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Everyone loves an anniversary

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Monday, 18 April 2011 | Views [1618] | Comments [7]

Today is an anniversary. Predominantly, it marks three years since the day I began dating the man I will spend the rest of my life with. That’s a pretty big deal, and there’s a lot more of that journey still to come, including the actual ‘getting married’ bit. It also marks the day that I began travelling as an independent adult. Sure, I’d done a little family travel around Australia prior to the 18th of April 2008, but this was the first adventure I’d had of my own accord. I flew from Brisbane to Melbourne to meet Andrew, a trend that we maintained for the next ten months while I finished university in Brisbane and he continued his job in Melbourne. We would scour the major flight providers in Australia, always buying flights six to eight weeks in advance as their sales schedules rotated. We had it down to a fine art and saw each other once a month. Not bad for a long distance relationship, but still challenging all the same.

We rarely met in our own cities, instead squashing mad flights and adventures to Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Sydney into weekends around university papers, exams, teaching placements and Andrew’s noon-9pm job. For Andrew, it was an opportunity to finally see more of the country he’d left the shores of New Zealand for. Personally, I gained a greater appreciation for just how diverse my own country was. It was eye-opening, tiring, exciting, expensive, manic and everything I could possibly want from travel, without even having a passport. They say that travel is a real test of both a person and a relationship, and somehow, Andrew and I survived the long-distance relationship and the pressures of travel, all in the early days of our getting to know one another. Long emails and phone calls filled our days and we continued to share our love of exploration and discovery.

All the excitement and delight meant that I officially caught the travel bug. As soon as I had those two very expensive pieces of paper in my hand, I was waving goodbye to sunny Queensland for the weather-worn streets of Melbourne, via a much anticipated family holiday to Japan for Christmas. I packed up my townhouse worth of boxes onto a crate, loaded up my little white buzz-box with a myriad of goodies, jammed in my stuffed puppy from Andrew, kept the passenger seat empty and relished in the fact that I had built up six weeks of annual leave to keep my bank account afloat. I spent a little over a week travelling from Brisbane to Sydney, staying with family along the way, before picking up Andrew from Sydney airport to tackle the last leg of the journey together – quite fitting really, as we do the same ‘last leg’ thing every Summer break now too!

We dove straight into living together in Melbourne, which wasn’t without its hurdles, while I found a job as a teacher aide (slash bargirl) to notch up some educational experience. We knew that a move to Dubai was potentially on the horizon, but the youthful age of our relationship and the way things move forward in Dubai, meant that it was all a bit of an unknown. So we sat ourselves down in our happy little apartment, and set forth planning our first big holiday away together – Thailand. For me, it was utilising a travel account that had been gifted to me for my 21st birthday. For Andrew, well… he busted his butt to save all year. By the time December 2009 came around, we were engaged, our apartment was packed up, our furniture was sold, and we strapped on our backpacks to begin exploring the world.

Since then, my love of travel has only grown, as has my love for Andrew. We’ve problem-solved, argued, explored, happy-snapped, laughed and ricocheted our way across thirteen countries while I’ve attempted to write about [most of] them along the way (Andrew writes a pretty mean tale-telling as well). We’ve lightly settled in Dubai for now, and will be here for at least another two years, but don’t really know what will happen after that. I am sure that a myriad of adventures will come our way in the meantime, hopefully ending with a year-long transit across the wonder that is Asia, where I can write, blog and share stories to my heart’s content.

Meanwhile in Dubai, it is easy to forget that I am actually travelling every day. It’s been quite the adventure, and oh my, how I love the holidays where I get to immerse myself in a completely different culture from my own. I love writing about it and sharing my stories, and will admit that I tend to get very jealous of those ‘full time travel writers’ that have approached the world with reckless abandon and only a backpack on their back. They write, and they earn money from it, and I often fantasise about what an experience that would be. Each time I sigh, “Oh what I wouldn’t give to be a writer.”

At the same time, I can’t help but feel that it would take away from the pleasure that I inherently associate with writing. That need to create a niche for yourself, to promote and market yourself, to come up with new, fascinating and interesting ideas and stories constantly. Yes, travel is exciting, and there are adventures galore, but some days you just do nothing, or at least want to do nothing. Many days, you want to just enjoy something for the sake of enjoying it, not to have to come up with a novel approach on how to explore it as a concept. Many talk about how grinding it can be to feel the pressure of this constant stream of consciousness, a pressure I imagine would be the same if I chose to pursue my photography as a profession. Nevertheless, I still get jealous when I read XXXX sold all their belongings and has been travelling since [insert noughties year here].

Then this morning, I read this article, from a traveller who seems to be much like myself (you can follow her here). Notably she says, of the writing in her blog, “It’s mine and I can do whatever I want with it. Teaching pays the bills. That leaves me with complete freedom and creative control in my writing.”

Then I didn’t feel so bad. I actually felt damn good.

I love that teaching pays the bills. Travel bills specifically.

I can write whatever I want to, whenever I want to and enjoy doing so. I don’t have to answer to anyone, except maybe my grandmother if I use too much bad language. I can pick any place in the world I want to go, and find some way into the teaching community for stable and reliable income. Yes, I have to work, and damn hard. Yes, some days it’s so draining and stressful that I’d rather shuffle my way right back to my fancy-pants Bayside school in Melbourne to gawp at 23 smiling 8-year olds. Then, I think about the time I will get back on that plane for my annual 9-week break with no commitment or responsibility, AND GET PAID. I take time to ponder the fact that the people who see what I write are reading my work mostly because they are friends and family who love me, ‘paying’ with their smiles, hugs and support. It is then that I finally resolve my concerns knowing that I am the one with the best travel gig in the world. Awesome.

Happy three years Andrew.

I love you and couldn’t have done any of this without you.



I've read this one and the one about driving. Your biggest fan. Dan.

  Dan from Tom & Dan Apr 18, 2011 11:49 PM


WOW! I'm impressed that you read this one. It's kinda sappy, boring and long. You get to remain in the position of my second favourite Brit :) x

  princess2802 Apr 18, 2011 11:52 PM


....now how many has Tom read? Then we can start listening to the Tim and Don show on Dubai93 again...

  James Bond Apr 19, 2011 12:03 AM


I got my listenership up to 90 minutes in a day!!!! I've earned the readership of the last two....

  princess2802 Apr 19, 2011 12:06 AM


Loved it! What an action packed 3 years it has been! You've had such an awesome time together and seen so much of the world. We would have you back at our fancy Bayside school anytime m'dear! Congrats to you and Andrew on 3 years xx
(P.S. Great pic of him to choose!)

  mr_minogue Apr 19, 2011 6:13 PM


Thank you! It's been such an incredible adventure - goodness only knows what the next years will hold. Spin the wheel to pick a country :) Then one day, I get to come home to that fancy Bayside school.....

  princess2802 Apr 19, 2011 6:51 PM


So proud of you x

  Deb W Apr 28, 2011 9:10 AM



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