Why vacation won’t cure burnout

I’m in a busy café on the outskirts of drizzly Vancouver after two and a half amazing weeks in British Columbia. My partner and I came last year to ski Revelstoke for five days straight and loved it so much we decided to come back, this time for longer, taking in an...

‘Work-life Balance’ is Dead

I'm calling it: “work-life balance” is dead.  While the notion of balancing the demands we face to mitigate stress is helpful, the term itself is flawed and antiquated.  RIP, work-life balance. Laterz!  There are two key reasons why “work-life balance” has to be...

The Hard Truth on What Causes Burnout

No one leads their professional life with the aim of burning out. So how does burnout happen? What motivates us to push beyond our boundaries? Why do we persist with unhealthy behavior and attitudes when we are clearly on a crash course towards burnout? For most, the...

Fire, Blame, and How to Cope with National Tragedy

A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to catch up with my friend James for a drink. He’s originally from Canada but forty years in Australia have worn the edges off of his accent. It was a Friday, and the forecast was 45 degrees Celsius. We were going to meet about...

Have Opinions? I Need You!

About a month ago, over lunch at a local seafood spot on the Portuguese coast, I decided to write a book about burnout. “That’s such a great idea,” my partner agreed as he took a sip of Sagres.  I was kind of surprised he didn’t blurt out “FINALLY”, as he’s been...
Evolving at Christmas

Evolving at Christmas

Some people adore Christmas; some absolutely loathe it. Personally, my feelings on the topic are mixed. I love tinsel, carols, and the chance to share yummy food with people I love. There is nothing wrong with the holidays, per se. And yet Christmastime is also laden...

Why community is important

Why community is important

To me, community is the sense of connection and safety I experience in the world. It is formed partly by environment, but primarily by people in my life. Right now, my community is spread across the planet like Vegemite on toast, including Australia, Rio de Janeiro,...

Breaking up with friends

Breaking up with friends

There is no protocol for breaking up with friends – but maybe there should be. Perhaps we should introduce an obligation to punctuate the end of a friendship with some kind of conversation (e.g. It’s not me, it’s you) or at least a text. Or is it better to just let...

Waking up happy

Waking up happy

Most days I wake up feeling happy, motivated and grateful. I’ve learned not to take this for granted. There have been phases of my life during which I’ve felt miserable, and waking up meant immediate, immense stress about how to get through the day without breaking...

The courage to do what you want

The courage to do what you want

In our society, we’re encouraged to spend every moment of our lives achieving. At every second, we have to be doing something amazing in our professional and private lives. It should always be social-media-worthy (sexy + adventurous + successful). We judge and compare...

Weekday bliss

Weekday bliss

Once upon a time, Friday was mecca and Monday was the equivalent of a possessed demon. Weekends were all. Since I quit as a lawyer to pursue my passions, my approach is fluid. If I’m doing something fulfilling and rewarding, I don’t care what day of the week or time...

In Dependence

In Dependence

One of the things I’ve always prided myself on most, is my independence. Since I first insisted as a little kid – brow furrowed and tongue poking out in concentration – on tying my own shoelaces, I’ve enjoyed managing things *all by myself*. Independence is ostensibly...

An extraverted Introvert

An extraverted Introvert

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extravert? Recently I’ve met a lot of people who seem super social, but when I ask, tell me that they consider themselves deeply, happily introverted. I totally relate to this. I love good conversation and am naturally...

Peniche and change

Peniche and change

Peniche is an ugly town in an extremely beautiful place. It’s not rich, populated primarily by fisherfolk and a few people working in the tourism industry, but then, Portugal is not a rich country. The average visitor to Peniche is not extremely wealthy either. Those...

Happy anniversaries

Happy anniversaries

In the culture I was born into, we love measuring stuff, whether it’s time, distance, speed, a Yelp review. And we love anniversaries. We count babies’ ages in weeks, months, and then years. Kids plan their birthday parties for ages in advance. We throw a huge bashes...

Going home

Going home

A few weeks ago, a dear mate asked me if I’d be in the Netherlands long enough to receive a book in the post from Australia. Curious, I confirmed I would; he proceeded to order it, only for it to arrive 24 hours after my departure south. Thankfully, an excellent fella...

A break from yoga

A break from yoga

  Recently I spent a couple of weeks without my regular yoga practice. It was a busy time finishing up my visit in California, then hosting my beloved sister and nephew in Amsterdam. With little space for myself, I found myself without asana (the physical, posture...

Running free

Running free

Running in a place I don't know so well usually invokes google map assistance, or some kind of blind faith that I'll make it back. Increasingly, it's the latter. This kind of open running, without predetermined route or expectations, can feel overwhelming - there...

The cure for a meltdown

The cure for a meltdown

This morning I had a classic emotional meltdown. The kind that lurk on days of upheaval, pre-intercontinental flights, when I feel that dash more vulnerable. Days after an amazing month in California when I'm going home to a place that is no longer home. Days like...

The flipside of fear

The flipside of fear

Deciding to become a life coach is turning out to be awesome so far. Pitted alongside a stream of cool experiences and opportunities to learn in my life, entering a new phase of my career feels exciting. But also, daunting. Sometimes I’m downright terrified.We’re...

Mountain adventures

Mountain adventures

In the whole ‘ocean vs mountain’ dichotomy, I’ve always considered myself a beach girl. Growing up in countryside South Australia and spending most of my adult life in European lowlands, I figured mountains were for people who’ve skied since the dawn of time or who...

French bulldogs and career choices

French bulldogs and career choices

A woman I know spent her career to date with a singular goal: one particular job at one particular organization. She worked hard AF to get there – and she did! However, only after she recovered from the excitement, updated her LinkedIn and settled into the role did...

Reluctantly social

Reluctantly social

A while back my sister told me that according to my horoscope (ahem) my life would become really social after my 37th birthday. After years of focus on myself, I would quite suddenly find myself more often in the company of other people and finding deeper...

Champagne and perspectives

Champagne and perspectives

I'm on a train to Paris after a weekend spent in Champagne, meandering the rolling green of the French countryside, punctuated by steeples and narrow bridges crisscrossing the blueish Marne river. My three accomplices provided great conversation, kindness, wit,...

How travel transforms

How travel transforms

You're meant to go to an ashram or a lengthy meditation retreat to gain resonating inner insight. But, currently in-flight to Amsterdam after a month exploring Timor Leste and Bali, I sense that kind of subtle and profound change, simply due to travel.I saw so much:...

Building a healthy relationship with fear

Building a healthy relationship with fear

I am a control freak in recovery. Though I've improved at dealing with last minute changes of plan and "going with the flow", I still struggle when I feel afraid. But after the burnout 7 years ago, I realized that living from fear was not just going to make me sad, it...

Lessons on the road

Lessons on the road

This year is doing that magic thing time does: it goes super-fast, but a lot happens in the meantime. I’ve been in numerous nooks and crannies on four continents. I’ve met a lot of new people but mainly focused on strengthening existing relationships with family,...

Timor time

Timor time

Some pour over a Lonely Planet until it's haggared, or trawl Trip Advisor for hot 5-star tips, months before check in for their flight has opened. It might be lazy, but I like to learn about a place as I go - on the road.This approach would generally be ill-advised in...

Unconditional  love

Unconditional love

Before I even met my fella, whose travel schedule made me upgrade my 2017 from "spinster in rural Portugal" to "international woman of mystery", I booked the flight I'm about to board. A couple of weeks in East Timor and then a couple more in Bali. The latter...

Thanks Nederland

Thanks Nederland

It’s one of those amazing sunny Sundays and the city buzzes with a giddy, almost tangible energy. During my run along the Amstel river to Ouderkerk this morning, past windmills and dodging enthusiastic cyclists and runners, I realised it has been five years since I...

Why priorities are key

Why priorities are key

I’m currently in the flat, green, canal-y phase of my 2017 trajectory: Portugal, Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands and next week East Timor - then Bali, California, France, Morocco, Hawaii.    The only continent I’m skipping is Antarctica - although Amsterdam feels...

Ode to Amsterdam

Ode to Amsterdam

Five days back in the Netherlands and it feels good to be somewhere so familiar and dear. I’m recovering from two jetlags, having never really processed the Australia batch. My energy levels are all over the place, my moods oscillate wildly, my desire to socialise has...

Why I love travel plans

Why I love travel plans

While I generally consider myself spontaneous, I love booking flights way, way in advance. Incapable of committing to a singular place of residence, yes. But seeing flights lined up like a row of flamingos in my calendar gives me a peculiar sense of comfort and joy.  ...

Yay to rainy days

Yay to rainy days

It’s a rainy day in the Algarve and plans to surf or do anything else outside of the house have been shelved in lieu of inside activities. Yay! There is something luxurious about being confined to the indoors by the weather, at least for the first day or so, before...

Making other plans

Making other plans

Recent awesome conversations have prompted me to contemplate how much time I spend focused on the future or reflecting on the past. The answer is, a fuckload. It’s a human thing – we fantasise about what lies ahead and over-analyse what has already taken place. But it...

Honestly…

Honestly…

Lately I've been focusing on clarity and honesty. Not that I was a compulsive liar, but I have a historical habit of trying to please people and subordinating my wishes to whatever desires I suspect others might have.    In recent years I have become much better at...

New Year vibes

New Year vibes

It's 5am in Lisbon and I've been wide awake for jetlagged hours, wallowing indulgently in the transient space between travel and home. Weirdly, I like these moments for their indefinability. I was away, soaring on the breeze with wings spread wide and I'm coming into...

US adventures

US adventures

It's been a while since I posted, which usually occurs when I'm either really depressed or really happy. I'm glad to report this case is the latter. I'm at LAX, emotional but above all stoked, waiting for my flight to Europe after an exquisite few weeks in the US....

Bad food and great hair

Bad food and great hair

Friday evening I treated myself to a hefty piece of fish, served with chips and a half bottle of vinho verde, on a gorgeous terrace in Lisbon. Living in a small village made even quieter by the off season, things like taking the subway or traversing the high street...

Quiet happiness

Quiet happiness

I’ve spent most of my time since the vipassana retreat at home, way, WAY under the radar. I can count my social activities in the intervening week or so on one hand.    Taking time – indulgent, selfish, quiet stretches of time – has been super cathartic. Activities...

The vipassana diaries

The vipassana diaries

Two days ago I returned from my first vipassana meditation course. Ten days of intensive meditation in total silence. When people ask "how was it?", I fall silent again. It's impossible to give a five second grab. So here's a 10 minute one: my take on a life changing...

An ode to mates

An ode to mates

They say some people boost your energy and others zap it. This is perhaps an over-simplification of the human experience, but it strikes me as worth considering who we spend our time and energy on during this short stint on the planet. This is not about wanting to...

Vipassana nerves

Vipassana nerves

Every time I tell someone I’m doing a ten-day silent meditation in November, I get awesomely shocked reactions. Jaw-hitting-the-pavement kind of stuff. Some ask why. Some proffer that they could NEVER do it. Some are quiet, then mention half an hour later that they...

Sunsets and adventures

Sunsets and adventures

I'm sitting in my camping chair next to my fabulous vehicle Franka, watching the sun set after spending the afternoon at the pro surf competition in Peniche, Portugal. The comp wasn't running but this didn't mitigate fun; I meandered between photographers, dipping my...

Fear and Self-Loathing in Arrifana

Fear and Self-Loathing in Arrifana

It started out like any other Friday morning surf. Driving the 10 minutes to Arrifana, I passed a few friends in their cars; we exchanged waves and smiles. I ran into another mate as we paddled out into the busy line up. “Half of Germany is here!” Pedro moaned. “Still...

How to deal with change

How to deal with change

Yesterday I felt forlorn. Why? I wondered if maybe it was just the Sunday effect, or the result of having stability for the first time in ages. But I don’t really have official weekends (I work and play whenever) and I’m loving this stability stuff. For the first time...

Interconnectivity

Interconnectivity

One of the many things I love about growing older - aside from the fact it means I'm not dead - is looking back and seeing how tiny things have interconnected and turned into life-changingly huge occurrences. So much has happened since I left Aussie shores 14 years...

Transitions

Transitions

I'm typing in a hammock and I'd like to complain about how hard this is to do, but complaining in a hammock seems sacreligious. Back in Portugal for five days now and I'm breathing out, fully. It feels amazing.As autumn equinox passes, transition is a major topic in...

Distraction

Distraction

Recently I went for a drink with a good mate I hadn't seen in months and he spent a significant portion of the evening chatting with his girlfriend on Facebook. When I asked if everything was ok, he nodded and said they were just "shooting the breeze".  They live...

The journey

The journey

Travelling in northern Spain, it’s almost impossible to avoid the Camino de Santiago. Recently, this traditional pilgrimage from a variety of starting points throughout Europe has become something of a hipster trend.    Ten years ago most of the partakers were actual...

Questions

Questions

I find myself in a hotel room in Leon after an exceptional week in the Basque country and Asturias, exploring northern Spain and myself (an ongoing project). After maxing the relax with Michael, Josh and their brilliant mates in Somo on the coast near Santander, I...

Happy camper

Happy camper

I’m finishing up some work and my second coffee at the awesome café of a campsite in Vega, northern Spain, feeling pretty stoked. Last week in Somo – a dot on the map east of Santander – was totally cathartic. Ace times with Mikey and Josh, lots of lying in the grass...