Tag Archives: Travel

Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift is used to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events. A radical change in underlying beliefs or theory. A changed attitude, or way of doing things.

Dig Deep

What this means is that if the way we are doing things is not working, we must stop just piddling about at the edges making small, usually ineffectual alterations, and dig in and turn the whole thinking process upside down; we need to look at a problem or issue from a completely different angle.

Examples

What has changed in recent times that proves this rule?

The Sharing Economy

AirBnB is now one of the biggest accommodation providers in the world. It owns no hotels or any other properties and is entirely accessible on line. This is customer to customer business. A whole new way of finding and securing a place to stay.

Uber is now one of the biggest taxi providers in the world. It owns no cars or any other vehicles and is entirely accessed on line via an a computer browser or an 'app' on your smart phone or tablet.

Netflix and other movie sharing and streaming services have completely swamped Blockbuster and other bricks and mortar video stores. They no longer exist.

Travel. There is now a disruptive travel company that owns no aeroplanes, hotels, rental cars or offices in the high street. But it provides 5* travel experiences for members at 2* prices. And this is growing at an exponential rate overseas and now in Australia.

Even Skype deserves a mention. Paradigm shifts.

EBooks

People are not reading traditional books as much now as 10 years ago. Cheaper publishing techniques, cheaper purchase prices, cafés and other community/social areas in bookshops and libraries, more book tours and launches, reading and writing festivals were tried, but still the reading public stopped buying paper based books.

Enter eBooks. Electronic books. A paradigm shift. Along came Kindle and other electronic reading devices; and programs for reading eBooks on your smart phone and tablet.

Upside Down

That's turning the issue upside down. Using a different way of doing things.

What might this paradigm shift business be able to offer a person living in the here and now in Australia? Someone not in the industrial revolution, or involved in the advent of printing, or the creating of The Internet? How does that work?

Change and The Paradigm

Author Earnie Larson is credited with the droll maxim "Nothing changes if nothing changes".

Let's look at this.

Australia is an island state far away from the 2 hubs of human life. USA and Europe.

As I write, the news is breaking that the Electrolux factory here in Orange in Central Western New South Wales, Australia is closing down with the associated loss of jobs, self esteem, and regular wages. Of course there will also be the domino effect rippling through the NSW economy as ancillary production diminishes and finally stops. Not to mention the probable decrease in the spending of the more than 500 people affected by this change.

Is this just the greed of an overseas parent company or is there something else at play here?

We, in Australia, are facing constant rises in prices for everything. Wages, Infrastructure, repairs & maintenance, equipment, raw materials to name a few.

Our manufacturing sector then has shipping and transport to take into account. Even if product is sold here in the big brown land; most towns and cities are many hours apart. Even by air. And this is expensive. Export is almost completely prohibitive.

Equilibrium

If we look at a version of the economic equilibrium curve, (not supply V's Demand, but COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) V's Sales) we note, as mentioned earlier, that costs are rising sharply. On the other hand income derived from sales is falling due to among other things cheaper imports, online purchasing and changes in consumer demand. The crossover (equilibrium point shall we say) is racing towards zero faster than any time in our history.

Ostriches we are not. This can't continue. It is not greed to want to stay in business. If a limb is dying or dead we need to cut it off. Has to happen.

Supply V's Demand

Perhaps we can look, now, at the traditional Supply V's Demand curve but note that while demand is quite possibly still high for most manufactured goods although in a different model perhaps - our ability, in Australia, to produce / supply these goods at the required level and the necessary price is becoming less and less. So the equilibrium is unstable. Unpredictable. Other than the realisation that it is getting closer to zero here too.

Life Has Moved On

So, of course we complain. We tweak the edges of the problem, demand that Governments help, or that Parent Companies lose their investors' money or any number of completely ineffectual and traditional remedies. Nothing works. Funny that. The situation has changed. We have to change too. Yep. No longer much point in making large quantities of horse shoes or hansom cabs. Life has moved on. We need to catch-up.

Next

While we cannot (nor should we) completely resile from a need for a manufacturing sector as such; we MUST reduce our reliance on it. We need a paradigm change.

Our Governments, of whatever persuasion, do not seem to be able to tax massive profits at the correct level, nor do they seem to be able to resist calls for assistance from companies making billions who figure a small handout of a few hundred million will help the country as a whole.

We need to look at how we can CHANGE things so our people can be strong again.

Yeah, But What?

Obviously, we will still need cars, fridges, washing machines, TV's and the like. Not to mention furniture and all the other major pieces of equipment required for a modern lifestyle. But is it possible that we can shift our way of living in a way that reduces our demand for such goods? Perhaps? In ways we have not thought of yet? With products that may not have been invented yet?

And with greater numbers of people arriving in our country from overseas and by the normal processes, we have, in my opinion, a huge and ever increasing need for enhanced service industries. See sharing services mentioned above.

Take for example the rise of restaurant food and grocery delivery systems in some of our bigger cities. Just one instance.

We could develop products that do not need to be mass produced, perhaps; nor transported by traditional means. Old ideas can be re-visited or new ideas generated. Stuff that is locally made, even Cottage Industries might be the way to go. (We moved away from these many decades ago, but perhaps we could revisit this kind of commerce). I believe there is now again a huge potential here.

What about Sport, Music and Theater? Performance and Static or Fine Art. Movies, Electronica and esoterica. All of these things can be ramped up and with the right marketing (another service industry) might be a new employment area for displaced manufacturers. Most of us have more leisure time now with a need to fill in the spaces. And everyone has untapped talent just waiting to be unleashed. Hidden gems. Think about it.

Change is inevitable. It is happening all around us. Now.

Life coaching as a service might pick up to the level of acceptance here, that it has in America.

And, of course there is the whole digital economy. Phone and tablet 'apps'. Computer coding. Commodities that can be transported free over the air so to speak. This market, largely untapped even now, is bigger than anything that has gone before.

Summary

The change is here. We have to stop bitching and get on with it. Embrace it. The same wind blows on us all. If we act like a child who says, “I'll turn my back, and if I can't see you – you can't see me,” the wind will still blow on us and likely blow us over. We cannot escape. We must deal with the consequences. We have to change ourselves. We have to adapt to what is happening around us. A paradigm shift is long overdue.

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Crewing – Tony Robbins Sydney 2015

Unleash The Power Within

Well. Can't say too much or I'll have to kill you. Or they'll kill me. Or all of the above.

Secrecy

I signed a secrecy provision so what follows will be of necessity general and not secret.

One of the main themes we crew are asked to embrace was flexibility. Seems mine started on the early side. My 7.35 am flight on Wednesday was cancelled as were all Jet-Star flights early that morning as far as I could tell.

Flexibility

Mine and the airline. I was efficiently re-booked on an 11.50 am flight the same day. That was very serendipitous. Required a change of plans at the other end,but we aced that.

Instead of popping in to my fabulous AirBnB accommodation to drop off bags and things like that, I had to head directly to the Qantas Credit Union Arena. Do not pass go. Do not do anything. Grab a VERY QUICK bite to eat at Paddy's Market and Bob's your uncle. I had 2 pork Gyoza for $4.50. Nice, but not much. And as I found out later – I needed much.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Travel Club

Managed to sign up for a travel club in Sydney airport while waiting for my luggage and chatted to a chap who liked to travel while I was waiting for the light rail at Central Station to take me to the venue. All very cool. By he way I was not responsible for the fire at Hungry Jacks at that very station on Saturday evening.

The Event

Back to the event. The days were long and brutal, We worked hard. All of us; venue staff, event staff, volunteers and all. Averaged about 5-6 hours sleep per night. But it was worth it.

I stayed at a lovely little 2-up 3-down terrace house in Surrey Hills. It was gorgeous. A brothel (Jack told me, but I had noticed the big red light) on one side and a coffee/lunch shop next door but one on the other side, and then a corner pub. It was 10 mins walk to the venue and about 5 mins walk to the aforementioned Central Station. Yep. Very central. As expected Sydney was wet for a few of the days.

People

Only problem was Jack and Stephanie would have loved to have shared a leisurely glass of wine at least once during the 5 nights I was staying with them, but it was not to be. Maybe next time. There will very likely be a next time. I hope so anyway.

I met so many wonderful people; saw again some from last year (Sandy) and ran into a couple of coaching mates (Pina and Julia). Just to name a few. It was a bit like old-home-week. I loved it. New friends galore.

Sessions

We even managed to see a few moments of the sessions as well, when we had a break from serving the participants. Tony Robbins was awesome as expected.

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Jillian 26 – The Food Goes Up And Down

The Food Goes Up And Down

Our Jillian went by herself on a cruise once quite a while ago.

This is one of her stories.

Yes. I know. Another torrid travel tale, but this is funny.

Cruising Alone.

She began, “When you are on your own, you tend to gravitate towards other people so you can share the experience. This is aided by the ship's crew as they allocate you to a table for the evening meal in one of their huge restaurants. I was placed with four best mates. So we five, (a bit like Enid Blyton's Famous Five – the four friends and their dog Timmy), spent a lot of time together.

Friends

“I guess they thought of me as the dog – always trailing along behind them no matter what they were doing. I figured I was more like Julian the older one who was the leader. Almost my name, right? Jillian. So I deserved to be him.

Tour

“One stop, all 5 of us decided to go on a guided tour in a medium sized party type of boat., This included a trip around the island with commentary, lunch and a swim stop.

Swim Stop

“The swim stop came first. It began to rain quite heavily just as we reached the beach. It was the strangest thing. The sea-water was very warm (almost bath temperature), but the rain was freezing cold. We were caught in the middle - our bottoms hot and our tops cold. The weirdest feeling.

“That rain storm should have warned us. But no. What was to come was the best yet.

“It became quite rough when we were on the seaward side of the island (with the tide coming in). Of course as our boat began to pitch and roll – it was lunch time.

Lunch

“The lunch buffet tables were bolted to the deck on the port (right) side of the boat running from the front to the back. You were supposed to start at the back with cutlery and plastic plates and move forward filling your plates with the delicious seafood and other island delights as you went. Then you would find a bench or table to sit at to eat, or go outside onto the deck.

And the food goes up and down

“Of course the rolling motion meant the food was sometimes up and sometimes down. I learnt that day NEVER to stand between a band of hungry tourists and the food.

“You see as the food went up they all short-stepped quickly backwards away from the table down the sloping deck laughing and shouting and gesticulating all the while.

“Then when the food went down they short stepped quickly forwards - towards the tables, grabbed a few things onto their plates before heading backwards away from table again as the boat rolled the other way.

Rinse and repeat

“Each time they managed to get a few more morsels of food. But no one thought to stand and hold on for a bit so many managed to fall over and spill plates covered in slippery prawns, mayonnaise, lettuce leaves and olive oil dressing and other delicacies all over the floor.

“This meant sliding slippery people and accidentally discarded food rolling all over the place with the motion of the boat, further adding to the tribulations of our tourists as they strove to collect the lunch they had paid for. They were getting more and more raucous as it went on.

“It was hilarious. And the vision will never leave me. Some things just can't be unseen.

“I have no idea if anyone actually got anything to eat. I know I didn't. I could not stop laughing.” #ourjillian

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Jillian 22b – Potty Mouth

How Jillian and her Mum Hit The Town and Learned a Few Choice New Expressions and so Much More!

Show-time in Melbourne continued!

There was still another planned event to go. "How am I going to handle this?" Jillian said to herself.

Venue Number 2

What she really said to me was. "I had a couple of free tickets to the Les Girls show at St Kilda beach.

"They were given to me by a friend (Tom) who worked there as a photographer. You know the kind that muscles up to you and takes those "candid" (and she made the quote marks with fingers) photographs. Later on they bring the prints back and you have the choice to buy them or not.

"Most cases you buy them even though they're pretty awful.

"It was the big thing that used to go on in night-spots before roses.

"Now with the roses, of course, you feel like a bastard if you don't buy one for your girl, and if you do they usually die in a very short time.

"You're stuffed both ways,” she said, and I figured - she'd know.

She went on. “Tom told me all sorts of weird stories about how they operated. Female impersonator shows were relatively new to Melbourne although they had been in Sydney for some time."

Stan Munro

For more than 50 years Stan Munro has travelled the world in drag.
When Mr Munro came to Australia from the UK in 1963 he said he landed his first job as a dancer and acrobat.
"I starred in and compeered Les Girls in Sydney and then did seven years with Les Girls in Melbourne," he said.
"It wasn't long until I was doing solo female impersonating and I have travelled the world with it ever since."
On Friday, July 27, 2012, the then 72-year-old "warmed up" the crowd before Australian pop icons 'Mental As Anything' took to the stage.
In 2013 he was still performing around Australia.

Loads of men brought their girlfriends there while their wives stayed at home thinking they were out at an 'I don't know what - gambling evening maybe'? That would probably have been better than out with a girl. And Tom said the men usually refused the photograph because they didn't want their wives to see it. He often took a quick surreptitious one anyway. The girl usually bought it.

He figured if a bloke could get a night off to take a girl to a show in St Kilda, he could probably hide a photograph.

The Dark Room

But anyway - the dark room,  he told me, where they did the developing and printing of the photographs was a long narrow bit of a room at the back of the auditorium, shut off to keep out the light.

He said he often found interesting things happening, on the dark room floor amongst the spilt chemicals and off-cuts of photographs, discarded film rolls and scads of damaged negatives. He thought it was pretty gross. Lucky mum didn't see any of that. Me too. It would have been an image hard to 'unsee'.

Enough. On with the show.

“OK.” I said. “Enough of the background. Tell me the story.”

“Ha-ha yes!” She reckoned that the background was indeed fun. I agreed, but, “Let's get on with it.” she said.

“OK. We went there in a taxi. I'm not sure what mum was expecting but even after the débâcle of the Flying Trapeze she probably wasn't thinking she was going to get a man dressed up as a woman singing off-colour songs and making off-colour jokes; some of which she may not even understand.

"And lots of fellows dressed up as girls in a chorus line.

"A magician and a few other cabaret style acts.

"Actually it was quite a good show. Dinner theatre kind of thing. We sat at tables, shared with others in our case, and the food was just the usual basic institution kind of roast beef and potatoes. OK but not special and not, to be honest, what I really wanted to show her food-wise in Melbourne. Afterwards I thought that what we ate was more like the stuff she was used to and would have gone over very well."

This time it was me that did the eye-roll thing. This was getting a tad boring.

She saw me and cut to the chase. I didn't get 'The Glare' Funny that!

The End

“The funny bit,” she said, “was what happened at the end of the evening.

"After it was all over, I went to the toilet and left mum in the foyer. Told her to wait for me. Strange really. She was usually the one to rush to the toilet as soon as a show was over. Not tonight!

"On my return – no mother.

"Now this was a bit of a shock. And not a pleasant one. How could I lose my ageing mother in a down-town venue after a show? I had no idea. Panic set in and I began running all over. Back into the auditorium, the dark-room (NO), the toilets again. Calling out 'Mum' in the dunnies is not a good thing in a drag venue in Melbourne. Still nothing. Back to the foyer.

"Then I spied a small sitting room kind of thing a bit off to the left of the foyer. I rushed in.

"Shock again.

"There was my dear old mother, her daggy ancient handbag on her lap, her hand on a man's knee and …. the chap was Stan Munro – the star of the show. OMG. I couldn't believe it.

"She was chatting away in a very lively and almost intimate manner with a female impersonator. They were both so engrossed in conversation they didn't seem to notice me creeping up to them.

"Don't ask me what they were talking about. I have no idea. I don't want to know. Believe me."

I gathered her up, apologised to Mr Munro and made a hasty exit.

The Cab Ride

In the cab on the way home she was quiet for a long time. Then she said, 'He was a very interesting young man that Stan chap. Very clever and quite sweet. His head was shaved. I thought that was funny. Why do you think he would have a silly job like that? And why dress up as a woman?'

This time I went home horrified.

#ourjillian

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Jillian 22a – Potty Mouth

How Jillian and her Mum Hit The Town and Learned a Few Choice New Expressions and so Much More!

Show-time in Melbourne

Some time ago, now (must have been mid to late 70's) Jillian was in Melbourne with her mother. It was the first time Nancy had been in the big smoke. Any big smoke. Much less Melbourne. I mean there was nowhere you could stand and see the whole town. It was too big to even imagine.

Nancy was a small town girl at heart. Her one vice was a very tiny sherry at Christmas. Although I heard there was one occasion she was coerced into taking a shandy. But that is most definitely a story for another time.

Jillian wanted to show her mum a good time while she was here. But our Jillian sometimes missed the mark with her plans. This is the story of two of those times. For some reason it was the night-life Jillian thought would be a good idea. Remember the sherry? Mum was going to go home with a cupla stories NO-ONE would believe.

Venue Number 1

Sometimes I really wonder about her mind. Jillian figured a live performance would be the thing. A kind of comedy cabaret venue, reasonably new, owned and operated by a Melbourne University chap Johnny Pinder. (After all, he was from NZ. How bad could it be?)

John Pinder

(6 January 1945 – 27 May 2015)  born in Timaru on the South Island of New Zealand and raised 80 kilometres (50 mi) further south in Oamaru, North Otago was a comedy producer and festival director who produced band performances, ran live venues and co-founded three Australian comedy festivals, including Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Circus Oz. In the early 1970s Pinder established The Flying Trapeze Café, Australia's first comedy cabaret venue, in Melbourne. (WikiPedia)

The night started well. It was a gorgeous warm evening and mum and daughter went to a very nice little Eyetalian place on Lygon St for dinner. (Nancy's pronunciation) She was a tad racist and a bit slow to change old habits. Of course she was not sure why they weren't eating Australian food, and why was it so late? I mean they were eating TEA as Nancy called it at 7.00. That's PM. In the evening. Nearly midnight really.

After this experience which may well be the topic of anther story they headed off to the dark and dingy venue colloquially known as the 'Fly Trap'.

The Story of the Flying Trapeze

"Things are very strange over here, darling," Nancy mused, on the way which was a short walk. Only one toilet stop. "We have tea or am I now supposed to call it dinner at night and long after the usual time. Your father used to come home after work and his tea had to be on the table at 5.00pm. No later? Except dinner is what we eat in the middle if the day. Lunchtime. You used to as well, dear. Don't you remember?"

"And why are the pictures or concert or whatever we are going to see on so late. Will I be able to get a cup of tea, and will there be a toilet? You know how I am when I'm not at home?"

"I bet you were doing the Jillian olympic eye roll by this time?" I said, chuckling,

Again the glare. I thought I was being funny. Bit I digress.

A largish, slightly unkempt guy in jeans and a T-shirt met them at the door. The place really was quite small. They had a booking. The chap looked at his list and back over his right shoulder into the dark room behind him (we can only imagine what Nancy was thinking at this time) and found the table. It seemed to have people sitting at it. John (for it was THE John Pinder who was looking after them) walked over to the table and sort of politely asked them if they wouldn't mind moving as this table was booked for a lady from N.Z. no less. Almost family.

The couple looked around at the crowded house (sorry - couldn't resist), at the piano suspended from the ceiling immediately above where they were being directed to sit, and pleasantly suggested that as they were there first they should NOT be the ones to move.

Without missing a beat Johnny shouted at this unfortunate couple. " Well, If you aren't going to move - you can FUCK-OFF then."

OH. MY. GOD.

Jillian was gob-smacked. But Nancy was almost apoplectic. Her mouth was open so wide you could pretty nearly hide in there which is what Jillian wanted to do right now. Hide. Not in her mum's mouth, silly. She wanted to be anywhere but there.

Realising that Johnny was not to be crossed they collapsed into the seats at the table and looked at each-other.

"He said wha...???" exploded Nancy. "I mean what IS this place? How can anyone talk to people like that? What are we doing here this late at night anyway. (Editor's note it was about 9.00 pm) With THESE people? We are going to get killed! What will I tell them back home if that happens? What has happened to you Jillian, my baby?"

"I have not heard anything like that before even from your father and he was in the war." she continued in a kind of frenzied voice. Fright and shock mixed together.

"I am not even sure I know what it means, but I know it is a bad word. A very bad word." she erupted again. I thought she was going to have a fit and hit someone.

"I told you she was a strange species," Jillian said as I looked at her not even sure if this was possibly true.

"It was true. Unfortunately," puffed Jillian, reading my mind.

Jillian didn't remember much more of the night. She had a wine or two and a bit later a small snack of cheese balls.

She had a vague recollection that the acts included a man sitting, swaying on a piano stool suspended above our heads playing a Tom Lehrer number 'The Masochism Tango' on an equally dangling and oscillating piano.

Of course Nancy understood that the name of this song also included a bad word and was talking about terrible things.

These thoughts even transcended the unbelievable sight of the piano, stool and man above our heads. “I thought that bit was magnificent,” remembered Jillian.

Afterwards

Things were ominously quiet in the taxi on the way home. But that was infinitely better than Nancy worrying about their safety and the morels of young people today, and what is being called entertainment, and what about the old pictures like the December 1939 classic 'Gone with the Wind' with the lovely Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and things like that?

And so the night ended. But there was still tomorrow.

“Bloody hell,” thought Jillian. “How can I have stuffed this up so much? What will happen at the next place? Why the hell did I think any of this was a good idea? A cup of tea at home would have done. We could have talked. Mother daughter catch-up stuff. Yeah. Right. I don't need this.”

“FUCK. Who am I kidding? I am so stupid.”

#ourjillian

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Jillian 21 – A Tall Ship

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

Sea Fever by John Masefield -1902

The Enterprize

This was as true for Jillian much more recently than when it was written.

Tall Ship Enterprize
The Enterprize Tall Ships Festival in Hobson's Bay

She had ventured on a voyage from Melbourne to Hobart (Tasmania) on a tall ship, 'The Enterprize' a wonderful replica of the ship on which the first settlers to Melbourne travelled.

Wikipedia tells us a little about Mr Masefield - Born in 1878, died in 1967. He left boarding school in 1892 to train for a life at sea, and to break his addiction to reading, of which his aunt thought little. He found, though, that he could spend much of his time reading and writing Later as his love for story-telling grew, and as he listened to the yarns told about sea lore, he continued to read, and felt that he was to become a writer and story teller himself. Sorry Aunty.

 While the poem was not quite the Ancient Mariner it truly resonated with our Jillian on that voyage. You see all the passengers were expected to perform shipboard tasks as much as the crew.

Tiller

tall ship tiller
The Tiller on The Enterprize

 And one lovely night Jillian found herself at the tiller (this ship did not even have a wheel - a bit early in maritime history for that - but who's quibbling - the tiller still had a kick), steering on a compass heading as instructed by the 1st mate. She was joined at her lonely task - the only other person on watch was a lookout on the front of the ship (bow) - by the Captain.

"Of course" I muttered. "Once a Siren always a Siren."

Advice

"Anyway," she said, giving me the evil eye, "He told me to check that I had the correct compass heading and then look up and forward. For a star. Find one that lines up with a part of the ship and keep them lined up as best you can. For at least a few hours that will be as good as anything and much less to-ing and fro-ing will occur. A compass heading, he told her, will require constant vigilance and many, many corrective actions making you very tired and not in the end being all that effective, or comfortable for the rest of the crew and passengers. Hmmmm, perhaps that was what brought him out of his bed and up on deck in his PJ's", Jillian mused.

It was good advice, but made me recite that stanza of the poem over and over. I couldn't remember any more," she said.

Memories

There were many other memorable events and sights on that cruise if you can call it a cruise.” She said. And she went on to mention some of them. Not in any particular order. But she was not the most logical in her memory, our Jillian.

  • Fishing from the back of the boat and eating the catch for dinner that night. Awesome.
  • A bay where we anchored which was so still that I couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began.
  • Container ships passing in the night looking like cities speeding over the horizon.
  • Crew members (and a few intrepid passengers - not me) swimming with dolphins as we sedately sailed along in the sunshine.
  • The stars. Oh the stars. How can there be so many?
  • Being rocked to sleep every night. Well every 6 hours as we all had to be on watch - 6 hours on 6 hours off.
  • Being woken up after 2 hours sleep when it is raining so hard you couldn’t see; and blowing so hard the bow of the ship was dipping under the water; and being expected to go out on deck to help pull sails down, and tie them up. NOT.
  • Being so seasick the first 10 – 15 hours of the voyage you wanted to die.
  • Gliding majestically under full sail down the Derwent River in the sunshine towards Hobart in company with a large number of other tall ships and boats of all kinds. (Going to the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart.)
  • Using very sharp meat cleavers in the galley while the ship was rolling sideways such that the rails on the deck were almost touching the sea. AGAIN NOT.
  • Being on deck working the sails when the wind, rolling and pitching were such that we had to be shackled to lines (ropes) running along the side of the ship from front to back. VERY FRIGHTENING.
  • Working the tiller (steering without a wheel) when it was so rough the tiller had to be secured with many ropes and a block and tackle was required to move it in any direction – and even then it required more than two of the real crew members to move it.
  • The sun. Inside or outside, arms covered or not. But always the hat, which had to be tethered to your head like those old lady librarians glasses.
  • The tranquillity. Oh the tranquillity. When the sea, the weather and the captain all agreed we needed a break and it was calm and beautiful. Wondrous.

Yep. It was hard work. And I paid more than $1,000 for the privilege,” Jillian mumbled.

But, did you enjoy it?” I asked.

#ourjillian

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Check out AirBnB. It is awesome. A way to find cheap accommodation ANYWHERE

My apartment in Melbourne has just been listed on this fantasmagorical website. It is free to list and already I have a confirmed and paid for booking. I mean can it get any better than that?

Here it is. Have a look. Click on the image or the link to see the details.

216/416a St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

My Apartment!

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Jillian 18 – A New York State of Mind.

I know. Another travel thingy. But I can only report what the lovely Jillian tells me. And this is what I have for this week.

Not sure when this was but she was in New York for a week with a girlfriend and doing all the usual touristy exploring things including the 'hop-on / hop-off' bus and the theatres.

Cupla things were mentioned. Goes to 'People are the best things about anyplace' theory.

Jillian's friend fell over on a wonky ankle in the middle of the road down near the Wall St end of Manhattan island. She thinks it was near the 9/11 hole in the ground.

Going 'A over T' in the middle of any road in NYC can be very dangerous.

But people can be magnificent. Several immediately ran into the street braving the legendary New York traffic to help her up and onto the footpath. They were all so solicitous offering help and suggestions. One said some painkillers and a bit of bed rest, another said to bathe it in a VERY hot Epsom Salts mix.

Jillian opted for all of the above. They both agreed that this was a holiday not to be missed and a small thing like an ankle that couldn't be walked on, was not going to put them off.

Big Yellow TaxiSomeone waved down a taxi. A big yellow taxi, unfortunately no Joni Mitchell anywhere to be seen; and off they sped trying to find an open drug store to get some Epsom Salts. Not so easy.

Many were closed. It was after 5.00pm. And those that were open did not have the required product.

Finally the taxi driver found a place. Pain Killers, Epsom Salts, an additional pharmacist suggested jar of Arnica cream and a huge crepe/elastic wrapping bandage were purchased.

The driver refused any payment and THEN drove them back to their hotel 'The Iconic Broadway Plaza' in the flatiron district.

“I mean this is NY isn't it?” Jillian said. “How could this happen? They are supposed to be unfriendly, arrogant and generally weird? This is not what I expected.”

But there was more to come.

Theatres and shops and restaurants just had to be visited. Well why would you go to NYC and not do that?

But first – as promised, the hop-on, hop-off bus.

Hard to miss. Touts all over the streets have tickets for this historic double-decker bus which covers everything from Uptown to Brooklyn, saving you time and money.

Jillian and her friend found that flirting with the bus drivers was an excellent way to distract them from looking at and ripping off a section of the tickets. And, of course, drivers just lurved the accents.

On the bus there was so much more to see then the subway and it was much more fun. Except for the lack of the subway station hip-hop artists, but that is a story for another time.

Jillian and friend managed to use these buses to get all round the city without ever spending another dime. One ticket. Many trips. Now that is enterprising.

Next. After a show one evening they decided to walk home. They had been to The Eugene O'Neill Theatre on 49th St (You possibly remember 'The 59th Street Bridge Song'? But it wasn't as far north as that.)

After-all their hotel was located at the bustling corner of 27th Street and Broadway not all that far from the thriving theatre district located on Broadway between 42nd and 53rd Streets, known as 'The Great White Way'.

NYC is very easy to navigate as its roads, at least for Manhattan above Houston Street, are aligned on a grid based on the Commissioner's plan of 1811 which is comprised of 12 north-south avenues and 155 east-west streets. By the way - this is also explains why we have the SOHO area which is the part below Houston St Manhattan; (South Of Houston) an area of cramped and irregular streets. This was there long before the aforementioned GRID created in 1811 which area at that time was rural consisting of streams and hills populated by a patchwork of country estates, farms and small houses. History lesson over.

Our intrepid couple had to walk about 1 mile or approx 1.5km along some of the most interesting street-scapes in the whole world. Worth it for sure. As they approached 42nd Street – Times Square – the ankle pain dictated a rest. Deciding to stop at a place they had frequented once or twice already this trip and get a coffee, a sit-down and a Reuben Sandwich (a hot sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of bread); they were dismayed to see the queue facing them but disappearing away from them to the south. A long way to the south. At least a cupla blocks. Approaching the shop doorway, they leaned forward and peered inside, past and in front of the people in the #1 spot.

At that moment a huge voice welled up from the dim and wonderfully aromatic interior of this - it now seemed completely impossible - haven.

“Hey Australia?” it called. (By the way New Yorkers think any accent not British, Asian or European MUST be Australian. In this case they may have been correct, but it could be a long bow). However, back to the story.

Jillian and friend leaned further into the restaurant and found the source. A very large and jovial man they had met before, was crying out and beckoning them in with such delight and energy that they could not resist; and moving past the probably now mile long line, they sauntered into the belly of the beast.

Later Jillian said it might have been her earlier mix-up with the look-alike money and a possible $100 tip that caused all the excitement; but at this moment they were just overwhelmed by the love that was being pumped their way.

Of course, the celebrity mad New Yorkers began gawking, gesticulating and conferring about who these obviously famous girls were. Must have been some very special people as they had just jumped a 2 mile long queue of equally important NYC denizens. And by invitation from within no less.

Not what you know; who you know. Or the size of your last tip.

What the hey?

#ourjillian

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Jillian 10 – Worst Travel Experience (Again)

"It doesn't really fit into best or worst categories," Jillian said once when we were talking about her travel experiences. Still? Yes, I know, but they are always interesting.

"There was once in Glasgow quite a few years ago, when I was staying with a friend of my mother's. It had been a long and harrowing journey from London's Euston station to Glasgow Central on the fast train. Can't remember what it's called. Perhaps The Flying Scotsman” she said. (Editor note: I think it was called Inter-City).

"Anyway. It was one of the new fully electric trains that had just introduced and it travelled, I think, at about 110 mph most of the way. It whipped through the stations like a tornado - the carriage rocked quite violently it seemed, and the noise of the wheels and the sound of the wind reflected back from the station buildings were very frightening. I wondered what would happen if we rocked so far that the platform or the roof would make contact with us and cause a catastrophic crash. Of course it hadn't happened so far and probably would never happen, but it was hellish scary."

"The trip took 5 hours but it seemed like forever." she said.

I sensed this was not the story. I was right.

"When I arrived, it was really embarrassing," she went on. "I was so exhausted, and it was getting latish, I could tell by all the half hidden yawns.”

“I think it was about 9.00 pm,” (she explained as an aside), “so I let them know I was ready for bed.”

A few friendly 'getting to know you' things happened. Including questions about what time I wanted to begin my exploring of Bearsden where they lived, and Glasgow in general, and what I wanted for breakfast.

BearsdenBearsden Coat of Arms lies on the northwestern fringe of Greater Glasgow, approximately 6 miles (10 km) from the City Centre, and is effectively a suburb, with housing development coinciding with the introduction of a railway line in 1863, and from where the town gets its name (Bearsden station was named after a nearby cottage). Wikipedia.

I said that since I was only going to be a few days I'd like to start quite early about 9.00am. And I mentioned that I thought a quick trip to Edinburgh might be a good idea. Shock horror, “That is so far away - on the other side of the country.” they said in unison, looking at me as if I had two heads. (It is actually about 60 miles or 70 km - just over an hour's journey by car and probably not much different by train). I gave that idea away. Pity, it would have been nice. But I didn't want to upset the hosts.

Next was the breakfast question. Easy answer.

"This," Jillian then said, "is where it became truly weird. I am in Scotland, right? Haggis and porridge? Yes? So not wanting to be a nuisance I said I'd just have porridge. I assumed that was the national breakfast.”

"MISTAKE. Big mistake.”

“I noticed a bit of activity outside the bedroom window as I crawled unwillingly from the warm bed on the rainy, cold morning that followed. My mother’s friend's husband (she couldn't remember names so this is a bit cryptic) was just pushing his bike back into the small lean-to thingy next to the very small and narrow cottage sort of structure in which they lived. See what I did there? Winston Churchill would be proud.

“They had NEVER eaten porridge, and, so as not to disappoint me, he had popped out to the early opening corner store to get some. Needless to say I was mortified.”

“And they didn't know how to make it either. It was horrible. But as I'd asked for it, I had to pretend I enjoyed it."

#ourjillian

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Jillian 9a – Worst Travel Experience … continued

For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Wellington Airport.

Waiting at the antiquated and squealing, jerking baggage carousel. Finally it stopped. Nothing for Jillian.

Okaaaay.

What now?

It was then that it hit our friend Jillian. SHE HAD NOTHING. Her business clothes, fresh undies, toiletries, make-up, hair-brush the paperwork and stuff for her meetings, proper handbag - all was in that luggage. That luggage which she no longer appeared to be in possession of. I know, Churchill would not like that hanging preposition but bugger it - Jillian has lost her bag for God's sake.

Panic. She ran around frantically looking for someone, anyone to help her. Signs that existed were in English and Maori, but nothing appeared to help her figure out what to do.

Finally as she was close to breaking down here alone in Wellington, NZ on this fateful evening without anything, she began to cry. But she quickly decided that this was NOT the way for a business woman to act. With tears still clinging resolutely to her eyes she finally slowed down, and found a counter that was the most likely hiding place of those whose job it was to trace lost luggage.

"Nah. wasn't on the plane, Luv." said the helpful chap after asking someone on the other end of the old fashioned phone/intercom system, the same question phrased at least 4 different ways. Talk about the bleedin' obvious.

"So what do I do?" Jillian asked. "When is it likely to get here? What happens in the meantime?

"Dunno, Luv," he explained. Pause!

Obviously the answer to all 3 questions.

Jillian filled out a form. He had finally offered, "We'd better do a form, Miss"

He gave her a voucher for some airline stuff, soap tooth brush and the like - shit, yeah, she remembered that's in the bag too. Of course – it would be.

Then he added the clincher, "Since its after 5.00pm the airline counter is closed and you won't be able to redeem this until tomorrow. Sorry!"

“Sorry 'bout that.” he repeated unhelpfully.

“Shit, Shit. Shit.” Just another example of her shitty life, she thought. “Why doesn't stuff go right – just once would be OK? OK?”

Bet this wouldn't be happening to her boss Jack, she thought. Not bloody likely. “Why is it always me?” she wailed to herself.

Nothing open at the airport. Ironic isn't it. If she had know there was going to be no baggage as soon as she landed; shops would have been open and emergency supplies could have been obtained. Easily.

Outside, feeling completely naked with only her small clutch purse, an emergency touch-up lipstick and a credit card.

A taxi. Yep. That's the next step. Thinking. Thinking!

N.Z. still closes down in the evenings. The motel she was booked into was up in Lower Hutt. Quite  distance away.

Let's go.

Big mistake. The motel was staffed by a large bored woman with no interest in anything but the latest episode of “Close to Home”.

No emergency supplies. No help. No luck. Bad Day? No shit!

By this time the taxi had roared off.

“Was that a petrol station we passed just before the motel?” Jillian thought.

A short walk – thankful for small mercies – and YES a service station.

And finally a bit of luck. A small washing line and pegs. A traveller pack of soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and even some deodorant. Not much else. But how good is it to have something?

Back in the room taking stock.

A quick, but horrendously expensive international phone call later, Jillian had managed to let her boss know what had happened and asked if he could fax some brochures, prices and anything else he might be able to lay his hands on, that might be a help. He said he could. Another small win.

Freezing. Naked and attempting to wash her smalls with the bar of soap Jillian wondered if it could possibly get worse.

It could. And did.

Nothing was dry in the morning and as the soap had not been rinsed out thoroughly, the undies were wet, cold, stiff and VERY uncomfortable. It was cold and windy, no surprise, and she looked and felt utterly ridiculous in her summery Melbourne costume. And COSTUME was really the word. She felt like a clown.

There was something for her at reception, not the least of which was the staff and other  guests laughing at this amazingly stupid Australian woman in the green and gold.

Taxi to the office of the older, straight laced MD of the company considering doing business with an unknown Australian firm for the first time. One with a YOUNG female sales rep. What are they thinking?

Short ride. Reading through the info supplied, Jillian found it was extremely limited. No company info, hers or the prospects. “Guess we trust to memory”, she thought. Very basic, black and white brochure and a price list.

Great. “I wish I was dead!” she lamented to herself.

Well it turned out to be an OK meeting. They seemed to understand her predicament. Laughed, but she was beginning to expect that. She was so cold, thinking and speaking was a chore, but it was finally over.

The journey home in the big metal tube in the sky was as uneventful as it could be under the the circumstances, and the credit card took a BIG hit. The Big Sky Mall.

Booze, (Scotch, Gin and Red Wine), promotional rubbish including a jacket to cover the summer gear and a watch and camera she didn't need but the retail therapy helped. Yes it did. Pity there were no shoes.

Well probably a good thing there were no shoes.

The next day; back home. In her own apartment. Properly clothed, a little less mortified, and with a developing hangover, Jillian phoned her boss.

An order had been faxed through during the night and even though it was a small one, it made our Jillian smile. Maybe the chafed bits were worth it after-all.

That was about it, though, for orders from this company, and it kind of put an end to Jillian travelling for the rest of her time with this employer. Unfair. But that's the way it goes for a woman in a man's world.

As the ticket and accommodation had been purchased using her Amex card, Jillian was able to claim for all the lost stuff. Suitcase and all. A nice little win she thought. Bought some new clothes with the money. Sweet, Bro.

3 months later, her very badly battered bags arrived home. They had been to Hawaii and Los Angeles. Lucky them. “Even my bags have a better life than me.”

#ourjillian

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