Eat Pray Live

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THE seductive scent of clove cigarettes hangs in the air like an unfinished sentence on this heady evening, which is already punctuated with sweat and music. It’s all Japanese and jazz at Bali’s Ryoshi bar on this mellifluous Monday and Rio Sidik is one cool cat with his trumpet and a voice which is part Dean Martin, part Louis Armstrong. Randomly, Rio’s sister Marina joins The Rio Sidik Quartet up on stage and unleashes Indonesia’s own Tina Turner with a pinch of Pink tossed in for good measure. I’m in Bali on an Eat Pray Live tour and this part is definitely what I’d call living.
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Sydney’s Nicole Long, who runs Eat Pray Live, advises her guests to “be careful what you wish for” because in Bali, it might just come true. That is certainly the case for this 41-year-old former Brit who moved to Australia after a neglectful upbringing and has had quite the ride since. In the past six years she divorced her husband, started her Bali business, and in an incredible twist, celebrated the resurrection of her marriage with which she credits Eat Pray Live.
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As part of this bespoke Balinese experience, Eat Pray Live guests partake in a cleansing ceremony and visit with a respected healer, which proved to be the pivotal moment for Nicole, who escaped to Bali for a holiday in 2011 when she thought she had run out of options back in Australia.
“I had this moment in the water and I thought ‘I can do this business’. If only I had somewhere to go after I got divorced. Where do you go when you just want to be blah?” she says.
“I went for a session with a reputed medicine man and at the end of my session he took my hand and said ‘you are going to use your experience to help many women.’
“There is no way he could have known what I was planning to do with Eat Pray Live. I went back to Australia and said to myself ‘Ok, it’s now or never’. I didn’t have any money to do this but I just had this fire.”
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While it would be tempting to describe Eat Pray Live as a Balinese retreat and focus on the spirituality the Indonesian Island of the Gods exudes, this experience is so much more than that. Nicole has designed a bespoke holiday which focuses on all aspects of eating, praying and living in her villa she describes as a “home away from home” for guests. The concept eschews the typical tourist traps and takes guests to local and new restaurants such as Warung Talun for a delicious Indonesian feast overlooking the rice paddies, or to the hip and happening Potato Head to lounge and drink cocktails at this cool beach club. There’s plenty of pampering and even in-villa spa treatments, shopping in local markets and high-end stores and lots of secrets and surprises all designed to connected like-minded women who are drawn to this escape.
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Despite numerous obstacles since her day of revelation, Nicole persevered and welcomed her first client in October 2012, initially operating Eat Pray Live from a hotel in Seminyak. Mid last year she stumbled across Villa Griya Asih in charming Canggu while taking her first horse ride since her Australian horse and soul mate Surge died. Eat Pray Live now operates from this beautiful Balinese villa which comes complete with six bedrooms and copious living spaces around which to lounge including a gorgeous day bed around the private pool. There’s a lovely third floor meditation deck overlooking typical Balinese fields and even a resident dog Blackie – a stray who wandered into Nicole’s life not long after Surge died. Curiously, Blackie even has a print of a white horse on his coat, which might seem pure coincidence in Australia, but in Bali, Nicole believes anything can happen.
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Incredibly, Nicole reunited with her husband David after they reconnected for the first time in six years, following the suicide of his best friend.
“He came over for dinner and as I opened the door I thought ‘this is my man’ and everything, all the past evaporated and he was standing in front of me and I didn’t know what to think or feel,” Nicole says.
“He said, ‘I love you Nic’ and I realised I was home.
“Throughout this whole journey I’ve found my truth and Eat Pray Live has led me back to my love.”
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For more information on Eat Pray Live or to book an escape, go to http://www.eatpraylive.com.au


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My first book! Destination Desire – The Global Goddess, a single woman’s journey

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SHE’S here! Dear Global Goddess follower – In response to requests from many of you, I am delighted to announce I have just published my first book! Destination Desire – The Global Goddess, a single woman’s journey is being billed as Sex and the City with an Aussie twist and a global perspective. It contains some of your favourite Global Goddess blogs, plus some new chapters you’ve never read before. Details for purchase, via eBook or a limited edition hard copy version, can be found at the end of this blog.
Because you are a valued Global Goddess reader, please find a sneak preview of the Prologue below. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it. It would make a great summer holiday read or a cheeky Christmas gift. If you like what you’ve read below, please share this blog with your family and friends! (And I’d love it if you bought a book). x
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“A fronte praecipitium, a tergo lupi. Alis volat propiis.” In front is a precipice, behind are wolves. She flies with her own wings.
IT is five days before Christmas and I am on Christmas Island. But I am not feeling festive this humid December evening. I am sitting in a morgue, on what should be my fifth wedding anniversary, mourning the death of my marriage. I have lost my husband, my job and three dress sizes. If I can’t find work by the New Year, I will also lose my home. Down below, the Indian Ocean is uncharacteristically calm and quiet. Even the nearby blowholes, which normally bellow like dragons, barely muster a whisper. An empty bottle of gin rests to my left, alongside a crushed fragrant lime discarded in an empty glass. The ice is the glass is long melted. My red leather journal, which smells like expensive Italian shoes and has become as much a lifeline as my lungs themselves, sits perfectly positioned on my right. It is five days before Christmas and I am on Christmas Island. I am 38 years old and I am all alone.
I have lost my life compass, my job, quite possibly my house and definitely my husband. The irony of being on an island that has unwittingly become home to so many refugees seeking asylum along Australia’s sunny shores is not lost on me. I am seeking refuge from my own life. I have flown, via Kuala Lumpur, to sit in the middle of the Indian Ocean. To grieve.
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Seven months earlier, I had come to Christmas Island a healthy, happy, married woman with the rest of her life ahead of her. I had a stimulating life as a travel writer, which had brought great rewards and some awards, and lived in a safe city in a beautiful home with my devoted husband. We played cool jazz and cooked hot curries. We went kayaking at sunset, watched foreign films, flirted with the idea of returning overseas to work and had fabulous friends. We regularly travelled the world and finally, after some years of hard work, had money to spare. Life was perfect. That May, I had been offered a five-day travel writing assignment to Christmas Island – the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” – to celebrate Australia’s 50 year sovereignty over this tiny dot in the middle of nowhere, which is closer to Indonesia than to my homeland.
So remote is this Australia territory, it sits some 2600 kilometres northwest of Perth and 300 kilometres from any other land mass. A trip to this outpost, which made world headlines with the Tampa refugee boat crisis, was an offer too good to refuse. In 2001 a diplomatic dispute erupted between Australia, Norway and Indonesia when the vessel Tampa rescued 439 Afghans from a sinking fishing boat in international waters. The former Howard government flouted international law by preventing Tampa from offloading refugees onto nearby Christmas Island, and the Afghans were eventually transported to Nauru and held in detention camps.
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That week on Christmas Island had been delightful. There was no way I could have foreseen the tsunami of pain that was to follow just two months later. I had been asked by Tim, an old and interesting mate, to join him and two other journos on this journey. My other two travelling companions turned out to be kind and colourful characters. Sally was an insomniac with a husky voice that betrayed her years of smoking. She was physically invincible – a woman who had trekked the Kokoda Trail (not once, but twice), thought underpants were a nonsensical notion but wore a heart that sparkled like the rare golden bosun birds which circled this island. In contrast Leila was an innocent, bubbly, fun, friendly photographer, who wore her camera like an extra limb and was prone to saying things like “whoopsie” as a substitute for swearing. And then there was Tim, a gentleman with a sharp sense of humour and an even pointier intellect. We befriended local couple Linda and Phil, and the delightful Lynnie – an island resident for 15 years and dive master who had completed 2,000 dives and knew every inch of its 28-degree waters.
If you could bottle the “perfect week” and capture it in a little snow dome, Christmas Island would be it.
We ate Indian food and drank overpriced wine on a deserted beach, under the glare of the full moon, with curious giant robber crabs as unexpected guests. Then there were the red crabs. They are like flares on the forest floor, hitchhikers on the roadside and occasionally, uninvited guests into your hotel room. The annual red crab migration in December is Christmas Island’s most famous natural attraction, an event leading naturalist Sir David Attenborough named as one of his top 10 nature experiences of all time.
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But there’s much more to Christmas Island than crabs and detention centres. With 63 percent of the island protected by national park, it is also home to giant mana rays, whale sharks, laying turtles, 575 species of fish and more than 200 species of coral. Bird watchers will fall in love with this island where an estimated 80,000 seabirds nest annually. At the same time, it boasts some 80 kilometres of shoreline and gorgeous beaches.
Among the population of 1000 to 1500 people – depending on with whom you speak – there lies three distinct cultural groups – the Australians/Europeans who largely inhabit The Settlement area; the Chinese who live in Poon Saan; and the Malays, who reside in the Kampong. More than 10 languages are spoken on the island, including several Chinese dialects, English, Malay and Bahasa Malay.
Christmas Island’s history is as eclectic as the population itself and can be traced back to early trans-oceanic travellers from Polynesia and Melanesia who are thought to have sailed past en route to Madagascar.
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These days, stepping on to the island is like stepping back into 1970s Australia – with a spicy infusion. And that week we lapped it all up.
We ate fresh roti and spicy curry for breakfast at the Malay Club, next to the Mosque, “ordinary noodles” for lunch at the Chinese Literary Association and imported Northern Territory beef as the sun set at the modern Australian Rumah Tinngi restaurant.
We languished in the island’s natural spa at Dolly Beach, snorkelled among an army of sergeant major fish at Flying Fish Cove and hunted for the island’s only mammal – the Pipistrelle bat – in the cool shadows of Daniel Roux cave.
Off the boardwalk between Lily and Ethel beaches, we stumbled across the island’s brown boobies displaying their white pinafores like nuns while nesting among sharp limestone rocks.
One night as the sun set, we joined Lynnie, Phil and Linda and watched the clouds twist into random formations over the Indian Ocean, spending hours testing our imaginations and guessing what the various shapes could represent. An elephant? A clown? A woman with a dog on her head? And we laughed outrageously at the childlike simplicity of our game.
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Among all this, one of the highlights was taking an ice-cold shower at Hugh’s Dale Waterfall. Unbeknown to me, Leila had captured me on camera in one of life’s magical moments. We had trekked through the rainforest, past hundreds of red crabs shuffling along the forest floor like old men, to the top of this waterfall on a day when the air was heaving with humidity. The picture, which later ran in an Australian lifestyle magazine, captures me as I stood under the ice-cold waterfall for the longest of times, watching the crabs scurry around me and expressing gratitude for my lovely life.
Little did I know that it was to be the last time in many months that I would feel the same way. I had no idea at the time I was about to enter my biggest challenge of my life, which would see me cry an Indian Ocean of tears and thrust me into a vicious cycle of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills, alcohol, insomnia and starvation.
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Seven months later, back on the island without Tim, Leila or Sally, things are different. My husband and I had been together since we were 16 years old – almost 22 years – and had somehow managed a balanced act that seemed to suit us perfectly. We were like two ballet dancers in perfect rhythm. We never went without, wore nice clothes, ate out and trekked the globe. And now it was all gone. One night was all it took to annihilate 22 years with his words: “I don’t love you anymore, I’m leaving you,” spoken from behind his hands, which were shielding his eyes.
From my privileged perch, I am under no illusion that I share anything in common with the poor souls who have desperately turned their back on their countries, cultures and families, spending their life savings to flock to Christmas Island in a leaky boat with no guarantees. The only thing we share is that we have all come here for answers. A new life.
The “lucky ones” who do make it here are now locked up like animals for “processing” in a multi-million dollar jail that stands in the middle of the island, heavily guarded as successive governments fumble for a “Pacific solution” to the issue of illegal immigration. Off shore, the Australian naval boat HMAS Ararat sits for days, awaiting permission to “come alongside” and deposit its latest “cargo” – another boatload of asylum seekers.
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Sitting in the Golden Bosun bar one night, where the Navy boys are enjoying two days’ R&R after weeks at sea, I am reminded of the complexity of border control issues. I listen as a naval officer has a spirited debate with the Department of Immigration staff. The naval officer refers to the latest people they have brought onto the island as “refugees” but is quickly corrected by a Department of Immigration staffer, who refers to them as “asylum seekers.” It is clear that there is plenty of ink to be dried on this issue, let alone this latest batch of boat people.
Back in my room, I am tucked away, miles from the detention centre, in the morgue, which no longer carries the dead, although the deeply superstitious Malay population thinks we white fellas are crazy for even setting foot in the place.
It is now a simple cottage – the aptly named Captain’s Last Resort – on the edge of the Indian Ocean and perfect for the task with which I have set myself. To heal my heart.
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For the first time in months I sleep like the dead who have lain before me in this place. On my first night, I imagine I hear the chatter of thousands of voices swirling around the room.
It’s Thursday, and the local Christmas Island roundabout blackboard, which comically carries the daily news from tonight’s soccer game to a Christmas party, informs us that three asylum seekers have escaped from detention. The chalked words slouch there casually.
In deference to the island lifestyle I have quickly embraced, I don’t even bother to lock my door this night. I am facing my own demons and suspect, so are the escapees. They have no business with me.
There is nowhere for them to go on this island in the middle of nowhere, and they are quickly captured. The next day nobody bothers to erase the escaped sign from the blackboard. Instead, they simply cross out escaped and scribble “captured.”
I am well aware that despite everything I am the most fortunate of souls. I can leave at will when the next plane arrives in a few days’ time.
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In between I snorkel and eat Chinese noodles with my friends. Attend the outdoor cinema under a blazing Southern Cross canopy. Go to beach barbecues with Phil, Lynnie and Linda. Look at Christmas Island’s Christmas lights. I drink sweet Malay kopi and eat hot curry for breakfast. Wake before dawn to see the annual red crab migration to the beach. Drink more gin.
On Monday, I pack up, jump on a jet, and head to Kuala Lumpur, and back into Australia with my much-coveted Australian passport.
Like the refugees I leave behind me on Christmas Island, and the many boatloads to come, I am still lost and have no idea what my future holds.
But unlike them, at least I am free.
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To purchase a copy of Destination Desire – The Global Goddess, a single woman’s journey go to Amazon. The eBook costs $4.99. To order a limited edition hard copy of the book, priced at $14.99 (plus postage and handling) please email me at Christine.retschlag@theglobalgoddess.com
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Sisters are doing it for themselves

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FIRST come the books. I can’t help myself, I’ve packed two juicy travel bios into my bulging suitcase. I draw the line at actual guidebooks, but only just. You see, last week I went where few travel writers dare to go. I took a holiday. A plain, old-fashioned, crunchy-sand-between-the-white-cotton-sheets beach holiday. The type of thing that we lonely travel writers dream about all year, often discuss late at night in empty airports when we’re away from family and friends, but rarely have the time, the will, or the money, when we’re at home. Which is what makes the concept all the more appealing. One whole week of doing nothing but getting up, having a cuppa while staring at the ocean, lazing around in my pj’s, and planning a day which consists of nothing more than alternating between the beach and the pool.
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In old-fashioned beach holiday style I am away with one of my three older sisters – an early partner in crime when it came to this kind of thing. After 40 odd years, my sister and I know each other’s rhythms. It’s as predictable as the low and high tides at our Sunshine Coast destination. And predictable is what we want this week. It’s her turn for the room with the double bed, and so I cram myself into the room with two singles, one for my books and baggage, the other for my adult self, who lays awake each night wondering how on earth I did this as a kid. The bed springs creak and ping, and I hit my knees on the wall well into the dawn. I wake messy haired and bleary eyed. Yep, a typical beach holiday.
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The hours are long and languid. These are fresh prawn sandwiches on wicked white bread type days. We drink crisp white wine with lunch. Chat about our childhood. People we’ve forgotten, forgiven and forbidden from our lives. Snatch lazy afternoon naps to the sound of the ocean curling outside. Take the odd walk but we don’t venture far. That’s not the point of this week. Late afternoon it’s olives, cheese, smoky sausage and sparkly Pimms on the deck. In between I dive into my books and delve into other people’s lives. For one whole week I put my life on hold. Try not to answer emails. Stay off Facebook as much as is humanly possible. Take late night dips in the heated spa under a Turkish moon which creeps behind the building. One night I look up and wave at my sister dimly lit and standing on the balcony looking down on me in the spa. Too late I realise it’s not her but the 20 year old male occupant of the unit below. Soon not one, but two of his mates also wave at me. Exposed, I have no where to hide in the spa, and just pray to the spa Gods it keeps bubbling away as I slink as low as possible. Upstairs, my sister laughs outrageously when I recount this tale.
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When we do venture outside we attract unusual attention. “Are you two sisters?” complete strangers stop us all week in our tracks. We laugh to ourselves and think, if only our other two sisters were here. Worse, our Doppelgangers are somewhere on our beach holiday but we remain frustratingly one pace behind them. The night we get takeaway Thai, the operator welcomes us with open arms: “you’re back again!” he exclaims to our surprised bemusement. “Oh, two sisters who look just like you were in here last night,” he says as we clutch our curry, chuckle and shuffle into the night. The next evening, at the surf club, we are welcomed again: “Oh, you were here last night!” the waitress explains. No, but our Doppelgangers were. We never meet our Doppelgangers but by the end of the week every pair of women look like sisters to us. “Do you think it’s them?” we whisper in conspiratorial tones to each other over dinner. We wonder whether they are better versions of us than we are. We decide that’s impossible. It becomes our holiday joke. Every holiday needs a joke, that’s what makes families tick.
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And our family has had its moments. Nine years ago, When my sister’s marriage collapsed suddenly, I was among the first people she called. “You need to sit down,” she said down the phone line. Little did I realise that a few years later I’d be having that very same conversation with her. Years later, she confessed to me that my weekly phone calls were all that got her through each miserable week. I think back to the season of my discontent, that winter that seemed so bitterly cold where I sat in her old country Queenslander and cried and shook while she just sat patiently with me. Not so long ago her two daughters – my feisty, fabulous nieces – were having a rip-roaring fight, the type that only adolescent siblings can. My sister turned to them and in the quiet way she has said to them: “You’re going to need her one day”. How right she was.
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WIN A LIFE OF SUNDAYS!
In conjunction with one of my Lifestyle and Travel Partners, The Global Goddess is offering one lucky follower the chance to win a life of Sundays! Kayleen Allen, Director of Life of Sundays, uses the teachings of self-development guru Louise Hay, to offer a range of programs and retreats where you will learn to feel valued and appreciated for you are, loved, nurtured and safe to explore your story, past beliefs and to unlock your true potential. Her next “Heal Your Life, Achieve Your Dreams” workshop will be held in Brisbane on December 7 and 8.

To win a spot at this two-day workshop, valued at $850, simply go to http://www.theglobalgoddess.com and, make sure you’re a follower by clicking on the FOLLOW button in the bottom right hand corner. Go to this post, and in the comments section, simply tell us what your Life of Sundays would look like. The competition closes at 5pm on Wednesday, November 13. The winner will be announced in The Goddess’ Briefs on Friday, November 15. For more information or to book the workshop, contact kayleeen@lifeofsundays.com.au
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Beautiful One Day, Perfect The Next

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ONE year ago today I stepped off the plane in Brisbane after 14 months of living in Singapore. People sometimes ask me how long it took me to adjust to being back in Queensland. I knew I’d arrived the moment those two tiny Qantas wheels left Changi’s tarmac.
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I moved to Singapore one month after Queensland’s devastating 2011 floods. I was battling a personal torrent of my own and needed to shake off those last, pesky, stubborn crumbs of my broken marriage. I, like Queensland, had some healing to do. Suffice to say, it’s been a rocky road for both of us, plagued by potholes and the occasional melt down. That’s the thing about healing, it takes its own damn time and you can’t rush it. And then there’s those inevitable relapses, as Queensland saw again in January this year when the flooding rains returned. As for me, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still have some crawl back under the doona days.
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But I’ve just spent the past two weeks on assignment out in the Queensland countryside in which I grew up. We were barefoot through the bindi patch kids. Dirt on your cheeks types who didn’t come inside until after dark. Cycled our daggy pushies without helmets, rode in the Kingswood without seat belts, got a scratch and fixed it with a bit of good old-fashioned spit.
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And in the past two weeks, I fell in love with my state all over again. Southerners often mock Queensland. They say our weather is too humid. Humid to me is living in Singapore – 100km from the Equator. They say Brisbane is a big country town. If sitting outside by the river on a temperate evening eating food designed by world-class chefs makes us a big country town then yes, we’re epic. Sure, we don’t have daylight savings and our politics are ridiculously conservative. But that just breeds the underground movement of creatives and larrikins I so love here. In Brisbane, strangers still chat to you in the street. Thank the bus driver when they alight. Let your car squeeze in during peak hour traffic.
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In the past fortnight, I experienced in spades the friendliness for which Queensland is renowned. In the South Burnett – Joh country – I stumbled across characters, entrepreneurs and optimists. Shirt-off-your-back people where dogs with names like Merlot are the stars of an Australian book about Wine Dogs. A place of dappled sunshine and dimpled smiles.
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I met wine makers and farmers’ wives. Ate the local smoked pork, drank the new world Italian reds they are planting out there. Stayed in century-old cottages on hillsides overlooking charming valleys. Did I mention it’s emerald green out there? Yep, after all that rain that so scarred our state, it’s left a legacy of lushness. I took the time for a good old chinwag.
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Last week, my travels took me to the Darling Downs. But not the Toowoomba I knew from my childhood – one of haberdashery shops and picnics in the park. Sure, they still exist, but walk past an inner city lane and there’s graffiti art and pop up coffee shops courting the trendy set. Toowoomba is finally embracing its organic food scene. I ate salty olives, fancy French cuisine and slept in an elegant mansion. I stumbled across eclectic art galleries and small designer stores. Had a cuppa with the locals. They keep me honest, no room for egos out here, just kookaburras, galahs and king parrots.
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Queensland and I are both a little older and wiser after the past few years. Sure, we’ll always carry our scars, but we’ve also got fire in our bellies. Yes, people sometimes ask me how long it took to adjust to being back in Queensland after Singapore. To be honest, I don’t think I ever really left.
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The Global Goddess travelled through Southern Queensland Country as a guest of Tourism and Events Queensland. To plan your own escape, go to http://www.queenslandholidays.com.au
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Ex marks the spot

If, like me, you’ve ever wondered what to do with your ex, one enterprising Brisbane business sells the perfect solution. At Olive Home, in Ashgrove, you can now buy and bake voodoo doll cookies with this lovely little cookie cutter set upon which my friend and fabulous food blogger Kerry Heaney (www.eatdrinkandbekerry.blogspot.com.au) stumbled today. And you wouldn’t even care if the cookies burned. Burn, baby, burn. (Sorry, I got carried away for a second).
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Of course, there’s loads of other solutions as well. Just speak to my mother. You see, mum and dad sired four daughters, of which I am one (the nutty youngest if you really must know). And from those four daughters, there’s been five marriages. The interesting bit is, depending on your point of view, there’s also been four divorces. Now, if you’re a pessimist, you might say that’s a bad thing, but I like to think we’re a bunch of overachievers. I mean, the average divorce rate is at about 50%. Not in my family. No, we sit at 80%. Now, that’s what I call gifted. Although some days I can’t help but feel a little like a Kennedy. But I digress. After each divorce mum, who naturally blames every bloke for the failure of the marriages (she’s not far wrong), writes their name on a piece of paper, and puts it in the freezer. Yes, you heard right. She freezes them. Apparently, some old witch (could have been my grandmother), told her about this little tradition which is meant to somehow curse the blokes in question for all eternity. So mum’s freezer looks a little like this (but with far more food in it).
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Mum, being married to a butcher and a grazier, has also threatened to chop off certain parts of their anatomy and put them on display like the one below. But we’ve all assured her there wasn’t enough worth chopping.
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However, if you were insane enough to marry into our family, I’d say be afraid. Be very afraid. Mum scares the hell of out me most days, I can’t imagine what it would be like not being of her loins. So, what of that last 20% still married? My oldest sister has somehow managed to hang on to her husband, to the man affectionately known in our family as Last Man Standing. I sometimes see droplets of sweat appear on his brow when we refer to him like this.
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Yes, should Last Man Standing ever do anything to warrant the final divorce – unless the sister who has married twice has a third crack at it – I can already imagine mum’s reaction.Alfred & Constance 015
I spent years recovering from my divorce and there were times when I agreed with mum, but I figured she’s got all the black magic covered. These days, I try to focus on what lays ahead. Yes, The Global Goddess is a lover, not a fighter. On that note, I leave you with this thought…
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If you really do want to know all about food, rather than revenge, check out Eat Drink + Be Kerry, http://www.eatdrinkandbekerry.blogspot.com.au. This famous foodie is currently running a fantastic comp where you can win a year’s supply of hot chocolate. And for those who want a tour of my mother’s freezer, leave a comment below. I’m sure it can be arranged.

It’s raining men

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WHERE in the world are all the men? As a travel writer I have trekked the globe looking for good stories and good blokes (usually in that order). Sure, I can always stumble across a decent yarn, but finding a fella is not so simple. Some people have even accused me of becoming a travel writer JUST so I could find a man. If that were the case, I’d be a spy. Far more glamourous. Then again, who am I kidding? I can’t keep a secret. So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and spilling the beans, let me tell you where you CAN find a man. But first, here’s some places you might wish to avoid.
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I stumbled across these two nice boys one late afternoon at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Unfortunately, despite their snappy fashion sense, they advised me they were already in love. With Buddha. So I moved on.
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This one I found at Montreal at the Comedy Festival. Unfortunately, it was summer, and I like my blokes to be brave, so unless he can handle a bit of cold weather, he's not the one for me.
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In Salem, I discovered there are actually more witches than lawyers. Still, that’s pretty handy if you are getting divorced and want to cast a spell on your ex. But I was unable to conjure up a boyfriend.
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In Dubrovnik, this lovely old man looked like a prospect. Until he told me he was waiting for someone. Much younger than me.
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In Brisbane, things are so dire, you’d think every man was dead.
So, where in the world are all the men?
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NEW ZEALAND! According to a report released yesterday, a stack of hot tradies have been flocking to Christchurch to rebuild the city after its 2011 earthquake. Things are so good there for single women, there’s four men for every woman. That’s right, I’ve travelled the globe and they’ve been sitting right under my nose all along. So Happy Valentine’s Day. I’d love to stay and chat, but I’ve got a plane to catch.