Search:

Special features:

Be the change you wish to see in your children. Memories of Elijah Rainbow — our beloved son Processing grief and loss — when tears form words Unschooling thoughts The Gifted Gypsy — Home on the road Birth stories The DFF Book Club Ice-cream cone cupcakes Wild Boar on the Kitchen Floor Great playgrounds Unusual dwellings — Tour other's homes It's fun to be arty farty Watch the live action — videos on Youtube Sparkling confessions — yes, we're human Rainbow gatherings

Aussie travels:

Wanderings in Western Australia — Remote surprises Voyages in Victoria — Loving every piece Travels in Tasmania — Our island itinerary Follow us around southeast Queensland — our exciting back yard Travelling Outback Queensland Exploring NSW unconventionally

Further afield:

Travelling around New Zealand Hong Kong

Regular topics:

In brief:

I'm a nomadic mama with four lovely daughters. We're travelling Australia — meeting inspiring people, learning lots and re-thinking everything.

Help me out here:

Subscribe:

Current location:

Looking forward:

Support us:

Behind the scenes:

13 July 14

In Australia, child passports are valid for only five years. So I recently started the process to apply for new passports for the four girls which includes getting the pictures taken.

We’re not allowed to smile for the passport photos, and so I think it makes everyone look like solemn refugees. Still, it’s nice to have a record of the girls — especially in contrast to their photos from five years ago!

Passport photos for Aisha, Brioni, Calista and Delaney Fisher, June 2014
I'm too close to the girls to see the physical resemblance between their faces. Can you?

Even though Delaney’s passport is valid for nine months’ longer than her sisters, I decided to get hers renewed at the same time so all four girls are on the same cycle.

Now we’re set for our trip to Europe next month! Last year, I received an unexpected bequest from my deceased grandmother’s estate, and I’m using it to fund our flights and expenses overseas. We’re hoping to visit family members in Beijing and London as well as tour a little bit of western Europe in a campervan.

It’s exciting to plan the trip with the girls, but it also increases their appetite for travel. They’ve already started asking to visit the Statue of Liberty, and all I can say is “at the right time, you’ll see it!”

Share this:


twitter icon digg icon delicious icon stumbleupon icon email icon

You may also be interested in:

12 July 14

Rituals are important in marking the significance of a change in life, and although women often celebrate upcoming births, before today I’d never witnessed a ceremony that celebrates the conclusion of a woman’s childbearing years. Nimbin-based Doula Kirrah Holborn gave my beautiful friend Hellena a special ceremonial blessing to honour Hellena’s new stage of womanhood.

Almost three weeks ago, Hellena was in hospital undergoing a tubal ligation. After eight children, she and her partner Currawong feel that their family is complete. When Kirrah heard about Hellena’s operation, she shared that she had been learning about sacred closing ceremonies for post-natal women and offered to perform a ritual. As it happened, I was around when Kirrah turned up at Hellena’s house!

Here’s what I saw of the ceremony.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
We start by walking together to the peak of Mountain Top. This is a sacred section of land just behind Nimbin Rocks. Indigenous people have spoken to Currawong and Hellena about the stories of this land and the spirits that still inhabit this place.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Close to the top of the hill, a huge Moreton Bay fig stands as a sentinel over the property.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
The landowner slashed the grass recently, and we find the peak cleared nicely for us.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Kirrah and Hellena start laying blankets and pieces of material on the ground. Long, skinny sarongs are placed in horizontal lines along the length of the blanket. Later they're used to wrap individual parts of Hellena's body.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Once the groundcoverings are completed, Kirrah explains the simple ceremony to Hellena.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
After Hellena is lying down, Kirrah uses a pinch of smouldering sage leaves to smudge the air, ritually purifying the location and Hellena's body from the company of malevolent spirits.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Kirrah starts at Hellena's feet, blessing them for all the places they've been, all the places they're still leading her to, and for the role they've played in her childbirthing years.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Once she's finished speaking the blessing, Kirrah wraps Hellena's feet with the scarf that is lying underneath them.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Next, Kirrah stretches up to bless Hellena's legs, rubbing them as she does so.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
After wrapping the legs, the next section of Hellena's body is her belly — the childbirthing centre. With a gentle massage, Kirrah speaks blessings on this part too.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Throughout the ceremony, Hellena lies still with her eyes closed, fully relaxing into the massage and blessing.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Once all Hellena's body is wrapped, Kirrah moves around to the top of the head and gently massages Hellena's temples, gently talking all the while.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
The sun is slowly disappearing over the peak of the neighbouring hills as the ceremony reaches completion.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Hellena's body and head are fully wrapped and supported by the heat of hot-water bottles. She feels warm and enclosed within the wrappings, and Kirrah massages her gently.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Kirrah slowly removes the hot-water bottles and unwraps the scarves from Hellena's body, allowing the late-afternoon air to once again cool her skin.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Now fully unwrapped, Hellena revives herself with a drink of water.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Hellena embraces Kirrah in gratitude for the peaceful and validating ritual.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
The ladies chat as the sun sinks behind the hills and we feel the pull of home calling us back down the mountain.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
Back at home, Kirrah temporarily wraps Hellena's belly with a Bengkung binding. It's a long piece of cloth that's wound around the abdomen in the style of Malaysian women who use it to promote postpartum healing and recovery.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
In the bathroom, Kirrah sets up a small altar of crystals and beautiful, natural treasures. The room is lit with candles and decorated with fresh leaves and flowers.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
During our absence, Currawong has filled the bath with hot water, almond oil and a sprig of spearmint. Kirrah adds almond milk, honey, and rose petals before Hellena sinks into the scented water.

Ceremony to bless the conclusion of a woman's fertility, July 2014
After rubbing her hands with mandarin oil, Kirrah gives Hellena one last blessing. She already smudged Hellena's naked body with sage before Hellena stepped into the water, and we appreciated the new scars on Hellena's abdomen that indicate where the surgeon cut into her body to sever and cauterise her fallopian tubes.

I appreciated this simple, affirming ceremony. Kirrah was gentle in blessing and massaging Hellena’s body, honouring Hellena for her childbirthing experiences and also for the new stage of non-fertility that Hellena has deliberately entered into. I saw that Hellena really appreciated the energy that Kirrah gave her in the ceremony and came away feeling relaxed and honoured.

Kirrah said that she learned the original rebozo closing ritual from Birthwork and the sacred postpartum ritual from Sacred Pregnancy, and that it would be easy to adapt these ceremonies to suit a range of women’s life situations. If you’re interested in using the steps of this ceremony to honour a woman’s permanent transition from childbearing years — whether through tubal ligation, hysterectomy or childbirth — it should be easy to use Kirrah’s technique as an example to follow.

Share this:


twitter icon digg icon delicious icon stumbleupon icon email icon

11 July 14

Our last parking spot has been at a road-side park outside Uki. It’s one of the closest free-camps to the Gold Coast, but only for the self-contained. If you’re needing amenities, you’re better off staying at the roadside park north of Murwillumbah.

Free-camping outside Uki, Northern NSW, July 2014
Across the road from the Uki sports oval, a large grassy patch serves as a temporary stop for overnight parking. There used to be a small playground on-site, but that's gone and instead, small mounds make terrific hills on which young BMXers can practice their tricks.

This isn’t an official parking area, much less an official camping spot. Because of that, I usually only like to spend one night here — even two nights feels like I’m stretching the friendship with the locals upon whose goodwill I’m depending. We’re careful to leave the park tidy, even collecting other errant rubbish that may be laying around.

Delaney picking up black bean seeds, Uki, Northern NSW, July 2014
Delaney loves collecting the seeds from the black bean tree. By the time we drive away, she'll have a plastic shopping bag full them tucked underneath her seat.

There’s a picnic table that’s quite popular during the day, and a few charred circles show that visitors have lit fires while camping here. A rooster is strutting around on the grass, and although it’s very close to the Kyogle Road, it’s still a lovely location.

Tweed River, outside Uki, Northern NSW, July 2014
Although it's a bit of a steep scramble, it's possible to go down to the Tweed River that flows alongside the park.

Tweed River, outside Uki, Northern NSW, July 2014
I collect water for our washing-up. Whenever we're adjacent to a fresh-water source, I prefer to use that for washing and save our tank water for drinking.

Platypus in the Tweed River, outside Uki, Northern NSW, July 2014
As I sit peacefully by the Tweed River, my eye is attracted to a series of ripples. It's a platypus! There's plenty of time to get the girls and quietly observe the platypus when it surfaces before it swims out of view. (As it's not yet 2pm, this platypus clearly hasn't read the guidebooks which say it should only be active in early morning and evening times.)

So many of these unofficial camping/parking spots are being closed off to travellers. Every time I drive through Uki, I check that this one is still available to us. I hope it endures!

Share this:


twitter icon digg icon delicious icon stumbleupon icon email icon

You may also be interested in:

Keep on reading:

Newer adventures Older adventures