Archive for 'Travel'

Oct
23

I am writing this quite late at night as memories from my trip to Bhutan flood my mind. As so many of you know I have been fundraising over the last few months for a charity very close to my heart – the Black Dog Institute. I suffer from a mental illness and the Black Dog Institute provided me with a detailed assessment and diagnosis and provided me with management suggestions that helped me return to a productive lifestyle.  My goal was to raise $3000.00 for the Black Dog Institute, I raised over $5000. Thanks to everyone for your support, kind words and generous donations.

On the 11th October 2013, I embarked on the “Black Dog Ride to Happiness” through Inspired Adventures. Over the course of 12 days I fell in love with the magical kingdom of Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas and made some new amazing and extraordinary friends.  My adventure included a trek (with a lot of rain), spending the night at a school, beautiful monasteries and lush green valleys, amazing artwork and textiles, met people who are so kind, happy and so quick to smile and so much more.  We joined the Dragon Riders Motorcycle Club on a charity ride on the back of Enfield Motorcycles to a monastery being rebuilt after a devastating earthquake and on the last day we climbed to Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest Temple) - the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m (2952ft) above the floor of Paro valley. This adventure was truly life-changing.

The Black Dog Ride to Happiness 2013 was a unique opportunity to discover Bhutan and raise vital funds for the Black Dog Institute’s Community Programs. These Programs work with rural and metropolitan communities in Australia to increase awareness of mood Disorders, reduce stigma surrounding mental illness and build resilience in individuals. Although the Black Dog Institute’s work has led to a reduced social stigma around mental illness and has increased awareness of and diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder, mental health remains one of Australia’s most devastating health problems.

I will continue to write more over the next couple of weeks. I have so much to share about my life changing adventure, my amazing new friends I have made, and what the future holds for me. I just need to let my mind gather my thoughts and memories, but in the meantime I couldn’t resist in sharing some photographs of my time in Bhutan. Just a warning there is over 200 images – so grab a cuppa and enjoy.

Knowledge is power, so reach out to your friends and tell them about the Black Dog Institute.  Each year, Black Dog Institute aims to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of depression and Bipolar Disorder and improve the lives of those affected by these mood disorders. Please help me in my cause by donating through my page here. My adventure to Bhutan may be over but you can still donate to this wonderful organisation.

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Sep
19

Florentines and their city never fail to impress.  Firenze is beautiful and i was lucky enough to photograph the perfect elopement of Anna and Tommi – which i will share very soon!  It was the most amazing day!

The endless cobblestone roads encircle old Florence with endless traffic in an organised chaotic style. Horns honk and brakes squeal as Florentines dart in and out of lanes.  Ignorant of fear, motorini (moped) riders dash in and around larger vehicles, as if protected by some divine force.

We visited the Ponte Vecchio, climbed 468 steps to the top of the Duomo and discovered the best gelato in the world – GROM.

I have completely fallen in love with Italy, the people, the food and the art.  I can’t wait to return.  I hope you enjoy my photos of Florence…Milano is next!

Sep
15

The next part of our overseas adventure takes us to Lake Como.  Where we visited the picturesque village, Bellagio.  It’s hard not to love Bellagio. It has long been called the pearl of Lago di Como, and the description fits perfectly – it’s beautiful and flawless.  If you’ve been to the casino of the same name in Las Vegas, strike those images from your mind – there is no comparison.  We explored steep alleys to find hidden restaurants and tiny shops. We went on a 2.5 hour tour of the lake with Bellagio Water Taxis (hello Jennine and Luca) – If you visit Lake Como you must pop in and say hi to Jennine, Luca and Jett  - Wonderful husband/wife and doggie team. Really sweet and knowledgable and their boat - ”their 1st love” is beautiful and immaculate – a custom-crafted Italian wooden boat.

Across the lake we visited the spectacular Villa del Balbianello, it peers over the tip of a small peninsula on the southwest branch of the lake in Lenno.  The Villa is remarkable and it’s grounds just beg for hundreds of photos to be taken.  The villa was seen in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, serving as the secret hideaway where Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala were married, and it was the place where Daniel Craig’s James Bond convalesced in Casino Royale.  We also floated by Richard Branson’s property – complete with a boat house, guest house and of course their main house!

We indulged in coffee, pizza, pasta and a wine degustation!  Oh we are in heaven!

Next our trip takes us to Firenze! Where a beautiful couple – Anna and Tommi will be married!  x