Archive for February, 2016

Inspirations from down under: two families in a foreign land

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One of the most memorable experiences during our recent trip to Australia was not so much holding the koala bears, feeding the kangaroos, or walking on the pristine beaches. Of course those moments were amazing, and I already look forward to returning to Oz. But what I loved more was meeting and connecting with people down under, and hearing their stories.

It always comes back to human connection, doesn’t it?

We met two non-Australian families during our visit. One of which was a Swiss(not Robinson) family, with four teenage children. Geri is the father who hosted us for lunch one day in a mountain town north of Brisbane called Melaney.

Geri is a doctor who is writing a book on Sports Medicine. He decided to spend a sabbatical year in a different part of the world to focus on finishing up the book.

“We have some friends here, and I thought it would be a good experience for my family,” he reasoned.

They are renting a house off of the main street of town and the children go to the local high school. “We rented out our house, and just brought the necessities in suitcases. We are living simply this year,” explained Geri as he takes us on a ‘tour’ of their rental home where the rooms are bare with just mattresses on the floors, suitcases used as nightstands and desks.

Being with them, getting a glimpse of their current life, and hearing their stories, gave me a wonderful sense of adventure, and freedom.

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The other family we met moved to Australia from China. Bob Wong is a 6th generation acupuncturist. After finishing acupuncture degree in China, he and his wife just picked a place in the world where they wanted to start a life and family together. Yup, just like that… They looked at the world map, and picked a spot…and Brisbane, Australia it was (without ever having visited there).

Have you ever wanted to do that before? Well, they did it. And they are loving it, now with a little baby added to their team.

Of course both of these families have not avoided the challenges of living in a new country, navigating a new system, raising their children in a foreign land with no family help. But they have also mastered the art of simplifying their lives, and ‘going with the flow.’

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I have done this myself a few times, twice internationally, and multiple times within this vast country. I remember the fear of the unknown, but also the excitement of it all.

Of course we don’t have to pack our suitcases and move across the oceans to gain that space, that sense of adventure, and the new beginnings. We can do it each day in the comfort of our own home, sometimes even in the comfort of our own minds!

Fresh off the plane (and off of the jet lag cloud), I am inspired to do just that.

For me, it starts with simplifying my life (more in the next post) and getting grounded in the moment. How about you? What do you do to create more space in your life so that you can appreciate what is around you, and allow for adventures and freedom for you and your family?

Good Life Lessons from Australia : what the Aussies do to live a good life

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Greetings from Queensland, Australia!

When my husband asked if I wanted to come along with him on his work trip, I did not hesitate. It’s far, sure. It’s expensive, yes. It means taking the kids out of school, of course.

But… it’s also an opportunity of a life-time to get to a place none of us have set foot on before. It’s a great big learning adventure for the kids (more than any classroom can ever deliver). It’s a wonderful way to share life experiences as a family. Plus, they’re having summer down here. Goodbye snow, for now!

We’ve only enjoyed a few days of our time down-under, but already, I am learning from the people in this beautiful big continent how to live a full life. It’s a short list, but it’s good:

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1. Wake up early

I normally wake up very early, and often feel like I am amongst a handful of early risers because my world is blissfully quiet during those wee hours. But here, when I go out for my morning walk (around 5am), I find myself joining a nation of early risers. My fellow walkers look as if they had been up for several hours!

 

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2. Energize yourself in the morning

When I see people in these early hours, they are doing something active. They are either walking, jogging, surfing, or doing some form of activity. They are moving; they are energizing themselves.

 

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3. Surround yourself with active people

I am not the fastest walker out there, but I think I am pretty speedy. Back home, I am often walking by someone, excusing myself as I speed through to keep warm (a good incentive!).

Here, people are zooming by me, most of them older than I… which makes me want to speed to catch on with their pace. It’s like playing tennis with someone who is better than you. Not that I am competitive, but around here, I aspire to go just a little faster!

 

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4. Play

The young, and the old, both seem to be having fun at all times. They don’t let age define them. Those surfers out in the waves? They are not just young Aussie dudes, I can assure you that.

 

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5. Be outside, preferably by the water, whenever you can

People live outdoors here. Sure it’s easier when the climate allows. But I am pretty certain they are outside regardless of the weather. The other day when the sky was grim, passing showers peppered the coast all day long. People were still out on the beach, jogging the trails, riding their bikes. It was wonderful to witness and experience it with them.

These are just some things I have noticed thus far. I am grateful to be inspired by a bunch of happy people in Australia.

Over and out from down under for now!