ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Selfie Travel Interview -- tell me your travel stories...

Hi friends!

I'm more than a little under the weather with an end-of-winter flu, so my usual Monday post time came and went. I decided to post a travel post I've had sitting in 'drafts' for such a moment. Relax and read...

How exciting to see Baby Lit!
One of my little routines is to go for coffee at Avid Reader on the weekend -- a combined book store and cafe -- the perfect business! It's a welcoming little cafe in West End in Brisbane (a short walk down the street from where I live). I read the Sunday papers, eat a freshly-baked muffin, then browse the bookshop. Bliss! The first liftout I reach for in the newspapers is the Escape (travel) section.


One of the other things I do when I'm not writing flash fiction or sweating over novel writing, is write travel articles. Such an enjoyable process, collating all those travel notes from exotic and not-so-exotic journeys and pitching to papers and magazines.

Today I thought I'd post about travel by using the interview found every Sunday in the Escape liftout of the Sunday Mail.  I've jiggled it a bit to create a selfie interview, of course accompanied by photos. Once you've read it, would you answer some/all the relevant questions in comments? I'm addicted to all things travel, so I'd love to hear what you have to say...

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO VISIT IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY?
Home made vanilla ice cream, espresso
 coffee and ice cubes. Ahhh. 

In my case that would be the wonderful world of Oz. My favourite place is the Sunshine Coast, particularly Peregian Beach where husby George (now a popular name again!) and I have a beach house. The beach is amazingly unspoilt, with long stretches of golden sand sparsely populated, so you can always find a private cove. Peregian Village is built in a courtyard square like in Europe, with cafes and boutique shops around the perimeter. The best iced coffee ever is found at my favourite hang out, Baked Poetry Cafe.


WHAT ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE OVERSEAS?

Anyone who knows me knows my love affair with Paris. Geo and I have walked, bussed or trained just about every square kilometre, but Paris always delights and surprises. Once you've got all the museums and famous landmarks out of the way, you can really enjoy strolling aimlessly, the best way to enjoy the architecture, the cafes and the history, especially the literary history. We usually travel in the northern winter. It doesn't snow heavily, but sometimes in late winter you get caught by surprise!



BUT if it wasn't Paris, it'd be the medieval hill towns of Italy.

WHAT'S THE BEST THING YOU'VE EVER EATEN OVERSEAS?

I've got to be honest and state that our food in Australia is AMAZING and it really is hard to beat our fresh produce, seafood, beef and fabulous restaurants, so we've lowered our expectations when travelling and amaze ourselves with Paris street food like yummy crepes filled with what passes for chocolate (Nutella!) and banana or a savoury ham and cheese for Geo. All taste pretty good freshly made. Picking up all the makings for what we call a Paris dinner on the way home from a day walking the streets is awesome -- going from shop to shop picking up a fresh baguette, then runny cheese, duck pate or fois gras,  fresh ham, grapes and a bottle of wine. Why does it just taste so good when you're over there? But that duck (canard) at Bordes de Seine (near Monet's Garden) was to die for! Best regional food in France IMO.

WHERE ARE YOU OFF TO NEXT?
Looking up to the kasbah in Tangier
Five weeks in Dec/Jan -- beginning with a few days in Amsterdam, then 2 weeks in Paris north this time - staying at Euro Disney, but our days will be spent in Paris, returning to the Champagne region and Belgium (Bruges). Then the fast train to Malaga, Spain, with a short stint across to Tangier in Morocco, then Portugal. Not at all exhausting, lol!


DO YOU HAVE A BUCKET LIST DESTINATION?
Many. On the agenda is an extended tour including Alaska, Canada, the East Coast of the US. Scandinavia is another drawcard...well, anywhere we haven't been is on the bucket list.


WORST PLACE YOU'VE STAYED?
Chuisi in Tuscany, Italy. Geo liked the idea of a rustic 16th Century fishing hut beside Lake Trasimeno (Where Hannibal ambushed the Romans), and close to a couple of hill towns we'd read about. Not a good idea in winter! The hut was owned by an Aussie who was cosily warm back home. We arrived after dark to find the only heating was from a little wood stove, but there was no wood cut down to size, so our first task was to ring the agents and the best they could do was drive over with a tomahawk. The bedroom was so cold the ceiling dripped condensation all over us. That said, the position was fabulous and we have lots of fond memories. No bad travel experience ever feels bad when you look back on it. There's a story in that one but I haven't written it yet.

BIG CITY HOTEL, BnB, IGLOO, TENT..?
When I travel, I like to go like blazes all day, and really appreciate a hotel at the end of the day to fully chill. I've stayed in BnBs, but don't like being met at the door and asked to report on my whole day before being allowed to head for my room to relax! (This happened to us in the Loire Valley -- horrendous!)

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN'T TRAVEL WITHOUT?
Comfy shoes that feel like runners, but are stylish enough not to be frowned on in Paris, lol!!

WHAT HAS TRAVEL TAUGHT YOU?
That the world is populated with people who are much the same everywhere, and language isn't a huge barrier. We shared a railway carriage back to Chiusi from Pompeii one night and as well as we Aussies, there was an Italian, a German, a Spanish family and a Bulgarian guy, yet we communicated well somehow and it was fabulous! I don't have horror stories -- nearly everyone we've met has been lovely (well, except for that nasty ticket seller in Rome's Termini (main railway station). But Rome's Termini is best avoided! Being chased by totes is pretty challenging, especially when your eyes are smarting from pollution and cars are parked anywhere and everywhere across footpaths and 'pedestrian' crossings! LOL!

But my travel philosophy is that it's not about arriving somewhere new, it's the journey to somewhere new. Enjoy every moment, or if that's not possible, laugh about it later!!


  • So I hope you enjoyed reading my travel post. Please tell me about your travels or your dreams of travels...or do you have any travel questions?

A huge thank you to all the awesome people who posted for August's  Write...Edit...Publish  inaugural blogfest. What a lot of super entries to read. The September linky for MOVING ON will go live early September. Please consider joining this group of enthusiastic bloggers.




44 comments:

  1. Your post today made me itch to travel again. I used to travel a lot. I'd love to return to Paris one day. In Oz I love the Northern Territory and the Great Ocean Road best of all, oh and any of the Queensland islands.

    I hope you're feeling better soon.

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    1. I lived in the NT for a year. Darwin before Cyclone Tracy. Unique. And the Great Ocean Road when all the apostles were standing. Will have to unearth the pictures! But Queens land islands- hands down!

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  2. What a great idea - interviewing yourself! And wonderful answers, too. (I loved Oz - didn't spend long enough there. Ate the most amazing fish and chips in Yamba!)

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    1. Yamba is gorgeous. We do fish and chips pretty well. Hard to beat fish and chips on the beach in summer. Great that you have visited. It's a big country. Hope you return one day.

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  3. I love to travel and three places in my bucket list are Greece, Switzerland and the Holy Land. Feel better soon :)

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    1. We were planning to go to Greece this time but it didn't work out. ..as usual. I suspect we need just to go to Greece by itself as it refuses to be part of the bigger picture. Adore Switzerland. ..so beautiful. I don't have any desire to see the Holy Land. It looks pretty messed up by tourism. The places I would like to go are probably out of limits.

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  4. I think you already know but yes, Alaska is my favorite place here in the US. Paris would be my favorite, I'm sure, if I ever get to go there, and I would love to see Australia. But I have no food items, as truth be told - I'd rather take a pill than eat something only to learn I'm allergic to it. Good shoes are very important, and for me wet wipes and tissues - don't ask! :)

    Great questions!

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    1. Yes the hand steriliser is a must have! I look forward to Alaska in the future. I don't just want to see it. . I want to linger awhile. Luckily I can eat anything. I finally ate snails recently. Yum.

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  5. Paris will always be my #1 travel spot. I felt at home there. I saw what can't go into the travel books - the little kindnesses to strangers, the helpfulness, the passions played out in cafes, and many other little things.

    I wish I could travel as much as you do, Denise!

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    1. Forgot to mention our perfectly horrible stay in a boutique hotel in Miami, South Beach. Run by a Spanish speaking family, who only intermittently spoke in English. The A/C was directed right at the bed and was highly annoying and cold, so hubs turned it off, then later when it became stuffy, he turned it back on and puffs of smoke came out of the vent. . . Alarmed and
      sure that we had broken something, we called the staff in who just assured us we should NOT HAVE turned the air conditioning off.

      So then we had to sleep for a few hours more in a smokey and cold room. Did I say I hated this place? Did the staff apologize at all - no, they considered the smokey vent our problem, not theirs. . .

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    2. D.G. that is one horror story. List of places never to return to. We have stayed in places in Europe in winter where they turn the heating off through the night. A couple of Aussies nearly froze to death!
      I agree about Paris. We've rarely met that stereotypical Parisian so lampooned by writers and travellers. I suspect it is a ' you get what you give' type of thing. I happily walk around Paris all day.

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    3. Maybe we should collaborate on the alternative Paris travel guide. ..

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  6. That's so awesome that you are going to Amsterdam! I wuold love to go there. I think #1 on my bucket list of places to travel is Ireland :)

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    1. Must admit I am pretty excited to see Amsterdam and surrounds. Bring on the tulips! Ireland is amazing. ..scenery and people.

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  7. Now I want to go somewhere! (We are going to Disney World this fall, and my husband set up everything first class. I won't know what to do with myself when we return.)

    I want to visit all the major theme and amusement parks in the world and ride their roller coasters. Port Adventura in Spain is a must.

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    1. Have an amazing time at Disney World. We have some great theme parks in Oz. ..near the Gold Coast but a long way to come!

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  8. How fun! Loved reading your answers, Denise! I agree with you about the journey being the fun. And also having been all over the world, I've found the same to be true about people. I think it's when we never leave our own backyard that we form distances between ourselves and humanity. Once we're out in the world we realize just how much alike we all are. And people can be so nice and amazing!

    Ok let's see if I can answer these:

    1. Fave place in USA is Hawaii, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest
    2. Fave places overseas is a tough call, but I'd say Ireland has the most hospitable people. (havent been to Australia yet!!) :)
    3. Best meal eaten overseas was a delectable lambshank with sherry sauce in Glasgow, Scotland. Hubby and I still dream about that meal ....
    4. Don't know where I'm off to next. Just got back from Seattle, but nowhere is on the agenda yet.
    5. Bucket List destination: oh yes! many! Macchu Picchu, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, to name a few
    6. Worst place ever stayed: I used to stay in hostels in my 20s and two tie for worse, but hey hostels are what they are so one cant really complain. One in San Francisco and one in Anchorage were pretty grungy tho. lol
    7. I'm easy going and can stay anywhere!
    8. I can't travel without sedatives for long uncomfortable plane rides. lol
    9. Travel has taught me confidence in myself--that I can get around by myself and always make new friends. Also that 80% of the world's people are awesome and kind by nature.

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    1. Hey Pk...awesome! These days some hostels are top class. Have so many here in Brisbane. I agree. The Irish are so friendly...in both city and country. I hope you get to Australia. We are pretty friendly too. Yeah. ..travel teaches us so much.

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  9. I can't travel without my iPad. (That shouldn't surprise you.) I still want to travel to New Zealand and see all the places they filmed LOTR. And I want to go back to Scotland.

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    1. It is amazing the first time you see LOTR country. You know they couldn't have made it anywhere else.
      IPad...I always take my net book.

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  10. Great questions! Love your answers, too. Let's see...


    WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO VISIT IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY? The New England coast is really lovely. We have a secret little spot off the coast of Massachusetts that is just about perfect.

    WHAT ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE OVERSEAS? Japan, without a doubt.

    WHAT'S THE BEST THING YOU'VE EVER EATEN OVERSEAS? There was a Mexican place in the Tokyo suburbs with food so hot it brought tears to my eyes - tears of joy.

    WHERE ARE YOU OFF TO NEXT? Most of our journeys are a lot closer to home these days. We've got a short Montreal jaunt planned in a couple of weeks.

    DO YOU HAVE A BUCKET LIST DESTINATION? Too many to name. Forced to choose one, southern Spain.

    WORST PLACE YOU'VE STAYED? I had a very primitive hut in Malaysia for a couple of nights. Definitely a get what you pay for situation, though, so I really can't complain.

    BIG CITY HOTEL, BnB, IGLOO, TENT..? House rentals can be really nice but I've yet to decide if they're worth the price.

    IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN'T TRAVEL WITHOUT? A towel. Douglas Adams wasn't kidding. If you don't have one, you miss it.

    WHAT HAS TRAVEL TAUGHT YOU? There's a lot more to the world than I could ever hope to understand. And that's a good thing.

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    1. What wonderful answers Armchair Squid. I have yet to get to Japan but would certainly love to see those cherry blossom s.

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  11. Wow, lots of travel stories there Denise! I'm more of a homebody and don't really like travelling for more than a few days - I just want to get back to my cosy place! If I do holiday, I would say country towns are my favourite - the surf and sun are not kind to my skin. I like exploring very old towns with little shops and cafes, where everything feels like it has a story to it.
    And I like the food... all the food.

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    1. That sounds like just the places I grew up in...little country towns in Western Queensland, then coastal Queensland. They are unique for sure, but lots more world to conquer or discover.

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  12. Hi Denise .. the travel bit is the bit I ignore!! Oh dear .. but your descriptions here are to entice me across our la Manche to visit Europe .. yes I do want to get over!

    Love your selfie interview ... Hilary

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    1. Yes, you get yourself over there Hilary. Don't put it off any longer, hey?

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  13. Great idea for a blog post, Denise!
    Hope you feel better soon - and hope you can visit Canada someday!
    Although I'd like to cross the planet and visit your beach house myself :-)

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    1. Hey Deniz, maybe we can arrange a house swap sometime! I promise ocean views and laid back lifestyle and you promise medieval city, heh?

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  14. I haven't traveled much beyond North America other than my recent visit to Ecuador. If I were to do a post like this I guess I would have to confine myself geographically. It's a great idea for a post though. Scandinavia would be a grand place to visit I think. And I'm in agreement about the comfortable shoes anywhere I go. I like to walk.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out


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    1. Yep Arlee, walking shoes are a must. And Scandanavia would be so different to what I'm used to I'd say. Seeing the Northern LIghts would be more than a treat!

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  15. That would be fun, too, though Arlee - I love virtually visiting bloggers' home cities!

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  16. My goodness, I need to get out more. We don't travel, we just move (unless it's a road trip). So far I've taken in half the USA, parts of Canada, and 90% of the Caribbean/near by landmasses, and a little bit of Mexico. We've done the extreme north and south, the east and the west, but I need to get beyond my own continent, eh? ;)

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    1. Like Australia, the US is one mighty big place. If I get to see the East Coast I'll be happy, but one day may get to see California. We all have our little Hollywood dreams don't we? We've seen so much of the US in film, we start to feel as if we've been there. Still, many Aussies take the Route 66 trip from coast to coast and that wouldn't be half bad.

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  17. I love travelling and I wish I could travel as extensively as you do Denise!

    Nas

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  18. Great answers.

    My favorite place in South Africa changes, but right now, it's split between the farm my family is buying in the Western Cape mountains and a little village called Grayton. :-)

    My favorite destination is currently split between Berlin and Amsterdam. Although Paris and London come close.

    Next overseas destination will probably be the Netherlands again, since that's where we do most of our business.

    My bucket list destination would be to tour Eastern Europe. :-)

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    1. As you see, I've only explored the northern tip of Africa -- Morocco -- but so many Aussies rate Capetown as one of their favourite destinations. Both your places sound intriguing.

      Amsterdam -- can't wait! I've never yet been to the Netherlands. And on my next trip will be my first foray into Eastern Europe. I'd love to see a lot more...

      Thanks for your list!! So pleased that some commenters did this!

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  19. Wow, you do get about, Denise! My favourite countries for travelling in are France and of course South Africa where I lived for most of my adult life until ten years ago. I don't have a favourite destination. Simply travelling by barge anywhere is good enough for me. Even so, I would love to go to Cuba and also to Laos and Cambodia. Where will I go next? Probably France as it's just past Belgium. I don't count Belgium as foreign as I go there to do my shopping every weekend :-)

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    1. Just imagine - going to Belgium to shop every weekend! One of the good things about living in Europe! I've often dreamed of visiting Cuba -- the people sound wonderful and I love retro!

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  20. PS I hope you feel better soon!

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  21. Your holiday sounds wonderful. I've only been to Paris once and we had young children with us who were a bit bored and wanted to go ack to Disney. I would love to return again. My daughter had part of her gap year in Australia she lived and worked in Sydney then traveled up the Gold Coast and worked on a farm along the way ending in Brisbane. How I would love to do the same.

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  22. Hi Denise - interesting interview. Your upcoming holiday sounds great. I'd avoid Tangiers though. Its rough and expensive. Day trippers have ruined it over the years. A far better bet is the village of Chefchaouen and then dropping down into Fez for a few days. Its a beautiful place and a good introduction to Morocco http://www.spain-holiday.com/blog/day-trips-to-morocco-from-spain.php - if you need any help or advice on Malaga...just shout. I have been living here for 14yrs now and know it well

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  23. I wish I could travel as widely and as frequently as you do, Denise. Enjoyed the selfie interview very much. I've too many favs to list, too many on my bucket list too. As Freya Stark said - one life is an absurd allowance.

    Hope you feel better soon.

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  24. I only just got around to reading this! Love your post. And it seems that you and I might've travelled in similar amounts, though you have probably done more than me. I'm on a self-imposed break for a few years while I recover from mortgage-dom. hehe

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I love hearing from you! Hit me with your wisdom!