– Bing Qian  

I was really looking forward to spending a week in Bali at a two-bedroom villa overlooking the beach with a friend during March. As you may have noticed our summer wasn’t really all that hot so I was anticipating consistent warmth, total relaxation, and being with my friend.

She had gone ahead, so Wayne took me out to the airport to check-in. Everything went smoothly until they checked my passport: I only had 3-months left before it expired and Indonesia requires a minimum of six months! (Note to my readers: Always check that your passport has at least 6 months validity before you plan your overseas trip!) To cut a long story short, by the time I got my new passport I couldn’t get a flight for another 2 days. It hardly seemed worth going for the few days that would be left, so I decided not to go to Bali and do something else.

So, Wayne and I headed off on the motorbikes to a farm-stay near Bruthen (40km north of Lakes Entrance) for 5 days. It was beautiful (even if the weather wasn’t warm at all) I watched sheep, fed the ducks, played with the dogs, walked across the valley, listened to the kookaburras laughing in the background and generally enjoyed the peace and tranquillity after a few very busy months – assisting my nephew set up house in Melbourne, working hard, and helping various friends in crisis. Once again I was reminded how the frantic pace of life can take over and stop us from truly enjoying the pleasures we have.

It’s not that we can’t be busy, it’s just that it’s important to plan breaks from busy-ness… times to recharge and evaluate where we are and where we need to be.

During those 5 days away the holiday pleasures that we enjoyed together included:

  1. Riding the motorbikes: I love the feel of the wind rushing past (especially when I’m protected by my jacket and helmet), and the sense of speed and balance. There’s nothing quite like motorbike travel to get a sense of movement and life!
  2. Enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of the farm – I’ve already mentioned the walks, sheep, ducks, kookaburras and dogs!
  3. Exploring the Lakes Entrance town, the beach and the beautiful local lakes.
  4. Wandering around pretty Bruthen, sampling the local produce and generally taking life slowly.

I felt bad because I’d let my friend down by not joining her, but we’ve talked about it since and she just really needed some extra time alone (even more than she needed my company), so it worked out well all round. Maybe it’s a lesson to me: when things don’t quite work out the way I’ve planned it’s still OK.