Strand Ephemera 2015

While we are hanging in Townsville we are trying to get out and about as much as we can! Over the weekend the Strand Ephemera was launched, so we went and checked it out.  What is it you ask? It’s a Sculpture Festival that transforms The Strand into an artist display, and it’s awesome! Check out some of our pics! If you are in the area check it out, you have until 9th August {2015}.                            

Perth, WA

We had to come across to WA for a wedding and boy have we been knocked for six!  It’s just fabulous! We have been cramming SO much in so we can see as much as possible! Perth and Fremantle are just divine and I encroached everyone to come and visit!

This morning we picked up a Cheapa Campa Motorhome, then headed to Rottnest Island for the afternoon and now we are going to continue our exploring south and surrounds over the next few days!

Please check our Facebook/TheBlondeNomad and Instagram/the_blondenomad for regular updates on our week with our Motorhome 🙂

            

Featured Family

While Travelling Australia – it is great linking with other travellers, especially other families. It provides an opportunity to meet up, share ideas, assist with schooling and all the other things (good and bad) that come with raising your children on the road!

One of my first contacts was Mandy at TAWKers “Travel Australia With Kids’!  She founded this group and has a great blog, assisting other travellers who are out there, not only within Australia but families who are coming from overseas!

I love that we are all here to offer advice and share our stories – we are the current ‘Featured Family’ on the TAWKers site – head on over and check it out – click here.  There is also a section on there that you can complete so you can become a Featured Family too 🙂

Foodies – HELP Please :-)

Hey there readers.  I have a little project that I am working on and I need YOUR help!  While travelling in a caravan, we are limited to how much stuff we can carry, so we look for easy meals we can whip up, that are nutritious, filling & are on the less expensive side.  I have put a call out on Facebook and ask people to send in recipes – this way I can collate them all and have a little guide on my BLOG to help people when they are stuck for ideas.

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So – given that the word FOODIE may have attracted you, please feel free to share any recipes of little meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks) that you might have, they can be as fancy or as simple as you like.  You can post them in the comments of this post or email me – theblondenomad13@gmail.com 🙂  I will make sure I credit your name/Blog whatever you ask, and if you could add a photo that would be great too!

The internet is a great source for people to share information, this is why I love Facebook, Instagram & Blogging, so I thank you in advance!

My Baby Bump {and those comments that make you cringe}

As you may or may not be aware, we are expecting a little addition to our family in January 2015.  On the road, I have been quite well, I mean I do get uncomfortable, get a sore back, have some digestion issues, can be emotional, but overall I am feeling really good.  This lifestyle is allowing me to rest when I need to. I lay down and stretch when I need to, I go for daily walks and I have a lot more time to plan meals, so I am eating healthy as well (well except for over indulging in my #1 craving of chocolate).

What does upset me from time to time though are the comments about how ‘huge’ I am.  On the most part, people are quite positive and whether they are saying the truth or not, they pump you up by saying you look lovely.  Everyone who ever has been pregnant, would have to agree there are times where you just feel like a loaf.  My breaths are shortened, I can run out of steam a lot quicker, and I avoid jumping pillows.  When you are feeling a little down, it seems to be the right moment for people to say things like “wow – you are going to pop soon hey?” – “OMG I had twins and wasn’t as big as you” – “Are you sure there is only one baby in there”.  I’m sure that people don’t say these things maliciously, it is just hard that when you are experiencing one of the most beautiful things that can happen, these comments can play over and over in your head and kind of get to you.

SO – I have decided that I am not going to be upset, I have embraced my pregnancy and the way in which my body has changed.  I don’t care if I have put on weight, or look like a baby albino whale, I am loving being pregnant.  I am going to share with you MY BUMP!  This is not a cry out for compliments, I am simply super proud of what my body is going through and I don’t feel the need to hide it.  My little five year old thinks I’m just beautiful and he loves touching and rubbing my belly.

Not long ago, we caught up with friends, and a few of us girls were discussing just how amazing us women are, our bodies are capable of growing another human being and can go through labour.  It is a pretty amazing thing to do, so I am now focussing more on the ‘I am healthy and super lucky to be carrying a baby’ and letting those comments go by the waist side (sorry for the pun).

So here it is –  my body transforming as I carry a little human inside.  I am going to make a promise to myself that I will not start my answer with “I know I’m huge – but I’m ….. weeks pregnant” – I will now say “I am the proud carrier of a ….. week baby & I feel super lucky”!  Today marks my 28th week of pregnancy so Congrats to me 🙂

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Why I Write

Firstly, I was super excited to be asked by a fellow blogger, Heike Herrling…..but it tasted good to join her in this new age “chain letter” style of blogging, answering some questions as to why bloggers write?  She wrote a fabulous blog about why she writes then recommended me to do the same.  I then will recommend some of my loved blogs which will in turn write while they reflect and then recommend some of their favourite blogs. Get the drift?  I was excited as I needed to ask myself a few of these questions, which will hopefully make me think about where I want my blog to go.  So, here goes.

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What Am I Currently Working On?

Like many bloggers, I have a lot of ‘draft’ blogs that need to be finalised and published.  I draw my ideas from challenges I face in travelling around Australia with my husband Corey, and our five year old, Zac.  I write about travelling, about totally random things that pop inside my head at the time.  Sometimes, it’s just having a glass of wine and seeing what happens when my fingers touch the keyboard.  I guess my overall plan is to promote The Blonde Nomad brand.  To get the word out there and inspire people to live their lives.  Time is a precious gift, it doesn’t renew, it doesn’t stop, we need to use our time effectively to ensure that our life doesn’t pass too quickly with regrets.

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How Does My Writing Differ From Others In My Genre?        Why Do I Write What I Do?

Right, so I have totally merged these two questions because for me, they totally are dependant on each other.

I ‘speak-write’.  It’s a term I made up myself just now, to give an idea as to how I write.  I write as if you were sitting right beside me having a conversation and me telling you my stories and challenges.  While we are travelling, it’s hard being away from family and friends, I guess this is my outlet of pretending that I’m sitting with one of my confidante’s and having a laugh, a whinge, a vent, a conversation about what is happening in my life, think of it as my ten minute time out.  I’m known for saying it like it is, I don’t do a compliment sandwich.  If you have read some of my other blogs, I am not afraid to say that at times, this ‘living the dream’ scenario can be scary, yes I do fight with my husband, yes I get tired of being a parent to a demanding five year old.  Just like everyone else out there.  I will never pretend to be the happy rosy family without hiccups, and that’s why I write the way I do.  Whatever pops into my mind, is automatically written.  I’ve studied, I’ve written essays and fairly extensive projects for university, but my blog writing is relaxed, therefore I ‘speak-write’.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I’m not very methodical when it comes to blogging, and maybe I need to be moreso.  Perhaps I need to plan out my blogs. I do however have a dream book, which allows me to write down ideas for blogs, things that have happened that I will then transform into writing.  I do think about what things people might like to read about, and start from there.  If we meet people on the road and they ask a particular question, then I sometimes use that for inspiration that perhaps other people would like that question answered.

I draft blogs, like I said I have lots in the wings.  For some of the blogs I need to read them and re-read them to see if I am prepared to actually “publish” them, but for others I just “add post” then write write write until I have reached my imaginary word limit. I’m new to the Blogosphere, so if I sound like I am all over the place, it probably means that I am.  I have gone from being the most organised person, worker, mother, wife, to now being the most relaxed I’ve ever been.  Thanks to our change of lifestyle.  This is a medium I use for fun, for engagement, and to connect with like minded people, so there is never pressure for me to have to write, I write when I want to.  I totally LOVE it.  Hopefully someday, I can use this as a means of income, maybe, maybe I’m dreaming, but sometimes I put a goal out there as something to work towards!

Blogs To Watch

I am a huge Facebook and Instagram fan.  That is where I submit little stories, and of course a gazillion photos of things that happen in our everyday life.  My first favourite blog is the FatMumSlim blog.  Chantelle started blogging a long time ago, and created an awesome photo a day challenge. Her Blog is inspiring as she has worked hard in creating it as a business and has now brought out her own iPhone app.  I connected with Heike (blogger who recommended me) using these Facebook and Instagram outlets, and even though we have never met personally, she inspires me in ways she would never imagine.  Her images, her writing style, her stories, and mostly her encouragement to me, makes her an outstanding blogger for me, and sometimes I even silently dedicate a new blog to her, knowing that her passion for blogging and for life, inspires me to pull out the laptop and write for myself.

As I am new to the BLOGosphere, I managed to get two of my other favourites to be part of this wonderful blogging experience, Why Do I Write?  So watch out next week for their blogs about where they draw their inspiration from!

MANDY – THE TRAVELLING AUSTRALIA WITH KIDS BLOG ~

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I found Mandy via Facebook and her fabulous ‘TAWKers page’.  Mandy used to live a 5 star lifestyle in England co-ordinating Motor Racing and travelling Europe. She then met an Aussie, married him and moved to Australia.  Three children later and the 5 star lifestyle out of the question and camping suggested – to which she reluctantly agree, SHE LOVED IT!  It led to a two year trip travelling the country and her life was forever changed.  Mandy still yearns for it now and lives vicariously through her TAWKers, through her blog and Facebook page she now supports and provides a great medium for other families currently travelling or those who wish to, Travel Australia With Kids.  Other follows offer great advice and it’s nice to be able to contribute by offering my own experiences to other families travelling.

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 FABI – THIS IS OUR AUSTRALIA ~

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Through Facebook again, I got in contact with Fabi, who was on the countdown in departing for a two year trip around OZ with husband Warrick and beautiful girls Charlotte and Celeste.  Fabi moved to Australia from Switzerland in 2005, her love for Australia was ignited from a family holiday to our great country when she was 10.  They share the most beautiful photos, Warrick has a drone and takes the most wonderful aerial shots.  Their love of stand up paddle boarding makes me want to give it a go.  They are truly making the most of every moment with their girls and Fabi’s enthusiasm and continued encouragement is why I love their blog.10500411_248888465303588_4684036462065291361_n

So there you have it folks, a bit of an insight into The Blonde Nomad’s way of thinking and writing and where I get some of my inspiration.  I knew that writing this would get me excited (thanks again Heike), and now my ideas and thoughts are just streaming.  So it’s off to the drawing board for me.  I’m going to get more focussed and even though I like my casual style, perhaps a planned approach might encourage me to write more.  So for anybody that might read this, then woohoooo, thanks for being part of this magical space us writers call the BLOGosphere 🙂

Please leave comments so I know who has visited, and also leave links to your own blog, Facebook page, Instagram so I can check your stuff out too!!

 

 

 

 

Who Likes Free Stuff???

C’mon, admit it.  We all like to receive FREE things from time to time.  Most of us though, never get to experience this during our lifetime.  How many tickets have you bought to win the Lotto?  How many raffle tickets have you bought during your lifetime, and actually won.  If you are like us, you have forked out a lot more money to buy these tickets than you ever would have won!FTS

WELL GUESS WHAT??????  We won.  We finally won something.  We didn’t even have to buy a ticket, we had to complete an entry form.  Ok, you have no idea what I am talking about do you?  I will start from the beginning.

Back in February I stumbled across a travel competition.  The competition was being run by a large company that specialises in caravan & camping products, Dometic Waeco.  Otherwise known as “Follow The Sun” ambassador competition.  There were three winners being chosen, and each winner would be given the opportunity to win up to $25,000 to upgrade in your caravan and vehicle, plus fuel and accommodation expenses to travel for three months to a set itinerary.  Part of the competition, being an Ambassador, was to host Happy Hours at various places around Australia to show other travellers the great range of products, and to thank them for their ongoing custom to Dometic.  After reading through the terms and conditions I straight away thought that this competition was created for us.  For those of you who know us, we love to meet people, we love happy hours, we love travelling, and yes surprise surprise, I LOVE social media.  So I emailed off the entry form, and after a month or so didn’t really think much of it.

It was Monday, May 19th, we had just spent the weekend in Sydney and were on our way back to Canberra.  Today was the day something magical was going to happen.  Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed I casually said to Corey “I guess we didn’t win that Dometic thing, the winners were announced today and we haven’t received a call”.  He laughed, and we both agreed that things like this would never happen to us.

We arrived back in Canberra and were packing up our van, we had finished exploring our Nation’s Capital and were ready to head to Victoria.  Being so busy packing, I didn’t hear my phone ring.  I had a missed call, and a voicemail message.  I recognised it was a Gold Coast number, I laughed and said to Corey “Bet it’s Dometic, haha”.  As I checked my voicemail, I screamed, it WAS Dometic.  They had left a message asking me to return their call.  I must’ve called about twenty times, obviously the person I was trying to get through to was busy calling other finalists.  When I got through and heard on the other end of the line that we had made the TOP 20 from OVER 8000 applicants my heart stopped, I couldn’t stop shaking and I was absolutely gobsmacked!

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So what did this mean, making the Top 20?  This meant that we had to submit further details together with a video submission outlining why we should win, and become the top 3.  For a bit of extra confidence and support I asked friends to invite their friends to like our travel page.  This made me feel loved, I admit it, I started to feel that we could inspire more and more people to travel, to bite the bullet and make sure that they never have a dull moment.  Get out and explore our country, whether it be for a weekend, a week, a month, a year or a lifetime.  This then gave us some further inspiration to make the videos and answer questions about what would make us great Ambassadors of Dometic.

After the video and extra information had been submitted we had to wait, a whole seven days to find out if we had won.  On Monday, 2nd June at 11:58am we got a call.  We got THE call.  We were told that we were selected to be one of the three Dometic Follow The Sun Ambassadors for 2014.  I was beyond chuffed, nothing could describe how I felt.  This was an opportunity travellers dream of, to have the financial support to be able to continue our travels, we again were gobsmacked.  I screamed in the car and Corey realised that we had won.  Not only had we won, we were given our first choice itinerary and that was to explore NSW, SA and VIC.  We were yet to explore the areas that are outlined in the itinerary so we were absolutely over the moon!  The hardest thing was we had to keep it a secret until the announcement at the Brisbane Caravan and Camping Show, Tuesday 10th June.  We managed to tell a few white lies to keep this all hush hush’, it was all worth it in the end.

The moment Brooke Hanson (celebrity Dometic Follow The Sun Ambassador) announced our names, we could finally break out into the dance that had been held inside our bodies for over a week.  We met Dometic staff, who were just fabulous, did interviews for various magazines, radio, newspapers, we were on top of the world.

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Since the announcement, we have moved in with some friends on the Sunshine Coast until we embark on this new journey.  We have emptied our caravan out and have met with the Dometic Reps who have gone through what we can fit in the van.  The products that we will be getting installed are just fabulous, and I can’t wait to share this with you all!  Corey will be working on the Coast so we can save some extra money for the duration of time we will be away.

I have created a page on my blog “2014 Dometic Follow The Sun Ambassadors” where I will add links from the http://www.dometicfollowthesun.com.au page, and write about our journey’s for that time and share our itineraries hoping that you might be able to come along and meet us.  I will continue to write the real stories about caravanning as well, as I’m sure we will hit challenges along the way.

I want to finish off by encouraging everyone to get out and explore this wonderful country of ours.  Full-time travelling might not be your thing, but explore your town, your neighbouring town.  Spend time with family and friends.  Time is one thing you will never get back.

You get ONE Life, so make every moment count.

Kellie (aka The Blonde Nomad)
2014 Dometic Follow The Sun Ambassador (I will never get tired of writing that!)

 

 

 

 

 

Caravanning – Living The Dream (then it rains)

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Right, so made the paper today.  Great story by the Charters Towers Northern Miner about us making the Final 20 in the Dometic Follow the Sun ambassador competition (which I will tell you all about in another Blog), we certainly are living the dream, then it rains.  It rains and Zac (Master 5) is trying his Spiderman moves in the caravan, Corey can’t sit still and I, well I am just downright ready to snap kick them.  So, the best thing to do in the rain, straight to my best friend Google as I type in the words “Indoor Play Centre”.  Whoever was the Mastermind behind this concept is a friggin genius.  It is the saviour of many a crazy Mums out there, where your kids can go crazy, run up and down the stairs to zoom down the ever so fast slides, while Mum sits here, vents on her blog and enjoys as Latte.
We are at “Scrambles”, an indoor play centre in Wodonga.  What a deal they have today, $10 entry and then you can use that $10 towards food. So I am overindulging and I ordered hot chips with gravy, going down just superbly in this cold rainy weather.  Usually there are a thousand screaming children at centres like this, but today, for the last hour of opening, it’s just us.  Corey is reading a magazine and Zac is having a blast, again, thank you to the master mind behind Indoor Play Centres!
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So what else has been happening with us??  We left Canberra (where Corey worked for a few months), and are heading South.  We have been free camping (until this weather turned on us), and the landscapes are just lovely.  The temperature has been perfect as well, beautiful throughout the days and the nights cool enough to snuggle.  We have booked into the show grounds, a lovely spot at only $20/night for power and water and will wait until this weather passes before we head south to Wangaratta.  We have been teaching Zac about Ned Kelly, so he is super keen to see the big bushranger and follow his trail.  Have you ever tried to teach a 5 year old about a bushranger?  Ned Kelly is kind of a hero, but he was naughty, Police are the good guys, this was a huge challenge in trying to teach Zac the story, am hoping that we have done an ok job with this.
Just a short Blog so you all know we are still around.  I promise I will be writing more, especially about where we have been and places we recommend.  If you want to follow live updates, follow us on Facebook/The Blonde Nomad or on Instagram/TheBlondeNomad13.
Until next time, be safe, and remember to Love Your Life, You Only Get One!!
Kellie x

PROJECT “10:15 TimeSnap”

My Mum recently gave me a present, a bag with the words “see the world….come home for love”. 

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ten fifteenI’m sure majority of people who live or work away from their family, agree with Dorothy in that there is ‘no place like home’. Wouldn’t it be great if wherever we are in the world, we could click our heels 3 times and be home with loved ones.  Since this isn’t the case, I’ve come up with an idea, The Blonde Nomad’s 10:15 TimeSnap! Before I explain what this ‘timesnap’ is all about, I will first let you know why and how I came up with the idea.  

In this day and age, families are often separated, and although this separation is usually of benefit to the whole family, there are important times that people can miss out on.  Boarding students, FIFO workers, Defence workers, travellers, just to name a few are within the group of ‘missing out’ on family time.  As I have said in previous blogs, the times I find hardest being away from my family are things like birthdays, the birth of children, and special occasions like Easter & Christmas (sometimes when hugely emotional it can be as little as missing Mum’s Sunday Roast).  It would be wonderful if we could afford just to fly home every regularly, but this isn’t the case.  People who work away from their families can’t just stop everything and come home, boarding students who have travelled long distances to get to school often spend their birthdays in dormitories, Defence workers who are posted overseas miss out on lots of special occasions as well.
We live in a era of opportunity.  Gone are the days where we grow up in the same town as our parents, grandparents and then marry somebody who is from the same town and then have children in the same town.  It is an era of experiencing different countries and cultures, moving interstate, working away for financial and professional gain, falling in love with somebody from ‘somewhere else’, all these factors can have both positive and negatives and everyone makes these choices for what is best for them or their families.  This is where my ‘timesnap’ idea came from.  The word ‘timesnap’ I thought I was being hugely clever and creating this word, however it already exists in the lovely world of the internet.  The internet is a wonderful tool for staying in contact with family and friends on a daily basis, via Facbeook, Twitter, Instagram, Emails, Skype, FaceTime, the list goes on.  So let’s use this even more to our advantage to stay in contact with loved ones (and spy on everyone else!).
So the idea of 10:15.  At 10:15am, I am usually sitting down having a coffee & morning tea with Zac, and this is when I stop and wonder what my folks are doing, if my sister is taking a morning tea break, if the kids at school are having a great break and playing, if museums and being discovered by travellers, if a surfer is catching the wave of their life, if a hairdresser has transformed somebody, if a Dr has saved somebody, if a child is born, if a bill payment is due, the thoughts that go through my mind are endless.  I also click onto Facebook and Instagram and see what people have posted.  Now, how cool would it be if lots of people at the same time all posted what they were doing or where they were at exactly the same time!  We could share with people all over the world and see what they are doing at 10:15.  Not everyone is available at 10:15am so we are lucky that there will always be 2 x 10:15’s a day! At 10:15 at night, people might be reading, drinking, dancing, eating, kissing, dating, another great time to share photos with loved ones!
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WHERE TO FROM HERE…. what I need is YOUR help.  I need you to help get this started, and then invite all of your friends to get it growing.  Photo challenges are so much fun, and the more people that play along the more fun they become.  I want this to be natural, for you to take 60 seconds out of your day to ‘SNAP’ and ‘POST’.  If you have Instagram – snap the photo, post the photo, hashtag the photo “#TBNtimesnap”.  If you have FaceBook – snap the photo, post the photo on The Blonde Nomad’s Facebook page, or on your own page and TAG ‘The Blonde Nomad’.  In either of these social media outlets you can then tag family & friends so they can see what you are up to.  Don’t think too much about it, just SNAP.
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Set your alarm, alarm goes off – SNAP! Take a selfie, what you are eating, what you are reading, where you are, your shoes, anything that has something to do with what you are doing in that instant of 10:15.
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I’m going to start the #TBNtimesnap on May 1st, Zac’s birthday!  I could think of no other better way to start then on this day… so hopefully you can too!!!  I look forward to seeing all your photos 🙂  Share Share Share and let the timesnapping begin!!!