How would you improve Australia with 270 Billion Dollars ?

I’m just a nomad writer. I don’t pretend to be an expert. I observe events through the social media lens same as everyone else. But I have been around. And I’ve seen stuff that makes me question the world. Here are some of my questions: What do you rate as valuable in our society? Is it human life? Community? Progress? Profit?

Or arms deals?

Anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture.

Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts. We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.

— Ira Byock, The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life (Avery, 2012)

quoted in; https://medium.com/@ismailalimanik/the-first-sign-of-civilization-95bc3f44f956

When I was in Canterbury for Christmas in 2017, I passed people wrapped in rubbish bags as I went to the Cathedral for the carol service. This was the heart of the Church of England in winter and homeless people watched the worshippers off to worship, and on the other side of the town, queues forming for the crazy-fun panto just around the corner. How is this civilised?

When I was in Hamburg in 2018, the tour guide told us this was the richest city in Europe, the place with the most billionaires, a city based on trade and bristling with container cranes. And I saw homeless people, even one poor women in a wheelchair, hunkered down in a doorway against the autumn chill. Why wouldn’t the richest city in Europe be able to house everyone?

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¡Buen Camino! Finding plant-based food on the way, la comida vegana. ¡Buen Provecho!

Perfect picnic lunch - note the mini vinegar and oil sachets
Perfect picnic lunch – note the mini vinegar and oil sachets

Like most people in the world I’ve been in lockdown and one of my quarantine projects was to get my 2016 Camino del Norte/Primitivo notes into some kind of readable format. You can find the full pdf version of ‘There You Go’ on Scribd here. Find the chapter about things to take with you here.

Here’s the chapter about vegan food. What can you eat in the north of Spain if you prefer to eat plants? Lots. Buen provecho means bon appétit – or happy eating!

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¡Buen Camino! Things to take with you – Las Cosas

There I go, wearing cap, with raincoat ready
There I go, wearing cap, with raincoat on outside of Aarn backpack within easy reach

Like most people in the world I’ve been in lockdown and one of my quarantine projects was to get my 2016 Camino del Norte/Primitivo notes into some kind of readable format. You can find the full pdf version of ‘There You Go’ on Scribd here.

Here, for your interest and inspiration, I offer a chapter – THINGS! – Las Cosas! – you might like to take with you on your walk across Spain. In no particular order. Mere suggestions. Go your own way. Find the Plant-Based Food chapter separately.

Ask yourself: do I need it? Can I live without it? Can I buy it along the way? (Yes, you probably can). Please note: the longest time on the Camino del Norte/Primitivo without a shop is 22km. There will be a shop soon.

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Sustainable travel? How do we get that?

A socially isolated contrail
Socially isolated contrail

Change?

In the middle of the city, I passed a dishevelled man. He crouched by the wall of a big, inner-city shop, holding out his cap. He called out, ‘Change?’ He had no expression on his face. He did not look at anyone. His gaze was straight ahead. ‘Change?’ He did not sound hopeful.

Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/236614-lord-grant-me-the-strength-to-accept-the-things-i

It is the time of Covid-19. The virus spreads quickly. Different measures in different places attempt to contain it. Medical staff are under extreme pressure in every hospital.

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Brisbane to Melbourne – the slow way is the only way

Back in Australia! My father’s land. He was born in Kalangadoo, South Australia. By sheer chance, Roly Parks, a famous author, also hails from Kalangadoo. We’re not going there. We start in Brisbane, Queensland to continue my sustainable travel! Onward!

Painted on the wall of YHA Byron Bay
On the wall of YHA Byron Bay – Coronavirus learning curve just starting

I disembarked from container ship MV Ontario II on the 22 February 2020 at The Port of Brisbane and caught a train to the centre of town. Brisbane, the third biggest city in Australia, has good bus/rail/ferry links for city travellers. The local Translink system – together with nifty app – works well. You get a GO card and set your course. Thank you, dear friends, who looked after me during my stay in Brissie! (We all kept our distance.)

Brisbane is subject to flooding
Brisbane straddles the River Maiwar (Brisbane River). Sign taken in Ashgrove, a hilly suburb!

During this trip I was not interested in tourist sights – you will have to seek other blogs for things to do in Brisbane – rather, I was a commuter, focussed primarily on my journey south to Melbourne.

Brisbane to Melbourne as the crow flies
Brisbane to Melbourne as the crow flies – I’m not a crow

As you may know, I recently travelled overland across Europe and a corner of Asia with only a hiccup between China and Taiwan, mostly on fast trains.

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Sustainable travel in a menu

What I did on my holiday …

Extinction Rebellion poster

Welcome! I hope you enjoy exploring my 2019/20 blog about three months of planning while based in the UK, two months of overland and sea travel over the Channel, through the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, Russia, China and Taiwan to New Zealand. Plus, three months of travel around NZ, five days on water from Tauranga to Brisbane and three weeks overland from Queensland to Victoria. And, finally, I have some conclusions about how we travel and our appetite for change.

My experience of sustainable travel was not fast. It was not cheap. It was not convenient. But it was the trip of my lifetime!

Heading towards Queenstown

Some of you may have already seen some of my photos, experiences and reflections. Here’s a chance to catch up with all the missing pieces! Please comment along the way, share your own sustainable travel journeys and CHANGE!

Gondolas up and down outside the Skyline Centre

Overland from UK to NZ overview – planning and travel stages over five months – menu

Mongolian train logo

Transports of delight NZ – the North Island

Kiwi Rail waiting at Welly Station

Transports of delight NZ – the South, Stewart and Ulva Islands

Stewart Island ferry at Bluff Wharf

Container ship from NZ to Australia

The Ports of Auckland and CC Coral

Brisbane to Melbourne – the slow way is the only way

Train link bus to Casino

Conclusions – how to make travel sustainable? Change

Bon voyage!

More shipping news – NZ to Oz – Tauranga to Brisbane – Ontario II

Is this a rata or a pohutakawa on Mount Maunganui?
Anyone know if this is a rata or a pohutakawa on Mount Maunganui? Big, isn’t it?

All in all I spent three months in New Zealand, seeing friends, family and reinforcing memories. I found the experience, although unplanned, grounding. As a person in transition it was helpful to look back and see the schools and the university I attended, plus workplaces where I’d wielded rakes and scythes, mixed mercury into lead for fillings and shelved books into the evening. I was a passenger in buses, private cars and taxis, ferries and I drove my own 15 ton digger. Still digesting my Kiwi experience, it was time to head back to Australia to see my son in his native habitat. And, OF COURSE, I would not be flying!

Passenger number two beside my second container ship docked at Port Tauranga
Passenger number two beside my second container ship docked at Port Tauranga
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Transport of delights through Aotearoa New Zealand Part II The South

Find Part I The North Island here.

MULTI-PAGE long read!

Bluebridge Ferry parked in Picton
Bluebridge Ferry parked in Picton

SOUTH ISLAND of New Zealand

My “home” whirlwind tour continued south, zooming from Picton to Stewart Island. (Well. It took two months. Is that zooming?) I visited familiar landscapes, discovered new beauty spots and felt honoured to be among my hosts, beloved friends and family. Tena kotu! We were able to reminisce (with much tears and laughter) about those who have gone from this land and celebrate fresh youth, chubby babies, surrounded by hope and love.

I hope you enjoy reading through my journey, finding places that might interest you and become reassured it is more than possible to make your way around NZ by public transport. As you will see, it really is a relaxing way to travel.

And again, as I revisited places known as an adolescent, I considered the possibility of returning to this place to live. Where was my ‘home’? What was the attraction that might make it so again? What could the future hold?

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Transports of delight through Aotearoa, New Zealand, Part I The North Island

New Zealand fades into the horizon
New Zealand fades into the horizon

That was the view from MV Ontario II, my second container ship, as we farewelled the Northern tip of New Zealand in February 2020. It spelled the end of my journey to reconnect with ancestors and elders, friends and Aotearoa herself, the land of the long white cloud.

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”

― Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

goodreads.com/quotes/tag/home

I am a person in transition, from one status to another, and checking places where I grew up has been restorative. During the three months I travelled between Auckland to Stewart Island I not only revisited my past but also contemplated the future. As I watched landscapes roll past bus or train windows, I asked myself: Is NZ my home? Could I return here to live? Where? Is it possible for a soul have a connection to any one place?

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Stage Eleven – Shipping news! CC Coral from Taiwan to New Zealand – overland from UK 2 NZ

Up the gangway of CC Coral at Port Kaohsiung
Up the gangway of CC Coral at Port Kaohsiung – see any reevers?

LONG READ!

Please note this is a multi-page post recording a 14 day sea voyage. I was the only passenger on CC Coral, a container ship travelling between Taiwan and New Zealand, in November 2019. It was an alternative to flying. But was it any more sustainable?

If you’re new to my sustainable (?!) journey across the world, here is a menu to help you find your way: https://ourrelationshipwithnature.com/overview-overland-uk-2-nz-without-flying-eleven-stages-in-fifty-days/

For fellow travellers who might notice errors and omissions, please add your comments. In fact, all comments welcome!

The Port of Kaohsiung as seen in the Immigration Office
The extensive Port of Kaohsiung seen in the Immigration Office late at night

Friday 8th November night into Saturday morningThe Port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

First night at sea. Mr Wang, my driver, had been a shipping agent for 25 years. He couldn’t understand why this giant of a company, CMA CGM, wanted to take passengers. Why? Other freight companies did not bother.

Well, Monsieur Wang, I was glad they did for they offered exactly what I wanted; a no-fuss way to travel without flying. I also felt comfortable that CMA CGM wore their environmental aspirations on their website. Mr Wang swooped the car around the grand driveway of the Excalibur hotel, lined with a small city’s worth of sparkly blue and white lights, and parked. We were there to pick up the new ship’s reever-electrician. (Whatever a reever is – it’s super important – I’ll find out later.)

Looking over the Port of Kaohsiung from the wing deck outside my cabin
Looking over the Port of Kaohsiung from the wing deck outside my cabin.
Wonder if there’s a reever in this picture? There, look …
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