Fraser Island

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I am not sure how I can accurately describe Fraser Island. It seems almost like a magical island to me with an ever changing landscape and hidden gems around every corner. It’s the kind of place you instantly want to become a part of and keep as something that is just yours.

We spent the days exploring the whole island I can easily say my favourite day was the day we drove up to the top of the island where the light house is located. The drive up the beach is stunning with nothing but blue skies and clear blue sea, as well as all the wildlife you could want. We saw pelicans, fish, whales, dolphins and dingos. Once you start to reach the top of the island and turn a corner the scenery changes and giant white sand dunes suddenly tower over you from the left whilst on the right the ocean which is now dead calm has somehow managed to become even more crystal clear and the sand is defiantly whiter. Even though there are sharks in the ocean and swimming isn’t advised we couldn’t resist taking a quick dip in the shallows of this paradise shoreline. After the boys climbed the dunes and raced back down to the bottom we continued on to the base of the lighthouse.

I am not going to lie, the walk up to the lighthouse almost killed me but boy was it worth it! Unexpectedly once you reach the top you are not only met with a lighthouse but tiny cottages and plaques detailing the lives of the families stationed up on the top of the hill under the shadow of the lighthouse. The Lighthouse itself is a beautiful old fashioned lighthouse soaring up into the endless blue sky and defiantly worthy of a picture. I would defiantly recommend bringing water on the hike up as it’s a mix of steep hills and walking on sand which can get tiring.

I’m not sure I can pick favourite places on the Island but one of my top picks is defiantly the four wheel drive track snaking through the middle of the island from lake Wabby all the way through the centre and up towards Moon Point on the other side of the island. This track has everything moving from bushland to rainforest then opening up again to fields of mangroves. There are hills with beautiful vistas of the ocean sparkling in the distance behind a carpet of greenery. The crowning jewel is the beauty that waits when you finally reach the beach on the other side with its empty beaches and pristine water and more of that dazzling white sand.

If you’re wondering about camping on the Island we camped in one of the dingo fenced campsites called Dundubara, which was great although something we were not aware of was the need for $2 coins for the showers so make sure you stock up on those. We found our campsite to be perfectly placed on the Island for seeing all the sites as we were pretty close to the middle. We also visited Waddy point camp ground which was very nice and great for families as it’s also Dingo fenced and has a playground however it is further up the Island. As far as camping on the beach it was rather crowded when we were there and we did happen to see three beautiful Dingo cubs playfully pulling all of someone’s belongings out of their tent and dragging them along the beach which ended in a sibling game of tug-a-war over a towel that unfortunately we didn’t get to stay to see who won.

We visited most of the lakes on the inside tracks of the island and of course Lake McKenzie is the most beautiful despite being bit crowded.  If you want the chance to see little turtles head on up to Lake Allom however I wouldn’t recommend swimming here. Lake Boomanjin and Lake Birrabeen are also worth a visit as you will find them beautiful and a lot less crowded than Lake McKenzie. As far as other points of interest on the Island I think the Mahino wreck is defiantly worth a visit however its crowded especially during school holidays and the Tailor fishing season, and the champagne pools are worth at least one visit if not two. I have seen a lot of hype around Eli creek however I found it to be Beautiful but underwhelming and preferred a lot of other places on the island over Eli Creek. Lake Wabby was another hyped up site with its giant sand dune that was defiantly worth a look at from the lookout however the water smelt funny and wasn’t good for swimming and after the hike to get there over the sand dune we defiantly wanted a swim.

At the end of the trip it was clear Fraser Island had stolen our hearts and I highly recommend everyone add it to the top of their bucket lists. If four wheel driving is not something you are confident with there are introductory courses all over Australia you can go to that will teach you some of the tricks and tips and the dos and must not do’s, to give you more confidence and make you a far safer 4WDer whilst out on the trackers. We highly encourage everybody intending to drive off road to get formal training from a professional licensed instructor, and we would definitely recommend the Australian 4WD Academy for anyone and everyone. However the Island is full of a mix of tourists who are not so sure what they are doing (as we discovered in more than one instance) and experienced four wheel drivers who are always happy to help you get out of a bind and offer some advice to those who need it. Apart from a couple of spots that where a bit tricky most of it was fairly tame driving, particularly in our vehicle which has been set up to handle those conditions. There are also tours that operate on the island that do the driving for you in special four wheel drive busses or that cram people into the back of modified 4WDs and go in tag-a-long groups, but I highly recommend renting a four wheel drive from one of the many companies on the mainland and having a go yourself.

We spent seven days all up on the Island, however if I was planning again I would go for a bit longer maybe nine or ten days so that I could explore a bit more of the internal island and have a chance to hit a few of my favourite spots again. I guess we will just have to go again in a few years and explore it all again which is just fine with me. Even though we are about to travel around the world I think it will take a lot to bump Fraser out of the favourites column……if anything ever does.

 

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The American Dream or the Millennial Dream?

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Photo by Binyamin Mellish on Pexels.com

We all know what the American dream is. I remember learning about it in school when we studied ‘The death of a salesman’ and even though I lived in Australia I could really identify with the idea of a white picket fence, manicured lawns and friendly neighbours I said howdy to as I collected the newspaper each morning. I look around at all my friends who are working so hard to make this dream a reality, who are all working crazy hours in high stress jobs to achieve the American dream or what I think should really be called the western civilisation dream. So what’s the millennial dream you ask? Well it seems like a bunch of Millennial’s and a few gen Y’s, such as my husband and I, are looking for something different. A way to spend their days doing something they love whilst having an amazing work life balance. YouTube is littered with people following the Millennial dream in so many wonderful ways like travelling the world, living off grid, building tiny houses or living in refurbished vans and buses, and most are living debt free (or close to it) and leaving a much smaller footprint on our fragile world.

This new trend in my opinion has been sparked by a few things, most obviously the internet. Throughout past generations there have been individuals seeking a different lifestyle from the norm that have had the odd book or magazine article written about them. Usually very little is known about their day to day life or how they make living in their alternative lifestyle, however with the launch of sites like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram the whole world has a detailed insight into how and why these lifestyles are being lived. Having such an insight into how people are achieving these alternate lifestyles makes them so much more accessible for the rest of us and they form a blue print for us to start our own dreams from. As time goes on and the internet reaches more and more corners of the globe, remote work spaces have helped more people be able to fund these lifestyle changes, meaning as long as they can get access to internet they can log on remotely to work normal jobs you would have had to attend an office for ten years ago!

Are Millennial’s lazy? I know a lot of gen X is under the impression that these alternative lifestyles have popped up out of laziness and simply not wanting to work. Our grandparent’s works so hard to make ends meet and give our parents the things that were needed in life followed by our parents who worked so hard to give us anything and everything we could ever want or need. I think watching these generations give so much every day to achieve the perfect house, car and newest gadgets has really made a lot of younger generations step back and say well I don’t actually need all of this stuff so I don’t need to work as hard. In saying that I think you will find a lot of these people are actually working extremely hard however with the flexibility of online work they have a much nicer work life balance and are better able to juggle their work life and their dreams.

So what will it be the American dream or the Millennial dream? After trying the American dream for a few years I think it’s time we give the millennial dream a shot and see where it takes us. It is going to be a huge adjustment for us; more specifically I mean changing the way of thinking that has been seared into our brains from birth. In the end if you don’t change and try new things you will never know if the grass is greener on the other side or if it was all just an illusion caused by light reflecting off the sun.

Our Emotional Attachment To Objects

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Since we are selling everything we own and hitting the road I have had to take a real hard look at everything I own and weigh up not just if it brings joy to my life as everyone seems to say now days but also am I emotionally attached to this item and why. As someone who has filled the garage with boxes containing not only photos and birthday cards but also any note a friend ever wrote me at school and every school planner I ever received.

The first question is why did I choose to hang on to this stuff, I mean I never look at any of it? Is it that I am having trouble letting go of the adventures of my past? I started going through box by box and looking at everything I had kept and I thought this will be great I will take a photo of everything and share it with the people from my past so that we can all enjoy it. I quickly realised that no one really cared because really it was just bit of paper that don’t really mean anything. Most of this stuff when I really looked at it didn’t bring back great memories of adventures past or take me back through great memories. So after about 3 boxes I just started throwing everything out. I took digital photos on my phone of the photos but that’s about it. So far what I am left with is a small box of stuff that is a mix of a few items that do trigger a big memory and then there are the items I don’t feel like I have permission to throw out.

There are items in my memory boxes that I’m sure are also in yours that I do not feel like I have the right to chuck in the bin. When I was born I was given as gifts small jewellery to fit a baby and a set of silver hair brushes and looking mirrors. Now I don’t have any specific attachment to these items because well I was a baby and don’t even remember who the gifts came from however that doesn’t change that fact that I still feel a huge pang of guilt at the thought of discarding these items. So the question is do I keep them or maybe try to give them back to my mum and see if she wants them?

How can I have made so much progress in sifting through my past and memories and be stuck on these few items? I guess this goes to show that progress comes in waves and we are ever changing and evolving beings. One thing I will say about keeping all these items and looking through them is that I have come to realise I was a blog writer before blogging was a thing and I think that gave me just enough courage to start writing and posting these blogs.

Shall we move on to the big ticket items that also have guilt strings attached? Earlier this year we brought two big and expensive tv’s and 2 new sofa’s and although I keep telling myself “it’s just money” and “we enjoyed them for a few months if we sell them we can get some of the money back” I am still finding it hard to let these items go. I can imagine everyone saying “but you just brought all this stuff what a waste of money”. When I think about the decision we have made I am 100% sure it’s the right one. Not a single fibre in my body thinks this is a mistake and that is what is going to give me the courage and strength to get rid of these items.

Your memories will stay with you forever and no amount of items or keepsakes can take you back in time to those precious moments, all we have are our stories and our ability to create more memories and new precious moments. If you find you are hanging on to relics from the past maybe take a good look at them and ask yourself if, like me, you are hanging on to these items and memories in fear that there are no more adventures in your future. If this is you remember you’re the master of your own destiny and you can steer your ship in the direction of any adventure you choose.

One Foot Out The Door

How do you know you are living your best life? Is the path you have chosen the right path or are you just settling? Are you dreams worth pursuing or are they just silly ideas you talk about with your friends or partner after a couple of drinks?

These are some questions my husband and I have been seriously asking ourselves over the last few months. The answer we have come up with….. Lets sell everything we own, including our house, and take our 7 month old baby and 4 year old Beagle around the world.

Wow. That was a scary sentence to write.

Up until now travelling is just something we have talked about longingly over a couple of drinks getting all excited until reality comes crashing down around us and we realise we are parents and we have responsibilities. We were both well travelled before we met and we had great plans to travel when we got together but life has thrown us a lot of curve balls and challenges that have always made travel hard. I will write another post going into more detail on our curve balls later.

The big decision…

I would love to tell you there was one big defining moment when I just suddenly woke up, turned to my husband Jared and said something like “why are we working so hard to pay for this big house and all this stuff” and although that discussion defiantly happened it was a lot more subtle and took place over a few months.

There is nothing like having a baby to put life into perspective and make you re-evaluate your whole life. Our son Logan was born at 28 weeks into a usually 41 week pregnancy, and spent 4 months in hospital. That was defiantly our toughest challenge as a couple and started these more serious discussions about what we are doing with our lives and what our priorities are. Before Logan was born I was working 14hr days and flying from Sydney to Queensland for work once a month and that is defiantly not something I can imagine going back to now that Logan is in our lives. After all we have children to spend time with them don’t we? Faced with the reality of going back to work I started really seriously thinking about what my new career path would be and nothing I came up with sounded like the right decision.

Where to Start….

So you have made the hard decision, but how do you start? Don’t worry. I am still asking myself this too. The first thing we did was call a real-estate agent to come and look at the house and tell us what we need to do to get it onto the market and how much the thinks we will get for the house. We were very surprised; apparently our house has made some money. I will go more into that once the house is sold but since it’s not even on the market yet you might have to wait a few months. The second step was to call some builders to quote the work that needs to happen and I am hopefully receiving a quote later today and i have all my fingers and toes crossed that it doesn’t hurt our travel fund too much. Apart from these two big steps I have been de-cluttering. I had actually started the de-cluttering process a few months ago trying to get my 5 bedroom, cluttered house down towards minimalism by selling stuff we don’t need or use on gumtree (the Australian version of Craigslist) or Facebook buy, sell, swap. So how do you de-clutter? For me I tend to stand in the middle of a room saying over and over where to start. I think the best way is layers, start with a room and just grab a few things that jump out at you that you can safely say you don’t want, then move on to another room and come back later and more things will jump out.

What’s next?

Next two people with no DIY skills will start to tackle the list from our real-estate agent, as well as waiting for quotes from some professionals for the stuff we know we cannot do, like replacing the balcony. I will continue to de-clutter and sell everything I can, however my house looking like a messy antiques store is starting to stress me out a bit so we might have to do a charity shop drop off soon. The desire to just run is high, I think once you have decided to change your life drastically it’s disheartening to go slow and do it right, thus constant motivation is key. We stay motivated mostly through YouTube videos of travellers, places to visit, tiny home and van-life vlogs. Talking about all the different options is import as well to keep the dream alive. We are still trying to figure out what the plan exactly is but at the moment it looks something like this

1) Sell all our crap

2) Sell the house

3) Tell our families

4) Travel round Australia a bit in our off road camper trailer

5) Attend the 3 or 4 wedding we are currently invited to including my sisters

6) Figure out how to ship Jared’s car to England

7) Fly to England and stay with my Nanny (should possibly tell her first)

8) Buy a caravan or trailer and convert to some sort of home (possibly gain DIY skills before this step)

9) Start travelling

Well that’s all for my very first blog post. Remember you dreams deserve centre stage and not to be stuck in the wings.

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