Our Longest Journey

 

What does 1955 mean to you?

1955 has had an impact on all of us, regardless of our current age: the Mickey Mouse Club and Dame Edna Everage had their debut performances, Disneyland California and the first McDonalds opened … Fibre Optics, Lego and Velcro were invented … Twelve Angry Men swept the Emmy  Awards …. Albert Einstein died  – and both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were born. And of course Elvis was in full flight

Fast forward to 2015 ……. for my contemporaries we’re celebrating a landmark.  It marks a journey of 60 years toward our ultimate destiny. For some that’s a spiritual place, and others dust.

It’s has been a year of parties where we have caught up with current friends and others past, some merely shadows at the edge of our recall.

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Like photos in a travel journal, memories are shared and reflectful thought (and perhaps liquid refreshments) cast new light on experiences long past, some best forgotten, others joyfully salvaged from dusty neurological pathways.

Loud music, dancing and the noise of banter ….. all a distraction from the enormity of the elephant in the corner.  Like contemplating the return elephant

journey after a long trip, there is much more to be enjoyed but we’ve reached a point where the journey is no longer outward bound.  We have seen more years come and go than we will see again.

Measured in time, our past has been much longer than our future will be.

So why celebrate our short future rather than mourn our travelled decades?

Having reached my 60th, my life expectancy just increased by 20%  – just by getting here!   Nothing pays a better dividend than that !

But that’s not why it’s a time to celebrate – well not the only reason – accumulated experience and a lifetime of work make this a time we can begin to at least notice the roses around us, even if we have yet to stop to smell them.

Our appreciation of each experience begins to overtake the mere fact of having had the experience. The appreciation too … of the existence of a relationship as an experience …. itself to be appreciated and savored.  Again and again, but for making the time to do so.

By other measures, the future holds rewards for which the past has merely set the scene.

Education, career ambitions, family and work commitments consume decades that pass like the vista flashes past the window of our very fast train.

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Beauty to be beheld at every glance … but decades pass by all too quickly to absorb it all.  The rim of our mental cups fill to the brim and overflow with the vastness of a life time of events, joys, experiences and learnings … flow over and away, flow into the distance, flow toward oblivion.

It’s time to stem the flow, dam the memories before they’re damned.  Time to notice, time to capture the scent …. time ….

The Future for all of us

60 years past, fast forward by 20 and what do we see …. from today 10 years maybe 15 to exploit the opportunities of 60 years of preparation before a quieter, more sedentary existence will consume us.

There’s not a lot of time to sit around thinking about what we’ll make of this envelope of time.

If life were a recipe, we hold at hand a concentrate, an essence, we have distilled over time to enrich what we have to savour, to achieve ahead of us.

What now? … the certainty of inertia, or the uncertainty of a change ….

Reflective of my professional career, planning is central to identifying what the future can deliver

…implementation central to delivery

…procrastination the potential of an unfulfilled wandering from cradle to grave.

What do you plan to do?

No idea.

Think about it.

Who am I ?

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

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Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.


Italy, Denmark, Portugal and India in a day

When was the last time you experienced a day that was truly magic ….. beyond your wildest imaginings?

Biblical stories record that when Solomon sat on his silken carpet he sailed through the air so quickly that he breakfasted at IMG_0204Damascus and supped in Media.

Our transport last Sunday was a little more conventional (a small bus) but our ride was no less giddy than Solomon’s, or Aladdin’s for that matter.

An adventure gift from family for our 60th birthdays, Margot and I had our taste buds transmitted across four countries in as many hours .… dragging our bodies in close pursuit.

We departed Sydney CBD at 9am and minutes later we were being led up a narrow pathway between old buildings. It was hard to tell if they were in a state of demolition or restoration.

Our destination – a roller door set in a graffiti laden back lane between derelict cars and industrial skip bins.

Beyond the door …. a pristine Paesanella family ricotta factory which has been a local Italian institution in Marrickville for decades. Basket after basket of ricotta has been filled since 3am that morning, at 9.15 we catch the last few batches.

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The taste of freshly made ricotta still warm form the vat is a treat I recommend to all.

… and then to the Paesanella Café and store where Mumma Paesanella has prepared our breakfast: fresh meat ball lasagna with home made smoked buffalo mozzarella, cannoli to die for and her special cake made from marscatone and blue cheese – I could feel my arteries filling as my taste buds exploded in joy. There were lots (and lots) of other treats she’d prepared for us and (unfortunately) we couldn’t resist.

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I let out my belt a notch (or two) before arriving at our next destination: a plain unadorned doorway on a busy road with just two words ‘Blond Catering’ marking its existence.

Beyond the door, decorated Danish caterer Jesper Hansen and his kitchen … a perfect host.

Our treat?

A ‘colding’ demonstration. No cooking, but rather a demonstration on how to make the classic ancient recipe – Gravalax. The curing of salmon using salt, sugar, fennel and dill …. and then of course a tasting, and more tasting, and then more…. WOW

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I guess that was morning tea ??!

Our next port of call – ‘little India’ also know as Harris Park where 20 Indian restaurants line Wigram Street separated by Indian supermarkets, spice emporiums, sweets palaces and sari shops. Candy to treat every sense, plus some.

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We lunched at the Billu Restaurant (the first in Harris Park). You go a long way (outside India) to find authentic, quality Indian food …. not so in Harris Park … a few steps in any direction will suffice.

DSC00373-2Another belt notch …. a only walk amongst the India shops and we’re back on our chariot destined to Portugal.

Sweet Belem, a Petersham pastry store serving the local Portuguese community with the best Portuguese custard tarts in the land. Crammed in Jose Silvia’s tiny kitchen he talks us through the preparation and cooking process. Hot, very hot, busy and space deficient. It’s a buzz, the out come a treats, a REAL treat.

Preparing the pastry before an audience

Preparing the pastry before an audience

Perplexed – are these treats to die for or die from??? Either way, if you get a chance go for them.DSC00390-2

All in all a decadent day of self indulgence, the discovery of cultural enclaves in Sydney I’d never dreamed of and lots of fun with our fellow travellers.

Nutella Tarts

Nutella Tarts

Not to be out done he then produces a new novelty tart – Portuguese nutella custard tart – yep – nutella.

Not to be out done Jose then produces a new novelty tart – Portuguese Nutella custard tart – yep – Nutella.

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Thanks to our host Maeve O’Meara (of SBS fame) and her Food Safari ……. and of course a big thanks to Cate, Laura, Isaac and Simon who made it all possible for us.

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Its now back to calorie counting.

Who am I ?

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

I INVITE YOUR COMMENTS

If you have any comments about this blog or tips to add to this blog please do so – your comments and tips will help all of us in our travels.

Use the ‘leave a comment’ link at the top right hand side of the blog (above my photo) to send a message to me.

Use the “Follow” link at the bottom of the column on the right to subscribe to this blog.

PLEASE SHARE THIS BLOG WITH PEOPLE YOU BELIEVE MAY BE INTERESTED

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Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.


Soulmated ? !

Unlike the chess equivalent, the last move makes all players a winner.

Have you visited Fiji?  Even the new luxury resorts are contagious.

Isolated from the locals by fences and a socio-economic divide that can only be measured in light years, the infection they spread is jaw-numbing.

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The symptoms begin to appear before you even exit the airport.  They grow unrestrained.

Two days into my three-day visit my jaws ache, and my heart has swollen.

It’s inevitable …. this Fijian plague …. a direct consequence of the ever-present goodwill that comes with every utterance of the local greeting: Bula, Bula and the warmth of the grin that follows.

That’s right – smiling, laughing and being continuously overwhelmed with generosity takes it toll.

All the self-imposed barriers we erect around ourselves to survive our busy lives are rapidly stripped away and we stand naked. Exposed to genuine courteous social interaction with no purpose beyond …. genuine courteous social interaction.

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Beyond the decadence of our delectable resort, we visit old friends, Suli and her husband Amos – locals we first met over a quarter of a century ago.

They remain in the same cottage in the same coastal village living life the same way as their ancestors have for as long as history records.

Their son, an international jet-setting environmental advisor returns to village life after each trip and sheds his first-world self like a snake sheds its skin …  and steps into another world he contently shares with his family and his community.

Our friends, their daughter-in-law and grandchildren host a kava ceremony to welcome us and then treat us to fish caught only hours before, cassava, spinach and banana from their garden garnished with that wonderful Fiji dish of fresh coconut milk and greens.

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Spoilt to the point of tears Margot and I savour every morsel to the sound of our friends sharing glimpses of Fijian history through song. We sit stunned,  the music hypnotising, the setting breathtaking in its simplicity, the physical and emotional generosity humbling.

Sitting on hand-woven flooring we talk hypnotising and international politics, families, the economy, climate change, the changing world that is Fiji.  Worldly people. Admirable.

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We left with gifts … unexpected and embarrassingly valuable. … unique handicraft created by Suli and presented to us to celebrate our 25 years of friendship. Pure and simple.

What we carried away however hypnotising a lot more …. a reminder of the power of human bonds, no matter how much time passes between touches.

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Their farewell serenade:

Life is a checkerboard of pieces, all part of the one game.

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Who am I ?

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

I INVITE YOUR COMMENTS

If you have any comments about this blog or tips to add to this blog please do so – your comments and tips will help all of us in our travels.

Use the ‘leave a comment’ link at the top right hand side of the blog (above my photo) to send a message to me.

Use the “Follow” link at the bottom of the column on the right to subscribe to this blog.

PLEASE SHARE THIS BLOG WITH PEOPLE YOU BELIEVE MAY BE INTERESTED

VISIT OTHER BLOGS 

Estate Planning Tip 1

Estate Planning Tip 2

Estate Planning Tip 3

OR

MY TRAVEL TIP SERIES: Click Here

WILLS FOR PETS ?:    Wills for Pets ?

MY INSTAGRAM

Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.


Do you want a blog that speaks to you – what do you want? Ask me.

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.  If you have a comment or request – bring it on.

Whilst you’re here please enjoy a few of my snaps and recommend my blog to others. No prizes…just surprises.

Exploring Ningaloo Reef

Exploring Ningaloo Reef

Balloning in Egypt - Enjoying the beauty

Balloning in Egypt – Enjoying the beauty

Still in Egypt - Arable meets arid - life's contrasts

Still in Egypt – Arable meets arid – life’s contrasts

Victoria Falls - Zambia Sharing a moment with my son Mark

Victoria Falls – Zambia
Sharing a moment with my son Mark

..... and swimming with Mark in Antarctica....cold!

….. and swimming with Mark in Antarctica….cold!

Observing observations

Observing observations

Keeping the hot air where it belongs

Keeping the hot air where it belongs

Thank you to the copyright owner - home truths in a snapshot

Thank you to the copyright owner – home truths in a snapshot

Communicating serious estate planning messages whilst staying grounded.

My serious face with my lawyers uniform on.

My serious face with my lawyer’s uniform on

....and always shooting for the stars - especially when in Mongolia

….and always shooting for the stars – especially when in Mongolia

And some times just because its there

And some times just because its there

colour glorious colour

colour glorious colour

and always a word of advice...never too old or too young to listen.....or learn

and always a word of advice…never too old or too young to listen…..or learn