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words, be my compass

March 24, 2019

Write to get your bearings. 

To write is to harvest your existence. Write down what you are doing, what you are feeling, what you are dreaming of. To write is to rediscover your own codes, to find the keys to your memory, to document any number of little things which will in turn breathe life into your thoughts, your sense of poetry, your own philosophy. It is a path to understanding the world.

Writing allows us to choose, to remember ourselves, to reveal the depths of our true selves, to observe and reorder the disordered parts of ourselves. In this way we get to know ourselves better. We can forge and identity, and this identity is the key to knowing what we want from life. 

We go through life mostly unaware of our own strength. 

L’art de la Liste: Dominique Loreau

the kwokkie diaries: day 28 + HOME

July 24, 2018

Day 28: Auckland to Melbourne to Adelaide, my home. 

And I am HOME, and my heart overflows!

There is NOTHING like the heart-flip of flying home. 😊

Thank you for every experience, feeling, discovery, connection, moment, joy and opportunity on this trip.

Thank you for the love + connection back home lifting me onwards and doubling every experience, and the love + connection of family + friends renewed during my travels, which I come home brimming over from. 🌟


the kwokkie diaries: day 27

July 24, 2018

Day 27: Vancouver to Auckland. 


That magical and disconcerting feeling of losing an entire day. I’m a VIRGO. Not a fan!


the kwokkie diaries: day 24

July 20, 2018

Day 24: San Francisco to Vancouver

I’ve had 2 moments of “sassing” recently that I’m low-key proud of.

1. The Monks at Golden Gate Bridge.

While crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, there were a whole heap of monks milling about the foot of the walkway. One serenely approached me, offered me a blessing and then gently tied a string of prayer beads around my wrist. With a beatific smile on his face, he told me his brothers were building a temple, would I please make a donation? Then I NOTICED; the sneakers, the overly-crumpled yellow monk’s cloak, the glimpse of jeans under the cloak.

Old me would have paid the $5.00 donation and then been pissed off for the rest of the day.

Current me smiled a matching beatific smile right back, took the prayer beads off my wrist, said “Thank you SO much, I wish you all the best for the temple, but I’m really sorry, I’m not into prayer beads!”, and strolled off with a grin.

While on my success strut, I noticed another couple getting a similar treatment. I walked up, said hello to everyone and told them, “Hey guys, you’re getting fleeced. There’s a whole heap of them!”

“Oh, wow! Thanks so much!”

And to the “monk”, “Sorry dude, nice try. We’re done here!”

2. The Drama Queen at Bloomingdales

An AMAZING colourful striped dress caught my eye in Bloomingdales, and I went to go have a look. From behind me, in the most overly-dramatic, drama-queenly exasperated exclamation rang out, “WHY do people ALWAYS have to go for the things on the RACK?!”

I think he thought I had no English and wouldn’t understand, but it put the fire in my belly!

I used that teacher voice which is the deadly combination of “overly-sweet-but-don’t-you-DARE-eff-with-me” and just kept taking AT this rude man: “Well, it’s SUCH a totally GORGEOUS DRESS, and I LOVE colours. I’m travelling from Australia, and this is my last week abroad, and I was really looking to splurge on something beautiful to take home. I’m SO SORRY that I inconvenienced you by looking at something on the rack, but it just absolutely caught my eye, and it’s even the right size as well! But I’d better not inconvenience you by asking to try it on, so thank you SO MUCH for making me feel so WELCOME!”

Dazed, he pulled himself together and stammered, “Are you sure you don’t want to try it on?”


Strutting that strut OUT!


the kwokkie diaries: day 19

July 14, 2018

Day 19: Exploring Brooklyn, NY.

It appears Brooklyn has a sense of humour!

the kwokkie diaries: day 18

July 13, 2018

“Miss? Miss? Pardon me, are you from New York?”

Me: “No, just visiting. I’m from Australia.”

“Really?! ‘Cos DAMN, you walk like a New Yorker!”

Erratically + on a mission?! 

the kwokkie diaries: day 15

July 10, 2018

Day 15: Charlottetown to New York, via Montreal [my favourite airport, and the place I single-handedly spent more time than any other while visiting Montreal! See previous posts.]

I’m in New York! And in the languid and iconic ballad as performed by Alicia Keys:

New York! 

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

And a jungle it is. I am exhausted today, but I absolutely need to share the place that I am staying!

I am staying the the Library Hotel in New York, a themed boutique hotel where there is free continental breakfast, free daily wine + cheese afternoons, unlimited tea, coffee, water, fruit + pastries, and free access to the New York City public library. 

But the COOLEST thing?! The rooms are themed. Each floor corresponds to one of the hundreds in the Dewey System. And each room is actually furnished with books + pictures corresponding decimal identification that it would be in a real library.


And the absolute cherry on the cake; I’m in room 700.003; PERFORMING ARTS. 

the kwokkie diaries: day 12

July 7, 2018

Day 12: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

I’m in Charlottetown, and it feels like my heart and spirit have found a place where they can rest a little. There is a warmth + friendliness to Charlottetown that is completely Adelaidian, and I have hit a point in my travels where I have long-needed a rest day. Today’s early afternoon storm allowed me the chance to curl up, soothe the heart, and just “introvert” for a while.

Steps taken: 18,476, in delightful aimless wanderings around Charlottetown this morning.

One memorable meal or food item: Chocolate-covered potato chips. Salty, sweet, and so wrong, but utterly delicious.

One special photograph: The wonderful oasis of calm this afternoon when the storm rolled in, an intense cool and hush fell over Charlottetown for a few hours, and there was nothing but the melodically soothing sound of rain, fragrant hot cups of tea, reading, journalling, and Netflix. Everything my weary travelling heart needed.

One decent coffee: A surprisingly excellent coffee at Receiver Coffee + Co, which I had this morning perched up on the breakfast loft.

One amazing moment: This was yesterday when I flew in, but HONESTLY, what are the chances?! A shared meal with old friends who are here for the Charlottetown Music Festival, and whom I met at the World Choral Symposium in 2008 almost exactly 10 years ago. The world is an extraordinary place!

One unplanned detour/adventure: As above!

20 minutes reading: Oh, I have been reading heaps this afternoon! I polished off the final pages of “By the Book”, a modern-day retelling of “Persuasion” which was light and fluffy enough to be energising, started the indomitable Anne Patchett’s “Commonwealth”, and in between all that, began re-reading “Anne of Green Gables” from my beautiful vintage copy I bought today at the local bookstore in readiness for tomorrow’s trip to Cavendish to visit Green Gables.

30 minutes composing: I’m about to dive feet first into some Year 12 Composing + Arranging editing, which will be the last thing I do today.

the kwokkie diaries: day 11

July 6, 2018

Day 11: Montreal to Charlottetown

First impressions

There are no traffic lights in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. You just cross the road and the cars figure it out, as well as figuring themselves out.


The convenience store looks like the one in Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. One brand of everything, like it or suck it up! 🤣

I just walked along the waterfront against a glorious sunset, watching the sun make shadows out of the ships in the harbour.

On my way back to the cottage I am staying, an elderly man sitting in a rocking chair on his porch dipped his invisible hat at me, all the while softly singing Gershwin’s “Summertime”. 😎

Oh my goodness, I think I’m going to love it here.



the kwokkie diaries: day 9

July 4, 2018

OH MY FREAKIN’ GOD. These last 24 hours!

My little silver cabin bag had a FABULOUS day yesterday. 🤗

I, however, did not. 😑

My intrepid, nomadic little suitcase did the flight from Toronto to Montreal with me via gate-check, then accidentally did the trip BACK to Toronto, and was SUPPOSED to then wrap up with a final leg to Montreal to meet me, 8-and-a-half hours later.

But she didn’t. She damn well made it to HALIFAX! 😆

Meanwhile, I became familiar with every nook + cranny of Montreal Airport, against my will. 😩 AND STILL BLOODY LEFT WITHOUT MY BAG! The whole POINT of gate-check + going carry-on only was to AVOID THIS! 😖

So now, 24 hours later, the reunion DOES feel like the prodigal suitcase has returned, and I am even after ALL the stress, overwhelmingly, ridiculously relieved + happy.

She takes after me with her damn sense of adventure.

Welcome to Montreal. We have arrived. And now, finally, I have the heart to go exploring. 😎

Thank you so much to Shaun + Amy at the airport, Emily, my sister-in-law, for her kindness, moral support and relaying info, and Robbie my brother for serendipitously flying in for work but hanging around an exhausting 2 hours with me after landing while I tried to figure all this out.

You know those shirts I brought over for you?

Call it even + then some, kid bro. You have been more than an absolute + total champ.

Thank you.