Step #1 – Reassessment

DSCN1359From Everest Base Camp to the south west of Western Australia. Three months, family dramas, a dose of redundancy and a reality check later and I think I’ve begun to understand the luxury of being able to do what I wanted to do and the pleasure of being able to enjoy every day.

Today I’ve driven to the mouth of the Margaret River and watched the waves pounding the rocks as the river surged outwards into the Indian Ocean, I’ve bought a bottle of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from a boutique winery, I’ve eaten a lunch of mushroom risotto on the balcony of another winery surrounded by the lush greenery that is the south west of this state and now I’m heading off to buy venison sausages.

Is this life not a luxury?

Tomorrow I’ll be on my way back home having had a relaxing and thought provoking few days.

Life, as is its wont, is not prepared to let us rest on our laurels for too long and insists on throwing the odd curve ball our way. When this happens we tend to react instinctively, often retreating into ourselves and possibly making rash decisions. What I’ve learned that we need to do though is to stop, to gather our thoughts and to assess how best to move forward, not to rush in where those proverbial angels fear to tread.

A few days, a few weeks, however long it takes.

Only a matter of weeks ago I was existing on a diet of carbs – pizza, pasta and potatoes, I was pushing myself physically and mentally to achieve my goal and I was walking in the shadow of some of the highest mountains on the planet.

After an amazing and momentous experience life then decided to slap me in the face and I was brought crashing down to earth, reality hit me in all its forms.

These few days away has seen a regrouping, a reassessment of my life. Sometimes what we think we want, what we believe we need, is in reality just a pipe dream. Yes, our fantasy life is appealing but is it what we really want or need?

We all have dreams of what we would like our life to be but if we had all that we wanted, would we be happy? Generally, I think not. Life is not about getting all that we want, life is about making sure that there is always something that we are aiming for.

Our future goals are what make our life worthwhile.

You can’t keep anything secret these days!

Once upon a time it used to be our little secret, that quiet spot where we went camping when I was a teenager, where my daughters had their first experience of family holidays, where we would go boating and fishing.  There was beautiful scenery, caves to explore, surfing if you were that way inclined, family coves to relax in and home-made knick knacks to pick up at the local market.

Then the world got wind of the place!

Our beautiful south-west town of Margaret River has just been voted Australia’s top town, for the second year in a row, by readers of Australian Traveller.

Margaret River has grown in the last thirty years but it hasn’t lost its charm. It still has its main street with its pub and its bakery, it still has the surfies in their boardshorts, its scenery is as beautiful as ever but it has some added attractions too that have developed over the years.

Margaret River is now a world class centre for food and wine. Only a couple of weeks ago some of the world’s most famous chefs got together down there for the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. This inaugural event provided demonstrations, discussions and masterclasses and showcased the best of WA’s food and wine.

It’s not often that you find a place that appeals to all ages but Margaret River has something for everyone.

You may remember that I was down that way recently when I stayed just 15 minutes away in Cowaramup, here’s a few photos taken around the area, so those of you who haven’t visited will know what you’re missing.

The Lake Cave near Margaret River

The Lake Cave near Margaret River

The jetty on the Blackwood River at Augusta.

The jetty on the Blackwood River at Augusta.

The south west corner of Australia where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern ocean

The south west corner of Australia where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern ocean

I would highly recommend the strawberry & kirsch jam from the Margaret River Berry Farm

I would highly recommend the strawberry & kirsch jam from the Margaret River Berry Farm

and the garlic olive oil from Providore is a must

and the garlic olive oil from Providore is a must

Family friendly Hamelin Bay

Family friendly Hamelin Bay

A Little Whimsy from the West

You generally don’t expect to see cows in the main street – of anywhere. But I had to do a double take as I drove into Cowaramup a couple of days ago. I know I’d been driving for 3 hours but I really didn’t think I was seeing things.

Apparently the Lions Club and the local Retailer’s Association have combined forces to import these whimsical cows and set them up in the main street of Cowaramup for the pleasure of the tourists. There’s about a dozen of them and they certainly make you smile … and that’s a good thing.

And for those of you who don’t know what you’re missing here in the South West of Western Australia, this is Cowaramup Bay on a beautiful spring day.

And just to prove that I’m not neglecting the training while I’m away from home, I found some steps. Three hundred of them – down into the Lake Cave near Margaret River and of course, as I’ve mentioned before what goes down must come back up. I was quite pleased with myself though, I barely raised a puff.

Retreat – ing

The southern tip of Western Australia

It’s spring in the south west of Western Australia. A perfect time and place to get in a bit of rest, relaxation and writing and maybe even a bit of training for next year. There’s still eight months to go and I’m feeling pretty confident that I’m getting somewhere with the whole fitness thing but a change of scenery for a few days certainly won’t hurt.

I’ve got the opportunity to spend a few days at my own private retreat, aka, my brother’s place in Cowaramup, so I thought I’d make the most of it. Cowaramup may not necessarily spring to mind when you think of the south west of Western Australia, but maybe if I say Margaret River many of you will know where I’m talking about.

Cowaramup (known locally as Cow Town, although the name has nothing to do with cows) is only a few minutes south of Margaret River, It’s a beautiful area with lots of world class wineries and foodie type places and my brother and sister-in-law have lived here for a few years now. It’s quite handy really, only about three hours from home, the perfect distance for a weekend. So far they haven’t minded when I’ve wanted to get away for a few days and ‘dropped in’ on them, need to be careful not to wear out my welcome though :-).

This time I’ve got the place to myself, they’ve taken off north for a couple of weeks to try and catch a bit of warm weather and have kindly offered me the place as a bit of a retreat to try and get some writing done. It doesn’t matter how disciplined I try and be with my writing, when I’m at home trying to write on the weekend there is always something else to claim my attention.

Working full time means that I have to fit the housework, gardening, shopping etc in, as well as find a bit of time for writing. Doesn’t always happen I’m afraid. I always seem to come up with a lot of excuses for not writing.

I figured that coming down here, away from those distractions could serve two purposes, I should be able to come up with some inspired writing (hmmmm) and this is also the perfect area to do some bush walks in preparation for THE TRIP.

Note to self: stop procrastinating. Stop writing blog posts, stop checking blog stats, stop reading everyone else’s brilliant blogs and start writing what you came down here to write (more on that later, my loyal followers).