Tag Archives: Writing

SEED… new beginnings

Richie

There comes a time when even the most devoted travel partners go their separate ways. After 20 months of conjoined aspirations, Richie and I are separating (temporarily!) to pursue individual learning pathways; acquiring skills, gleaning knowledge and shaping up for a abundant and diverse future together here on the Sunshine Coast.

Richie’s bitter complaints that the final leg of our overland journey from England to Australia lacked a permaculture-focus are finally being laid to rest. As the photo attests – Richie’s not only turning Australian but he’s turning Australian in a very perma-way. Today he’s off to experience what may be the most memorable perma-experience of his life: one month WWOOFing with Geoff Lawton at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australian in the Channon, Northern NSW.

While I’m beefsteak-tomato-red with envy, I have my own work cut out for me. It’s application time. Time to put my money where my mouth is. Yep, that writerly PhD that I fled to England (via India) to avoid in 2007 has returned to haunt me and this time, I aint’ gonna turn and flee.

This time, I have a story worth writing: mine and Richie’s story. A travel story. A permaculture story. An earth story. A story about seeds, ideas, social change, friendship and the beauty of the natural world. The encouragement and feedback I’ve received from you, the readers of Typo Traveller, have helped me to believe that the world is ready for SEED: a permaculturee travel memoir, and I’m ready to write it.

I’m currently in the process of writing a proposal and approaching supervisors to oversee the work. While Richie’s digging swales and tweaking irrigation systems, I’ll be writing literature reviews and pawing through old university transcripts for evidence that I’m a hardy, worthy, creative, credible PhD candidate.

In the meantime, if the writing becomes too much, and I find I need a break, there’s my parents’ potato patch to water; an ageing shed to pull down; Augustino corn to hand-pollinate; dill to plant; sourdough starter to feed; kefir to culture; my sisters’ herb garden to cultivate… and the beautiful Sunshine Coast hinterland to re-explore.

Did I mention books to read – Waterlog, Bird Cloud, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Permaculture Design by Aranya: A step-by-step guide, Do Travel Writers Go to Hell…?

Bon Voyage lover-brother, Richie, go well! ‘I’ll see you soon…’

p.s Sorry about the photo, I couldn’t help myself! 😉

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Filed under Books, Culture, Earth Care, Food, Permaculture, Travel, Writing

Dogs in Heaven

Dino and Amanda are the type of hosts that every Wwoofer dreams of: fun, sociable, passionate and accommodating. What’s more, they cook great food and live in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited!

Right from the beginning, when our Wwoof Espania membership came through in the post and long hours were spent pouring over the host list, I knew I wanted to stay with Dino and Amanda at Can Col. They’re Wwoof profile said it all: “young couple living in a 17thcentury renovated farmhouse in the lower Pyrenees… surrounded by woods and silence for many miles around… we make our own bread, pasta, game sausages, pâtes, marmalades and jams… and we grow our organic vegetable terraces from which we eat all year round.

After arriving in Figueres, we were met off the train by Dino, Amanda and their two dogs, Rita (mother) and Lucy (daughter). It was a wonderful reception full of tongue kissing (from the dogs) and excited yelps (from the dogs also).

Dino (Italian) and Amanda (Catalan) spoke brilliant English, and it was nice to be able to talk freely about their lives, as well as our adventures on the road.

After several peaceful miles driving through fertile valleys we began the ascent into a rugged uninhabited mountainside, covered in a forest of holm oaks, chestnuts, walnuts and wild apple trees. Great ridges and crusts of limestone jutted out like stern eyebrows.

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Welcome to Typo Traveller

Fellow travellers and contemplatives, welcome to Typo Traveller. Thank you for entering the spaces of my blog. I hope you find something here that inspires, makes you smile, reach for a pen, open a book, dig a hole, plant a tree, or… at the uppermost reach of probability, pack a bag and head for the hills, as I did, in search of adventure and soulful living.

I am new to the art of blogging. I’m more at home with a stylus in my hand than the pitter patter of illuminated keys beneath my fingertips. Yet, in an effort to ‘push my edges’ I’m committing the ultimate crime of a self-confessed book junky – I’m shedding my mobile library of paperbacks and moleskins to take up with a new travel companion – a Macbook air. I hope it proves as faithful and exciting a companion as my real-life partner, Richard, who is setting forth with me in two weeks on an adventure that we call, ‘overland to Oz’.

Like all pilgrims who set out on a long journey, we don’t know precisely what is ahead: what labours we will be required to perform; what rituals to enact in order to secure safe passage from the gods; what parts of ourselves and our egos we’ll have to shed along the way; or indeed, what awaits at our ‘final’ destination. What we do know is that we have a voracious appetite for learning and a deep desire to explore other cultures. And crucially, we have the means, however modest, to do so.

As we travel overland to Oz, we are on a mission to travel ethically, humbly and with the principle of ‘giving back’ foremost in our minds. Sure, we want to live every traveller’s fantasy of promiscuous eating, drinking, dancing, and idle beach languishing. But we want to do it slowly, sustainably, and in our own way. For us, that means travelling in a way that not only minimises the harm we do to natural environments and to local cultures, but which creates the largest possible benefit for the largest number of people. Yes – it’s a radical idea. Can travelling be something other than a harmful, hedonistic and selfish enterprise? Must travel cost the earth? Does travel and cross-cultural interaction inevitably lead to homogenisation, commodification, and resort mentalities? Can it be authentic? Can it lead to an increased sense of community? Is there such thing as global responsibility? Can one travel on the basis of skill share and fair exchange?

People care. Earth care. Fair share.

Become part of the dialogue as I write about these and other issues as I travel overland from England to Australia on a shoestring, without – (gulp) – flying, over the next 12 months. Stay tuned for more scribblings from this gypsy scholar and her barefoot companion.

‘Bon voyage’

‘Adieu’

‘Zaijien’

(nearly…)

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