Travelling With Bukowski

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I always travel with a book. Sometimes several.

But this trip I decided to load e-books on my kindle, as well as a few audio books, and bring just a journal instead, to save space.

It worked for a while.

And then suddenly it didn’t.

 

In a bookshop in Manila I found the English Language section. They stocked a broad and eclectic range, and the books were mostly cheap paperbacks with impossibly thin pages and thin covers and several of every copy, impenetrable in their plastic wrapping.

I excavated a thin poetry book that was hidden behind new editions of recent best-sellers. The protective cover was gone; the small book was so well read that the cover was creased almost in two and every page was soiled and marked. Like all of the travellers before me I stopped and dipped between its pages for a moment. The world stood still as words fell around me like rain.

I dug around the shelves some more and then I found it. A volume of Charles Bukowski’s poetry. The cover was soft with wear. It was well read and loved already. It felt good in my hand, like I belonged to it, and it to me. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I just held it tight, and stood in front of the shelves a little longer, pretending that I might choose something else. Wondering if I could take it home.

I couldn’t see for tears.

Once, long ago, I took a journey to another far-away place and forgot to take a book with me. I was living in the Kimberley then. The remote Australian outback. A terrible place to be without a book.

Not long after I arrived a group of American tourists camped at the station. It was their last adventure before they caught a plane to Darwin and then home. On the morning of their departure they dumped whatever they didn’t need, to lighten their luggage.

Later that morning I watched a cleaner empty the trash from the men’s toilet. Among the papers and bottles and debris I saw a book fly into the bin. Before I could stop myself I ran from the office and snatched it up. I didn’t even stop to read the cover. It was a book, and I was a junky starved of words.

I wiped it clean with a corner of my shirt and carried it home triumphant.

This same book.

For days back in that wilderness place I couldn’t even open it. I just read the cover over and over. The title said ‘You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense – Charles Bukowski.’

I felt like Bukowski was talking to me. I knew and he knew.

And as I chose and read a single poem, rationing them to every other day, I came to know that poets exist to sing breath back into our bodies when we can no longer breathe for ourselves.

I lost that precious book when we moved from the Kimberley. But now we have found each other again.

I read one randomly selected poem aloud each day, to entertain Ben and to nurture myself. It’s like travelling with an old friend.

It’s like coming home.

 

Highlights of Cebu

My friend Cate helping me make a healing meditation mandala on the beach one early morning

“No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.”
~ Elbert Hubbard

 

I’ve been in Cebu the past several days, attending a wonderful conference for entrepreneurs. (Thank you, Chris Ducker!) While I’ve been here I have also made healing mandalas for my morning meditation each day, I have swum with tropical fish, I have networked and brainstormed and expanded my possibilities, I have enjoyed massages, and planned the next stage of my business, I have discovered useful information for my coaching clients, I have hugged many friends, I have done more psychic readings in a few days of downtime than I ever thought possible, I have danced and sung and partied and even partaken of a very few, very good alcoholic beverages – a rarity for me.

I am now busy packing before I fly out to Manila, so I will offer a few photos as evidence that a good time has been had, and that I really did manage to make it through with flying colours instead of collapsing in a heap at the end of it all.

I’ll write more tomorrow, after I’ve hugged my husband and caught up on some sleep.

Missing you all heaps, Nicole ❤ xoxo

 

The amazing Peter Shankman, presenting my favourite quote of the event; ‘Let me give you some advice, bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used against you.’ ~ Tyrion Lannister, George R Martin.

Psychic readings by the pool. Can’t complain about my working conditions. In between each session I would have a quick dip and then a cool drink. Just lovely!!!

Boat rides, swimming with tropical fishies and spectacular sunsets…

Getting ready for our White Party on the beach.

And partying at the White Party with my friends.

I had the biggest smile all night. So much fun. So many happy memories made.

I  must say that it’s wonderful to be well enough to be posting things like this. Dreams do come true. Prayers do get answered. The wheel turns. If it can for me, it can for you too!

(PS – Yes, you may have spotted it. The rogue unicorn that photobombed me. It was that kind of a night…)

Like Cinderella I was home just before the clock struck midnight, and I took a selfie for my Mum to prove that I was still in good shape after all that frivolity – just a little hot from dancing. Cebu certainly puts the ‘hot’ in tropical. Here you go, Mum!

Best. Time. Ever. 😀

 

Let There Be Sleep!

“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”
~ Leonora Carrington

 

My conference here in Cebu is drawing to a close.

Last night we finished the formal activities with a White Party on the beach. A fabulous night, and I shall post photos just as soon as I am able. I need a little more sleep first. Do you know how long it has been in my life since I have been able to string together so much work and so much fun in one long run of days? Decades, my friends. Decades.

Truth be told my health has held up well (except for the pants of shame night, best explained in a separate blog post!) but I am unaccustomed to so much partying and so many big days and late nights.

Dawn on the beach was perfect for my morning meditation but now I am sneaking back to bed, because it is officially a holiday today and I can.

I may even sleep in tomorrow.

Hugs and love to you all, Nicole xx

Highlights of Vietnam

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
~ Lao Tzu

Vietnam has been a fabulous holiday – full of delicious food, temples, crystals, lots of opportunities for meditation and quiet time, and for immersion in the hustle and bustle.

One of the best things about this trip has been travelling with our Vietnamese-Australian friend Thanh and her family. To have access to local knowledge and someone who speaks the language has enabled us to have experiences that we’d have never enjoyed otherwise.

I have loved every moment – even the knuckle-clenching bike rides!

Here are some of my highlights…

Coffee – so good. This version is hot, and filter dripped over sweetened condensed milk.

Temple dedicated to Quan Yin at the top of a mountain. I did say mountain. And yes. I climbed all the way up. Prayed and meditated for you. Then climbed back down again.

Pho. Soupy noodles in a flavoursome broth. With herbs. And killer chilli…

So many precious jewels and stones. Many of which are now in my overweight bag.

A 6am street breakfast. With excellent company.

A giant buddha. The temple built beside him, on the side of a mountain, has incredible energy and a sense of deep peace.

Lighting incense, and sending up prayers and positive intentions for my family, for you, and for the world.

A street stall full of sweets, offerings, ritual costumes and wonder.

Jewels! These ones are magnificent amethysts.

With my bikie gang, heading out for dinner and enjoying the New Year boulevards of lights and decorations.

At 5ku station, a street market barbeque restaurant in Saigon. My clothes still smell like barbeque days later!

We cooked our own dinner! Grilled beef, chicken and octopus served with sauces, vegetables, noodles, fries, beers and pepsi.

Yo! That’s ‘cheers’ in Vietnamese!

Listening To My Body

2017-02-24-19-10-12

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.”
~ William Wordsworth

 

Yesterday I stopped.

Although I am on holiday and had a million exciting events planned I decided to cancel all of them.

Instead I put myself to bed and slept. Rising in the late afternoon I took a short walk, ate a simple meal overlooking the world from the top floor open-air cafe of our hotel. I watched the river flowing. I watched the sun set. I watched the play of lights in the night sky, and then put myself back to bed again.

So much sleep, and I feel as if I could still sleep some more. So it’s likely I will.

 

Once I would have pushed through this exhaustion. I would have allowed stubbornness to keep me upright and engaged, no matter how fatigued I might be.

No more.

Part of my holiday plan is to listen to my body and give it what it needs. It needs sleep. So I will happily comply.

How about you? If you take a moment, close your eyes and tune in, how do you feel? How much charge is in your physical battery? Your emotional battery?

What do you most need right now?

Try to give yourself some of that today.

Thinking of you, and sending so much love,

Nicole ❤ xoxo

A Taste Of Vietnam

2017-02-22-12-44-35

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” ~ Bill Bryson

 

So, here I am in Vietnam, and our first day has been quite an adventure! We’re staying in the old section of the Grand Hotel, Saigon. Somehow we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a suite right beside a tranquil swimming pool and green oasis. It’ s a refuge from the heat, and a fabulous spot for writing. After an early morning stroll around the neighbourhood I enjoyed a refreshing swim and then some time working on my book before lunch.

2017-02-22-16-41-12

2017-02-22-12-05-44-1

Ben and I are blessed to be travelling with an Australian-Vietnamese friend who is introducing us to a taste of local life. There’s nothing like having a tour guide with family in the area and inside knowledge! First up we tried local coffee – strong, sweet and good. Then after our swim Thanh took us to a simple noodle shop near our hotel and ordered us lunch. I got to enjoy my first ever bowl of authentic Pho – rice noodles in broth with thin slivers of beef and vegetables and a host of fresh herbs. Delicious!

2017-02-22-12-44-17

Next was some crystal shopping and a wander around some local markets.

So much of today has revolved around food. In the cool of the late afternoon Thanh’s Dad and three of his mates turned up on their motorbikes and took us for a tour of the city, and a visit to the oldest cathedral in Saigon.

2017-02-22-18-24-29

2017-02-22-18-02-02

2017-02-22-18-02-22

2017-02-22-18-22-10

Travelling by bike is a great way to take in the sights, smells and atmosphere, although I must admit to being a little white knuckled at the craziness of the traffic until I finally relaxed into the flow of it. To a western eye it seems so disorganised, but if you step into that zen space and just go with it, there’s a strange logic and beauty to it.

After our city tour we finished up with dinner at an excellent Chinese restaurant. So much food. So much fun! The pictures below are rice vermicelli with fresh shrimp (prawns), garlic and chilli, and then a tofu and egg savoury custard topped with a meaty mushroom slice and some shellfish in a seafood bisque sauce. Oh my goodness, that was amazing!!! There was more too, but I was too busy eating and talking and laughing to remember to take photos! Sorry 🙂

2017-02-22-20-02-34

2017-02-22-19-37-33

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Sending much love your way, Nicole ❤ xoxo

 

Five Things That Made This Week Extra Wonderful Already!

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
~ Charles Dickens

 

1.New Journal Challenge!

2015-09-26-16-25-53-e1443250387447

It’s been a while since I ran a journal and oracle card challenge, so I’ve decided to cook another one up for you. It’s fabulous, it’s free, and there will be more details here on the blog on Friday so stay tuned!

 

2. New Swimmers!

I needed new swimwear for my upcoming trip. Usually this is not the kind of shopping I look forward to. But… The very first place I went into, the very first swimmers I tried on – perfect fit! Don’t you love it when that happens? 🙂

 

3. Money In My Pocket!

When I was looking for a bag to keep all my journals and crystals in when I go travelling I came upon a pencil-case I though I’d lost years ago. When I opened it up there was $350 cash. Bonus! Now I have extra spending money.

 

4. Our House Sitter Brought His Dog to Stay!

I was worried about leaving Harry Dog on his own for the first time without Bert to keep him company. But our wonderful house sitter has brought his gorgeous Black Labrador with him and she is the sweetest girl, so now Harry has a friend and he won’t be lonely. Such a win!

5. Holidays!

Holidays? Yep. They start today. Hooray!!! By the time you read this I’ll be on my way to the airport! Two weeks in Vietnam and then two weeks in the Philippines.So excited!!!  I’ll keep you posted on all the fun and goodness. 🙂

 

Biggest hugs and love to you, Nicole ❤ xx