Sunday, February 27, 2011


So here goes, my list of top travel experiences as they bubbled to the surface today.

Hard to narrow it down, really. And I bet I wake up in the middle of the night with half-a-dozen happenings worth adding to the list.

But for now, let's start with Tintin and see where we end up.

Happy travels.

This post has been entered into the Grantourismo & HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.

  1. Reading Tintin books as a child changed everything. The youthful sleuth’s adventures opened my mind to a world beyond the edges of Australia
  2. The scent of aircraft fuel still sets off a mental slideshow of journeys including the first time I breathed it in before a trip to Fiji in 1980
  3. The odd contrast of condors & tiny hummingbirds in the warming morning air on the rim of the Colca Canyon, Peru.
  4. Feeling the potential power of a tame falcon at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital – Easily the most intriguing, medical facility anywhere. A glimpse into a fascinating Emirati tradition.
  5. Watching the speedometer of Shanghai’s MAGLEV train pass 4oo km/h (250 mph). Look, no wheels!
  6. Feeling the earth rumble walking up the ash  flanks of  restless Yasur volcano, Vanuatu - one of the world’s most accessible
  7. Scratching my name in fresh concrete outside the MGM Grand Hotel in Vegas the night before it opened. I’d love to know if it’s still there.
  8. The realisation of how far from home (Sydney) I was, on the corrugated tin roof of the Cloud Train as it rolled past Andean peaks and salt lakes in the north of Argentina.
  9. Watching novice monks file through the streets of Luang Prabang collecting alms by the Mekong River in Laos.
  10. Having my 7 year old say, after a day on Lake Como, “I think today was the best day of my life”. Travel - she gets it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Years ago I heard of the unusual case of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park receiving daily packages containing sorry rocks – small stones posted back with an apology.

Many visitors to Uluru pocket small, loose rocks and take them home. Some, after a run of bad luck, become convinced theirs are cursed and believe that returning them will undo a cosmic injustice. For others like me, it’s just the right thing to do.

It's a lovely idea but sadly this practice is not unique to Uluru. I've never been to Australia's Red Centre but I, too, carry sorry rock guilt.

My sorry tale goes like this...

It began on school holidays in Fiji in 1985, idly thumbing through a resort guest book. It was a tome filled with the hyphenated names of well-heeled folk from all over the world. A bit of a yawn, really, until I spotted it. Right there, firmly pressed into a dog-eared page was an entry from Brooke Shields.