• Summer with elephant
    Travel dreaming

    Eat, pray, love Bali

    I visited Bali this year for the first time in two decades. I travelled with my new partner (at the time) and our four teenagers (one mine, three his). It was wonderful to escape the bleak Melbourne winter in June for 10 days of tropical heat. Bali has changed in some surprising ways during the last 20 years. One delightful change is how the dogs are treated now. When I was there in 1993, sick mangy dogs were everywhere. Now the Balinese care for them as pets. We’d go for an early walk along Seminyak Beach before the kids woke up and it was reminiscent of Australia, the sand dotted with…

  • Lee Pearse in Spain
    Travel dreaming

    Soul journey through Spain

    It was my time to walk the Camino de Santiago – my heart and head told me so. I had the money, the time and the support of my husband, and it just seemed the next indicated thing to do. Six months after becoming aware of this long walk across Spain, I was flying out to begin a pilgrimage along an ancient path that spiritual seekers have walked for more than 1000 years. My journey on foot would cover more than 880 kilometres and take one month. People walk the Camino for many reasons, each as different and individual as the people doing the walking. These callings include historical interests,…

  • Poolside at Potato Head, Bali
    Travel dreaming

    My reverse bucket list

    What’s on your travel bucket list? Volunteering in Africa, teaching English in Prague, eating pasta in Rome? We dream of the next adventure, the next achievement, the next thing… but what about reflecting on the life we have lived? Here’s my reverse bucket list – my top 10 most unforgettable travel moments in Asia. 1. Watching sunrise over the Ganges in Varanasi, India’s oldest living city, with dolphins diving around our tiny boat and pilgrims descending on the water’s edge to begin their ritual morning dips. 2. Snuggling under a rug at dawn, surrounded by Tibetan monks chanting mantras to celebrate Buddha’s birthday, in Dharamsala. 3. Walking past an Indian slum during monsoon and seeing a mother and…

  • Pont Neuf, Paris
    Travel dreaming

    My springtime in Paris

    It’s hard to write about the most romantic city in the world without sounding effusive. Even though Paris in April was colder than I expected, the city of love was as wonderful as I imagined – and then some. Everything the French do, they do beautifully. The architecture, the art galleries, the art itself. It wasn’t until I visited Paris that I realised my favourite painters are French – I’ve always loved Monet and Degas. The art galleries in Paris are truly works of art. The colours are soft in Paris, with beige stone buildings complementing the deep green of the Seine. Everything is lovely – except the subway. The Metro signs are so garish and dated you wonder how they can exist in…