Posts tagged travel photography
#29 I should never forget who gave me wings

My grandmother, Alice Warrington

Alice 17 years oldsmall.jpg

Before I was too young to understand, my grandmother told me to follow my dreams.

"You can be anyone you want to be, if only you have the courage to seize the day," she said.

I told her I wanted to see the world, and so you shall she said with a squeeze and a kiss.

Alice passed away before I got to know her; before I understood the worldly advice of a lady who never left the country she was born in.

Worldliness is a state of mind and not measured by the stamps in our passports.

#26 I should not feed the animals

Technically I wasn't feeding the animals and no kookaburras were harmed during the filming of this picture.

Smoking causes beak cancer

Smoking causes beak cancer

I was at a holiday house in the Blue Mountains about two hours drive west of Sydney.

There was food involved.

I vaguely remember leaving some cheese and crackers on the terrace and someone had left cigarettes on the table.

But Polly didn't want a cracker.

He wanted a smoke.





#25 I should not dress like a large slice of bread

Once again, it seemed like a great idea at the time ... happy days ...

At least it was warm and toasty

At least it was warm and toasty

Come to the party they said.

Never one to give up the opportunity to slip into a costume, the obvious choice to attend a Sound of Music party was to go dressed as bread and jam.

It all went swimmingly until the neighbours, on account of a particularly raucous chorus of 'My Favourite Things,' called the cops. It was spectacular.

The police constables were less enthused.

But when I answered the door thusly attired they were powerless to reprimand me and instead advised us to party hard.

We obliged.

And continued with our tribute to Julie Andrews and the iconic 60's movie.

This happened while I was in Sydney but it doesn't matter where you are travelling around the world, party hard and dance like no one is watching, even if you can hardly move because you're trapped in a huge slice of glittered bread.

Go hard.


#24 I should not play dress-ups

It's a truth universally acknowledged that if you ask someone not to do something, chances are they're likely to do exactly that which you forbade.

Don't touch the costume cupboard .... sorry I can't hear you.

Don't touch the costume cupboard .... sorry I can't hear you.

Such was the request and subsequent naughty defiance during a vacation to Byron Bay.

A theatre group had once rented the property and a substantial costume collection remained.

Red flag.


The door to the costume room was locked but no match for a Phillips head and few gentle taps.

Honestly, what did you expect?

#22 I should not paint my hair white

Costume parties are fun. At home. While travelling, sometimes less so.

When all logic abandons you and colouring your hair with white house paint seems reasonable. 

When all logic abandons you and colouring your hair with white house paint seems reasonable. 

Back home, outfits are well-planned, thoughtfully executed and usually shed before the witching hour.

Costumes on the run, when you are travelling, are more complicated.

What to wear?

Such was my quandary when visiting a friend in Sydney.  

The taxi was fast approaching and 'Plan A' to spray my hair with temporary white colour had resulted in my having a consumptive, sickly appearance covered in what looked like dead skin.

Drastic action was required.

I disappeared into the workshop and came back with a more permanent solution.

Logic said no.

But the six dirty martinis screamed yes. 

I bent over a drop sheet and painted my head white.

And then just for good measure, sprinkled a small fortune in glitter all over my head.

The next day it did not seem like such a good idea.

Three weeks later, even less so. 


#21 I should not stay in love hotels

It's a great idea to stay in a love hotel, said no one ever

Sad face: but nothing 20 litres of spray bleach can't fix

Sad face: but nothing 20 litres of spray bleach can't fix

I was curious.

What exactly was a 'Love Hotel'?

Rented by the hour or the night ... suspicious looking people shuffling in back entrances.

I'd been in Bangkok for a week and neon signs everywhere had piqued my curiosity.

I should have known.

Renting anything relating to 'love' by the hour can't be good.

Not that I object ... it's just not my poison.

Each to their own.

I found a hotel on Ratchadaphisek Road.

It had no windows. Probably should have given it away, but I entered the foyer, which was excessively beige and not at all suggestive of what was going on in the rooms upstairs.

The receptionist was neat and charming.

What was I worried about?

Fears allayed.

But only for a moment.

When I got to my room I noticed sticky hand prints covering the wall above the bed.

I checked the nightstand.

No bible.

I thought as much.


I called down to reception.

Several litres of bleach later the smell of - whatever that smell was - was gone and replaced with an eye-watering hospital grade scent of cleanliness.

And it's not just in Thailand.

There are love hotels all over the world catering to secret assignations, starstruck lovers and horny business men. 





#20 I should listen to the weather forecast

An ex tropical cyclone has come to play.

Mary Poppins moments can be expected if one ignores the weather forecast

Mary Poppins moments can be expected if one ignores the weather forecast

Shades of Dorothy blown in by cyclonic winds have the capital in a tizzy, and somewhere over the rainbow a storm is brewing.
It’s grim.  
But I remain optimistic.
There’s “nowt can’t be remedied by galoshes and a sou’wester,” granny always said when great scudding clouds threatened my childhood adventures.
But this odyssey calls for gumboots or waders … or a submarine.
Wellington boots in wellington.
The story is practically writing itself.
Then the rain turns horizontal and wind speeds top 200km/h and my smugness - along with much of the surrounding topsoil – is washed away by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie’s deluge.
Wellington’s compact but usually bustling CBD with its soaring verticality of business and commerce is almost deserted.
As I slosh through ankle-deep puddles towards a patisserie wafting nostril twitching loveliness, I notice a few panicky Wellintonians scurrying home, battling an invisible, blustery foe doffing hats and flipping brollies.    
I’m off.
I decide to forgo the Wellington leg of the trip.
I ‘plan B’ and drive/sail to my lodgings in Plimmerton.
I hunker down for the night, wake early, dodge the razor and head off.
According to the weather forecast, apparently there’s a tiny piece of blue sky somewhere north and I am determined to find it.


#19 I should close my mouth while quad biking

"Eat shit" is something my sister often says to me.

Does this pink, plastic poncho make my bum look big?

Does this pink, plastic poncho make my bum look big?

And other choice phrases.


You love them. But sometimes they get on your tits.

And words come out ... the hurtful things you don't actually mean, but at the end of the day they know you better than anyone else, and when all is said and done ... you don't really want them to eat shit ...

or so I thought.

On our last trip to Cambodia, we decided to go on a half-day tour around the villages surrounding the capital city Phnom Penh, on quad bikes.

Towards the end of the trip we drove through a paddock full of cow excrement and my sister became bogged down in poo.

I laughed.

Oh, how I laughed.

Up to her pretty, white sneakers in shit.

I told her to "give it arseholes" a delightful phrase I learned in New Zealand, which has a miscellany of different meanings, but in this instance meant put your foot down.

As she accelerated out of the paddock back onto the track, several kilos of cow shit, which had been lodged under the quad bike wheels hit me in the face with such velocity it knocked off my sunglasses and filled my mouth and throat.

I have not the words ...



#18 I should not move to remote islands to write novels

Inside every reporter, journalist and travel writer is a budding novelist.

Wilson: your only friend while you write that illusive novel

Wilson: your only friend while you write that illusive novel

I travel a lot.

But even when the anchor of domestic normality grounds me and I decide to settle down, I usually end up moving somewhere remote.

One of my bright ideas was to buy a house on a tiny island off the coast of Queensland.

Sound idyllic?

I thought so.


Replace the white sand with mangroves and mud and fill the ocean with Bull Sharks and Great Whites and the occasional Tiger Shark. 

I lived there for a full year, in isolation, writing my travel diaries.

It should have been ideal.

I should have written that bestseller.

What actually happened was I bought a lot of crap off the internet, spent hours rubbing calamine lotion into the countless sand fly and mosquito bites and extracting ticks from my unmentionables.

Power cuts and burst sewer mains kept me distracted too.

Finally, my mother sent me a present: a Wilson ball to jolt me out of my self-imposed exile and remind me that my only human contact was with a piece of spherical sporting equipment. 


#17 I should not eat bulls' testicles

I am not a fan of glands.

A rodeo in Hawke's Bay where the fruits of labour swing like a mighty bag of onions

A rodeo in Hawke's Bay where the fruits of labour swing like a mighty bag of onions

My flatmate used to have a dog that had a particularly pendulous sack of gonads, which it insisted on draping all over my soft furnishings.

May it was curiosity. Maybe it was a a perverse sense of revenge but twice on my travels I've dined on bull's testicles and twice I've thrown up the entire contents of my stomach.

Once in Cambodia.

Once in Montana.