In The Living Mountain, Scottish walker, Nan Shepherd, wrote, “The thing to be known grows with the knowing.” She was referring to how much larger the mountain felt after she explored it slowly and observed it through all her senses. How can a setting grow after exploring it thoroughly? Surely once you are familiar with it, a place should feel smaller – be less of a mystery? Continue reading
Next to a boardwalk winding up to the Red Rock headland in New South Wales, rests a simple memorial plaque. Easily missed in overgrown grass, it records a brutal event in Australian history unknown to many who flock to the small coastal village during holiday season. Continue reading
Recently, I went searching for a railway museum but all I found was a dead peacock. On the same day I visited a cemetery to photograph one plaque and ended up spending an hour fascinated by lichen-decorated headstones. Yesterday, I hoped to catch sight of an elusive platypus. Instead, I came face to face with the biggest spider I’ve ever seen. I often head out searching for one thing only to discover something entirely different. I’m a planner by nature but over the years I have come to accept that life is often unpredictable. I think I am finally starting to embrace these surprises – well, at least some of the time!
This week I’m taking you on a little journey involving life and death. The main setting will be Tallegalla cemetery near Rosewood in Queensland. My first visit to this location involved quite a few surprises. Continue reading
As it says on my header, this blog is about “Survival stories of a directionally-challenged hiking hermit.” Although it comes rather late in the piece, this is actually my very first tale of survival. It is the one that began my life-long passion for the outdoors.
There are many reasons why I enjoy hiking. I often write about it being my escape from city living. This is not the complete picture though. The natural world is like an addiction for me. It’s been that way since I was a young child. Continue reading
Christmas and the approach of a new year stimulate a lot of memories and also a great deal of reflection and pondering for many people. The Internet brings us numerous benefits. We can interact with many people from all over the world and marvel over exotic landscapes. However, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the adventures of others that make our own lives back at home seem rather dreary or mundane. I was feeling a little deflated myself recently after hearing yet another adventurer urge people to give up everything and travel the world. I have family and other responsibilities that keep me here and they take priority for the moment. We are often bombarded with commands such as, “Do it now. Life is short. You only live once!” I’ve never been overseas and have only traveled in two states of my own country, but it’s still been an interesting life, and there is much to be enjoyed in my own region.
Recently, I spent many hours sorting through a box of old family photos and they were a good reminder that overseas travel and in fact, interstate travel, were not common occurrences like they seem to be now. People often had to work long hours, with few of the modern conveniences we enjoy today and yet many found simple ways to enjoy their precious leisure time that gave them contentment. Many lived in one location their whole lives. Although I would not swap my relative life of ease with theirs, I do feel a little nostalgic about the focus on simple outdoor pleasures. I thought I’d share some of these old pictures with you as a reminder of the distant past when electronic media wasn’t the focus of entertainment; when people looked you in the eyes when having a conversation. I invite you to take a hike back in time with me through these images of some Australians in the first half of the twentieth century. Continue reading
“You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.”
There was really no choice. In the next room the skill of a complete stranger was going to determine whether or not my young son would have quadriplegia. If left alone the 2 1/2 cm intra-spinal nerve sheath tumour would continue to compress his spinal cord further and paralysis would be complete within a few weeks. But the surgery itself could leave him with quadriplegia. I tried to prepare myself for the worst case scenario. There was no time to feel. How would I tell my son that he was permanently paralysed if the surgery went badly or explain what further treatment was needed if it was malignant? He had trusted me as I handed him over to nurses to be prepped for surgery and I felt like I was betraying him. I did not tell him the possible outcome, only that he needed to have the tumour removed because it was going to keep growing. Perhaps I was wrong but I saw no reason to terrify him just before the operation when no-one knew for certain what would happen. Continue reading