Publication Day for A Sunset in Sydney

Updated ASIS

It’s publication day for my third novel, A Sunset in Sydney, the direct sequel to my first novel, One Summer in Santorini. To mark the occasion, I wanted to share an excerpt from the Acknowledgements:

I wrote this book while living in Bali. It was Spring 2018, and I was on a year-long sabbatical with my partner and love, Ben. Often I wrote poolside or perched on a sun lounger―yes, really. I also wrote at the beach, in our outdoor workspace, and at my favourite cafe.

The sabbatical was Ben’s idea. And after some cajoling and reassurance from him that it would be amazing, I put on my big-girl knickers and we quit our jobs, gave away a lot of our stuff, packed the rest into a storage cage, and bought a one-way ticket to the rest of the world, first stop Bali.

If it wasn’t for Ben’s bravery, support, and intrepid spirit I would not have gone on sabbatical and I wouldn’t have written this book or That Night in Paris. You see, while on sabbatical I gave myself “permission” to be an author, to throw myself into writing, editing, and querying, and to seek out writing as a career.

So, as my third book is published, and I have just sent across structural edits for my fourth book and am finishing the draft of my fifth, a huge thank you to Ben.

I hope you enjoy this latest instalment of The Holiday Romance series and the conclusion to Sarah’s story.

What other authors have to say about A Sunset in Sydney.

“Guaranteed to have you holding your breath to the very last page.” Julie Houston

“I’m such a fan of this series.” Ella Allbright

Lose yourself in this perfect, escapist read.” Samantha Tonge

“Sandy Barker blends romance and travel to make the perfect summer read.” Lynne Shelby

Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon US

Also available on all other ebook platforms. Print books available from September 17.

Reminiscences of an Olympic Volunteer

12 years ago I was a volunteer at the Sydney Olympics. Don’t laugh, but I worked in security. I was based at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Hall in Darling Harbour (I included the ‘u’ because that’s how we spell it in Australia.)

Two days before Day One, I showed up at an enormous warehouse just west of the city along with thousands of other volunteers and got my full uniform kit. It was the year 2000, and the uniform reminded me of something I would have thought was cool in 1986. We looked like this:

Disclaimer: I am not in this photo

Fetching, yes?

On Day One I reported for duty along with about a hundred other people. We would work 10 hour shifts with a 30-minute meal break. We would have access to an unlimited supply of muesli (granola) bars, and I sensed that this detail was significant. If I was assigned to work at the other end of the venue (a 1/2 mile away) it could take most of the meal break to get to the cafeteria and back.

“Does anyone know how to work a walkie-talkie?” asked our leader. I thrust my hand in the air before I realized that I had never even seen one up close. My id apparently knew that this question was what would separate the next two weeks into ‘exciting and fun’ and ‘watching paint dry’. My id was right.

Along with the 8 others who raised their hands, I was taken to another room and kitted out with a roster, a clipboard and the aforementioned walkie-talkie. I was going to be a team leader. Not only a team leader, but “Gold Team Leader”. How could I not think to, “stay on target, stay on target…?”

I looked at the walkie-talkie, heavy in my hand. I sneaked some glances at my fellow team leaders while they turned theirs on and made adjustments. I did the same moves, a beat behind, and within about 90 seconds realized that pretty much anyone could have raised their hands when our boss asked the question. A piece of cake.

I met my team, we moved down to our part of the convention center – fencing that day – and I took them through their roles. Essentially, ‘security’ meant that we checked credentials at check points, which were posted between events and for anyone other than paying public to get into the venue.

I was relieved to discover that we would not have to actually enforce ‘security’, because the only move I had was to put my keys in between my fingers so as to rake them across an assailant’s face. And, I didn’t think that this was in keeping with the Olympic spirit. Besides, there was a team of paid security guards to assist the Gold Team with securing the venue.

I was disappointed, however, to see that as the days passed, fewer and fewer volunteers returned for their shifts. By the end of the 2 weeks, we were down to 1/3 of the original group. This meant longer shifts for those of us who showed up, and that many checkpoints within the venue and between events were left unattended.

Late into the games, came a highlight of my volunteer experience. I met Evander Holyfield. I was back-of-house at the Boxing, and he showed up with his entourage. They all had their Olympic credentials, but he didn’t; he had left it in the hotel. I wouldn’t let him in. To be clear, it was my job to not let him in. One of his minders asked if I knew who he was. I did not. After the 30-minutes it took one of his crew to go back to the hotel and get his credentials, I knew all about him.

His name meant very little to me, but when he said that Mike Tyson had bitten off part of his ear, I finally put two and two together. He was carrying an armful of stuffed toys (Olympic mascots), which he said were for his kids. I teased him, “Sure they are,” and he laughed a big laugh with his head thrown back. “It must look a little weird, huh?”

He was being very good-natured the hold-up preventing him from seeing the boxing. Finally his minder returned with his credentials, and he shook my hand and said it was a pleasure to talk to me. When I got back to where I was staying, I looked him up. He was a much bigger deal than I had thought.

I also met ‘Aussie Joe’ Bugner, the Australian boxer-turned-actor, who lost to Ali in 1975. He is a bit of a legend in Australia, so I knew who he was, and he came and hugged me at the conclusion of the boxing to thank me for my volunteer work during the games. Nice.

By the end of the games, I was working an average of 14 hours a day. I rarely got time to all the way to the cafeteria so the muesli bars were my main source of sustenance. I got to use my limited French a few times, but my very limited Spanish made a Spanish official laugh out loud. Apparently, instead of, “I don’t speak Spanish,” I told him that he didn’t.

As a volunteer I was given tickets to see Cathy Freeman’s victory at Olympic Stadium and to attend the Closing Ceremonies, not to mention all the bouts of boxing, wrestling, fencing, judo and weightlifting I saw. I met medalists, dignitaries, athletes and travelers from all over the world. It was brilliant.

At the London Olympics my good friend, Dawn Denton, is volunteering with the South African team. You can follow her adventures here. How privileged we are.

Leaving home and homeward bound


I have been home in Sydney for the past week to finalize a work visa for my new job in Seattle.  The trip, while being ‘immigrationally necessary’, has been the greatest gift. 

When I landed the position at Groundspeak two months ago, I was thrilled – and then a little sad.  I realized that it meant I would not see Australia, my home, for at least a year and a half. 

Hence, the reason I have treated this week as a gift.  The work visa was approved on Monday morning, and while I awaited the return of my passport, I enjoyed every moment of being home.

I have hugged old friends and chatted excitedly on the phone to others.  I have swapped stories, gossip, concerns and triumphs, catching up on nearly a year of absense.  I have talked at length with my dad, and spent an evening of laughter and tears at my aunt and uncle’s dining table.

I have indulged in many cups of coffee made by top-notch baristas, and stocked up on Jaffas and BONDS undies.  I have taken dozens of photos of the most beautiful coastline in the world, filled a ziplock bag with sand from Bronte beach, and raided my storage boxes for much-loved books I want to take back to Seattle.  I brought one suitcase, and I am taking two back.  I have a tan. 

And after just a week on Aussie soil, and my accent is as thick as ever (Ben calls it my Aussie accent ‘reboot’).


In a few hours I will be jetting across the Pacific Ocean on my way home.  When I get there it will be one hour after I left, which I love, because it feels like ‘time travel’.  I lost a Thursday on the way over, but am happily swapping it for two Saturdays. 

On arrival, after hugs and kisses, and unpacking and showering (is there anything that feels better after a long-haul flight?), Ben and I will head over to our friend’s place for their housewarming party.

I will get to hug my new friends, and swap stories about our escapades over the past week, and plans for our upcoming holiday season.  I will spend the rest of the weekend trying to get on Seattle time as quickly as possible, for on Monday morning I (finally) start my new job.  I cannot wait.

So, I leave home to fly home, just as I did a week ago.  When you have two places you call home, you are prone to twinges of homesickness, you will always miss loved ones, and you will sometimes slip into the annoying habit of comparing the two places – even if only to yourself. 

But you will also have more love in your life, more joy, more nostalgia, and more hope for the future than you can possibly imagine. 

I do.  And I am very grateful.  For all of it.

On the home(less) stretch

I have spent more time on hold listening to Muzac in the past days, than in the past months combined. This is because I am having to inform everyone official – from my dentist to the phone company – that I am of ‘no fixed address’. I now have something more in common with the homeless many of Seattle than a love of coffee. Not only do I not have an address, I too am relying on the kindness of others in the following weeks.

Currently I am living with friends, Shaz and Aido (the Aussie forms of their Irish monikers Sharon and Aidan), who recently bought a big house with room enough for a wayward friend. At first it was a little surreal waking up in one of their spare rooms, as it is filled with my furniture, given to them on permanent loan while I am in the U.S.  So, my room, but not my room.

The furniture situation, thankfully, suits Shaz and Aido, because they are frequently descended upon by travelling Irish folk – friends and family alike. It suits me, as I love the blanket box my Dad made me when I was 21(although as a side note, he referred to it as my ‘hope chest’ – or rather, my ‘hope I get married chest’ – remember when girls had those?), and I will get to have it back when / if Ben and I move back to Sydney. I haven’t really thought beyond that, but I suppose if plans develop and we stay stateside or move to Europe, I could send for it, packed tightly with my priceless memorabilia and photos.

Which brings me to my ‘Where the heck is my stuff?’ list. This is a list of the locations of items kind friends are storing for me. Some things are on permanent loan (that whole returning to live in Sydney thing), and I am happy for friends to use them. Some things are tucked away in attics, sheds, and garages, labelled ‘Sandy’s stuff’.

Stuff deemed ‘takeable’ is sitting on a dock in Sydney waiting to be loaded on a ship that leaves for Seattle via California in about a week. Packing these boxes was like constructing a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle. I spent two weeks creating a giant pile of stuff in the middle of my living room, and there it sat tormenting me, until a friend came over and said, “C’mon, let’s pack this stuff.”  So we did.

I constructed my jigsaw puzzles, while Patrice wrote down what went into each box.  She didn’t even raise an eyebrow when I called out, “Box three, hiking boots with egg cups.”  She has moved internationally, you see, and like me she knows that the inside of a boot is a good place to put something small and breakable.

So, the stuff has pretty much dispersed: given away, sold, farmed out, and packed.  At the moment, I have two suitcases full of clothes, a stack of paperwork yet to deal with, and a few personal items.  Oh, and a car.  A big, red shiny car, that needs to be sold in the next four weeks.  I am keeping positive on that front, as it is in good nick and looks brilliant post detail and polish.

Next week I move again.  After the nuptials of Yasmin on Scott this coming weekend, they take off for 6 weeks in south-east Asia on their Honeymoon, and I begin my stint of house/cat sitting.  Storm is a Russian Blue and only likes three people – Yasmin and Scott of course, and me.  It will be nice to have a cat around, as I do still miss Jessie.

After four weeks with Storm, I jet off to WA (Western Australia) for Christmas with my family, and then on the 29th jet off to the other WA (Washington State) for New Year’s Eve with Ben.  As I tick things off my many ‘to do’ lists, it is all sinking in, and I am getting very excited.

Ben told me that the other night he went up on the roof – there is a deck and outdoor furniture up there – and looked at Puget Sound under the stars.  In about six weeks, I will be able to that with him.  Yes, not homeless for much longer.

Chaise Lounge


This is my living room sans couch, dining suite, and pictures on the wall. Ironically, it now shares common traits with the Seattle apartment, where we have yet to buy a couch, a dining suite and to put things on the wall.

Ben and I started looking at couches, dining suites and things to put on the wall while I was there a few weeks ago. I think we share a common vision. I say this, of course, with the understanding that we may be seeing that common vision from completely different perspectives.

We have agreed, as a start, that the entertainment system is all him, and the kitchen is all me. While that division in domesticity may reek of 1950s ideologies, it is a fair call on our part. I love to cook, and have very specific ideas of how I want ‘my’ kitchen. And Ben knows more about electronic components and how to make them ‘talk’ to each other than I thought was possible. So, in this arrangement, we are playing to our strengths.

We have other differences too. Last weekend my boyfriend admitted that he has added to his collection of plastic 2:1 scale musical instruments (Rock Band, Guitar Hero), while I confessed that I have bought 4 pairs of new shoes in the past two weeks. He loves video games, I love shoes. We’ll make room for both, somewhere.

In the meantime, we get to choose a couch that says, “Ben and Sandy live here.” Likely it will NOT have one of those fabric contraptions with pockets that hangs over the arm and holds the remote controls.

We did find one we both sorta liked. Mostly what we liked about it was that it had a chaise lounge on one end. That says to me, “stylish, yet perfect for snuggling.” To Ben it says, “I can watch TV horizontally.” The point is, we both like that style of couch.

I had to be honest with my soon to be ‘domestic partner’ when he mentioned that ‘La-Z-boy’ had couches on sale that recline on both ends.

If we get a couch like that, I worry that we will become a couple who have ‘his and hers’ end tables, mine littered with empty tea cups and books yet to read, and his piled high with remotes and back issues of ‘Fortune’. We’ll head to our respective ends, recline and get comfortable. Comfortable, we three feet of leather between us. Yes, the couple with one of these is a couple that no longer enjoys a passionate relationship.

His response to my impassioned argument was to laugh, and say, “Well, it IS true that we are defined by our furniture.” He is teasing me, but I think we’ll be getting a couch with the bit that sticks out.

These are the details that will be a welcome relief from paperwork and red tape, packing, giving away, storing, and sorting, and from the endless lists that govern my life at the moment.

Today my home looked like this:
and this:
and this:
as I packed, sorted, sold, and gave things away.

So, I am looking forward to working through a new list, a list for the next chapter in my life. So far it looks like this:

Buy a couch
Get a job
Make some friends
Join a gym
Learn new running routes

Yes, all that to look forward to, but notice that the couch is number one on the list.

When Ben and I stayed at the B and B in Yosemite, I was busy nesting – unpacking and looking in cupboards – and I heard a call out from the living room, “Honey, come in here.” When I got there, Ben was sitting on a big, lumpy, seen better days couch with his arms outstretched. “Look, Honey, we have a couch. Come sit with me.” And I did, and we sat for quite some time on that big, lumpy, see better days couch, enjoying the simple pleasure of snuggling up on it together.

That is why it is first.

Spring has sprung

Today is the first day of spring. And in Sydney, spring is my favourite time of the year.
Wisps of white
Dark mornings of drizzle give way to pink and orange sunrises, and the midday sky turns a vibrant blue. The air smells fresh, like grandma’s house when she throws open the windows and gives it a good airing. And in spring, I forget about all those winter afternoons I arrived home after dark to a cold house.

I fell in love with Sydney in spring. I had come here for the Olympics. I was a volunteer, so spent several weeks dressed in daggy chinos and a hideous, over-sized polo shirt with bright yellow sleeves. Nevertheless, it was easy to forget how ridiculous I looked in my white straw hat and bright blue bum bag, because the city of Sydney put on a bloody good show.

Each day was perfect. 28 (82) degrees, a light breeze and the aforementioned blue skies. Every day! It was as though the organisers had placed their order for optimum weather, and nature had delivered.

I was utterly seduced by Sydney in the spring of 2000.

I flew back to Perth post-Olympics and announced to anyone who cared (and some who didn’t) that I was moving to Sydney. Three months later, I lived here. I arrived on the 30th of December, because I liked the symbolism of seeing in the new year in my new city.

But here in my new city, in the middle of summer, reality bit – hard! Gone were the blue skies, and the gentle breezes. Gone were days of 28 perfect degrees, and in their place were the brooding, heavy skies of the Sydney summer. I had been duped.

You see in my hometown, Perth, summers are my favourite time of the year. The days are hot, yes, but the skies are clear, and the heat is dry. I love summer in Perth, but when I tasted spring in Sydney, and expected more of the same only hotter, I was being naive.

No, the summers in Sydney are grey-skied and humid. Sticky, hot days are threatened by low-hanging thunder clouds. And just when the air gets so dense you can feel it pushing down on you, it pours: fat, hot drops of angry rain that make the streets steam and the air smell like grease.

And indulge me for a moment while I mention my hair. A Sydney summer is the natural enemy of naturally curly hair. Mine grows so big in a Sydney summer, it needs its own postcode. Honestly, if I had wanted to live in the tropics, I would have moved to Queensland.

So, how do I cope with this abomination of summer?

I leave.

Ever since that first summer, I have actively avoided being in Sydney from late December to the start of February, which is fortuitous, because that is when school breaks for summer holidays. I cannot really see my principal being sympathetic to tales of woe about my afro. “But I simply cannot stay. You see, it is summer, and I cannot deal with that many bad hair days in a row.”

Summer is no fun when you look like Donna Summer.

I have spent many of those summers back in Perth. Ahhh, Perth. Perth is where summer was born, raised, and will never die. The beaches are powdery white, and the surfers deeply tanned. The air is briny, and the sky is so brilliantly blue, it is almost iridescent.
Cosy Corner

So, why has a girl so in love with summer agreed to live in Seattle? Isn’t Seattle the home of, well, rain? And isn’t rain the opposite of summer? Ah, yes, these are all valid questions. But you see, Seattle hides a secret. I does not actually rain there nine months of the year as often reported. It is more like eight months, but those other four…sigh…are beautiful.
Seattle Waterfront

So, when I move there in late December (that whole ‘new year – new city’ thing), I will take my umbrellas (plural, ’cause you never know when one will be sucked into traffic by a gust of wind), and I will look forward to the Seattle summer of ’09. I am promised blue skies, gentle breezes, and about 28 degrees. Sound familiar?

Natural Habitats

I am a friendly person. As such, I am blessed (and cursed) to have friends all over the world. The blessing, of course, is that I enjoy these diverse and enriching friendships immensely. The curse is that I miss these friends more often than not. Some of these friendships were forged when I travelled, and others while living in various places on three continents. I am great at staying in touch, even when some of these treasured friends are not (I say this with love, and a wink). For these reasons, much of my travel involves visits to places where friends live.

A tourist can get into a city and explore its nooks and crannies armed with nothing but a guidebook, but to visit a place where a friend lives is to get to know the place – and the friend – in an entirely new way.

Last September Ben flew into Sydney, his first visit to the southern hemisphere, let alone Australia. And in September, Sydney shines. It did not disappoint me, or him, for the days we were here together. Blue skies, puffy white clouds, and warm, salty breezes. On the second day Ben asked, “Why can’t you take me somewhere pretty?” We were in Bronte, about to walk the cliff-side path to Bondi. He was being ironic. On the third day, after seeing the coast, Circular Quay, Botany Bay, Taronga Zoo, Sydney Harbour and various other attractive hotspots, he asked if there were any ugly parts of Sydney. I replied, “There must be somewhere, but none that I know of.” I had a glint in my eye when I said it, and he knew that, for this time I was being ironic. I wanted him to fall for this city as much as I have; he knew that too.

However, when we love where we live we often take it for granted. When I knew Ben was coming, it forced me to view Sydney through fresh eyes. I had to forget the day to day stuff, the traffic and the rude, impatient drivers, the huge piles of rubbish on the side of the road right before the councils do their quarterly ‘clean up’, the abruptness of sales assistants, the nightmare of parking – anywhere.

I had to go back to the roots of my love for this city, which was born about 8 years ago. I had to ask myself, “What made me pick up, and pack up, and move my stuff from the west coast to the east coast, without a job or a home to come to?” I cast my mind back, and I created a list of the must-sees and must-dos. In a week of exploring the city, my beloved Sydney, we worked our way through approximately 1/4 of the list. It’s a start. And on a selfish note, I fell back in love with this city with renewed passion and verve, and made a promise to myself to get out in it more.

I need to remember that the salt air along the coast is revitalising, and summer or winter, can shake me from a slump or a rut. I need to remember how much I enjoy the buzz and energy of a city filled with parks and waterways, and a passion for the arts, a city where the dozens of different cuisines are authentic, because dozens of nationalities reside here.

In essence, I became a traveller in my own town. Ben bore witness to this; seeing me in my ‘natural habitat’, and the passion I have for it. It was a way for him to get to know a different facet of me.

Similarly, I get to benefit from this dynamic when I visit cities where my friends live. They want to show it off, they want me to love it, and see it in its best light. So, I can toss the guide book in the bin as I know I will see the highlights and the hush-hush stuff that natives are not supposed to tell you. My friends in Seattle almost whispered when they told me that it doesn’t really rain 9 months of the year there. This is a fallacy perpetuated to ensure that ‘OTHERS’ do not head to the north-west in droves and ruin the delicate balance of their fine city.

In my recent trip to the US, Ben got to reciprocate. We flew together to Minneapolis/St Paul from Vegas, where we’d just spent Christmas with my family (a whole other story and fodder for a separate blog post). From the sunny skies of Vegas to the grey skies of Minnesota – not to mention it was -5C outside – it would seemingly be a hard sell. Not so. Ben is a Minnesota boy, born and bred, and with my impending arrival, he penned his own ‘to do’ list. And through his eyes I easily saw beauty and light through the cold and the grey.

My favourite thing on his list was, ‘walk across a frozen lake’. When Ben told me he was really looking forward to doing this with me, I said, “I’ve never done that before.”  He replied, “I know.” That it would be my first time made it all the more special. ‘Firsts’ are things we try to do as much as possible.

I had packed my ski pants and jacket for Minnesota, because I knew it was cold there, and that he wanted to do the lake thing. I did not wear these big, heavy pieces at any other time in my 5 week trip, but it was worth packing them, just for this outing. We suited up. Now, I should mention that Ben is hard-core when it comes to the cold; he can bear really cold weather. I cannot. So, when I saw that even HE was layering on the clothes and reaching for the serious gloves and boots, I knew this would be serious cold. Would the running I had done from the house to the car, and the car to the restaurant prepare me for being outside long enough to walk across a frozen lake? I crossed my fingers inside my mittens.

We put Spot, his room mate’s dog, on a leash, and I am not sure, but I think he was even more excited than I was. A few short blocks of walking along shovelled walks – people are so considerate in the mid-west – and we were there. There had been a fresh dump of snow not long before, so we could only see the ice when we cleared the snow away, but it was a lake, and it was frozen, and I was standing on it.

There were little ice-fishing huts dotted along the other side of the lake. I ensured Ben that would be an activity I would never participate in because it combines two of my least favourite things: fishing and being freezing cold for a very long time. I took photos of the bare landscape and houses across the lake, because it was all so beautiful. Even the ploughed streets with their shovelled walks were beautiful. I said so, and Ben just shrugged his shoulders, “Yeah, I guess so.” Could he see it all through my eyes? The beauty of a familiar place? I hope so.

Other outings included the Walker Art Centre where we saw a Kandinsky, and an installation by Warhol, and nearly a collection of Kahlo (it was a two-hour wait and I was hungry – I know, we may regret that someday). We made the obligatory excursion to the Mall of America, which did not disappoint. How could it? There is a roller-coaster inside – and a Ferris wheel! Just in case you finish shopping and you suddenly realise that you needed to ride a fairground attraction that week – there they are, handily right in the middle of the mall!

We also headed to ‘Uptown’ in Minneapolis, the Soho of the twin cities, where we ate at Ben’s favourite restaurant ‘Chino Latino’. As the name suggests the menu is an eclectic mix of Asian and Latin food – including Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Spanish and Italian. It is a funky place, with hip waiters, groovy decor, and a diverse crowd. I liked it off the bat. That it is a favourite for Ben and he got to show it off, made me like it on a different level. It was part of seeing him in his ‘natural environment’. As too was visiting his parents in the home where he grew up. But again, that is a topic for another day.

Sometimes, when you go to visit somewhere and a friend lives there, they tell you that you must come and live there too. My friends who lived in Sydney long before I moved here from Perth would say it to me every visit. Years later the switch flicked in my head, and I made the move. Mostly, when I visit these places, it is about seeing the friend. The added benefit for us both is that the place becomes another character in our story. We interact with it, we draw on it, we see it – both of us – through fresh eyes. In addition, we are given a context for that person that we didn’t have before. When we’re apart, we will always be able to picture them in their ‘natural habitat’.

And that is a truly great thing.

Off the Beaten Track

‘Off the beaten track’ is a state of mind as well as a way to travel.  Many of my travels have been on well worn roads, but my approach allows me to have experiences far beyond the brochures.   

In the past decade travelling has taken me to incredible parts of the world, where I have met people who have influenced my life, and done things I had never considered.  I have greatly embraced the surprises that travel brings, even on ‘well-planned’ trips, and especially when those surprises could have been considered disastrous.   

One of the best days of my life started with a head cold and a scooter ride through torrential rain, but on a Greek Island in the Cyclades, this was the beginning of an incredible adventure and the forging of an important friendship.   My mindset is what takes me ‘off the beaten track’, which is why my Blog carries this name.  

My passionate affair with travel took hold when I was given a life-changing job with Contiki Europe as a Tour Manager in 1997.  With Contiki I travelled Europe extensively and even though our tours stuck mostly to well worn paths, my experiences during that time marked an incredible change in my view of travel.I ran organised tours, yet I saw a diverse range of clients, from tourists who saw Europe through the lens of a video camera, to travellers who sought out their own adventures.   

Armed with these powerful observations, I vowed from then on to always be a ‘traveller’.  Mostly, I have succeeded.  This does not mean that I enjoy five-star luxury travel any less, just that a backpackers’ hostel in New Zealand, serving free soup at 6pm, can bring me as much joy.  The diversity of my experiences is what keeps me addicted to my drug of choice: travelling.    

My focus for this Blog, and the accompanying photographs will be the travel I have done most recently.  In the past 15 months I have been sailing through the Cyclades Islands of Greece, traversed Peru by plane, train and motor cycle, had adventures in Hawaii, New Zealand and Canada, and discovered treasures in the cities of Las Vegas, London, Seattle, Christchurch, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Denver and my home town of Sydney. 

Where next?  This is a lengthy list peppered with must-returns and must-sees. 

I invite you to read, comment on and contribute to “Off the Beaten Track”.