Aim for the Stars Foundation


Photo and image credit

In 2015, I’m returning to blogging to share my journey as a grant recipient of the Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation.  I applied for this grant late last year and in January 2015 I received a call from LAYNE BEACHLEY herself to let me know that I was successful. Despite that fact that my phone battery died mid-conversation and I had to wait an agonising 15 minutes for it to recharge and call her back, it was super exciting to have a personal phone call with Layne.

The foundation was established by Layne in 2003 to empower women and girls to achieve their goals though financial support and mentoring. The 2015 scholarship recipients are girls and women from across Australia who are involved in a range of sporting, academic, community and cultural pursuits.This grant will support me as I enter the final year of my Master of Social work (Qualifying) and prepare to complete my student placement in Odisha, India. Initially after applying for this grant and then finding out that the foundation had received over 1000 applications, I ruled out my chances of receiving a grant and accepted the fact that I would not be able to complete my final Social work placement overseas. As Layne has said,

“it’s amazing what you can create if you don’t place limitations on yourself”.

I feel really blessed for this opportunity and excited for what 2015 will bring!

10 memorable slow-travel moments in Ireland

Gumboots ready for WWOOFing on the farm

1. Exploring my ancestry in the huge red volumes at the Irish Life Centre. An afternoon spent researching led to a reunion with my Great Aunt and cousins the next day – Finding family in Dublin

2. Meeting Italian English-student, Valentina, who demonstrated her family recipe for kneading and rolling handmade Gnocchi. In exchange I taught her Aussie-English phrases such as “how are ya?” and “no worries” – Cooking in Cork

3. Volunteering on an eco-retreat and persevering with a compost toilet. Every scoop of sawdust and visit to the humanure compost heap was a lesson in sustainable living – WWOOFing in Dromahair

4. Appreciating traditional farming skills as I spent the day building and rebuilding a 200 year-old stone wall – Farming in Wexford

5. Stepping on many Irish toes while learning the reel, jig and polka – Set dancing in Bantry

6. Drinking at a trad seisiún of guitars, fiddles and flutes, violins, accordions and a bodhran – Listening to music in Ballydehob

7. Chatting about politics, religion and family with a local who’s Grandma made bombs for the IRA – Understanding history in Derry

8. Meditating by the Atlantic at the Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Temple – Practising mindfulness on the Beara Peninsula

9. Hitchhiking to Croagh Patrick and overcoming fog and fear to climb to the peak – Making a spiritual pilgrimage in Westport

10. Devouring eggs, bacon, fried chips, mushrooms, tomatoes, black pudding and endless cups of tea. Sharing stories, laughter and sleep-deprivation – Staying with family in Dublin

This post has been entered into the Grantourimo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2010. That’s about 11 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 15 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 77 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 143mb. That’s about a picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 24th with 113 views. The most popular post that day was leaving London and the city behind.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for kyoto, irish family, kinsella family tree, rebecca kinsella, and kyoto garden london.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


leaving London and the city behind April 2010


About Me December 2009


10 Travel Quotes I love July 2010


Photo Essay: Kyoto Garden, London May 2010


Writing February 2010

PocketCultures e-book Concept: Children’s Games

Over at PocketCultures we are producing an e-book on children’s games around the world.

We are in the concept-development phase and researching how potential readers would like the book to look.

If you’d like to help out, please complete this quick survey and share the link with anyone you think might be interested. More specifically, anyone who is a parent, teacher, language learner or involved in the literary world would be great.

This survey will stay open until 14th August and we’d love to have your input.

Thanks for your help! And check out PocketCultures to learn more about world cultures.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade, New York City

The parade marches down Fifth Avenue, NYC

Her curly blonde hair was clipped back with a shamrock, and she sat high above us on her Dad’s shoulders. Their home-made sign was covered in glitter pen, and it buckled in the breeze. But she didn’t care.

Across Fifth Avenue, the crowd wore Aran knitwear, peak caps and Celtic gear. Anything they’d collected on a trip to Ireland was now proudly displayed.

The hot dog stands were selling green fairy floss and shamrock-shaped cookies. And on the side streets, doughnuts with green sprinkles and fluro-green bagels coloured the shop windows.

On the street, high-school cheerleaders twirled batons, marching bands thrashed on drums and policemen paraded past. A couple of boy scouts ran from over to the metal barricades, and high-fived me in excitement as they ran by.  It was so American. Just like I’d thought it would be – and I loved it!

I celebrated among generations of Irish-Americans and hundreds who had made the pilgrimage to the biggest St. Paddy’s Day parade in the world.

At night the beer flowed green,  the Empire State building flickered green and a billboard at Times Square flashed green, asking “Who’s your Paddy?”.

It was the first St. Paddy’s I’d celebrated since researching my Irish ancestry and finding my relatives in Dublin.  And although I couldn’t be with them, or my own family in Australia, in New York I shared a sense of patriotism and belonging with others who’d come to call Ireland home.


This post has been entered into the Grantourismo and HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.

10 Travel Quotes I love

1. “I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends
into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world
within.” – Lillian Smith

Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland

2. “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life.” – Samuel Johnson

Tower Bridge, London UK

3.“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Jungfrau, Switzerland

4. “When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.” – James Joyce

Glendalough, Ireland

5. “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all
peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that
if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

Berlin Wall, Germany

6. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail
away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Brighton Beach, Brighton UK

7. “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

Backpacking Ireland

8. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost

Wicklow Mountains, Ireland

9. “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Night time views from the Empire State Building, NYC

10. “No matter how far or how wide I roam/I still call Australia home.” – Peter Allen

St KIlda Sunset, Melbourne Australia

All photos by author


this city and its people are breaking my spirit. work. no work. call back friday. sun. no sun. house. hostel. house. never my house. bed. couch.  air bed. interest. romance. disinterest. finding friends – and farewelling those friends. tube. delays. maintainance. failures. gut decisions. wrong decisions…every day is no-work-wednesday

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