Julie & Geoff’s Travel Bag

Julie and Geoff will be sharing their independent travel journeys with you. Our travel will appeal to those who want to explore after their Golf experience or for partners and friends who want an alternative. It is for those who don’t necessarily want to travel in groups, but want some guidance or assistance in booking their trip once they have an idea where they want to end up or what they want to experience.

TTGolf can book your travel and their years of experience helps with Visa applications; Ticketing for plane, train or boat; Travel Insurance and local packaged tours. We have had the pleasure of booking through TTGolf for our travels.

Our travels commenced back in 2005, after the children left home and we were ready to see the world. I wanted more than just a stopover and look at history. Our busy professional working lives demanded that we come back with something that made the organisation, effort and time away beneficial and meaningful. Geoff has read extensively and brushed up on his HSC French at evening college for a year before we travelled. I read and listened to Italian language CDs in the car.

I read and was impressed by the book ” The Art of Pilgrimage” by Phil Costineau.

P. Cosineau writes page 12-13:

“Thus the paradox: the easier it becomes to travel widely, on the wings of supersonic jets and via the Internet, the harder it becomes to travel wisely. We are left with plenty of frequent flyer miles and passport stamps, but the gnawing suspicion grows that our travels lack something vital. ……..Uncover what you long for and you will discover who you are.”

He gives a great account of finding meaning in the chaos of travel by being open to new experiences and knowing what means the most to you whether that is pursuing golf or a hobby, a spiritual connection with people wherever you are, physical journeys that embrace the country, exploring foods and cooking or just getting away.

My earliest and most significant personal awakening was in a tiny village somewhere between Mount Emei Shan and Yangshuo in China, when our bus broke down. While the bus was being repaired we walked down the wet muddy road to the village market. There was no ashphalt or concrete paths here. Houses sturdy but grey. In the market it was clear the local people didn’t come into contact with westerners very often. When we stopped to indicate in the universal language of ‘sign’ that we’d like to eat some steamed rolls we had a gathering audience. When the street vendor looked perplexed someone in the crowd made an accurate guess as to what we wanted. That was the moment I will always remember that no matter where you are and who you are with, people can be much the same. Although I knew this, I didn’t know it. We bought our rolls, paid our money and the went on with the bus trip.

Similarly when we were in Xian, while walking around the old quarter, we came across protest writing on an old wall and police evicting a local from a Hutong marked for demolition with a collection of interested onlookers. What an interesting situation to see! Then we realised the younger generation we were travelling with, had no memory of the Chinese Revolution in the 1950s, Tiananmen Square protests and the suppression of individual freedom in China. We the older group members took them aside in a small café and organised a clandestine quiet meeting at the back of the room.  We gave them a history lesson and why the experience and writing on the public wall was remarkable and it was worth seeing their reactions!

So for every trip, I always look for something I didn’t know or something I want to experience and more often than not a new unexpected situation will arise that overwhelms me with its significance, the joy of being in the right place at the right time (overnight stay in Salzburg on the night of Salzburg’s patron saint St Rupert’s festival) or just the pure spiritual journey of being in the middle of history in the French countryside in a boat on a canal.

I hope your travels are as fun, joyful and insightful as mine have been. We will write about our experiences. Perhaps you will start to unwind who you are and what you are looking for………….and more importantly where you should be.