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The green, green Grampians

After our obligatory Melbourne food-coffee-shop-art fest, the three of us bundled into the car and meandered our way to the Grampians via the picturesque Great Ocean Road, Australia’s answer to Big Sur.

I recently came across the Japanese term shinrin-yoku, literally “forest bathing”. It refers to the recommended practice of visiting the forest for health benefits, both physical and mental. Nothing could be truer and articulates so perfectly the effect even a short trip out of the city does to us. The sharp fresh air, the quiet punctuated by only the gentle sounds of nature, letting your eyes settle on wide open spaces and distant horizons. It’s interesting that out there, one can experience true silence and true darkness, perhaps giving our senses the natural rest they need.

Ironically I write this whilst staring at my laptop screen in a bustling cafe, bass-heavy Lauryn Hill blasting from a speaker into my left ear, cars whizzing by on my right, and the barista is doing that thing they do where they bash equipment together really loudly for some reason or other. (Someone help me out here – what are they doing?)

But this is the reality of our everyday. So maybe tree-hugging shouldn’t be a term reserved for altruistic environmentalists alone, it might do us all some good. I’m convinced it does.

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Great Ocean Road with 2.1 humans

I gotta admit, I got onto that plane kicking and screaming on the inside, thinking that this was a very very bad idea. Why would I want to be a sleepless, frazzled new parent somewhere other than in the comfort of my own home.

Insane levels of sleep deprivation and the sudden transition from full-time professional to mother of a tiny being was wreaking havoc on my brain and sense of self. Well-meaning people, parenting websites, numerous books urged me to try all sorts of “fixes” and “routines” resulting in additional stress, making my nerves even more ragged and the tears fall faster.

This trip was in fact the antidote I needed. Every day was different by necessity, routine was out the window as we literally strapped Alexa to our bodies and got outside. We loved it and she loved it! It didn’t matter what we did, there wasn’t any secret magic except for enjoying nature, the act of exploring and simply connecting with one another. Taking the time to notice and drink in the trees rustling in the wind, waves crashing on sandy beaches, the changing colours only sunset can bring, the warmth of my beautiful baby in my arms, the gentle rise and fall of her tummy as she sleeps, placing a little kiss on her tiny lips.

Melbourne Travel Diary

melbourne-dec-13-1 melbourne-dec-13-2 melbourne-dec-13-3 melbourne-dec-13-4 melbourne-dec-13-5 melbourne-dec-13-6 melbourne-dec-13-7 melbourne-dec-13-8 melbourne-dec-13-9 melbourne-dec-13-10 melbourne-dec-13-11 melbourne-dec-13-12 melbourne-dec-13-13 melbourne-dec-13-14 melbourne-dec-13-15 melbourne-dec-13-16 melbourne-dec-13-17 melbourne-dec-13-18 melbourne-dec-13-19 melbourne-dec-13-20 melbourne-dec-13-21 melbourne-dec-13-22 melbourne-dec-13-23 melbourne-dec-13-24 melbourne-dec-13-25 melbourne-dec-13-26We had less than two tiny days to squeeze in as much Melbourne as possible before my friend’s wedding, and by golly I think we did it! Arriving in the wee hours of Friday, we nabbed some shut eye before heading out into the CBD and chowing down a hearty breakfast at Cumulus Inc, an uber trendy coffee spot which felt very Gordon St Garage-esque. A visit to Melbourne is incomplete without wandering through Hosier Lane to ogle at the psychedelic street art.

A spot of shopping (50% off at Gorman – uh, yeah!?) was followed by a completely unnecessary but completely delicious lunch at noodle and dumpling house, Hutong. This gave us enough energy to power walk into Fitzroy where many unique and carefully curated shops awaited. Highlights were Little Salon and Third Drawer Down. For dinner, we waited in the fortunately very rapidly moving queue at Mamasita, wolfed down some delectable street style corn and pulled pork tostaditas, then tumbled on back to the hotel, falling deep asleep as soon as our heads hit our pillows.

Thanks for the good times, Melbs!

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