Growing The Group

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A very quick note today…

Time for some growth!

I’ve added a SUBSCRIBE form to the side column — and that enables you to receive a very quick email whenever I have posted new content.

Whether you are using a computer, a tablet, or a mobile device — please do sign up so that you can stay up to date on where we are and what we are up to.

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life Please respect the words and images on this page. All rights reserved.

Adaptation

A detail of a startled man holding his head in his hands on one of the side arches of the medieval Marktkirche in Hannover, Germany.
A detail of a startled man holding his head in his hands on one of the side arches of the medieval Marktkirche in Hannover, Germany.

Advice from friends who are experienced writers/bloggers/journalists is usually quite welcome — but the ‘Oh no!’ image above reflects a dilemma that I’ve been dealing with. Before we strike off into the world again, I’m taking a bit of a stand about adapting what will be on this site. Here’s why.

In the past, it seemed easy to just classify this as a travel blog and it led to some good writing and photography assignments since I used it as a showcase. BUT, the advice to just leave this site in that one category never really sat well with me.

From this point on, I am going back to the original idea for this site and that will include several of my own eclectic interests alongside more mainstream topics. You’ll be seeing a mix of articles ranging from photo essays and stand-alone photo of the day posts, travel articles that are sprinkled with photos, updates about our progress, occasional whinging about whatever is an obstacle to overcome, and sometimes the content is going to be topical social commentary, historical research, political reflections, and more.

I feel strongly that since the world is shifting so rapidly, it’s important for me to go back to longer journalistic articles that give a real feel for places or which inform the readers of the current ‘vibe’ versus the tourism office public relations spiel. If people are trying to decide between travelling in or relocating to Country A or Country B — wouldn’t they rather have accurate boots-on-the-ground reporting about what’s unfolding in that place and perhaps some history about what the forces are that are creating these changes?

This site has never been monetised with promotional tours or free hotel stays or anything else of any monetary value. If they had been, I would have made a note of disclaimer and that rule will also apply in the future.

I’d like to feel comfortable doing long-form essays, op-ed pieces, or outright critiques about places, people, and situations without feeling like I have to take the Ebay feedback approach of always saying something nice so that I get good reciprocal feedback. When it applies to real world issues, that’s not a helpful or truthful approach.

So come along for the ride as we finish this house in the next few weeks, sell it (send us some positive vibes!), pack, and head overseas to old fave places that make our hearts sing and new places that we’ll be both working in and exploring as future settling-down options.

We’re certainly never going to get into a boring rut if we live like this for the rest of our lives, eh?

Copyright
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page. All rights reserved.

Softly, Softly — (shhh!!!)

Softly, softly and oh-so-quietly — things are moving in our lives and it’s time to talk about that.

Yes — I am actually back — and hopefully I won’t be disappearing again!

We’ve been living in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia for just over a year and a half — and what a LONG slog that has been. We purchased a 1950 house in rather dire condition to renovate and now we’re almost done. At some point in the future I will do a full post (with pictures!) of just how totally grotty this house was — and what gorgeous work Mark has done to transform it.

So — good — time to relax and enjoy the finished house, eh?

Um — no!

NewTimberDoubleGlazedWindowsInstalled

We’re about to put the house on the market in about 2-ish weeks, hopefully sell rather quickly, and head back to Europe. Yes, we are both aware that Europe is in rather a lot of upheaval since we left — but we’ve come to the firm decision that Australia is just not where we want to spend the rest of our lives.

In preparation for a lot of new and exciting posts about planning the trip back, where we are going, who we are interacting with, how different life is on the other side of the world — all accompanied by gorgeous photography — I have changed the theme and the look of this website (do you like the Mid-Century vibe of the header?)

AND — I’ve made some new links that will lead you to all of the OTHER places where you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Things to accomplish in addition to (deep, DEEP sigh!) sorting, packing, selling furniture and cars, selling the house, donating a huge number of items to charity, booking all of the flights and hotels and making a travel schedule…
1. Finishing the book that I have been writing for the last year.
2. Creating some new e-books about the sort of non-traditional lifestyle that we lead.
3. Learning to make and edit small videos that will share our travels or be instructional.

Those are the plans — and that’s where I’ve been for such a l-o-n-g time away from this site.

Watch this spot — there may be even MORE changes ahead!

Copyright
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

By The Sea in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK

By the sea is where I wish I was right now. But in lieu of that reality, here’s a flashback photo essay from a trip to the lovely seaside town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk in the UK.

By the way, not ALL beaches are sandy. This one is a perfect example of that. Enjoy!

 

Medieval Moot Hall in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK, built in 1520, with the village memorial cross to the left.
Medieval Moot Hall in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK, built in 1520, with the village memorial cross to the left.

 
A seagull sitting atop one of the medieval brick chimneys on Moot Hall,.
A seagull sitting atop one of the medieval brick chimneys on Moot Hall,.

 
Fishing boats on a gravel, sometimes called shingle, beach in the UK.
Fishing boats on a gravel, sometimes called shingle, beach in the UK.

 
Close-up of a the beautifully coloured pieces of stone comprising a gravel beach, sometimes called a shingle beach, in the UK.
Close-up of a the beautifully coloured pieces of stone comprising a gravel beach, sometimes called a shingle beach, in the UK.

 

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Photo of the Day: The Overwhelming Urge To Sleep!

Giving in to the overwhelming urge for a nap, this older couple simply parked on a street in England, locked the car, and gave in to that urge. They were completely oblivious to the amused pointing and kindly laughter of everyone passing by. Sweet, eh?

 

An older couple in England were apparently overwhelmed by the urge to sleep!
An older couple in England were apparently overwhelmed by the urge to sleep!

 

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Hot Pants and Big Hair

It was such a retro look that my head fairly well snapped when I saw it on ample display in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the north of England. Really ‘Big Hair’ on women of all ages. I don’t think I’ve seen such a generous use of the teasing comb and cans of hairspray to create that sort of back-combed volume since the 1960s.

What was even funnier was that we were in a vintage bookstore at one point during our four weeks up there and there was a book on sale that was a ‘Look Back to 1960s Newcastle’ — and all of the women in that book would have been the mothers or grandmothers of the people we were seeing on the streets. Some of the folks in the North of England seem to have gotten stuck in a time warp!

Regional trends included the messy buns — the sort of teased up and pinned up look that Brigitte Bardot used to do so well — or tight buns — teased up and smoothed into not-a-hair-out-of-place firmness with gel or hairspray. And we saw this look on women from teenagers to senior citizens. We were checking out at the grocery store one afternoon and it was everything I could do to not snap a quick pic with my iPhone of the middle-aged check-out clerk who had a bright red beehive hairdo that was towering above her small face!

Then there was the range of hot pants on display (on some icy days in February?) — thankfully on the really young girls and not on the middle-aged gals who shared their love of Big Hair with a large percentage of the Newcastle demographic. Interesting too that once we returned to London and Norfolk from our month up north, we never saw a beehive, teased bun, or hotpants look down there!

Apologies for the graininess of some of these. I did snap a few of them on my phone!

 

Teased up back-combed hair on young girls in a Newcastle mall going from the most bouffant on the left to the least voluminous on the right.
Teased up back-combed hair on young girls in a Newcastle mall going from the most bouffant on the left to the least voluminous on the right. This was taken on an icy cold day at the end of February.

 
Interesting fashion and hair at the hardware superstore.
Interesting fashion and hair at the hardware superstore.

 
Two young girls with teased chunks of hair sitting on the floor in a shopping mall.
Two young girls with teased chunks of hair sitting on the tile floor in a shopping mall.

 
Hotpants (even on the coldest winter day!) and big teased up hair are very popular amongst the teenagers of Newcastle in the UK.
Hotpants (even on the coldest winter day!) and big teased up hair are very popular amongst many of the teenagers of Newcastle in the UK.

 

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Ice Cream in Winter — By The Sea?

When Mark and I met in London at the beginning of 1994, I commented one afternoon on an activity that the Brits engaged in — quite regularly — that I considered to be quite odd behaviour given the weather.

That activity? Eating ice cream — LOTS of it — usually in cone form — in the dead of winter. No matter how icy the temperatures were, we saw people in every city we visited perched on a ledge eating an ice cream cone or sitting on a bench at the seaside doing the same thing. There might be ice on the roads, occasionally even a smattering of snow, but there they sat, bundled up to the eyeballs and eating an ice cream.

What I found even odder, and sweetly funny, were the people who would drive to the seaside to purchase their ice cream from a mobile van or a beachside hut and then sit in their car with the heater running as they gobbled it down whilst watching the icy waves crashing upon the seashore.

 

Even on the coldest winter day, British people seem to love to go to the seaside to sit in their heated cars, staring at the crashing waves in freezing temperatures, and eat an ice cream cone.
Even on the coldest winter day, British people seem to love to go to the seaside to sit in their heated cars, staring at the crashing waves in freezing temperatures, and eat an ice cream cone.

 
The lighthouse at Whitley Bay, a seaside town near Newcastle UK, on a stormy winter day. B&W
The lighthouse at Whitley Bay, a seaside town near Newcastle UK, on a stormy winter day.

 

So here we were on a wintery day two years ago in the north of England, at Whitley Bay on the seacoast just outside of Newcastle. The wind was so high that afternoon that it knocked me sideways when I got out of our own vehicle! The second picture that is just of the seaside and the lighthouse is a more accurate idea of how bleak it was that day. Absolutely no one was game to sit on those seaside benches to watch the waves on that particular afternoon. Brrr!!!

But back in the parking lot — yes — the Mr. Whippy van was doing a good business. The lot near the lighthouse was full of people happy to sit with their engines running and the heater on as they ate their ice cream and watched the crashing surf beyond. Crazy, eh? Or just sweetly eccentric perhaps.

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.