I’ve always been a traveler. The kind of person who packs her life into a suitcase and disappears for weeks, months and sometimes even years at a time. The more I traveled, the more I loved to travel. The more I emerged myself in new cultures and experiences, the more I yearned for them. I wandered through the hilltop temples of Nepalese refugee villages in the Himalayas in India, I rowed through the Mekong Delta, I ate in alleyway eateries in little towns in the valleys of France. For many years it was only when I was somewhere new that I truly felt alive. Every time I came home I did so with the romantic ideals that homesickness brings and within a few days I was desperate to get out again… and so when I had saved enough money – I’d leave. The city. The state. The country. And I’d go as for as my courage would take me.

But the more I traveled the more I learned that if I stayed in a place long enough I could access a part of myself in that stillness that was otherwise lost in the noise of my mainstream life. I could access the part of myself where creativity lived, the silence in my mind where I could truly consider the world and my place in it – where I could hear the voices in my mind that would otherwise have been lost in the noisy cluttered thoughts that life brings when there is a push to succeed, to learn, to be something other than just simply myself.

Since I became a parent, the freedom to disappear into the horizon is the thing I’ve missed most. But there is something that I’ve learned from putting roots down into the ground where we stand. I’ve discovered the art of exploring the place that we live. The art of being awed by the beauty of the place that I grew up, the world that for so many years in my early twenties I ached to be free from. I’ve had to learn to find that place in my mind, that stillness, whilst still juggling the pressures of a life that is no longer just my own.

The secret is still in the escape, but it’s simpler now. A day or two off from the world. From work and from social media. From connectivity. A few days is now all it takes, to reconnect to nature and to that part of myself that I’d otherwise have lost. It doesn’t have to be something new, in fact, I find these days it’s almost better if it’s something familiar… somewhere we can just be us, in relative silence. Somewhere quiet and still and free of pressures; where our minds can be free to wander.

This week Bo and I took a last minute trip north of Perth, to one of my favourite parts of Western Australia. A place where the desert meets the dunes. Where sand goes from red to yellow to white in a matter of just a few kilometers. Just a few hours north of Perth lays the spectacular strip of coastline from Lancelin to Cervantes, home of white sand dunes, dense Australian scrub, turquoise lagoons and the spectacular golden Pinnacles desert. We loaded up the Kuga after work on Wednesday and drove out of town as the sun went down.

With many hours of driving ahead of me I was not only grateful for the comfort and reliability of the Kuga loan (thanks Ford) but we also reaped the benefits of the EcoBoost engine: with great fuel economy, increased power output and reduced emissions. Cheaper to drive, better for the environment and smooth reliable travel meant an easy getaway that just wouldn’t have been possible in the 20 year old bomb that we usually traipse around in.

A getaway where we could find stillness to consolidate life on the cusp of another change of season.

The thing I love most about traveling to the beach house in winter is that you are forced to slow down. Days of rain mean long days of naps and board games, books and chats, punctuated by cold windy hikes where the sky rumbles and threatens to soak us through at any moment.

Life with a three year old isn’t always simple but kids do simple better than any of us – especially when we (the adults) stop trying to control everything so much and we find the courage to just let go. We drove up north in the Kuga from the beachside town where we were holed up in a friends holiday house to the spectacular Pinnacles. I lay on the golden sand and watched the clouds roll across the sky, allowing myself to be lost in the world of my own mind – working out and cataloguing thoughts, remembering friends, telling stories to myself about the world in which we live. Bo found a set of statuesque stones in the shape of the ruins of a castle and there she played kings and dragons for hours. Laughing and running and playing in a world of her own creation.

Both of us lost in the landscape of our own minds… whilst connected with the earth in the golden light of a winter sunset in the desert.

Being still brings us back.  It’s the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. A pause. A rest. Space for our imagination to breathe. Space for our creativity to find its way back to the surface.

The time that we spend moving slowly, bringing stillness back into our lives is always time well spent.

The time that we take making a conscious effort to reconnect with ourselves, each other and with the natural world in which we live is what re-energises us to come back to the world with the power to make changes and grow new ideas. There is something in me that yearns for that silence and stillness that I used to find. Back when I travelled far away and lived with no pressure to be anything other than present. I don’t necessarily have that freedom anymore. To disappear and disconnect completely from the world.

But that doesn’t seem to matter so much these days.

I’ve found that simply by stepping back within this world that I know so well, I can somehow see the world more clearly.

Sometimes disconnecting truly is the best way to reconnect. With our world. With ourselves and with each other.

This is my final instalment of the #FordThinking Challenge as part of Kidspot’s Voices of 2015. You can read my other posts here and here. Bo and I have had such a great time cruising around in the very comfortably Ford Kuga MKII going places that our old bomb can’t go… From the south to the north we have traveled thanks to the Ford Australia and Voices of 2015 teams and we are incredibly grateful.

  • August 23, 2015 - 4:54 pm

    Jo clarke - You write so eloquently and soulfully. Thank you for the reflectionsReplyCancel

    • August 24, 2015 - 4:12 pm

      Sash - Thank you so much Jo xReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2015 - 4:01 pm

    Rach - Guv loves the north coast, me I’m not so much of a fan. There is no denying that it is beautiful up there but the drive, oh my gosh, the drive [especially when compared to the drive down south] is oh so boring. Plus to get there, we have to drive all the way through the city and I just find it draining.

    Once we’re up there though? Different story. We regularly drive up to Jurien Bay in the morning just to have a Fish and Chips for lunch, then drive back. Just over a 500km round trip for lunch LOL

    The feelings you describe at the start of your post – I completely understand, I found myself nodding along with your words. I’m a gypsy at heart and would move every 6 months if I wasn’t married to a homebody.

    I found myself nodding vigorously to this –
    “Every time I came home I did so with the romantic ideals that homesickness brings and within a few days I was desperate to get out again…”

    We used to live in the UK and we moved here because I was homesick. Within a month it was a decision I regretted and nearly 14 years later, I’m still regretting it!

    So the Kuga, would you recommend one?ReplyCancel

“As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.”
― Gautama Buddha

Sometimes it’s desperately difficult to live in the moment. What with the day to day grind always pushing it’s way in, trying to capture and hold hostage the spirit that makes life so full and worth living. Some days I find it difficult to shake – the feeling of need to do more. But then we find beaches, and flowers, and sparkly nail polish on little fingers and goats that nibble our fingers and chew on our hair and friends and laughter – even in the most difficult moments there are grilled cheese sandwiches and museums and boxes of free mandarins on our doorstep and sand between our toes – and I stop and breathe and remember… this is it… even in the teary, ugly, vulnerable and difficult moments… this is it.

I went to see my doctor the other day to talk about my mental and physical health (because it’s all linked… ya know) – and she told me to quit my job and go work in a cafe and have more fun and laugh more and not take on any more responsibility in my already responsibility laden life… she said, ‘if not now, then when?’ I laughed, not because I’m planning to quit my job, but because so much of what she said is so true… not because I’m going to take her advice (today anyway) but because we understood each other.

Life isn’t waiting for something else to happen. It isn’t about what is around the corner, it isn’t about the decisions I’m making or the choices I’m rolling around in my head. Life isn’t next week or next year or three years from now when I’ll have my shit together. It isn’t when I’m thinner or more motivated or when I meditate more or practice yoga more regularly. It isn’t when I fall in love again or if/when I grow my family… Life isn’t any of those things. It’s happening right now. We are in it. Every minute of every day.

This is it.

This is our life.

Isn’t it beautiful?

  • August 17, 2015 - 6:16 am

    Little White Dove - So very true… thanks for the reminder.ReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2015 - 7:09 am

    becky McIntosh - It is beautiful xReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2015 - 7:56 am

    Reannon @shewhorambles - I feel so good reading your words Sash. I just love them xReplyCancel

    • August 18, 2015 - 5:23 pm

      Sash - Thank you so much Reannon :) ReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2015 - 7:28 pm

    Courtney - Thank you for this little burst of inspiration to live in the moment! I really needed it this morning :) ReplyCancel

  • August 18, 2015 - 1:41 pm

    Emma Elliott - :) This is just what i needed to read right now, thank you xxxxReplyCancel

    • August 18, 2015 - 7:43 pm

      Sash - Thank YOU emma xReplyCancel

  • August 18, 2015 - 7:28 pm

    Helen - Love your writing Sash. Wish I had worked this one out before I turned…older. Don’t quit just yet. ;) ReplyCancel

    • August 18, 2015 - 7:42 pm

      Sash - Not just yet ;) xReplyCancel

 

There are a few things in life I’m really passionate about: kindness, compassion, social change, community and… food. Food! I’ve always believed that we can change the world by being more thoughtful about the way that we eat – not just for our bodies, but for our communities too. Every week you will find Bo and I driving around our regional area doing our grocery shop. We don’t do it the conventional way, there are no shopping trolleys or self serve checkouts on our weekly shop… instead there are cups of tea and warm hugs and fresh produce grown nearby. Seasonal food pulled straight from the earth, avocados straight from the tree, eggs fresh from the hens (or geese!) and the creamiest milk direct from the farmer. There is something very special about living in regional Australia, where the climate is temperate and good fresh food grows all year ’round.

For me, it’s not just about the freshness of the produce, or supporting local farmers (though both of those things are important to me) – it’s about the connections that we make along the way. About knowing not just where our food comes from, but who it comes from.

This week we took our Ford Kuga MKII on our jaunt around the greater Bunbury region to collect our fresh food for the week. From Harvey through Boyanup to Kirup we drive stopping at roadside stalls, family run shop fronts and honesty box carts to chat and buy and connect with our community. It’s terribly cold and rainy out here at the moment so the comfort of this smooth ride (and that heated seat!) was much appreciated as we battled high winds and short bursts of torrential hail.

Every week what we eat is a little different. It’s always a surprise to see what’s on offer and we always select the freshest of produce to supplement what we grow in our own kitchen garden.

We have made a few really good friends along our usual route. The kind of friends where a quick stop in for a cup of tea to pick mandarins straight from the tree, becomes seven hours of chats by the fire, endless cups of tea, helping out with some chores and a hot meal before we finally pile back in the car to drive the dark, winding roads back to our cottage in town.

That’s the beautiful thing about community living. It keeps us connected to our local world. It keeps my three year old connected to the earth and to the cycle of food – and keeps us connected to each other.

Besides, there is nothing that tastes quite as good as a mandarin picked straight from a tree (or a carrot pulled straight from the earth).

Want to know what else is really awesome about the Ford Kuga MKII (besides just warm bums in the middle of winter)? It’s hardly surprising that we carry around a lot of stuff over the weekend; from seed trays to fruit and veggies, from loaned gardening tools to snacks, to bikes and baskets – and I almost always have my hands full with a toddler in tow. That’s where the handsfree tailgate comes into play… with just a wave of my foot the boot pops open ready to be stacked to the brim. We made a cute little stop motion video about it. Check it out!

The super cute music in the clip is from ‘In a Perfect world’ by Uncle Neptune courtesy of free music online and the creative commons agreement – Thanks Uncle Neptune for your cool tunes!



This is my second of three posts for the #FordThinking Challenge as part of Kidspot’s Voices of 2015. We were very lucky to be given the very comfortable, very easy to drive Ford Kuga MKII from Ford Australia for six weeks to go on amazing adventures in and see corners of our little part of Australia – where our old car doesn’t dare to go. Thanks Ford!

  • August 11, 2015 - 12:08 pm

    Rachel - The stop motion video is so sweet! I feel inspired to attempt to make one with my children(though I’m pretty sure I know how it will turn out, if my other photography attempts are anything to go by :-(). Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • August 18, 2015 - 7:43 pm

      Sash - It’s super fun and easy to do Rachel – just set up a tripod and have a play!ReplyCancel

  • August 11, 2015 - 7:18 pm

    Alicja - Lovely and wholesome experiences.ReplyCancel

  • August 18, 2015 - 5:22 pm

    rachel - Bo is just adorable in that video! I want to steal her!ReplyCancel

    • August 18, 2015 - 7:42 pm

      Sash - She’s a sweet little thing that’s for sure!ReplyCancel