Six inches. Cos that’s how I roll.

What do you do when you’re about to hop on a plane for twenty four hours, and you haven’t packed? Oh, go to the hairdressers, get your grey hair(s) deleted, and get six inches cut off…

all the greys have been deleted! #winning 

Because why not? But seriously, why not? Thing is, it’s funny how we wait until there’s *something* we need to look good for. Like, 24 hours on planes?! So off I raced to the hairdresser, while my emails kept pinging through to my phone, I hadn’t sorted out where my car would be ‘parked’ for a few months, my suitcase wasn’t unpacked from my last trip yet, and my passport… well, one of the two of them is expired… !!

So I screeched into the hair salon, in a mild panic. Thinking I couldn’t have timed it all worse if I tried. Which is exactly the point. I didn’t really try.

But a wonderful thing happened. Which is just how life works sometimes…
The hairdresser offered me tea, and talked to me about her recent trip to Fiji, and her visits to some of the poorest villages and her work with some of the children there. So inspiring. Such wonderful breadth and depth of LIFE, and all of it’s facets. And suddenly I was feeling calmer, and relaxed… and inspired by her story, and by people’s tenacity, and bravery, and grace in the midst of sometimes awful stories…

And then came a ten minute head massage!!! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
And, a hot towel wrap on my head. Best thing ever. There’s something very grounding and stabilising about a hot towel wrapped around your head, covering your ears, blocking out the sounds, stilling you, and warming you… I’m sure there’s a science somethin somethin behind it all, but hey, I know it makes me feel good!

So the thing is, by the time I walked out, I was feeling a lot better than when I walked in. There’s still time to pack, my car is sorted, and my hair is looking good too!

The moral of the story for me is HOW GOOD ARE HEAD MASSAGES!

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how to travel through europe, by someone who’s never been…

Ok so I’m hardly qualified to write this post, but I’m writing it anyway. And since I am an Aries, I can’t possibly be wrong. Ha! More on the not-so-great qualities of my star sign later…

Oh, and I guess I have been to Europe… I’ve been to the UK a number of times, and I’ve spent 8 hours in Paris once. And, the last time I was even on that side of the globe I was 19. But that still counts right?! I have also travelled the States, and a few other places, and I’ve been floating around Australia for almost a year, so the tips I learnt from those trips apply here too!

Thing is, I’ve posted a few photos of places I’m going on Instagram, and Twitter, and Facebook lately, and a bunch of people have been asking where I’ve found the great deals, and HOW CAN EUROPE BE SO CHEAP?

Things like this: 3 nights in a 4 star hotel on a cliff on the Amalfi coast (complete with private elevator down to the private hotel beach below) for $200. Laughing.

Or this – 3 weeks on a Greek island in an apartment on a beach, for $250 a week.

So, I’m spilling (my version of) the beans for you!

General bits and pieces.

Check out The Best Time to Visit. This is a great little site which helps you pick where to go when… you either pick a month, and it lists where is fab to visit that month, or you pick a continent, country, town, and it tells you when to go there.

This is wise. You should be picking places for their seasons – no use going somewhere during tornado/monsoon season… but the flip side of the ‘in season’ thing is that you also need to be aware of spikes in prices of everything at those times…and crowds! I try to visit in shoulder seasons – you generally get the best prices, and less crowds(my favourite bit) and you still get decent weather.

While I’m on the topic of seasons, watch out for ‘out of season’ closures… European winter is cold, so unless it’s a snow town, lots of places shut down. Public transport sometimes is also limited, so just check your options before you go somewhere out of season…

Travel books and guides. Well, I’m a visual person, so books like the Lonely Planet guides don’t work for me. Too much writing and not enough seeing of where I’m going to be. But, they’re packed with great info, and lots of people swear by them, so if you’re into Continue reading

a gypsy update. from a room with a view…

Well hello!

So I’ve been ‘gypsying’ my way around the East coast of Australia since last November… it’s gone quickly that’s for sure (especially when I realised my last login to wordpress was MANY MOONS AGO…)

gypsy dreaming

I wasn’t so sure I’d love a gypsy lifestyle. I’m pretty transient by nature, but I do also like being settled, and having MY STUFF around me. But when I got back from six weeks in Africa, I walked into my bedroom and felt claustrophobic. I’d been loving carrying only what I could fit in a case, and suddenly the weight of all my STUFF was so much heavier than before. Metaphor much? Probably, so anyway…

My theory on that is also – first the natural, then the spiritual. And when you’re making space in your physical practical tangible world for things to change, the spaces open up across the rest of your life too.

So, I downsized. Big time. I rented my room out to a friend. Sold some furniture, gave some furniture away, loaned some furniture to friends on a ‘who knows if I’ll ever want this back’ basis. It was blissful. I loved it all. I moved out, with one suitcase, my bike, and my car, and trekked up the coast to Queensland.

And since then, I’ve been floating the Eastern side of this great land quite happily. With no planned agenda further than a few weeks ahead. Which is hard for a CONTROL FREAK Continue reading

35 for 35. not a maths post. or a cricket score.

35 things about me on the day I turn 35….

that’s me, back when I was a short person.

* Yes, I have been to Bora Bora. This you should know. And be jealous of. It is ridiculously glorious there, and I shall return.

* I was a blonde for two years. WHY DID SOMEONE NOT DUMP A TUB OF HAIR DYE OVER ME AT ANY POINT DURING THAT TIME TO SAVE ME FROM MYSELF???

* I can NOT speak many languages. I learnt Afrikaans and Northern Sotho at school in South Africa, but can’t remember a thing. I can speak English, and sometimes, not even that.

* There are days when my heart absolutely aches at things that I see or hear around me, and I feel like my body is physically being ripped apart. It’s not fun. But I also know it’s imperative in the ‘making me who I am’ part of life.

* I love to laugh. So I do it a LOT. And mostly loudly.

* I am officially addicted to the sitcom “Friends”, and have been known to watch three discs worth of episodes in one night (each disc is six episodes… you do the maths.) Also, Modern Family. YES.

* Over the years, I have, on occasion, broken both of my arms, fractured an ankle, had stitches in my knee, and had my stomach pumped at the age of two after swallowing a bottle of cough mixture. Oh, and a concussion when a glass bottle was lobbed at my head during university days. To this day, I still struggle swallowing tablets because of the thought of having something shoved down my throat from when I had my stomach pumped…

* I need (REALLY need) the beach, and sunshine, to refuel. If I don’t get them, I don’t cope. Serious.

* I used to swim for my State. And won medals in horse riding gymkhanas. And got my purple belt in karate. You should know these things. Just because they’re cool things to know.

* I stole sunglasses from an expensive store when I was in high school. I didn’t even like them, I just wanted to see if I could get away with it. I did.

* I have been given three cars in my lifetime. All blue.

* I have worn contact lenses since I was sixteen. That’s a lot of touching of eyeballs…

* I miss Bono (my dog, not the person) Although, I would miss Bono the person too, if I knew him and then didn’t see him for a while.

* The boy I had a crush on in high school became a porn star. Yup. Truly.

* I have a handful of friends that I would literally die for. Ok, maybe not actually DIE… But I do have the deepest gratitude for our friendships.

* I can’t turn my brain off. Ever. Sometimes that’s fun. Sometimes it’s really scary. That’s probably also why I love the ocean, because sometimes I need the sound of the waves to drown out my own thoughts.

* I am completely and utterly independent and selfish. Not proudly so. Just truthfully so.

* I love to travel. But not on a tour with fifty million other people. I like exploring with one or two friends. And if you say ‘tropical island’, I’ll beat you there for sure.

* It blows my mind that we can individually love so many other individuals. There’s so much space in our lives for everyone we meet. It messes with my head.

* I think it’s cool how your eyebrows catch water and stop it from running into your eyes. Clever.

* I don’t cope with scary movies. At all. They will always leave me with nightmares for eons after.

* I miss my sister, and who we should have been as siblings: every. single. day.

* I went to one primary school, and one high school. And one university. And lived in the same house until I moved to Australia at the age of 20.

* I love to read. But I often skim read, and then I can’t even remember what I read. I’m trying to slow down again.

* I’m super impatient. And control-freakish. It’s unfortunate. Believe me, I don’t like it.

* I’ve had grey/gray(however you choose to spell it) hair since I was in my mid-twenties. Yes, these are horrendous truths I share with you today…

* Riot police once had to save my friend and I from a crazed drunk/drugged up dude on a rampage in a house in London. True(and ultra scary) story.

* I have stood in the middle of a frozen lake(loch, even) in Scotland. Stupid. And dangerous. But I did it for the photographic evidence. Of which there is plenty.

* I can still sing the theme song from ‘Gummy Bears’. One of my favourite shows as a kid.

* I am right handed. But I have a bung baby finger on my right hand (long story), so when I write, my finger aches. ALWAYS. Even if I’m only writing a short shopping list(on my iPhone).

* I may be slightly addicted to grated cheese. And haloumi. Or, not at all.

* I am definitely addicted to photographs. Can’t get enough of them. Have way to many of them. Never get to look at all of them.

* When my dad turned 50 I called him ‘dinosaur dad’ in his birthday card. I remember, because I thought it was funny. Him, not so much amused. Now that I’m in my mid-thirties, I understand his point…

* I have been known to lay flat on my back on the floor in the dark with the same song on repeat for two-three hours at a time. It’s one of my favourite things to do.

* I still call Australia home.

just a little something…

This is something I read on my gorgeous friend Sydney Berry‘s blog – and I am sharing it as well because it’s soooo good…

YOU ARE A GENIUS SYDNEY… AND I AM HONOURED TO KNOW YOU…

“Run against the wind. Swim against the current. Travel uphill. Choose to be stretched. It’s the only way to grow. Never stop growing.

Be spontaneous. Surprise someone with a smile, a compliment, a conversation. Make someone’s day. Live this day like it’s never happened before because it hasn’t. Nothing will ever be the same.

Respect your body, your mind, your soul. Be choosy about what you let inside. It shows.

Take time to reminisce. But don’t spend too much time remembering and not enough time making the memories.

Balance. Breathe. Stretch. Smile. Sing. Fly. Laugh. Love. Live.

And you will look back and know that you have…..”

this is me

Welcome to the blog of jo1foster – this is a new world for me…  loving my life, my friends and family, and as we say here in sydney – LIVIN’ THE DREAM!!

i love flying into sydney over the harbour on a clear day… i love the simplicity and complexity of humanity… i love that there is no problem that doesn’t have a solution… i hate the smell of public pools…. i love trying not to laugh when you’re not supposed to be laughing… i hate brussel sprouts and cooked celery… i love Jackeline and Faith Claire – my sponsor kids in Uganda….  i love when my friends do silly things and i’m there to witness it in person…. i hate apathy…. i hate that we know how to eradicate poverty and yet governments do nothing…. i hate being far away from people that i love…  i love travelling to new and exciting places…. i love the islands of the seychelles…. i hate feeling helpless…. i love having afternoon tea in the Burj Al Arab in Dubai…. i love my friends who bless and astound me daily… i love the beach…. i love having cocktails on the beach in Bora Bora… i love the feeling of the sand between my toes and the sound of the waves… i love walking along with an elephant’s trunk tucked in my hand while the elephant walks behind me – so amazing… i hate getting stuck in the traffic…. i love grace… i love the sound of children laughing… i love lazy mornings with hot chocolates at bathers… i hate the feeling you get when you hear chalk being scraped down a chalkboard… i love seeing old people holding hands… i hate my neighbour’s alarm clock that keeps going off at 6:30am on cold Saturday mornings…. i love standing on the top of Table Mountain…
i love my life… and i love that i get to live it!

bitter/sweet

sydney town 1999

bittersweet moments… leaving a place i love, a place i dreamed of living in since i was ten years old, leaving a church and family and friends that have been everything to me for the past twelve years, leaving a job i love working with people who are exceptionally amazing…. BUT moving forward into more of my dreams and desires for my future, new experiences, new levels of influence, new places to explore and people to embrace and love and laugh with… it’s an awful taste, but it’s also the sweetest…. what do you do but embrace it – and eat it up!