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42 Days of Summer, Relationships

Day 1 – When Love Means Letting Go

April 24, 2017

Ideally, I’d like to go on all my adventures with The Ginger Hunk. Actually, that’s kind a lie. (But I would like him geographically closer than he is now.) In my thirty something years I realised how much I relish time alone and have realised the benefits of travelling solo when you’re in a relationship.  I need it to re-charge my soul. And the fact is that The Ginger Hunk and I like very different things. He likes to be high in the sky and I prefer more ground based or water based activities. Usually when we go on holidays together, we negotiate locations which have a bit of everything, paragliding, water and yoga. But when I said I wanted to go to Bali for six weeks to do my freediving Master course The Ginger Hunk wasn’t up for it. He had bigger fish to fry than dreaming about freediving. Recovering from surgery, thinking about re-starting his business and getting his physical and mental health back to 100 per cent.

A six week holiday was not on the cards. Continue Reading…

Relationships, Travel Tips

4 Reasons to travel with your grown-up family

August 29, 2016

September is rolling around quickly, and so it is the long awaited fabulous and forty trip to Vietnam with my sister. I’m a little nervous, having not been on a solo trip with my sister, for… well forever. We went to Croatia with our significant others in 2007, but a lot of things have happened since then. Babies, marriages, new careers, dealing with ageing parents. We have had one on one time of course, but not for long, and  it is always for an occasion. I’m looking forward to just being and chilling with her with no real plans. Earlier this year, I went to Bali with my almost 70 year old Dad in June, which was very special indeed. Here are 4 reasons you should consider travelling with your grown up family.

1.  You’ll never have this time again

One thing I have realised in recent times is that life is short and unpredictable. Anything can happen just around the corner. Travelling with your parents or brother/sister as adults cherishes the time we have now, and the journey you have taken on your relationship to where you are now. Health, children, cats, and this thing we call life can throw a spanner in the works at any time. We are all pressured in this busy, busy life. If you have the opportunity to take the time out with your family, then do it.   

2. You can show them what you love (and vice versa)

Coming together as grown ups isn’t the same as being dragged around on a trip with your parents when you’re a kid. You can make your own decisions about the activities you want to do. You have time to enjoy, share and learn about each others passions and interests. When my Dad came with me to Bali, he was adamant he wasn’t going to watch me do this thing called freediving. With a little coaxing from my instructor, Dad came out to the line with us, had a go himself, and got to 15m on his first try. (Show off.) He also learned why I like it, and after watching has declared to my mum that it is not as dangerous as it seems.  Continue Reading…


On Love and Marriage

August 22, 2016

Love and marriage, love and marriage… I’ve been pondering such questions in the last few days. We are going through a wedding season of sorts. All kinds of marriages! New love marriages where the couple has been together for a few years. Old love marriages where the couple has been together, had two children and decided to get married after 10 years. And medium marriages, of couples in between.

On top of the wedding spurt, I’ve had mates who have had babies to partners, (non-married), who have told me that marriage doesn’t mean as much to them anymore, now they have children. As a non-parent married person I’ve always really wanted the commitment of marriage before I even thought about children. In fact, The Ginger Hunk and I actually forgot to have the children conversation when we met. I was just like YES. YES. YES. This is the Ginger Hunk for me. Five years on, I would perhaps do my wedding day a little differently, but would I want to stand up and commit to the Ginger Hunk in front of everyone we love again?


I agree that children is perhaps the ultimate commitment in life (as you can never get rid of them, like you can do a bad husband) but it’s not the only commitment. Relationships stand outside of a parenting partnership. The wedding I witnessed on Saturday was such a beautiful explosion of love, even after the trials of parenting and journeying through life for ten years. The wedding ceremony and vows were a testament to the couple, their love, the ups and downs, quirks and enduring qualities. We all felt like a community, part of their journey to this point. Very different to newer couples, who haven’t been on that ride yet, nor built their tribe of supporters, but are promising to get through it no matter what. Equally exciting promises I think, which ever way you look at it.

marriage married newlyweds love adorable

Continue Reading…


He MIGHT Be Cheating: Would You Tell?

July 24, 2016

Put yourself in this scenario. (Disclaimer: It may be me. It may be something that a friend described, it may be a hypothetical mash up of things.) But let’s say for simplicity the story goes this way. A person you sort of know, says that their friend says that they saw (insert person you know here’s name) partner cheating on her a long time ago.

You know for a fact, that the person you know and their partner were together at the time. They seem happy and fine now.


Musings of sorts, Relationships

My Sister

July 7, 2016

My sister and I were born five years apart. Which is a bloody long time when you’re little.

If you’re going to have kids to be friends when they are growing up, have them close together I say! (Rest assured we are making up for lost time now.)

She was always so much more grown up than me. Five years seemed like an eternity for me to wait for things until  “when you’re as old as your sister you can (insert cool thing here…) AN ETERNITY, I swear I waited. Continue Reading…

Bali, Relationships, Travel & Wanderlust

The Power of Connection

July 4, 2016

I hope the boys from Bubu Racok Homestay don’t mind me using this image of them below from my recent trip to Bali.The photo basically sums up what I felt the whole time I was staying at this beautiful homestay. Connection.

I contemplated the power of connection a lot during my week in the little village of Amed, far on the north east coast of Bali. Amed is far from the bars, the lights, the messy Australians found in the south. A simple seaside town, open to tourism but still retaining traditional life. Sure, I noticed the bad points. The poverty, the rubbish on the road, the lack of infrastructure, the kids out of school. But I also I noticed the smiles.

Most of all, I noticed the smiles.

I wondered, are the Balinese really this happy with the little material possessions they have?

The answer is yes, I think, because of connection, not only to each other, but to a purpose. I watched Wayan and his family in awe during my week, at the end of which, I felt like part of their family. I almost howled when I left. I watched how they worked together and helped each other out for the united aim of being the best homestay in Amed, and in my opinion it is. Not because of the rooms, or the air-con, or the banana pancake, which is ACTUALLY the best. But because of the feeling you get when you are there.  I watched as everyone worked together to solve problems and tasks. Sons and their girlfriends, cousins and friends. Nothing was too much for anybody. From cleaning to driving, to cooking, to helping fix a broken seat, to coming together in the evening to BBQ for their guests.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 4.52.06 pm

Between busy times, I would watch the family sit together, and just talk. Or sit, and just be together.  I can’t remember the last time I sat with my husband, just in each others company. Without Netflix, without talking about bills, the cats, this DVA claim looming over or heads….the list goes on.

Just connecting.

Just because. 

It rubbed off on me and I found myself talking to strangers during the week, connecting in the sunset, having real conversations.

The deep kind. I did not watch a single show or movie in ten days.

Something else that struck me was the connection to the spirit. It is something that you see everyday. It is not talked about, it is not pushed on people. It is lived. It is life. The week I was in Bali there was a series of festivals, people would return to their villages, for days of offering and thanking the Gods. Small baskets of flowers, rice and incense are put in front of people’s homes and businesses three times a day, every day. You will see them all throughout Bali on your travels, during festival time or not. This is a ritual based on thanks, and expressing gratitude, rather than on fear. The freediving team even held a ceremony to make sure that we are all safe in the oceans and to express gratitude for their business.

How amazing is that?

I can’t help but notice, back sitting in my cubicle, surrounded by people, how alone I feel.

Most of the time, I am surrounded by people. Sometimes, I’m actually squashed, whether it be on the bus or in the coffee shop.

But at the same time, I feel like we are all so alone. Together but disconnected.

Have we got it wrong?


Ashleigh XXX

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT