Tag: travel

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

Smart & Snazzy Traveller

Smart & Snazzy Traveller

Travelling can be tough. I know when KAM and I travel, we are rarely in one place for very long (unfortunately) and are sometimes only home for a couple of days before having to repack and go again.

This means that you not only have to be a smart packer, but an organised one too. I have 3 different types of luggage and depending on where I am going and how long for, will depend on which one I will pack. It is essential to have a variety of good luggage, not only for practical reasons, but so you look good at the airport too!

So, I have a large hard case Flylite Quartz (Approx. $240). This suitcase is large enough for a long trip, but not too large that I can’t roll it along. It is white with a slight glitter finish and is perfect for getting on and off planes and knowing your goodies are all safe and sound.

My Guess set is beautiful and bright lolly pink with bling. It is a 2 piece set (Approx. $500) including a medium roller case and matching carry-on which is the best for packing a LUGGAGE INSERTfew extras in case your luggage gets lost in Thailand somewhere! I always feel beautiful when carrying this set and given how much I have used it, it still looks brand new! Quality lasts!

My last piece of essential luggage is a large classic Country Road Duffle Bag (Approx. $80). This luggage will never date and is perfect for a more relaxed few days away. KAM can easily carry this for me too, without looking a little strange – he can’t get away with that so much when carrying my bright pink Guess set! These smart duffle bags fit a lot more in them that you will think and can be thrown in the washing machine if they get dirty (or full of sand, if you are lucky enough to be heading to the beach!).

Whilst every trip is different, there are a number of essential items that I never travel without. To ensure you look good, no matter where you go, these die-hard items are:

  1. A pair of long boots
  2. A pair of short boots (preferably with heels)
  3. Dressy Jeans
  4. Jewellery to dress up or down an outfit
  5. A simple black dress
  6. A cross-body bag
  7. Nurofen, Band-Aids, baby-wipes and Aloe-Vera
  8. Swimmers and thongs
  9. Black leggings
  10. A couple of clean plastic bags (these can be used for any number of things, but are great for separating your dirty washing as you travel so you don’t have to do it when you get home)

My last suggestion for smart, regular travels is to have a spare make-up bag that mirrors the one you use every day at home. It’s too hard to pack and unpack your everyday items and not forget something. Trust me, I know! The amount of toothbrushes I have had to buy on the road is ridiculous! I promise having a make-up bag already packed and ready to go will be a godsend when needing to travel in a hurry.

Girls always over-pack – that’s a fact. So just make sure you have sexy luggage to roll through the airport or into a fancy hotel lobby. And whilst sexy luggage is definitely important, my all-time favourite essential travel item that I absolutely refuse to leave home without, is a sexy man with big muscles! It helps that he can lift my luggage for me, when I have brought too many clothes while travelling and had to sit on my suitcase to get it to close! Besides… Pink is definitely his colour!