Gra Nomad Wanderings

Friday, January 27, 2006


After 5 more sleeps we fly out of Sydney with our 3 kids for Santiago, Chile.
Hey I found this photo on the puter. It's an old one (photo and computer). Kids are now - Debbie 30, Peta 28 and Jeremy 27 (left to right).
6 weeks in Sth Am and then we arrive Miami, FL. Debbie will have headed back to Aust from Lima (she has a job and a husband to return to) and the other 2 will leave us when we reach Miami. They get back to Aust in late May. We take another 5 months to reach home.
We will be staying with Servas people and using Auto Driveaway company to get around. Had thought about buying a car and then selling when we depart... but... bought a tandem bike instead! We pick that up in Miami.
Been watching the Australian Open Tennis Championships on TV this month. Federer (Swiss) meets Baghdatis (Cypress), that's if Federer beats Kiefer (Germ). And the ladies - Henin-Hardene (Belgian) to play Mauresmo (FR) who's never won a grand slam event. We were sorry that Martina Hingis got knocked out. She is a favourite here in Aust.
We have 1 more sleep here in Dubbo before driving to Sydney for last few days. Boy, has there been some sorting and cleaning and chucking out when you're away for 10 months and you're letting Brad and Marli (get married tomorrow) live in your house! I could write a blog just about that... but you wouldn't be too excited.
I'm hoping to write 1 last blog from Sydney before departure. I think I'm excited! Just hope I can clean office, coffee table and outside table while Fay's away doing some last min shopping.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Well, you never know what’s gonna happen when you write a post. And you never know what happens when you add a comment either. Well…you usually don’t know.

As it turns out, the pastor at a Beechboro church liked what you folks had to say to my question: *How do couples hang in there?*
Seems they talked a bit about that on Sunday morning…from the pulpit. Good onya folks. So maybe there are a few parishioners over in Western Australia who are going to make a comment to this post. (Just click on where it says COMMENT down the bottom.)

I’m leaving Oz for a 10 month trip starting in Santiago, Chile on Wednesday 1 Feb. I’m taking my wife Fay as well. Our 3 kids are going to join us for the first 6 weeks in South America. Rodney tells me to keep blogging no matter where I am…so, that’s the aim. That way I won’t have to send emails to Peter Anderson, Stub, Fay’s sister Pat, Bruce & Cookie, BFB friends including Rodney.

I’m going to try and do a post weekly. I’m also going to try and ask a SPECIAL QUESTION once a month. I’ve already thought up the next one!

Hey Beechboro people, how was the service on Sunday? (You can put in a fictitious name to your comment if you’re too embarrassed.) Just think…it was Rodney Olsen who got me started on blogging back in August 05. Thanks heaps Rod.

Here I am spending quality time with Fay on Cable Beach, Broome last year.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Facts: Fay (wife), Jeremy (son), Peta (daughter) and myself are heading to Santiago, Chile. Our other daughter Deb will join us when we get to Buenos Aires. We catch a plane out of Sydney at 10 am on Wednesday 1 Feb. It’s a 16 hour trip. Excitement is building. I’m writing this on Sat 21…about 11 days before we take off. How is my daughter Peta going to make it? She has to remove her stuff from the 2nd bedroom because she’s not returning to Dubbo. A guy has bought her furniture. Has he turned up to collect it? No. So, we’ve got Pete’s stuff semi packed up and looking like a tsunami has hit her bedroom. Brad, a young guy who is going to house sit for us, brought some of his stuff up today. We can’t put his stuff in the house till Pete leaves! Catch 22.

Fay is packed. That’s what you get for being a choleric/melancholy. Peta and I are both Sanguines! Up the Sanguines! Are we packed? No. Trouble is we sure need some help from the organised methodical ones in the family. Lucky the other 2 kids live in Sydney that’s all I can say.
After Buenos Aires we head for Iguacu Falls, then Curitiba, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Then it’s Lima, Machu Picchu, Iquitos and Bogota, Colombia. Deb will head back to Aust from Lima.

If we get through all that we then fly to Miami, arriving there on 15 March. It’s there we’ll farewell Peta and Jeremy and next see them in Australia when we return on & December. We have 22 weeks in USA/Canada.
Here’s the list of things we had to arrange prior to departure (I’ll probably forget some):
* Wills
* Power of attorney
* Tickets
* Visas
* Booking documents for hotels
* International drivers licences
* Driving record
* Organise mail delivery
* Baggage tags
* YHA membership
* SERVAS Host Lists
* Medication (this is unbelievable) and a letter from the doctor
* Vaccinations
* Puzzles and books to read on the plane.
* Necessary addresses and contacts
Is there anything you can think of that we might have missed?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Couples Hanging In There - II

I appreciated the comments people gave to Question 1 –
How do couples hang in there?

Some beaut wisdom there. My Mum used to say, “You’ve gotta work on it.” If you haven’t done so already I suggest you read the dozen or so comments. Won't take you long. I’d like to add a couple of thoughts:
1 Putting the other person first is certainly a must. As Rodney said – that doesn’t come naturally because we are selfish critters. (My translation!) BBSGIRL said you’ve gotta value your partner’s opinion. If you are really interested in your partner you’ll want him/her to grow – mentally, emotionally and spiritually, not just physically. Growing your partner is a vital one for me.
2 Most important is that people believe that they are in it for the long haul. I feel sorry for people who plan a means of escape. Yes, Smokes, you were right – “…getting to know the other person heaps before you get married.” Good start for a 21 year old single lass.
3 The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is an easy read – but an important one. I read it in bed with my wife, Fay. It opened my eyes as a 50+ year old. The mad scientist was right – find out what your partner’s primary love language is. It may be different to yours. Mine is PHYSICAL TOUCH. Fay’s are QUALITY TIME and ACTS OF SERVICE. Yep, quite different. Others are GIFTS and WORDS OF AFFIRMATION. Hey, you’ve gotta read the book.
4 There are gonna be tough times (well that’s been my experience.) I remember one night when I was so disenchanted with my marriage that I was going to drive off into the distance. I didn’t do it because Fay’s parents were staying with us for a few days and I thought if I take off in the car, Lorna will jump out of bed and want to know where someone is going at 3 am!!! That was about 1985. Yes, Bruce, you’re right…. gotta talk it out and solve it.
5 There are courses such as Marriage Enrichment, Marriage Encounter and Marriage Education, which can be really helpful. And they are not for people who are having problems in their marriage! Many people don’t do any training courses in this most important aspect of life. For me, married with 3 kids, I found the course Fay and I did, was really eye opening and extremely helpful.
I printed out the comments to the original post. (There’s some really beaut comments). If you want me to email them to you (about 2 pages) just drop me a note – - and I’ll send it to you.
Yes Rodney, you can’t do much better than have a read of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 – the love chapter.
And last but not least – try praying together. Might be a bit scary, but hey, are you fair dinkum? (To North Americans – means genuine or serious about this.) The family that prays together stays together.
I hope that’s been helpful. I’m touring a town near you in 2006 (probably!) LOL. Depart from Sydney for Santiago in about 12 days!
Now Kathi, I think I’d better shut up and invite comments.

Monday, January 16, 2006


It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Janice and Bernie came to visit. We had started getting reacquainted with them recently. We’d first met at Wagga Wagga Teachers College 40 years ago. Sadly Janice was in my section at college and I didn’t leave a great impression. Indeed I left a lasting impression. What a show-off and an extrovert (don’t think that word was invented then) that Grahame Keast is! Don’t worry, Fay Bailey thought exactly the same thing back in 1963, and we’ve now been married for 38 years! We didn’t even speak to each other for the 2 years that we were both at college together. Made up for it since.
Back to Bernie and Janice. They chatted with us and told us how they were getting into bike riding. I thought to myself…. I’ll give you bike riding….hhmmm. So, 10 mins later I had them on our Burley Duet tandem. We’d purchased it at Collin’s Bike shop in Eugene Oregon in 1998, so the bike is affectionately called Collin. We gave them a few pointers and then set them off…wobble wobble…. Takes me back to our first ride on a tandem in Adelaide, back in 1996… roughly. Thanks Jill and Alan.
Fay and I took off behind them on our mountain bikes. Collin is a road tandem…. Thinnish tyres (tires for Americans), drop bars etc. We couldn’t keep up with them. They are both fairly fit for people over 60, and do plenty of exercising. They took to the tandem like the old duck to water. They arrived back at our place with Fay and I coming a distant 2nd and 3rd. They couldn’t believe they were too quick for us.
This week, we called in and stayed with Bernie and Janice so we could loan them Collin for the year. We’re due to head overseas and thought Collin could get respite care rather than just hang around in the garage/shed. We had lent him to Mark and Rosemary in Narrabri last year while we toured parts of Oz and upon arriving back we learnt that both Mark and Rosemary were deficient in the leg length area and they couldn’t reach the pedals! Even with the seats put right down! But Bernie & Jeanette (B&J) don’t have a leg problem.
After nattering till rather late and telling each other WWTC stories the others hadn’t heard, we went to bed so we could go cycling in the morning.
Next morning we got the bikes out and started fine tuning them. Switched pedals, checked tyre pressures, sorted out the gears.
Maybe the seat could go down a touch Grahame, Bernie suggested. Indeed it took us about 5 goes (is that how you spell that?) to get it just right for Bernie. Janice was easier to please… she just wanted her handle bars straight. No, I don’t mean she wanted us to straighten out the metal tubing, I mean she wanted them square to the top frame. Oh forget it … it’s not really important in the story.
Here we were, Fay giving advice in one ear and me giving advice in the other. B&J are the most polite people you’ll ever come across. So, they just listened. (Goodness knows I must have grated on Janice during those education lectures! Thankfully she’s forgiven me now…. Haven’t you Janice?)
It IS tricky starting on a tandem. Here are 2 people, each trying to balance a bike independently. And of course the bike starts off at 1 km per hr and then gets faster. At the slow speeds, it can be quite a problem when you’re learning. Watch those intersections!
Bernie just had to ride between 2 large bollards. I got the camera ready in case they hit one of the posts. There doesn’t seem to be very much room between… Phew, they made it. Janice nearly had a stroke, but they made it.
And hills, B&J just powered up them, without even resorting to granny gear! I was really impressed. Like their first ride at our place in Dubbo, they were much quicker than us going up hill and on the flat. A tandem is always quicker going downhill… if the riders are game enough to “let the pony have his head”. Collin’s rear brake is not very strong.
We had both been talking to them… I mean telling them… like good lecturers… that you (the captain) have to be careful you don’t cut the corner, or else the back person (stoker) can finish up in the gutter. They say experience is the greatest teacher, though the fees are prohibitive! Well, Bernie (who had the steering) made this fairly tight turn a bit later on. Janice’s half of the bike didn’t quite go in the same line…. Whammo! They hit the kerb!/curb! (Gutter as we say here.) Coulda been worse Bernie. You coulda both finished up on the bitumen! I think Bernie will be taking corners a bit wider from here on in.
So, we left B&J, thanked them for a really beaut visit, kissed Collin and said… keep watching the blogsite!
They will do fine and have a ball. But confidence will take a while. We look forward to hearing how they’re going.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


OK, the year has started. You've had a chance to have a rest, have a break, go skiing or swimming depending on whether you live in northern or southern hemisphere. You've maybe been travelling or else you've been "involved" with the grandkids (don't worry, we haven't got any either.)


So, all you folks that think you know a secret, nows the time to share it. If there are no comments I'll pack up and go home! Come on Bruce, Jimmy, Rodney, Brian, Bernie & Janice, Erica, Army and the rest of you. Just a point or two or 3... whatever you think.... hey, maybe some singles will have some ideas too! I'd like to do one a month. So, come on, give it a go... you don't have to be a blogger Cookie! (Hope my wife Fay doesn't read what I'm up to!) You might also share how many years you've got up so far...only if you want to. We have just notched up 38 (consecutive!) years.