7 years of blogging

HH on the beach

This selfie was taken on a Tasmanian beach last week.

Just had a message from WordPress
with congratulations for seven years  blogging right here .. so lots of topics and places for you to search for in my writings.

More blogs on the way after this current trip in Melbourne and Tasmania Australia. Back home in New Zealand next week to start on them … and also convert my new book into e-formats.  (A Love Letter to Malaysian Borneo: Or, Can This Travel Writer Be Green?)

Boxing Day in the summer sun – down-under in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Boxing Day in the summer sun: not all of us do the sales for dubious bargains,  the weathers too great.

While I’d said ‘no more blogs for a while’ as I wrote the suicide grief book, I took time out to re-charge my creative batteries and these photos are evidence of that. The other good news (for me) is that I have finished the first draft of the 20, 000-word book so there will be a few blogs while I wait before starting the editing process. Enjoy the summer holiday sun in these pics: the gardens will be happy it’s raining as I write – but not the campers in tents!

Aren’t I lucky to live in NZ’s capital city with all this just a 10-min walk from my inner city apartment?

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The longest natural sandbar in the world

At the Top-of-the-South is Farewell Spit in Golden Bay – the longest natural sandbar in the world – I join a day trip to see it.

Originally called Te Onetahua, meaning ‘heaped up sand’ – the long sandbar stretches 35 km and Paddy Gillooly, manager of The Original Farewell Spit Safari, has a family history with it as old as Collingwood.  He prides himself that his hand-picked guides ‘know what they are talking about – they give exact information and must constantly read the beach, watching for quicksand.’

Called Murderers Bay by Abel Tasman in 1642; James Cook called it Massacre Bay; early settlers called it Coal Bay, before re-naming it Golden Bay in 1850s when alluvial gold was discovered. Read more I’ve written here

I watch as the lighthouse grows smaller

WordPress Wellington 2011

I was supposed to write a post tonight about the WordPress camp I’m at this weekend … but I’m tired: so here is a  link to a good overview written by a fellow attendee – click on this link to read his (Cody Rapley) take on the The Morning


Travel Writing: from World Hum

This is a long piece about travel writing:

… so long it has sat in my ‘to read’ pile for a couple of months. It’s too late  for me to post a  comment so have decided to do it here as IT’S GREAT – and so evocative of my experiences as a travel writer it really resonated with me, that I will read it again, for sure.

If you think travel writing (not guidebook or blogs of the where-to-stay-variety) is just swanning around the world on a credit card (someone elses’ ) have a read of this – it’s Tom Swick writing (and on UTube) about the evolving role of the travel writer in the age of mass tourism Travel Writing – Not a Tourist – Features – World Hum Thanks Tom, you said it for many of us.

kiwitravelwriter reinvented herself – you can too

My recipe for ‘how to run away from home and reinvent yourself’

  • Start as a child with a love of reading. This involves hiding under the blankets reading of far away places that creates a desire for travel: I imagined I was Anne Frank in her Amsterdam attic and Heidi on the mountains of Switzerland. Naturally, I was the hero between the covers of every book I read.
  • Add, listening to far away, static-crackling voices in languages I didn’t understand on my brother’s crystal radio, and dream of exploring those lives, and there you have it! The germ of an idea, the yeast of a dream, began bubbling below the surface of my conciseness. The first, most basic ingredients for my developing recipe were lined up on the bench of my mind.
  • Cover, and leave that bowl of imagination to infiltrate through life’s ups and downs, keep reading, keep dreaming until life and circumstances add more ingredients. These extra components are where your individuality, situation, and conditions, add to the recipe and finally, the end result! (NOTE: Unlike many recipes, this one is totally tailored to each circumstance.)

My extra ingredients included: the deaths of a 20-year old son, and my husband, recovery from alcoholism, and too many birthdays. In my late forties, I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Perhaps I could play catch-up with the traditional Kiwi penchant for travel. read more here

Follow your dreams

Tiny plane, big sky, big world

‘I want to be like you when I grow up’ is written on a backgammon set given to me by a young American woman when I was in Greece. I have heard them so often as I travel and I agree – and I too want  to be like me when I grow up. Maybe that’s the secret, maybe I haven’t grown up. Just another baby-boomer who wants it all; now. However I believe I have a better life than anyone I know. Beyond my wildest dreams actually.

I am not the only person to hear such words. Over lunch with Rita Golden Gelman (The Female Nomad.  Vintage.2001) she tells me she too has had the same experiences. We agreed that rarely do our adventures and writings inspire older travellers to throw caution to the wind and join us – but many young people see us as a wonderful role model. A compliment indeed.

We offer an alternative to being captured by societal norms – life on the road. As Rita said, “there is more than one way, to do life. ( read how I have done life in Naked In Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad – see link at top of this page)

Crazy, courageous or downright selfish are the viewpoints people take when judging our lifestyle. Another one that Rita seems to have had more than me is the assumption that you are “running away”. Not so.

Although I often use the term “ I’m running away to. . .” I am not running from anything but towards something new, exciting, different. That does involve leaving the society and expectations that we have grown up with – but it’s not running from. Its making different choices. Continue reading “Follow your dreams”

I need to loose weight … so doing it in public

I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes!

This means I need to get healthier and loose weight so have decided to blog about it .. ‘they’ tell me I’m as sick as my secrets so will let it all hang out so to speak, and hope that reporting on my successes and failures online will keep me on the straight and narrow.

Sign up to follow and support me here — my blogspot blog.

Kiwitravelwriter included on 101 Most Awesome Adventure & Travel Twitterers

heather on camel

Just had to pass this information on

(after all there are another 100 travel writers you need to know about, not just me):

Hi Heather,
Congrats! You’ve made our “101 Most Awesome Adventure & Travel Twitterers You Should Be Following” list!
You can see the list here:  http://abroadening.com/161

We worked hard to compile a list of awesome people like you who embody passion, adventure, and share their best traveling tips via Twitter.

I love connecting with new globetrotting friends who love travel and adventure as much as I do, so connect with me at http://twitter.com/abroadening

(and if you’d like to share the 101 list on twitter, here’s a handy link: http://bit.ly/travel-list)

Travel wide and live dangerously!

Markus Mindaugas

If you like my writing, my book is for sale HERE

Join me on my FACEBOOK PAGE The Kiwi Travel Writer

Heather (L) joins in the fun of Thai Buddhist new year festivities
Heather (L) joins in the fun of Thai Buddhist new year festivities

kiwi travel writer confesses it’s difficult sometimes

Every traveller I meet is going to write travel stories: well every second traveller. They know they are good writers- everyone loves their letters and emails – and now they will give up their day job to become a famous writer.

According to my unofficial, and unscientific, gestimated research, 99.5% will never write. Why? Writing is difficult. It’s solitary; requires self-discipline and concentration. (if you want to be a travel writer see here for how to become one)

I know one hundred and one ways to avoid writing. When I sit at a blank screen, with a deadline looming, it’s amazing how creative I can be. I have developed the skills of evasion or procrastination to a fine art.

Confronted by a pristine sheet of paper – or my well-worn notebook – I suddenly need a coffee. The urge is imperious and no matter what I tell myself – write a hundred words and then you will really enjoy it I say – I don’t believe it, nor do I listen to myself.

Next comes the need, well not a need, but a desire, a craving, for a cigarette, or at least the nicotine in a cigarette. I would have thought after all this time that would have disappeared but no: every time I have to write- as opposed to wanting to write- the old addiction dragon rears up. It tries to tell me I could write if and when I have a white tube of dried plant in my hand.

To date I have been able to remember that I smoked to relieve the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal: not for pleasure as I had always imagined.

So, to quell that imperious urge and the thought that I can’t write at all without a nicotine fix I decide to dice vegetables for minestrone or some other time-intensive soup. Other writing-avoidance-ploys including sorting photos for some possible future story, having a bath, another coffee (at the Arts Centre) pruning my bonsai trees or responding to answer-phone messages.

However once all those have been attended to – or pushed down – I finally sit, pen in hand and start to combine my letters and postcards home with my on-the-road notebooks and record my experiences. Translate the hours, days, weeks, or months in a place into a story that will give you some of the flavours of a place.

I’m happy I am not a travel writer -in the usual way. It is so much more fun to be a traveller who writes about my experiences – rather than travelling so I can write about places. There is a world of difference. I don’t have to record where I stay, what restaurants I ate at, what activities I indulged in or visit any of the iconic must-see places that so many travel articles comprise of. I just travel; record highlights, then later decide on which to write about.

Travel writers who are bought to New Zealand hit the must-go-to places such as Rotorua, Milford Sound and Queenstown, while trampers hike the big name walks, Milford, Routeburn, Tongariro.  Unless they do some deeper research many do not realise that much of the real New Zealand lies in places that are off the well-worn trail. That’s why I like to write of experiences, people I meet and public transport, rather than tours of a country.

One of the saddest T-shirts I ever saw was on a young woman in Athens. 32 countries in 30 days it proudly proclaimed. Not the type of trip I want, but one that could produce a travel article on the highlights for the next persons race though the continent in a bus with others. If you just want the highlights and want others to do the planning that’s fine and I understand it too.

One of the difficulties of living down-under is it takes so long, and costs so much, to get ‘upover’ that we are tempted to cram in as many places as possible. I recently spent a few days with a group of Americans who had two weeks to explore and hike in New Zealand and they too had a tight schedule for the same reasons. New Zealand is a long way from anywhere- geographically speaking.

However if you want to be tempted to try somewhere different, (or be one of my many armchair travellers) and I  hope my stories encourage you to do some research and explore this wonderful world.

See what happens when I finally just start writing – eventually the page is full.