ABC Breakfast Show with Nadia and Russ: Staycations. You don’t have to stay at home to have one.

A whirlwind opportunity to talk about and redefine the staycation.  You don’t need to stay at home and find yourself visiting Bunnings.  A staycation can be about getting out and about in your state.  Not very far from home but still out and about.

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A night away, not far from home is my new definition of a staycation

As Published in ‘Airline Ratings’, Tom Loves Cathay!

My story about Tom’s experience with Cathay Pacific was recently published by Airline Ratings.

Enjoy reading all about Tom’s experience with Cathay Pacific here.

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With inflight entertainment, a good selection of food options and plenty of attention from the staff, Tom’s experience meant a great flight experience for me.

Radio Melayu: Lets begin the winter fightback! Get packing!

I recently spent a brilliant evening on Radio Melayu chatting about my recent adventures and how we all need to find a way to get packing and escape winter by getting overseas or embracing winter and snuggling into a gorgeous resort down south.

The link below features descriptions for a few of my new favourite things, including Bali’s spectacular new resort the Apurva Kempinski Bali, Hong Kong Star Ferries and markets, Hong Kong Disneyland, Pullman Bunker Bay Resort and amazing airlines for travelling with children, including Malindo Air, Batik Air and Cathay Pacific.

 

 

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Top 10 Travel Essentials for Back in the Day … and Today.

Some of those golden rules about travel are still gold standard today.  The featured image for this story comes courtesy of my son Tom who took the photo while I was trying antigravity yoga at Four Seasons Jimbaran, a very safe and very luxurious resort in Bali.

Travel should increase your sense of daring but not heighten your sense of stupidity.  When we travel we should do things outside our comfort zone but not at the risk of needing a helicopter medical evacuation.

Similar to the choices we make when we travel, we need to consider what we travel with.  These days it’s the SIM cards, power banks, cables and chords to provide the life support systems for your phone which carries the apps, emails and photos of everything you need.  Or does it?

Back in the day, but still for me today, I have a standard list of ten things ready to go in my favourite bag.  I know they’re there if I need them and none of them need charging.

  1. Pen – Even if it’s just to complete the arrival card while you’re flying, it’s worth it.
  2. Alcohol swab – not to suck on if the bar prices are too high but for any scratch you get, particularly if you’re doing a bit of trekking.  Light to carry and easy to store in a pocket or wallet, just a quick wipe and you know that you’ve cleaned your little wound.  Also handy if you really need to touch a dodgy tap or door handle.
  3. Bags – Little zip lock bags and scrunched up shopping bags may be frowned upon these days but they have endless valuable uses when you travel.  They’re a quick and easy sick bag, storage for a phone if you’re heading near water, you can store wet clothes and unexpected things you’ve bought and you can safely store those stolen buffet breakfast items.
  4. Aquatabs – This is as close as I get to doomsday prepping when I travel but given they are light and easy to store it’s not like I’m stocking up on cartons of tomato soup for a nuclear winter.  If you get caught without a safe water supply these little tablets can save you and whoever you are travelling with.  In not much more time than it takes to dissolve, they turn a dodgy water source into a lifesaver.
  5. Safety Pin – This will make you look more presentable if you bust a button or zip and you can use it to carefully scratch at a splinter.
  6. Hard copy – Yes you’ve got all your passport copies, itineraries and bookings in your phone but what happens if the phone can’t save you because it’s broken or stolen? Save yourself by having copies (in a zip lock bag of course) and put them in the bottom of your bag hopefully never to be needed but they won’t take up any weight or space.  Countries like South Africa will want to see hard copies of travel documents, particularly if you’re travelling with a child.
  7. Tissues – Remember Elaine in Seinfeld being caught in a toilet with no paper and the lady in the next cubicle saying, “I haven’t got a square to spare.”  Last year in Italy I found myself in a cubicle with no paper and lets just say it was too late to back out of that situation.  Thankfully I remembered that in my little day bag I have a couple of tissues (in a zip lock bag of course) for that unexpected sneeze …. or worse.
  8. Spare glasses – If you need glasses you need to take a spare pair.  Why travel to see the sights if you can’t see the sights?
  9. Cut up photos in envelopes – This isn’t a dad joke bit it is the dad traveller in me. When tech fails and there’s a flight delay or other unexpected period of boredom, a few envelopes that have got cut up photocopies of photos make great jigsaw puzzles and keep young minds occupied for precious minutes.  Again, they’re light and easy to store.
  10. Repack – Not an item but a travel procedure.  Make time in your travels to repack and refamiliarize yourself with your belongings and where they are located in your bags.  Work out what you need for the next day and whether you need to keep the bundle of receipts from the days shopping. Is there anything you now realize you don’t need that you can donate to a local charity or post back home?

That’s my ten.  I like to think I’m a good traveller and that I cover bases for myself and those I travel with.  Remember it’s not just about what you’re prepared for but what those you’re with are prepared for.

The picture below is an example of where I possibly didn’t consider the wants of my travelling companion.

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Sorry mate.

 

 

Travel that throws you back

In the 1984 comedy movie, Top Secret, the French resistance group has a member whose name is De Ja Vu.  There is a scene in the movie where he is introduced to another character and he looks at him suspiciously and says, “Haven’t I met you somewhere before?”

Like deja vu, the sense of nostalgia can be triggered by an experience we are having.  I was reminded of this recently when I saw an Instagram post of a Sydney ferry.  Immediately I was taken back to 1983, pressing play on my red Sharp QT-12 cassette recorder to listen to Reckless by Aussie Crawl.  The line in the song about the Manly ferry cutting its way through to Circular Quay came straight back to me just looking at the Instagram post of a Sydney Ferry.

It reminded me of how our senses are heightened when we travel.  It works both ways as well.  When I travelled through South Africa with my daughter we noticed the Jacaranda trees in glorious purple bloom and it reminded us of the streets around our home in Perth.  Now when I see Jacaranda trees around Perth I’m reminded of travelling through South Africa with my daughter.

There’s so many other ways this can happen.  Like the Instagram photo, I read a travel article the other day that included a photo of Polignano A Mare in Pulia, Italy.  The photo was of a particular part of Polignano A Mare that I swam at, ruining many tourists photos.  It’s one of the great joys of travelling; the years afterwards when you see the places you have been to in movies and the news or read descriptions of them in stories.

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Ah!  Cream buns.  For me the sight and the smell reminds me of the Rottnest Bakery on a summers day.  Perhaps it triggers a memory for you of the Dunsborough Bakery or the bakery in your local town.

The sights and smells of our travels throw us back in time and similarly, the joy of travel will be triggered for the rest of your life  as you smell a cream bun or pad thai, check your friends social media posts or watch the latest blockbuster at the movies.  Revel in it!  Enjoy what travel can do to your senses and your memories!

Hong Kong with Typhoon Tom

What’s just as important as the destination?  The journey of course!  How could I resist using the image of Tom and his Cathay Pacific entourage as the featured image for this post?

Tom and I have just returned from Hong Kong where we travelled with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong Disneyland, stayed at the Disneyland Explorers Lodge and spent a day on Hong Kong Island riding the Star Ferry and trains and visiting tucked away laneway markets filled with toys and communist memorabilia.

Typhoon Tom couldn’t sit still.  He watched movies and played games, ate amazing food and endless ice-cream and made new friends.  And that was just on the Cathay Pacific flights.

While I get busy writing up our adventures, enjoy a few pics from our time in one of the worlds bucket list countries and bucket list theme parks.

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Turn around Tom!  Our wheels are about to touch down on Hong Kong!

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The Star Ferry is old, slow and completely and utterly gorgeous and cheap.

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Tom tests his strength in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland

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Pocket watches of all shapes and sizes at Upper Lascar Row (Cat Street) Market.  You’ll also find Communist era propaganda posters and lots of Mao Tse Tung statuettes and even copies of his little red book.

Apurva Kempinski delivers a new experience on the greatest island in the world.

My son Tom and I recently travelled with Batik Air to our favourite island in the world, Bali, to experience a new resort, Apurva Kempinski.  It was promised to us as a ‘new era of first class hospitality’ and without doubt the level of luxury is absorbing from the moment you arrive.

The soaring spaces of the reception area set the scene for the essence of Balinese culture that ebbs and flows seamlessly throughout a visually stunning resort that is located on the south eastern tip of Nusa Dua, just a quick fifteen minute drive from the airport.

While I get busy writing and talking about this experience in more detail, sit back and enjoy a few photos of an experience that is perfect for couples of all ages, families of all ages, those who want to get married and even just a boy and his dad finding quiet spaces to chat, noisy spots to play and lots to discover in between.

 

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Batik Air are a wonderful family friendly airline who love opportunities to ensure that children have good flying experiences.

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Evening view from our suite.  Private pool to the right, Indian Ocean to the left.
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1-2-3 Go!

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Kempinski Hotels around the world are famous for their concierge Ladies in Red.  While Tom loved his Ladies in Red he also loved meeting our special friends Kadek and Danti who made sure every experience and moment was special.

6PR Perth Tonight Interview: Undiscovered Lands in Well Discovered Countries

In a recent Friday night conversation with Chris Ilsley on 6PR Perth Tonight we had a great conversation about undiscovered lands in well discovered countries, particularly Puglia in Italy and Kerala in India.  If you’d like to listen, the link below should take you to the 6PR website.

Hidden gems of India and Italy with Chris Parry

Discover these regions before everyone else does.  In Puglia do a walking tour with Exodus Travels through olive groves and ancient towns.  In Kerala, explore the quiet streets of Fort Kochi and be surrounded not by the crush of congestion like India’s north but by the scent of spices being harvested and dried in the laneways of this peaceful and beautiful region known throughout India as ‘God’s own country’.

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Pic above: Matera in Puglia is one of Europes most ancient cities and is the 2019 European City of Culture.

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Pic above: As busy as traffic gets in Fort Kochi, Kerala.  Visit the spice traders of Fort Kochi, watch the Chinese Fishing Nets be raised at sunset, recline in the gondolas of the Allepey Backwater canals and walk through the tea plantations of the Munnar Highlands.

 

 

 

 

 

With Have A Go News Newspaper, Let’s Go Travelling…to KL!

Have A Go News

In the link above to Have A Go News enjoy reading my feature article on travelling, eating and shopping your way around Kuala Lumpur and making sure you stay somewhere amazing as well. You can also find Have A Go News in over 1800 outlets across Perth and regional Western Australia.

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Love Lot 10! From the Hutong Food Court in the basement, amazing shops and activities in between and the cheesecake in Tokyo Restaurant at the top, you’ll be splashing your cash and loving every minute of it.

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Travel from KL airport to Kl on the fantastic KLIA Ekspres.  The best way to travel into KL and also the easiest and most comfortable.

IMG_5893.JPGStay in the heart of KL’s shopping precinct, Bukit Bintang, at the luxurious and very friendly JW Marriott.  If you’re not doing the shopping, this will be the perfect place to wait for your shopping partner to return.  Look, they even parked my car under the hotel sign!

ABC Saturday Breakfast: Long weekends, overnighters and day trips

What a great chat on Saturday morning ABC Breakfast with Christine Layton, discussing the Australia Day events from Broome to Albany to keep you entertained and then a few suggestions for daytrips and overnighters throughout Western Australia.  Get out there and find new adventures even on the most well trodden path.

Below are some pics to help you pick your next regional day trip or overnighter.  Have you been to Bridgetown or Rockingham recently?

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Above:  Go down The Rabbit Hole on the main street of Bridgetown for an amazing range of local artist workshops and galleries.

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Above:  There’s no way you will leave the lolly shop in Bridgetown without a smile on a face and a bag full of sweet treats.

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Above:  Get to Rockingham which has the best range of aquatic activities in Western Australia.  Kite surf in Safety Bay, visit the penguins and dolphins on Penguin Island and in Shoalwater Bay, swim with dolphins off Palm Beach, hire jet skis, jet packs, stand up paddle boards, kayaks or cast a line on the beach and flick in some whiting and flathead.