Category Archives: Family

Wanderings Day 30

We have arrived at the last day of this challenge to self – wander travel memory lane all through April 2020. A way of travelling virtually while in my lockdown bubble. Dreams of travelling again when this too has passed. An exercise in gratitude for all I have been given in this life already.

Going to finish with Kruger memories part two.

No more stories…. Just some Johnny Clegg wisdom… from the Johnny Clegg & Savuka song Great Heart

There’s a highway of stars across the heavens
There’s a whispering song of the wind in the grass
There’s the rolling thunder across the savanna
A hope and dream at the edge of the sky
And your life is a story like the wind
Your life is a story like the wind
I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart
To hold and stand me by
I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart
Under African sky

Guka ‘mzimba (body grow old)

Sala ‘nhliziyo (but heart remain behind)

Wanderings Day 29

Only two more posts to go for this virtual wander down my travel memory lane.

Two days of Kruger National Park memories… this is part one.

I was just looking down the list of rest camps in Kruger. It turns out over the many adventures there since childhood I have stayed at all but two.

My favourite area to wander would be from Satara northwards.

Pafuri is particularly magical with all those fever trees and glimpses of nyala in the shadows by the Luvuvhu River. That brings to mind the Nyala Walking Trail – sublime!

Actually any of Kruger’s walking trails are a fabulous experience. Lucky enough to have walked a few of these over the years too.

Kruger visits were so formative for me. I learned so much about ecology and how ecosystems work simply from soaking up all the info I could get my hands on. Here is where I fell in love with birds and took up birding under my wonderful Dad’s guidance.

Kruger has a distinct spirit of place. The air crackles with its magic as you arrive at the gate (any of the gates). I thought this might change over the years, grow dim somehow as I aged. But no. I got to visit again last year briefly and the magic is still there.

Now I probably need to say at this point that I am fully aware of Kruger’s history. Not all decisions made in regard to its management both for wildlife and for the surrounding communities have been sound or just over the years.

All I want to focus on right at this moment in time is the gratitude I feel for having had so many opportunities to pass through Kruger’s gates and get swallowed up in that bushveld magic.

Wanderings Day 25

So day 25 of this virtual wander down my travel memory lane.

From tomorrow, for the last 5 days of these wanderings I will be tackling the “big shaping” journeys of my life so far.

In light of that, I thought today would be a good opportunity to pause. Returning back to NZ for a retreat “travels with mom” reminisce. We stayed in the Valley Hut at Kōmanawa. A pure space if ever there was one.

I have already posted a few pics from this retreat into the NZ wilderness last year – https://purespaces.co.nz/a-middle-earth-retreat/

Today these pics have helped me soak up that retreat “atmosphere” once again. In these last days of lockdown here in New Zealand and with it being Anzac Day too, there is much time for reflection.

Time for this quiet revolutionary to take stock, re-evaluate and keep dreaming. I still believe in magic…. the magic that makes hope float up.

That’s what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up.

“Hope Floats” (1998) – Sandra Bullock as Birdee Pruitt

Wanderings Day 24

We’re off to Italy today.

Another amazing place I have been lucky enough to adventure to multiple times. Today I am sharing a few pics from a January wander to Tuscany.

This particular wander down travel memory lane has given me pause to reflect. So many of the journeys I have shared during this April virtual wander are due to where life has taken some especially precious family of mine.

You guys know who you are. Have we ever really acknowledged how much your path has opened opportunity for me to explore the world?! That path has certainly not been easy – life never is. But if you’re ever searching for silver linings you have my eternal gratitude. It has been an absolute joy to catch up with you in all these delightful places – South Africa, Italy, Philadelphia and the UK. A lifetime of memories to treasure. Love you guys 💛

In today’s collection you will glimpse the Duomo di Firenze in Florence. There’s the Ponte Vecchio all lit up. There’s wintry Tuscan landscapes. There’s a market visit to San Gimignano. Bliss!

Wanderings Day 20

“I want to see mountains again, Gandalf, mountains, and then find somewhere where I can rest… I might find somewhere where I can finish my book. I have thought of a nice ending for it: and he lived happily ever after to the end of his days.”

J R R Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring

Today’s wandering takes us to some very special mountains. The volcanoes of the central plateau in New Zealand’s North Island. I have visited this area many times over the years and experience a different mood each time.

Again, quite a bit of filming around here for Lord of the Rings movies…. it definitely has a Middle Earth magic.

These pics are from a visit to the Chateau Tongariro for family Christmas.

Wanderings Day 19

Another wandering day in search of Middle Earth…. and another “travels with mom” adventure.

This time we visit Hobbiton in the Shire.

I highly recommend the evening banquet tour. You enjoy a wander through Hobbiton at sun down including a visit to Bag End, Bagshot Row and the Party Tree. Then arrive at the Green Dragon for a fabulous feast fit for Hobbits and finish with a lantern tour back through Hobbiton.

Professor Tolkien’s descriptions of Hobbiton and surrounds leap off the page and you are magically transported to the Shire for a little while.

Wanderings Day 18

For today’s wandering we are back in beautiful Aotearoa/New Zealand remembering another “travels with mom” adventure in search of Middle Earth.

New Zealand’s North Island. State Highway 3 takes you through the King Country west of the Waikato River. The landscape here is mystical and intriguing – limestone and sandstone bluffs surrounded by ancient Podocarp forest.

Take State Highway 3 and wind your way through the Awakino gorge till you hit the west coast and its black sand beaches.

Stay at Struan Farm if you like a green country garden setting with the sheep wandering by.

And then definitely adventure into the hills near Piopio to find the Hairy Feet tour – a perfect Middle Earth location. On this farm they filmed part of the first Hobbit movie – An Unexpected Journey.

The day mom and I were there it was pouring rain. It was just us and the guide…. and it was magical. Not just because I am such a Middle Earth fan but also the karst landscape. I am a bit of a geology geek too!

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you may be swept off to.” J R R Tolkien

Wanderings Day 16

Today I am all about my Celtic roots.

Edinburgh skyline from Calton Hill
Abbey at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

I remember my first visit to Scotland so vividly. It was a “travels with mom” adventure circa 2003. We drove up from London to Glasgow. Overnight in Glasgow and then on the train up to Mallaig, overnight in Fort William and the next morning more train to Edinburgh. Then a couple of days taking in the sights and sounds of Edinburgh. It was April but it was freezing!! A deep fried Mars bar was an experience, as was trying to understand a Glaswegian accent! Ben Nevis was jaw dropping to behold. But most overwhelming for me was how at home I felt, instantly on arrival. Me and Scotland – love at first sight.

Entrance to Edinburgh Castle

I have been back a couple of times now – solo traveller. Still love it. Could live there if the opportunity presented.

Dream of going north to John o’ Groats and the Hebrides.

Today’s virtual wanderings take in a winter wander – Edinburgh and the Highlands including Loch Ness. And then another set of pics of a summer stay – Edinburgh, Stirling and Loch Lomond.

Wanderings Day 15

London town! I was in the city for a Mindfulness in Education Conference a while back. Remembering a grey January day and a winter wander all over London.

Wanderings Day 14

It should be said that I am not normally a city girl. But just like Bath from yesterday’s post, Oxford is another English city which I really enjoy wandering the streets of.

Just like wild spaces have a spirit to them, I believe some urban spaces do too. Perhaps something of the history and culture of a place seeps from the pavements up into your feet?

I suppose the extra pull of Oxford for me is how much time Professor Tolkien spent here.

I love the architecture. I have had the privilege of visiting Oxford in the summer and in the winter. There is something magical in the way light changes, reflecting off the buildings, intriguing the senses the way it does in natural places.

And then, of course, there are the happy memories of visiting Oxford with precious family that make the wandering all the more special.

These pics are of a January day enjoying a wander through the quiet, chilly streets of the “City of Dreaming Spires”.