The Beautiful South Coast of NSW

I do not use the word affinity often but when I talk about my love and passion for the South Coast of NSW I get all “giggly” and an immediate buzz.

 

 

My affinity with this beautiful part of Australia

My love for the South Coast of NSW started as a child when myself and family would spend our weekends in the summer at Thirroul and Austinmer beaches depending on the velocity of the surf. I loved getting “dunked” in the water so my preference was always Thirroul Beach as the surf was more intense. I use to love taking on the waves head on, I remember I would shout at the waves “Come and get me” and that they did. My family thought I was nuts!!!!

Many memories were made at these two locations, the sand castles, fish and chips from the takeaway across the road or chips on a bread roll with tomato sauce!!! My mum and sisters would love to bring a book, set up the beach chair or the towel and read, whilst I would annoy the hell out of my Father to either come in the surf or build a sandcastle.

As we got older we headed to Wollongong or North Wollongong beaches, I’m not sure when that change occurred but it set the scene for my parents relocating from the Blue Mountains to Shellharbour nearly six years ago.

My love for the South Coast grew when…..

My parents relocated to the South Coast in December 2012. I took it then as an opportunity to discover this pristine coastline (and whilst I had a car)!!! when my parents moved I discovered new parts of the south that I had never seen before. I would regularly make the trek down on weekends to the “holiday house” that my parents acquired near Shellharbour in a new estate called Shell Cove. I never got tired of the view from Mount Eusley road that showcased the beautiful pristine waters of Wollongong Beach and would have the window wound down to breathe the beautiful coastal air that emanated from the ocean.

Then down the highway I would go, Albion Park you may hit the weekend traffic, but for the rest of it the drive is scenic and a smooth ride. I discovered that once you go exploring from Shellharbour the beauty of the South Coast truly awakens.

The small beach town of Minnamurra where upon entry is a beautiful golf course on either side of you. Or the beautiful towns of Kiama, Gerringong which has the most beautiful beach “Werri”, and if that is not spoilt enough the pristine Seven Mile Beach in Gerroa always brings me a smile. But on multiple occasions I would discover further to these parts. I could backtrack towards Wollongong and turn off to the beautiful Kangaroo Valley, Robertson or Jamberoo, or drive to Berry the beautiful town that houses many B&B’s and is the beginning of a beautiful coastal drive towards many wineries, Shoalhaven coast and the gateway into Nowra, Huskisson or Greenwell Point just to name a few.

The thing I love most is that there is so much to explore and SO EASY to explore with the upgraded roads and highways with gorgeous views on either side of your drive.

My Happy place……

I remember when my parents first told myself and sisters they were moving down south the immediate joy we had. It was going to be a beautiful place that we could all gather albeit that it wouldn’t be as regular as we used to. The home my parents acquired is a beautiful place with unobstructed views of Killilea State Park and a beautiful “lush” golf course.  The State National Park provides direct access to a unpatrolled beach the locals call “The Farm” which is a beautiful turquoise stretch of ocean where a steep descent is required to access this beautiful beach.

It goes for miles and I love to regularly walk to the location, down the steep wooden steps to the promise land. It’s just a sublime stretch of sand and calm surf and is a popular beach for learn to surf schools. I recently discovered as seen with the pictures above access to one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, Mystic’s Beach. It is also beset by the State Park bushland with the most beautiful golden sand.

Whilst I don’t drive anymore, it doesn’t mean I don’t continue to discover the hidden gems or treasures of the south coast of NSW.

My next blog or part 2 will be the beautiful townships beyond Berry and the many side trips you can take by not just following the coastline on either side of you. Yes for this part I will be hiring a car!!!!!! Shock Horror!!!!!!!

Sydney 2018 Bastille Day Festival – Circular Quay

Ahhh there’s something about this time of year when the Sydney Bastille Day Festival comes around.

It never disappoints and always gets the heart racing when seeing French Culture on full display right on your doorstep.

 

 

For the past few years myself and my family have enjoyed the Sydney France Festival that occurs each year in Circular Quay for Bastille Day. It’s always a double celebration as it’s Mum’s birthday weekend also. 

The Festival has grown each year, in its first year it was just outside Customs House and it consisted of a few food stalls, beer stand and outdoor cinema. This year the growth in its popularity was obvious as it now takes up all of Circular Quay. It runs from Argyle Place, down George Street, Customs House precinct ending on Macquarie Street Sydney. 

Their was no question it was going to grow and to be honest I think it needs to move somewhere like Hyde Park, that’s how big I believe it will get. 

What I have liked in the last few years is that the festival is broken up into the Regions of France scattered along Circular Quay. For example the wine regions of Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Champagne etc are outside Customs House. Then the food stalls and their regions are in Circular Quay East and near the Museum of Contemporary Art you have more food stalls, concert area and an expanded outdoor cinema. 

The festival has also opened my eyes to the large French expat community that exists in Sydney. All the stores are run by French people who are from their particular regions they represent.  I like how they do that. 

Well “Viva La France”, another great Bastille weekend has passed and just quietly I hope they win the World Cup too. 

For the love of France…..

I have had a “love affair” with France since I started travelling in 2006. It was that feeling of walking down the champs elysee for the first time that got me hooked….

My love affair with France

Ever since I stepped foot onto the Champs Elysee for the first time in 2006 whilst on Contiki there was something that drew me towards this country that I do not have with other places I have travelled too. I remember my first time as if it was yesterday, as hazy as that Contiki trip was I will never forget my first time in Paris, France. It was raining actually, pouring down, and of course I didn’t have an umbrella. I was just in shorts and a T shirt. But the Parisians were out in force, every café and bar was packed, the boats and cruises along the River Seine were streaming up and down the river, the vibe was just how good is it to be in Paris.

I was ever the tourist, walking down the main streets, traversing the arrisdissonemonts, I remember walking in the pouring rain into a little café to order a croissant, it was packed with tourists, but I remember the male waiter, engaging me in French, the menu also in French. I pointed to a ham and cheese croissant and an orange juice (not very French, but I didn’t drink coffee at the time).

The French people are proud of who they are, their language and their culture and if you show some effort towards engaging in their language they will really appreciate you. At first this waiter was quite abrupt towards me, but when I made the order and attempted to ask how he was in French, as awful as the attempt was, he appreciated that fact and was much more engaging from then on.

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Why I keep going back….

Since my first trip in 2006 I have been back to France on another three occasions. My most favourite trip was last year when I went further south between the French & Swiss border. This trip solidified my dream of living in the south of France. I travelled to some little known medieval towns of Chambery & Annecy. Annecy was this beautiful little medieval town on the banks of Lake Annecy and separated into little canals in the middle of town. It had the most beautiful old buildings and little walkways and had a market on each day. At the time I was their it was also hosting an animated film festival. This little town had so much character, on the main banks were the tourists lining the bars and cafes but take a walk down a laneway and their was a little art museum teaching 6 and 7 year old children how to paint. I remember myself and my friends walking in there and watching the class take place. The teachers and students were more than happy to have us around.

Below is a picture taken in Grenoble France which was about a 30 minute drive from the town of Chambery in the south east of France. I remember my friends exploring a cave system which led to a zipline that overlooked the town. I myself, being ever the social, found a group of French people that were having a picnic with a view of the town below. They spoke little English but I was their taking some pictures and they approached me and two friends I was with, we had some photos and then I proceeded to explore the caves. But I didn’t want to go on this zipline, I had this burning desire to hang out with these French people who were having drinks at 11am in the morning, music blaring and just having a good time. I wanted to join them and that I did.

I proceeded towards their group, shouted in a high voice Bonjourrrrrrr and was handed a Captain Morgan. Well for the next few hours we had a few drinks and they played some Australian music from their Spotify account (from memory it was Jimmy Barnes and we all sang the chorus of Kasan in unison). We have stayed in touch to this day and have free accommodation in Grenoble.

Their way of life appeals to me…

Their is a lot of opinions of the French, but one thing that you cannot fault is their approach to life. Whether its Paris, Annecy or Grenoble they view life the same, that life is not a rush and to enjoy the company of family & friends to make experiences each day. That is something I truly love, which is why I have a burning desire to spend an extended time living like a French person. My dream is to spend an extended period in the city of Bordeaux which is the home of Red wine, which I believe is a gift of the gods!!!! Ultimately I would like to have a little chalet or chateau that I can take my family and friends too and give them the experiences this country has given me. I only have the most wonderful memories of this beautiful place they call France.

I say to you, come join me one day and experience it for yourself.

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This is my WHY…..

You know they don’t teach kids in our education system to make goals, think about their dreams. I think that’s really sad, my aim is to change that

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This is my WHY

Dream Boards are so important

First of all I apologise for my hiatus recently. But the reason for the few weeks since my last blog is because of the picture you now see above you. One of my big goals this year was to create this dreamboard. I didn’t want to rush it, and because I value its importance on such a high scale I wanted to take my time and get it right… And most importantly the way I wanted it. And to be honest I couldn’t be happier with its outcome.

There were tears of happiness when I laid down the last picture. I was so emotional, it was just fantastic to see the end result. To wake up in the morning to see this everyday, there is no better feeling. And in my opinion no better way to start your day.

Making a dreamboard is the best advice I could give you all right now. Dreamboards are such a personal collation of what makes you happy in life. Because everyone’s dreams are so different, and to take the time to really think about what you want to achieve out of this life, then  create it in this visual way, has a profound impact that only the person creating this in the first place can know the experience.

Why dont they teach this in our schools

You know, for a child in today’s climate and the world we live in, the importance of teaching children a different way of thinking, to be creative and to start educating them about what they can achieve in this world will have a more profound effect in their lifetime then what we think is best to teach them now. Think about that point, we are teaching our young people what WE think they should know. But our education system is still in the past instead of the now, the only thing different is that it’s now on an IPAD instead of a whiteboard.

I cannot express the impact that this dreamboard has had on me since its creation. It has truly validated what I believe that life is all about. It tells me everyday what I truly want out of life and that is to experience the things I enjoy, and that is what Im now working towards. It’s a plan, a life plan, a visual that I can access and see each day. Its repetition which repeatedly engrain’s into  my mind what I believe life is truly meant to be. I say this because these are my dreams, mine only, and everyone is different.

But I implore to you all that read this to write down your 100 dreams, buy the biggest whiteboard you can find, take the time to create the best dreamboard you can, then wake up truly inspired each day by looking at it each morning to validate what you want from this life.

 

 

 

What are you 100 dreams? Well here is mine!!!

What are you 100 Dreams? Do you have any? What do you aspire to? This is about the importance of dreams and goals!!! But more importantly something to look forward to and to work towards

Do You have dreams?

It was only at the beginning of my minimalism journey that I realised the importance of dreams and goal setting. You see, for me having something written down keeps me accountable. And you know what it can keep you accountable too. In past years I always knew in my head what my goals for the year was and it usually revolved around travel, which place was I going to set foot onto next? And whilst that is fine, I learned that later having this written down made my trips so much more enjoyable because whilst I always had the place to go to, what to see I didn’t have written down. And what every traveller can attest to is that you might not ever get to that place again.

So as you can see below, is a picture of my 100 dreams that I wrote in February of this year. I met a very successful man who at the beginning of his journey and path to financial freedom wrote down his 100 dreams. You see, for any plan of action, goal or dream that you have, writing it down and making it visible, the importance of this cannot be quantified. This piece of paper, in the next couple of weeks will be converted into a ”dream board”. This dream board, which I mentioned in my very first blog, will be placed where my TV used to be. It will be in a place that when I get up each morning, will be the first thing I see. Each day I will stare at this board and memorize my dreams!!! By doing this each day will make me accountable and most importantly remind me why I have written down these dreams.

What my dreams are to yours, doesn’t matter, but I can’t stress enough the importance of writing them down. I’m a visual person, but it doesn’t matter what type of person you are, having something written down in front of you, reminds you, of why you do what you do!!! Now a lot of my dreams are places I want to go, for me travel is what makes me tick, but there are other things like – becoming financially free, learn french (fluently), help my parents retire in two years, motivational speaking, riding a bike with my dad. So as you can see it can be anything.

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#100 DREAMS

So what are your dreams? Write them down!!! Share them with the people closest. Ask your friends and family what are their dreams? If they don’t have any or haven’t thought about them, talk to them about it. As I tell people all the time you only get one shot at this thing called “life”. So map it out and start doing.

Why do we do the things we don’t want? But don’t do the things we want to?

“We only get one go at this”

This weeks blog is deeply personal, I am going to pour all my feelings out here. I am going through a difficult time at present. It’s a time of reassessment, validation, and contemplation. You see I am very different, and whilst everyone is different, I am even more.

I don’t conform, I question, I question a lot of things, not to be difficult, but its because I want to know the “WHY” in what we do. Whether this is work, relationships, life in general, family, etc. etc.

My Dream

See this is my dream, my dream ultimately, being 34 years of age, is to just sell up all that I own and travel, travel for as long as I can. Why? Because it is the only time I feel I can be truly me. But like most of us and my parents and their parents before us is that society does not permit this type of thinking. Because for me I don’t suit the traditional workplace, bound by an office chair, reporting to superiors, doing what they say without question.

I look outside each day and wonder why am I not out there but in here? What is my obligation? Why cant I be me? Why do I have to be someone else five days a week?

I have a mortgage, I have investment’s, and I’ve worked hard for those  and at 34 so far I have had a fantastic life. I have travelled to far away places, I have great friends an unbelievable family, so what is my issue?

My issue, is I can’t be me everyday. For five days out of seven, I have to be someone else, like the rest of us to survive I conform. So after all that I ask you these questions! Are you doing what you want to do? If not, why not? Why do you do what you don’t want to do? What’s the reason for that? Is it family, morals, upbringing, beliefs, fear, self-confidence? I know a few of them are my reasons.

I’ve struggled for sometime in seeking validation for my decisions. It’s no ones fault in particular, but I want to stop this habit. I can’t describe the feeling only that its like a “ball and chain”. I can move but not freely. So much resistance. I feel now is the time to break free from the “shackles”, live how I want to live, not conform, know that I don’t have too. Knowing there is a place in the world for everyone and that it doesn’t have to be where I am now.

So I’m a Minimilist……. What do I do NOW

So the initial shock has passed as you come home and the items that once consumed you are now gone…… NOW WHAT

That first week………

Or should I say day after i disposed of the TV and play station I must admit I said to myself WHAT NOW!!!!!

I remember lying on the couch for about 30 minutes just browsing on my phone. BUt thankfully it didnt take long to “SNAP” out of it and say to myself THIS IS NOT THE REASON I DID THIS!!!

I immediately got changed and went for an hour walk. I cleared my head and thought of ideas. Ideas of what I was going to replace my time with? Soon enough, I started to create a routine.

My Routine…. And it could be yours too

This is my routine in a round about way –

  • I get up at 5am, get changed and go for a walk in the morning. It immediately relaxes me and gets the brain going straight away. You wake up pretty quickly also as the body is moving.
  • I cook – not the quick 15 minute meals but I love dedicating the time to preparing really good food. For e.g I cooked a two kilo pork, roasted sweet potato, ‘Julien carrots, Asparagus marinated in olive oil and herbs (HUNGRY NOW?)
  • Whilst Ironing (which I unashamedly love doing LOL) I tune into my Tim Ferris podcasts at the same time.
  • Projects – Im currently finishing my ‘100 Dreams’ dream board which will fill the space where my TV was
  • THIS Blog instead of Netflix.

I think you get my point right now. I created time, time for the things I love doing (however boring to some people that may be), to be more productive with that time, and going to bed knowing that I have achieved some daily goals of mine.

It is not EASY…….

Now It may sound like I make this look easy…. ITS NOT. My biggest challenge is procrastination. I am a terrible procrastinator!!!!! But I continue to work on this over the last six months. The key has been a daily goals list, and also replacing my downtime with reading on my kindle and incorporating an activity whilst listening to a blog that I need to get done.

But my biggest achievement so far….

Is MINDSET!!!! Changing the way I think, always telling myself what I can get out of today? (Six months ago I probably would not have booked a spontaneous trip to Cairns for a weekend)

Lastly, If your’e thinking about making change, have a plan, and have a goal/s. It really is the key to your next journey. And last of all BE PATIENT, BE RESILIENT, AND STICK TO IT!!!!

Because the results are AMAZING.