Australia, you untamed beauty.

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We call ourselves the lucky country, and for very good reason. If you’ve had the fortune of visiting us Down Under, the first thing you might notice is how much space we have. Completely surrounded by ocean, Australia is dotted with coastal cities and beaches, rain forests, cane fields, cliff faces, natural water holes and stories of the Dreamtime. Wide open landscapes fill the country between our major cities, while smaller but charming towns fill our hearts with joy and glimpses of a simple existence. I love the fresh air here, the smell of sea salt on the wind and palm trees swaying in the breeze. Lara Bingle aptly put it, ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ in this famous tourism advertisement, and she couldn’t have been more right:

I’m lucky enough to call Australia home and am currently living in North Queensland, the state based on the North/East Coast. I felt inspired to write this blog post after a beautiful morning connecting with nature at Cape Hillsborough National Park, about 40 minutes drive from the city of Mackay (my home). We arrived at the park just on dawn this morning where a small group of people were gathered on the beach, watching the majestic kangaroos dotted across the shoreline greeting a new day. This was truly an incredible sight. I’ve seen plenty of kangaroos in my life, but seeing them on this stunning beach at sunrise, hopping along with their babies without a care in the world was really quite breathtaking. As the sun slowly burst through a light cloud cover, my friend and I had a lovely little picnic completely at one with nature and more importantly – no WIFI signal! A truly spectacular morning that I won’t be forgetting.

I know the blogging community is stretched far and wide across the world, which is why I am encouraging those international readers to come visit us here in Australia. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

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Photo credits – organictravel & theblondeabroad

Why a series of small, pleasant events can make a world of difference…

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Having just come back from a morning outing with my grandmother and the family dachshund Audrey, I’m feeling rather at peace with the world. Us ladies simply relaxed in a small, quiet cafe sipping on our coffee of choice (Audrey nibbling some treats), observing the comings and goings of morning shoppers, bike riders and delivery drivers. This easy, uneventful start to the day is all I ask for in life. A peaceful moment to take in my surroundings, spend time with my loved ones and ease into the day. And that’s where I think life’s overall joy comes from – a series of small, pleasant events.

I used to think I always needed something big to look forward to – a friends birthday party, a trip away or overseas, the release of my favourite TV show or a new movie. More often than not though, these ‘big’ anticipated events would roll around and I’d be left feeling less than happy. You know those activities you look forward to for days or weeks on end, but when the time comes it’s the LAST thing you feel like doing? We build it up so much in our heads and then the tiniest thing might go wrong, or plans change and boom – we’re left feeling completely bummed. I believe we need to look for the little pleasures in everyday life, and simply roll with our moods and emotions. You can’t force yourself to be happy or have fun in any given moment, you just need to ride the wave.

From the moment you get up – be grateful for the small wonders of life, for the things you have that others less fortunate do not have access to. A warm blanket, comfortable slippers, and a kettle to make your morning brew. Appreciate your family members, friends, housemates or colleagues. Without you being conscious of it, they’re always there for you in little ways. Be thankful you have a roof over your head, a car to get from A to B in, and a device to read this blog on. Louise Hay has a wonderful morning meditation that I sometimes like to do – a really nice way to start the day and open your eyes to the world around you:

I hope this post makes you think about the things in your life that are sometimes taken for granted. As the saying goes, ‘Enjoy the little things, because one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things.‘ Amen to that!

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Photo credits – takemoreadventures & thefuturekept

Ginger Ocean – What’s in a name?

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Choosing the name of my blog wasn’t some drawn out process where I scrolled through words in the dictionary, trying to find something I identified with. In fact like most things in my life, I made a decision fairly quickly and easily. Ginger – because I have red hair, and Ocean – because that’s where I find my peace. And when I think of my blog and what it means to me, Ginger Ocean seemed perfect. It’s about my identity, my voice, and it’s my safe place – something I can call my own.

Growing up with red hair was, as you can imagine, a difficult childhood. Teased throughout my schooling years being called everything from ‘Ginger Ninja’, ‘Fanta Pants’, ‘Freckle-Faced Fart Machine’ and ‘Ranga’, was not fun. One can only be compared to an Orangutan and asked if the carpet matches the drapes so many times before wondering, ‘Am I hideous’? Of course I’d get a lot of nice comments too, from people telling me to never dye it and reminding me how lucky I am. I’m constantly asked by hairdressers if the colour is real as they remark over how thick it is (while embarking on the challenge of washing and pinning this monstrosity on my head). I smile and thank them, meanwhile thinking they have no idea how many headaches I get from having such thick, course hair. Now that I’m older, I absolutely love identifying as a red head. We all grow into our own skin eventually, and being a minority segment of the population is kind of cool right? Screw the bullies, love yourself and wear your hair with pride I say!

Matching the word Ginger with Ocean seemed to fit quite nicely as well for me, A) because it’s meaningful, and B) because it makes you stop and think for a second. Isn’t the ocean blue, not red? And that’s what I want my blog readers to do, to stop and think about the content and what it means to them. For me going to the beach as much as I can, wandering along the shore and listening to the soft crash of waves rolling in, is the most therapeutic indulgence there is. And it’s free! Who needs to dish out hundreds of dollars in sessions with a psychologist when they can simply head for the shore, breathe in the fresh air and contemplate things in peace? If I’m feeling even the slightest bit antsy or on edge, I know an afternoon stroll feeling the sand in my toes will do my mental state wonders. I’m fortunate enough to live in a town that is enclosed by over 30 beaches, but for the last 10 years I lived in the city where escaping to the ocean was something that only happened a couple of times a year. I hated it, and never again will I confine myself to the barriers of a concrete jungle existence.

So there you have it, for anyone actually wondering what Ginger Ocean means to me. Of course, it means so much more than what I’ve described here today – but those were the fundamental beginnings of something that’s given me great joy. Being able to express myself in the form of this blog has opened a door for me – writing in a creative, thoughtful space is something I really enjoy. And shouldn’t that be one of the things we strive towards in life, simply enjoying what we do?

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” (Ray Bradbury). 

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Photo credits – portraitvision & spacebypixel

 

 

Big City Lights… I tried to get by

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I recently moved out of the City and back home for a couple of months, chasing the sleepier pace of my beach encased hometown. To say it’s been a breath of fresh air would be an understatement – you can literally smell the sea salt and hear the palm trees swaying from my balcony.

I had been living right in the thick of the city, with the sound of constant traffic, sirens and Church bells preventing me from ever being able to relax. At the time I thought it was fantastic – I could walk to work and to the shops, I never had to drive or spend money on petrol, and I had a multitude of food options at my doorstep. But at what cost to my sanity?

Now that I have taken a step back from the constant buzz of city living, I can appreciate just how peaceful the small things are. Simply being able to walk on the grass of my lawn, to feel it under my toes, to hear birds in the trees and get a good rest at night – these are the things that make me happy. Not to mention that despite being surrounded by thousands of people living in the city, one tends to feel pretty lonely looking across that vast network of lights.

Sitting here watching the sunset with a cool breeze on my neck, knowing that the beach is waiting for me just down the road… these simple things make me smile. I can understand why people might prefer a fast pace, and how you can get caught up in it. Of course – there are more activities available in the city, more restaurants and bars, and more work opportunities. But sometimes you need to identify whether you are truly living in harmony with the things that bring you joy. For me I knew that was being able to sit in peace on a Sunday morning, read the paper and have a good cup of tea. Whilst I know this might not be my forever, I know it’s what I need right now…. and right now is all we have.

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Photo credits – urbanandstreet & bohemiandecor