singing walked around lakes and saw the church of the marriage.

use steps notes

Watch Sunrise and Kochie Live

Sunrise is an Australian morning news TV program. It is filmed at Martin place and is visible from the street.I’m a Kochie fan so was excited to make the trip to Sydney to stand outside to watch.I was extra thrilled when a few months later I actually got to be part of an inside audience, something they don’t have very often.

tv screen pixkochie Fixed

Cook a three course meal

My cooking IS getting better. Maybe because I don’t do it so often now we are empty nesters. This makes the times I do it no longer the compulsory chore it used to be.

carb fettcake

Learn more conversational Italian

My Italian is still VERY limited but I loved listening to others using it during our travels. I was able to read the train ticket machines which was helpful.I also had a few(very simplistic) conversations-mostly transport or food related. Sadly since our return non-use means I need a HUGE refresher course.

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These on the list are YET TO BE COMPLETED but are still important to me.I’m taking Abbey Lee off the list though as I don’t watch the show much now.

*Visit USA again and see Abby Lee Dance Studio – and hopefully Abby Lee 🙂

*Visit Churchill to see the polar bears in the wild

*African wildlife safari

*Go to the Melbourne Cup

*See the Canadian Rocky Mountains by train

*Fly over Antarctica – preferable ice class 🙂

*Attend a dawn service for ANZAC DAY

*Be on Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve

*Write a children’s picture book

*Write a collection of short stories

Have you ticked off any of your own dreams lately? Did they live up to your expectations?


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Angular

I read the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge topic yesterday. It was only this morning as I took yet another walk down memory lane via my camera photos backed up to my iPad that I saw this photo. It was taken on a walk to Florence Cathedral – Santa Maria del Fiore – or more commonly known as ‘The Duomo’. The structure dominates the area in size and beauty. When up on Piazzale Michelangelo looking over Florence it was the landmark point we used as reference. I particularly like that this photo has a small yet bright circle that breaks the angles ( size isn’t what signifies power) . This shot was taken looking up. On that holiday of a lifetime my head was always turning in every direction. I didn’t want to miss a thing. One more thing ticked off my bucket list ( many more added from that trip) . To quote from the South Pacific musical “you gotta have a dream” .

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