Tag: Road Trip

The Duchess Returns for 2017!

The Duchess Returns for 2017!

Mixed Tape Mantra

Dear all,

The Duchess has returned for a new year. But first to our followers, my sincerest apologies for not writing for so long. 2016 was a tough year and I have been left grounded. Sore and sorry, and feeling like I have been through an emotional washing machine. But I should not complain. It seems as though everyone I speak to has had a rough year as well.

Friends have farewelled loved ones – and not unfortunately for them, on a jet plane. Loved ones have turned on ones they love, leaving the rest of the family upside down with anguish and fear for their safety. Human beings, just like us, around the world have struggled with far greater worries than I will ever have.

So a little thing such as a mixed tape, seems like nothing more than a whim. Call me an 80’s girl, but a mixed tape can be the soundtrack to everything. It can define a mood, it can define a moment. It can make you feel free and remind you of moments lost to time forever.

That’s why, on the eve of one of the greatest people I have ever known leaving us for a journey of adventure and self-discovery, I found myself listening to the mixed tape that started it all and reminiscing on just how important some lyrics can be. Like the Whitlams said “A letter to you on a cassette, ‘cause we don’t write anymore”. No one writes anymore. Its all through text, snapchat – any kind of social media really. That’s why I am still sentimental about music. Its old fashioned. Its original.

You can still stick a CD into the car stereo (at least for a little while longer anyway) or hit play on a play-list and dance your way to anywhere. The road becomes your friend  – It becomes all about you and the road. The journey is the calling. The destination at that point doesn’t matter. The journey is the adventure.

As Paramore said, “I am going away for a while. I’ll be back, don’t try to follow me”. Sometimes you just hear the road calling. It’s a sound that only the true gypsy knows and when it calls you must answer and go where the road tells you to go.

But you must have a purpose. Rob Thomas once sang, “You can go, you can start all over again, you can try to find a way to make another day go by”. But why go? What drives you? Fair enough that some days you just need to get away. But from what? And for how long before you have to come home and face the reality that is inevitably waiting for you at the airport or in the driveway.

Like Missy Higgins said “I’m half me and half you and I hate us both”. This does not necessarily need to relate to two people – we all have many different sides. Ask yourself, what are you running from? I have been running most of my life, from one thing to another, and still have not found the answer to that question.

Gypsy’s are gypsy’s. No fixed address. Never getting attached to a single place. I have been a gypsy the majority of my adult life and always wondered what I would do when I grew up. Now I’m grown up and I still have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life. Other than travelling the globe and writing about it, I have no real purpose. No training. No qualifications to get me anywhere of meaning. Just as Lior implies, all I have been doing is dancing. Dancing from one place to another not figuring anything out really.

But what John Butler said is true in ‘Better Than’ – “all you want is what you cant have”. But we have to continue to try right? So just like ‘Gillian’ by the Waifs we just keep on, keeping on. Going to work every day for the coin – making the money to just continue on, and hopefully one day get on a road (or a plane) for the unknown. For the adventure of a lifetime.

In a beautiful song written by Pete Murray he once said “I know I’ve been through black and white, I know I’ll put up a fierce fight, I know I lost my soul”. But like he also says, “I know there comes a time to believe in yourself”.

That’s why there comes a time when you must follow the sun. Xavier Rudd teaches us that. The sun will always shine eventually. Don’t sit and wallow – get up and “set your intentions, dream with care. Tomorrow is a new day for everyone”.

After all, Life is just a ride. If we don’t keep looking for hope of a better day; If we don’t keep giving room for love to find a way. Through this messy life I made for myself, heaven knows I need a little hope for a better day. Lenka taught me that and it has become somewhat of a mantra. Hell, KAM even has it tattooed on his body!

At the end of the day, after 365 days of 2016, the lesson I have learned is the same as it has been every other year. Get on the road. Get out there and experience all that life has to offer. Don’t sit and wait for life to come to you! Go get it! Grab life by the balls and make it happen. As the Cat Empire says “Its days like these that make us happy”.

Go find your sunshine. It makes us happy when skies are grey. So please…. Don’t wait. Don’t question whether it’s the right time. Don’t ask yourself if it’s the right thing to do. Just go. Find your sunshine. For the sunshine lives within us all. We just have to have the light to see it.

To one of my greatest friends – Erica, I love you. Get on the plane and don’t look back. Travel roads not yet run. Walk paths not yet discovered and sleep under skies full of stars. We will all be looking out for you. Send your happiness to the sky at night and wherever you are, we will find it. Say your prayers and we will hear them. For we are one. We are family. But this is not our journey. It can only be yours and know that we will be here welcoming you home with open arms when you finally return.

The road is calling. But home will always be here. Find yourself and then find your way home darling. We will be waiting.

Love, The Duchess xo

Create the perfect itinerary

Create the perfect itinerary

Whenever we travel for more than 2 or 3 days at a time, we always create an Itinerary. This idea came about mostly because our trips (especially road trips) can often include more than 3 different locations, over more than a week, and sometimes spanning most of the State.

Our Itineraries have since evolved into something of a legend and now include everything from travel timeframes, accommodation, pit-stops and of course, food and wine – essential for any luxury travel!

So, here are some sure-fire tips to help you create your own legendary itineraries. It’s also a great keep-sake. We keep all of ours in a big box with postcards, tickets, concert lanyards, restaurant business cards, and any other special mementoes we may have picked up on our travels, to help remind us of all the fabulous things we have experienced.

Start with the basics
Where are you going? How long will it take to get there? How many stops do you need to make along the way? Use websites such as www.whereis.com to help you map your journey in advance and local tourist information sites to give you prior knowledge of a good pub or café you may be able to use as a pit-stop.

Where to lay your head
This is important! Travelling is tiresome, so make sure  you have somewhere nice at the end of a long journey to rest and recoup before starting the next leg. A place with a spa is always a good idea (and a necessity for KAM) as your body can be stiff and sore after driving all day or sitting on a long flight.

Do your research
When trying to decide on what to do, where to eat or a place to have a nice glass of wine, there is nothing better than a good testimonial. www.tripadvisor.com is my go-to-guide for everything, before deciding on anything. Good reviews are the best way to establish whether it is worthy of your itinerary or not. We have pretty high standards so only the best of reviews will confirm a spot on the list.

Call Ahead 
Quite often, you could be going to a place that a lot of other people are visiting at the same time. The vineyards during concert season is a prime example of this and you need to book any restaurant at least a month in advance. If you secure all your bookings and reservations before you leave, you will know exactly what to pack for where you are going and wont have to ring around or wait in line for a table. Trust me – this will be a big help!

Surprise! Surprise!
A trip is a great way to surprise a loved one. Think about the things they like to do and research something suitable in the local area. It can be as simple as arranging a favourite bottle of wine to be available upon arrival at the hotel or as lavish as a sunset sailing cruise. We aim to surprise each other each time we travel and it always adds an extra sparkle to the excitement of the trip.

Get lost!
Always having a GPS device on hand is important (and has saved us a number of times from very lonely dirt tracks!) However, talking to each other is just as valuable. Schedule a time within your itinerary to be free from devices. Leave phones and tablets at the hotel and take a walk on the beach or share a bottle of wine in a deep leather couch at a dimly lit bar. ‘Screen-time Free-Time’ should always be considered in any itinerary.

This is a guaranteed guide to a successful itinerary and if you consider these points when designing it, I promise you will have an amazing trip and create memories, like ours, that will last a lifetime. We would love to hear about some of your Itineraries. Please leave a comment on the Post or send us an email at t.duchess@hotmail.com

The long road in DJ mode!

The long road in DJ mode!

Following on from the 10 commandments of a Co-Pilot, in this story I will be focussing on a very important aspect of any road trip – ‘Music’. Whenever The Duchess takes the wheel, a friend of mine, DJ Mezzanine kicks into gear to keep us going with songs for the long road ahead. So in true road trip style, may I introduce DJ Mezzanine, who will be keep you entertained and give you a great list of tunes (and a little bit of crazy!) to help pass the time on the endless roads that lay ahead.

DJ Mezzanine’s Top 10 Driving Songs

 Hey Hey Everybody how are y’all doing out there? This is DJ Mezzanine taking you to the next level in dance, music and a whole lotta thumping sounds to get you grooving in the car. I’ve been asked to dissect and rate the very best top ten driving songs to sing with your driving partner and ensure high energy and smooth sailing in the vehicle.

 1. This band is a favourite of this DJ and I’ve been lucky enough to see them live 4 times, they have many songs that I could’ve picked for this list however their first and best will get you jumping and pumping to start the drive. “Hello” – Cat Empire 

2. Ok OK, now we are rocking it out, I like to slip in an oldie but one that always demands people on the dance floor. “Bust a Move” – Tone Loc

3. Keeping the beat high and going to the next level we slip on some music that will please the harsher of critics. I’m actually going to double this one up, two pronged, take your choice, both songs get this DJ blasting out the sounds. New York” or “Girl on Fire” – Aleisha Keys

4. Time now to spin the wheel and bring in some recent music, if you not singing yet this one will grab your tongue and lead you to the dance floor. “Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5

5. We are now riding into the middle of the song list and I’m starting to sweat this up, a perfect time to slip in a cheeky song we all know and love with a bit of spice. “Let’s Talk about Sex” – Salt n Pepper

6. I need to take a breather after that one, oh yeah! Time to rest up as we move higher up to the second level, this song will help take the edge off. “Some Nights” – Fun

7. C’mon everybody we are almost there, stay with me, keep up I’m not leaving anyone behind today……“Brave” – Sara Bareilles

8. We are almost there people, this song brings back the memories and has a great sound that I just can’t keep quiet, and this song needs to be let out…”Thunderstruck” – ACDC

9. DJ Mezzanine is almost peaking and at these times I need inspiration, something to strive and reach out for, this song will bring the motivation we all need. “Fight Song” – Rachel Platten

10. We made it!!!! We are here; the final song is in the room. We are all on the second level for the absolute BEST driving song in the world. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen 

Thank you everybody for keeping on this journey with me, I want to share as a parting gift a couple of bench warmers who will serve a purpose if required. While driving things happen that can bring on the need for a particular song to help us along the way. When you need a good angry pump up song to shake off the demons : “Bad Habit” – Offspring

When you’re all fluffy and everything is right with the world, as you look out the windows of the car and see only marshmallows, this song is a treat. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd 

DJ Mezzanine signing off… see ya next time you’re ready to raise it to the next level baby!!!