AS I write this, all of my gay male friends, of which I am fortunate to possess quite the gaggle, are insanely jealous of me. Why is that, you ask? Well today I board a flight to Austria to cover their version of the Olympics. That’s right, I’m off on assignment to report on Eurovision. And if that’s not enough to ensure my name is scrapped from every gay wedding invitation for the next decade (who am I kidding, Australia doesn’t believe in gay marriage), I am following my time in Vienna with a trip down to Salzburg to cover the 50th anniversary of Sound of Music. Yes, the gay boys are so jealous, anyone would think I’m sleeping with Captain Von Trapp himself.
From my perspective, I suspect I’ll be spending the next two weeks explaining that I’m from Australia NOT Austria, to a group of baffled Europeans who can’t quite fathom why we remain a nation obsessed with ABBA. Now, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, aside from writing copious words for various media outlets about Eurovision and Sound of Music, I intend to spend the next two weeks finding myself a European husband. Aside from the fact I am prepared to offer the very attractive proposal of their very own Australian passport if they marry me, I have always had a hankering for an EU passport, which in my opinion, is travelling gold.
And I’m not looking for any old Euro trash to marry me, I’ve decided they must be royalty. And before you scoff at this suggestion, I have two words for you. Princess Mary. Yes, if it’s good enough for the former real estate agent from Tassie, it’s good enough for a travel writer from Brisbane. And while his Royal Hotness Prince Harry has been in Australia lately, for some inexplicable reason he left Brisbane off his itinerary.
But, the good news is my friends at Cheapflights.com.au have come up with the perfect selection of possible suitors for me. And so, let me present the following five prospects, and how you too, can meet them (once I’ve selected the one for me).
1. Denmark – Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark
This one is a bit tricky as apparently the youngest son of King Constantine of Greece and Queen Anne-Marie of Denmark has a double title, despite Greece being declared a republic since 1973. He may also be a bit hard to meet on this European trip, as not only is he media shy, but he’s based in New York where he works on Wall Street. I could live in New York. Not sure about the economy of Greece right now, however.
(To meet him, Cheapflights.com.au has return flights between New York and Sydney from less than $1200)
2. Liechtenstein – Prince Wenzeslaus
Despite his name being practically unpronounceable, this fella is looking good. Not only is he age appropriate at 41, he’s just down the road from Austria, to use Aussie parlance. For those who don’t know, Liechenstein is nestled between the mountain ranges of Switzerland and Austria (where I will be, remember). And get this…his family is considered the richest monarchy in Europe. Vince the Prince, or Vincent, as he prefers to be called, has never married, but has been known to date the odd Victoria Secret supermodel. I feel we are the perfect match and will be sending him a copy of this blog as soon as it’s published. Call me, Vince.
(To attend our wedding, Cheapflights.com.au has return flights from Australia to Switzerland for less than $1500)
3. Dubai – Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
If you like hot, dry countries, you could do a lot worse than this bloke. Sheikh Hamdan is apparently a poet, accomplished equestrian rider and amateur skydiver. He uses the pen-name Fazza and writes poems about romance, patriotism and family themes. He may only be 33 but we can probably overlook that minor detail. He’s also a graduate of Sandhurst military college and the London School of Economics. Someone call me a camel. If it doesn’t work out with Vince, I’ll be making a stopover on the way home in Dubai.
(Cheapflights.com.au has return flights to Dubai from Australia from less than $1200)
4. Luxembourg – Prince Sebastien Henri Marie Guillaume
And I thought Vince had a tricky name. This is a boy for the younger girls. At just 23, he loves to travel and is a keen sportsman and apparently adept at climbing, skiing, swimming and rugby union. I’m only really good at swimming, so there could be some long winters waiting by the fire on a bear skin rug for a man whose name is too long to pronounce. If you’re still keen, he’s fifth in line to the throne and is the youngest son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria. Go for your life. I’ll attend the wedding…with Vince.
(Cheapflights.com.au has flights to Luxembourg from less than $1400)
5. Brunei – Prince Azim
Closer to home, Prince Azim is a bit of a party prince who is renowned for throwing lavish celebrity-studded soirees. At 33, he’s also third in line to the throne. The UK paparazzi likes him for obvious reasons, but he attempts to temper his wild child image with philanthropic work with charities benefitting women and children. But in a country which rejects homosexuality, Prince Azim holds little appeal to me. I mean, no point getting married if none of my gay boys can come. Again, go for your life if he appeals, just don’t expect Vince and me to attend your wedding.
(Cheapflights.com.au has flights to Brunei for less than $900)
For other great deals around the world, go to http://www.cheapflights.com.au; And if anyone is looking for me over the next two weeks, I’ll be in Austria with Austria Tourism http://www.austria.info/au I may or may not return…
THE last time I visited Tropical North Queensland just a few weeks ago I was seriously overdressed, right down to my hair straightener which is somewhat redundant in the humidity, and so on the weekend I vowed to get it right. No fancy dresses, no heels and while I did pack the GHD, I vowed only to use it in extreme emergencies. The other issue with packing was that my travel itinerary only arrived as I was rushing out the door, and all I saw were the words Day of the Dead as I raced for the airport, convinced it was I who would be a dead woman if I missed that plane, headed yet again, for the tropics.
I spent my first day out on the reef with Sailaway Port Douglas, where we cruised out to Low Isles for an afternoon of sensational snorkelling. The sun was shining but so too, was the wind howling, and as I’m not a great sailor, I ate sparingly, knowing I would be back in time for dinner at QT Port Douglas, where I had also glimpsed on my last-minute itinerary that I would be having dinner with some “social influencers”.
It was dark when I arrived back at the hotel, clad in soggy shorts and t.shirt, and hair looking like a sucked mango seed, the result of several hours in the sea, sun and wind. They were in the bar, three of them, nudging six feet tall, clad in high heels and size six dresses. And then there was me. Yes, turns out I was dining with some southern supermodels.
I rushed back to my room with 30 minutes before dinner and sent an urgent email to a mate who had found herself in a similar situation a year previously. “Mayday, Mayday,” I wrote with one hand, while frantically rummaging around my suitcase for something decent to wear in the other. “I have a situation here.”
The best I could conjure up was a pair of fake eyelashes, having been instructed several weeks prior by a fellow travel writer that they add “20 per cent more attractiveness” to any situation. It was an emergency and Katy Perry’s falsies were the only thing to save me as I stuck them on, hoping and praying they wouldn’t suddenly leap off my face into someone’s soup over dinner. And out the door I rushed, lacking a mere 80 per cent attractiveness.
The other issue was that by now, having not really eaten since breakfast, I was starving, and not only could I eat a rather handsome dinner, but potentially one of the size sixes as well. They, on the other hand, seemed content with far more restrained portions, while entertaining their audience with insights such as the need to get a fake tan. I resisted the urge to ask them what they thought of the Arab Spring.
I spent half the night talking to a quirky, thin chap called Ray with an impressive mop of hair and who seemed extremely excited to be at the resort and our table. During the evening people keep asking him about his “gig” and it was only when someone mentioned Ray and the words Thirsty Merc in the same sentence did I realise I was chatting to a famous Aussie muso who was probably best known for his hit 20 Good Reasons. I rushed back to the room and Googled Ray before falling asleep, laughing at my own stupidity.
By the next morning, my friend had responded to my mayday. “OMG. Worst nightmare scenario. Bugger them, we know who we are and what we do”. Just in case anyone mistook me for a supermodel, I kept announcing myself as “the travel writer”. The good news was the second night was the Day of the Dead party to celebrate QT Port Douglas’ third birthday and the plan was the models and me would all get our faces painted to essentially look like death by the resort’s make-up artist. I figured I could nail looking like death. And it was a great plan, until I emerged at the party, face covered in crosses and stitches, to find not only had the models not painted their faces, but they had also increased by one more. Not only did they not eat after midnight but they were multiplying. Were they actually Gremlins?
Turns out I need not have worried as the models had bigger issues than me. For while I may have been wearing a face full of paint and an ordinary summer dress with my flat sandals, they were all clad in matching jumpsuits, and had neglected to wear underwear, and it was breezy. Let’s just say, that night I got both dinner and a show while contemplating crocheting a hem on those flighty jumpsuits.
All in all, it was an interesting exercise in human nature when you bring two parties who inhabit totally different worlds together in the same scenario. When we arrived at the airport, one of them with an Austrian accent walked up to me and said “very curvy”, and I was just about to snap until I realised she was talking about the winding car journey along the ocean. While on the outside my trip was a bit of a disaster, on the inside I kept repeating the mantra that my meditation girls and me have been adopting over the past few years. And that simply is, love yourself anyway. Whatever happens in your life, just love yourself. As my new mate Ray would say, give me 20 good reasons why I shouldn’t.
The Global Goddess was a guest of QT Port Douglas – http://www.qthotels.com.au
SINCE starting to seriously dabble in Instagram during the past year, I’ve noticed a trend emerging about what catches the eye of followers and potentially attracts a new audience.
Here’s my top 10, in no particular order.
Whether it’s this mound of spices I stumbled across at a breakfast buffet in a Bangkok hotel or this bike rack at my local university swimming pool, interesting shapes are always eye-catching.
2. People with a sense of place
Photos of people in general, and selfies particularly, have little traction on Instagram, but where people present a sense of place, it’s a whole different story. This surfer on the beach in Hawaii and this woman in Vietnam, both instantly tell a story.
3. The colour red
A photographer’s dream colour, you can hardly go wrong red. It’s bright, it’s catchy and it doesn’t really matter what it is you are photographing, as long as it’s red, it’s a winner.
Everyone loves a sunset. Surprisingly, fewer people love a sunrise. Post a photo of a sunset, like this one I captured recently in Fiji (no filter required) and watch your numbers soar.
5. Flowers and trees
There’s more nature lovers out there than you realise. People loved this kangaroo paw I published around Australia Day, and they went wild when I discovered the bark of this melaleuca tree in Tropical North Queensland recently.
6. Fun phrases
Every now and then, if you stumble across a quirky sign of a funny phrase, give it a go. This particularly works if it’s got something to do with coffee.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m not a huge fan of food shots, but if you do happen across something interesting, then sure, post it. Just not the sandwich you had for lunch. Unless you invented the sandwich. Then go for your life.
8. Street Art
This has been my biggest revelation in the past year, both about myself and my audience. Turns out I am quite the street art aficionado and I have found myself on the lookout on every street corner for something new to shoot. My followers adore art.
Similar to street art, if you can present something in an abstract way, people tend to love it. I took this photo of a Buddhist tea ceremony in Brisbane a few months ago. It’s essentially a metonym – where you don’t need to shoot the entire frame to tell a story.
Whatever the weather, people love water. Whether it’s the ocean or a pool, there’s something alluring and aspirational about a body of water.
What are your Instagram tips? Follow me on Instragram @aglobalgoddess