Stops 1 and 2: Toorbul, Queensland and Eungai Creek, mid north coast NSW
For those of you who know me very well, you know that I’m just plain and simple a nomad. Always have been since I was 17 and before that, through my parents, and I suspect I always will be. I used to think there was something wrong with me (well there probably is but not what I initially thought) as I couldn’t settle for more than a few years in one place. As far back as I can remember I had this thirst to go into unexplored territory whether at home in Aus or away from our shores.
It wasn’t until the last 10 odd years that I realised that change is a huge part of me. I absolutely embrace it and even think it’s part of my DNA! I loathe most types of routine. Except maybe for my glass of bubbles or two in the evenings. And chocolate, dark of course with sea salt and caramel, after dinner. But apart from that I mean. I thrive on change, new places, peoples, food and experiences. It so totally feeds and nourishes me. And I’m grateful that I’ve finally in my later years accepted and love that part of myself. It pushes me out on a limb and onwards and upwards and backwards and tests me, tires me but I’m rarely standing still.
In these last months many a friend has told me I’m brave for doing what I’m doing and I suspect they’re thinking especially at my age (I don’t think 41 is that old, is it??). Either way, I’ve been doing this all my life so to me it’s not at all brave. But that’s the same for anyone we admire who are doing something we ourselves fear. So if I manage to inspire one person to go out and do what they dream of and kicking any fears aside, then I’ve been rewarded tenfold.
So now, another adventure to add to my collection. And there have been a few in the past 7 years since coming back from southern Spain and living in Noosa. There were the unforgettable 9 months volunteering in Viet Nam and Cambodia with a trip to South America and Denmark in the middle during 2014. Then the start of 2017 taking a ceramic residency in Tuscany, visiting my beloved Spain, then on to Denmark via Germany visiting special friends all along the way. And later the same year a wonderful trip down memory lane back in WA (where I hadn’t been for 20 years) seeing old long lost friends, and then over to Bali to visit more friends. And finally a bit of an unplanned trip back to Malaga Spain to sort out a flat I acquired.
I spent all of this year home Airbnb hosting again, did well with it and toboot met many wonderful people some who have become good friends. But my wings did not enjoy being clipped and my nature is not one of having no freedom to take flight at a whim. Hence the decision to sell my home, which was absolutely the right one, sell off half my furniture (the trusty steed has just gone on Gum Tree) and put the rest into storage and bless myself with no ties. When we finally settled and I left Noosa in my rear-view mirror I felt an insane sense of freedom, relief and excitement of what lies in store on this new journey.
I set off the day before we settled in the direction of Toorbul and my dear friends Bron and Johnny. Always great company, fabulous food thanks mostly to chef Johnny, great conversation and laughs. I’ve known Bron for 30 odd years so it was a blessing to find when I decided to make Noosa my home that she was just down the road.
After Toorbul, I pointed my steed south again and kept going until I got to my sister and BIL’s (BrotherInLaw) at Eungai Creek. My BIL has had a two brain tumour ops in as many months which has left him legally blind – we hope only for now. Life has changed enormously for them both and whilst unimaginably challenging, they are both coping mostly and getting some great support from their community. We seriously don’t know what at any given moment life is going to throw our way, which is why I’m doing what I’m doing – and what I want.
Unlike most other journeys on this one I have very few plans. I don’t do well with planning far in advance except when I have to. So apart from leaving from Sydney 11 January for Bali where I’ll spend the first couple of months and a possible trip to Oman, my thoughts are to hit Europe for their spring around April and do a combination of house-sitting, workaway and visiting dear friends. I want to stay at least a month to 3 in each place so I really get immersed in the culture, people and community of wherever I’ve chosen.
The bucket list is very very long! Italy, Greece and France are fairly high on my list with many other places also – the 5 Blue Zones in the world (starting with Ikaria thanks to my Kiwi friend Bec). I may never come back!
But you’ll have to wait and see where the wind blows me because it can notoriously change direction at any given moment.
With that, I wish you a happy, safe, fun and healthy festive season and right through 2019. See you – somewhere!
With love and blessings Glen
The Road to Sticciano – My Tuscan Story
About 20 odd years ago when I became fed up with the corporate jungle in Sydney, I took off for southern Spain to stay for a year…which turned into 15. On a whim one day I heard about a woman who did pottery classes out in the campo (bush to us Aussies) and so I thought I’d give it a shot. Little did I know that this would become a lifelong addiction!
Since then I’ve worked out of many studios and had many tutors but it’s only been in the last 18 months that I’ve finally been able to build a dedicated workshop complete with wheel, kiln and everything else that goes with it. The learning curve went from a gentle one to an exceedingly steep one. All good, keeps the grey cells going – along with sleepless nights thinking of glazes and blending them and ‘what if’ on this or that clay body, etc. You get the idea.
So I thought, I need to fast forward this a tad at my st(age) in life. Enter Italy. I won’t go into detail about how I ended up at Sticciano, a stunning Agri Turismo deep in the stunning Tuscan countryside because that’s another story on its own. But end up there I did and for a wonderful 5 weeks during March/April 2017.
The ‘Sticciano Tuscan Collection’ of Japanese Tea Bowls you see now were created there and most lovingly carried by hand through Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark and back here to Noosa. Probably some of the most well-travelled Tea Bowls around!
These are totally unique, as indeed are most ceramic pieces anywhere, and I cannot replicate them due to may various reasons. I can – and have begun – however, to recreate using some of the same principles since I returned home a month ago.
The ‘Sticciano Tuscan Collection’ were created from stoneware and fired in gas reduction and salt kilns. They were painted first with coloured slip on the greenware (pre any firing) and then with glaze after the first bisque firing. A second glaze firing resulted in what you see here.
You can use them for coffee, tea, nut bowls – whatever you like! People collect these and in Europe and ceramic artists swap with each other. My tutor, Terry Davis (a very accomplished UK potter living in Tuscany) has a cupboard full and when you go there for coffee, you get to choose which Teal Bowl you want.
Love and blessings
Glen (0459 343 828)
My passion for travel I blame (or should I more correctly I am inspired by) my father! And I’ve told him that too. When he sees pictures of me in various corners of the world he just smiles and says to his girlfriend (of an impressive 83, ten years younger than his even more impressive 93) “I wonder where she got that from?”
For as long as I can remember I’ve had the ‘travel bug’. And before that when I wasn’t old enough to decide, Dad did. He was a ‘nomad’, as was his father when folks back then didn’t even travel, at least not very far, far being places like Turkey from Denmark when they barely had cars.
So it was inevitable that I would get that insatiable thirst and restless feet syndrome. I know that many of my buddies are similar. Travel broadens our horizons and puts us in touch with different types of people, cultures, architecture, landscape, animals and a myriad of other things. It challenges us, pushes us beyond our self imposed limits.
It makes us live a REAL life instead of a virtual one. For me, I’ve come to realise (only over the last years) that I need travel – it feeds and nourishes my soul, it fulfils my sense of adventure and getting new experiences. That is why I’ve gone into the travel business – enter GlenergyTravel. I’m getting paid to travel (as can you) – YAY!
To top it off I’m combining my other passion of Mentor Coaching – both supporting, encouraging and boosting my team that I’m building, as well as my usual one2one mentoring. How lucky am I?
My travel team and I are going places whilst having fun (loads of it) and adventure (more loads of it) and self imposed excitement! I show them how to reduce and eliminate stress around finance and get out of a ‘stuck in a rut’ type job.
One condition though, you have to LOVE travel. Want to know more? Just reply to this email.
Love and blessings Glen
PS: Keep an open mind – “things are never what they seem” (they’re usually heaps better).
VolunTourism and Orphanage Tourism are NOT OK!
This is an excerpt of a blog I wrote last year when I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia whilst working for founder Billy Gorter of This Life Cambodia.
Thanks to Billy and his integrity, passionate and deep knowledge of orphans and children in Cambodia, I learnt so much. The biggest and most important is about the Voluntourism and Orphan ‘industries’ that are sweeping third world countries with a front of ‘helping’. I see it as a licence to print money these days.
Not all of them are bad of course but sadly, many are not kosher.
YOU can help by educating yourself and learning what the difference is so you can share and spread your knowledge and in the process, help save some children’s lives. Remember…
Children are NOT tourist attractions!
Voluntourism and Orphanages
There are 1000’s of charities or NGO’s in Siem Reap alone, never mind the rest of Cambodia. I’ve learnt a lot these past 4 months being here and in Viet Nam, that just because it’s a charity doesn’t mean it’s good. Not all NGO’s are kosher sadly. Children have become a commodity in the growing Voluntourism industry.
Over 70% of children in orphanages in Cambodia are NOT ORPHANS!
If you’re reading this and considering paying some company to volunteer, ESPECIALLY if it’s a so-called orphanage or children’s shelter, PLEASE RECONSIDER.
Because of the rising number of people in the world wanting to help and make a difference, just like I did when I began this journey, children are being put at risk. Distressingly, many orphanages are keeping children who are not orphans and have a parent alive, ensuring they look scruffy and dirty, even teaching them to beg or perform for tourists just to get more money (not necessarily money that’s used within the charities or for the good of the children). This has lead to the horribly growing industry of Voluntourism.
There are several previous NGO heads now in jail in various parts of the world for paedophilia. Children who were given up by their parents thinking they’d have a better life in a shelter, now can’t get them back – and so it goes on.
I’m not going to bang on about it, there are some responsible and ethical links below that tell it how it is so educate yourself and please, please for the sake of the children, share and spread this.
The BEST place for children whether orphaned or ortherwise is in a family environment and getting an education.
Read rest of the blog here
With love and blessings Glen