spikenard

To move forward, you have to let something go

To move forward, let it go

let it go

I’ve been avoiding writing this post for a while, because writing things makes it real for me. But now is the time. In January I had three weeks to myself whilst my children were on a fantastic holiday with their father. This gave me a lot of time to think about 2016, and what I achieved, what gave me joy, and what caused stress in my life. It was time for me to take stock of what was working in my life, and what was essentially a fantasy or a dream that I had wanted to work, but actually no longer did. 2016 was a great year, however, I felt like a mouse stuck on a treadmill, trying to do too many things, and follow too many adventures. I worked harder and longer than ever, and made the least amount of money ever. Yes, you read that right. I went completely backwards financially in 2016. Tough decisions needed to  be made and they have.

The biggest decision for me is to acknowledge that the word “freedom” is no longer a core value. Or at least the interpretation of the word freedom. I was defining freedom in relation to freedom of travel and putting travel and the sense of freedom that it gave me as the number one focus of my life. What I learnt is that we are always free, and that freedom is a way of existing, not something that is obtained by getting on a plane.

I thought that travel writing and photography would bring me great freedom and joy, and enable and empower others to travel more and achieve the same freedom. Last year I realised that with two small children and 80% custody, that kind of freedom was not a priority. My kids love routine and stability. They love their friends and their school and are not willing to travel unless they are with friends or family. They don’t want to travel the world at the moment. On school holidays yes, but not as a primary lifestyle. I also became tired of looking for photographic opportunities and thinking primarily about blogs and what needed to be written, rather than truly enjoying the beauty of a location when I went on holidays.

I realised that photographing individuals was no longer my passion. I was great at it, and I had a fantastic time doing it, however, I was not passionate about it, and therefore attracted very few clients in an overcrowded ocean of photographers who are willing to take on a job no matter the income received.

So, I have made the call to take my travel writing and photography back a notch. I’ll still write and take photos and post them here, (you can’t take the wanderlust out of me), and I will certainly write for publications who invite me to, but it won’t be done as my main area of concentration. The original reason I started taking photographs was for mental health- to notice my dark days during my separation and to train my brain to notice shades of grey and eventually colour and then the brilliance and beauty of life. This is what I want to continue sharing with people- the beauty of life and the interesting and sometime surprising things that you notice when you pay attention. So I think this direction is returning to my core beliefs and the true essence of my “why” when taking photographs.

So what did work for me in 2016? Essential oils. I had a really fascinating year absorbing and using essential oils. I was able to help a number of people with their anxiety (including mid panic attack via the phone) and I overcame my own panic attacks. My health improved dramatically as a result of using the oils and I learned how to use the power of neuroplasticity to anchor the oils to achieve mental and emotional states that required in any situation. I realised how my personal experience with anxiety, stress and overcoming the struggles that I have been through over the past 8 years can actually truly help people going through their own struggles. It is this process of struggle, and willingness to learn and try just about anything to overcome it, that creates true transformation. It is this process and transformation that I would like to help others achieve.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has encouraged me to follow my dreams, and assure you that this is just a curve in the journey, not a dead end.  If you would like any information about how essential oils can help you through your struggles please visit my website and read through my experiences and the tools that I recommend. Please reach out, if I can be of assistance.

I have a brand spanking new Facebook page- come visit.

 

Katische x

 

napiernew-zealand

Travel: Susan eats her way around Napier, New Zealand

Ever been to Napier in the North Island of New Zealand? Me neither, but luckily for me, I am surrounded by friends who love to travel as much as me! My friend and business partner Susan, travelled recently to Napier, and discovered that not only is it spectacularly beautiful, but it is a town filled with Art Deco charm, and amazing, food, wine and beer. What more could you ask for in a holiday destination?

 

 

Napier:

Things to do in Napier

  • Visit MTG Hawke’s Bay for local art and craft
  • Grab a bike and cycle to Ahuriri and Westshore for fish and chips on the beach
  • Visit the wineries or craft breweries of the region.

Susan visited Mission Estate Winery (Hawkes Bay), which was established in 1851 by French missionaries and is New Zealand’s oldest winery. She also went to Hawkes Bay Brewery for some craft beer and ciders. Susan’s favourite was the Black Duck dark ale, which has “bold flavours of toffee, burnt caramel, coffee and chocolate characterise this dark ale. Brewed with 5 malts in 18th century London style, it has an extended maturation process to develop complex and robust flavours.”

Art Deco:

Napier’s art deco style is the result of the town being rebuilt after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed the city in 1931. There are 140 original Art Deco buildings managed by the Art Deco Trust.

“Napier’s decorative and colourful buildings which speak of the optimism and confidence of the early 20th century and of a small kiwi town as it tackled the task of recreating itself during the Great Depression”.

How to get there:

  • Napier is a 5 hour drive from Auckland.
  • Air New Zealand flies to Hawke’s Bay daily from Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch and Jetstar operates daily flights from Auckland.  DreamTrips members can book through the DreamTrips booking reservations system to get the lowest airfare price guaranteed!

DreamTrip Inclusions:

  • 4 days and 3 nights in Napier, New Zealand.
  •  3 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • 1 complimentary welcome drink in the Exchange Bar & Brasserie on day 1.
  •  welcome dinner in the hotel restaurant on day 1.
  • 1 farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant on day 3.
  • Return transfers to the Art Deco Centre, National Tobacco Company and art deco residential area.
  • Admission to the art deco guided walk tour.
  • A per-person New Zealand souvenir gift to commemorate your trip.
  • Complimentary access to Ocean Spa Gym facilities.
  • An In-destination Support team member will be provided on this trip. Their goal is to ensure you have a great DreamTrips™ experience from landing to liftoff. They host a welcome reception on arrival day, attend scheduled activities throughout the trip, notify the group of itinerary updates and more.

On Day 3 of this DreamTrip to Napier, Platinum Members will enjoy a guided bicycle tour from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The 2-hour tour will be at a leisurely pace — staying local rather than venturing into the hilly suburbs. Life is great when you’re a Platinum Member!

Hotel Details

The award-winning Scenic Hotel Te Pania is found at the edge of Hawke’s Bay, ideal for enjoying scenic sunrises, sunsets and ocean views. Its waterfront location is also perfect for guests wanting to walk to the beach, the art deco-style main street or the legendary Pania of the Reef statue. After a day of sightseeing, relax and enjoy the best of local wines, served at the on-site Exchange Brasserie and Bar.

Featured hotel amenities:
• 1 restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.
• Complimentary access to Ocean Spa Gym facilities.
• 24-hour snack menu available.

Superior room accommodations with 1 king or 2 double beds.
• Maximum occupancy is 3 adults.
• Ocean views.
• Sky TV, coffee/tea making facilities and iron and ironing board.
• Minibar (contents vary and are at an additional cost).
• Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi.

Check-in: 2 p.m.
Check-out: 10 a.m.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania
45 Marine Parade
Napier South, Napier 4110

Want to find out more about how to go on this DreamTrip? Contact me at hello@katische.com or +61 411 040 688 or visit my DreamTrips membership site for further information about becoming a DreamTrips member.

 

 

 

 

Bali

Travel: Exploring Bali- DreamTrips Style

When you think of Bali, do you think “been there done that”? It seems like a destination that everyone travelled to in the 90’s, especially Australians.  I travelled to Bali in 1995 and stayed at the all inclusive Club Med in Nusa Dua. It was one of our last “big” family holidays, before we became too involved in our own lives in our twenties.

 

Bali- hair

My Bali braids…

After watching Brad’s travels there over the past week, I think it’s time for a revisit. So I invited Brad, who recently travelled to Bali with his business partner Di, to share with us his holiday in Bali with DreamTrips, and some of his travel tips.

DreamTrips Bali with Brad and Di

Brad and Di’s DreamTrips Itinerary and Inclusions

AIR TRANSPORTATION IS NOT INCLUDED. THE CLOSEST COMMERCIAL AIRPORT IS NGURAH RAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (DPS).

Hotel Details:

The INAYA Putri Bali resort is located along the Nusa Dua beachfront within a short distance of the city’s best shopping, dining and entertainment. Enjoy access to an outdoor pool, golf course, private beach, spa and more.

  • Deluxe Accommodations with king or twin beds
  • Maximum occupancy is 2 adults, or 2 adults and 1 child.
  • Children ages 12 or older are charged the adult rate.
  • Private Balcony
  • Marble Bathrooms
  • Separate deep-soaking bathtub and rain shower

Travel Tips: Uber

Ever used Uber instead of a tax? It’s a disruptive business model (much like DreamTrips and World Ventures) which is gaining popularity now. What we love about it, is it enables individuals to earn money without a million dollar license, and the majority of the profits go back to the actual driver, not some corporation or rich business consortium who own the taxi license. It can be a little tricky in Nusa Dua, but in this video Brad explains how to organise an Uber.

Live Videos shared by Brad whilst on the trip:

Visiting the temples, beaches and dinner

DreamTrips Dinner and Dancing and day trip to the coffee plantation for Luwak Coffee

Inaya Putri Nusa Dua

 

Chinese video from the DreamTrips Hosts

Seminyak Beach Resort and Spa: (an extra to the DreamTrip)

Final Verdict:

I’ve been to Bali many many times. Doing this trip was my first time doing a DreamTrip with my travel club. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t imagine it would be that good for some weird reason in comparison to other trips I’ve done. Dare I say it’s been my favourite so far! 5 star opulence, amazing restaurants and tours included and super friendly people. Awesome surf out the front of the hotel for my water addiction and enough Bintang to sink a ship!

Brad

Join Us!

If you’d like to find out more about DreamTrips and what a membership involves, please call me on +61411 040 688 or  email me. You can also visit my specific DreamTrips website.

quokkas

Travel: Susan’s DreamTrip to see the Quokkas of Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Quokkas at Rottnest Island

One of my favourite photos to see on Instagram is when people take selfies with Quokkas. They are such a cute little animal and always seem to be smiling at the camera! What is a Quokka? Well according to Dr Wikipedia

 

The quokka, the only member of the genus Setonix, is a small macropod about the size of a domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family, the quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal.

quokkas

Recently my friend Susan took a DreamTrip to Perth which included a tour of Rottnest Island where the Quokkas live. I couldn’t resist and had to ask her all about her trip. Here’s a little video I made from her photos to show you all about it.

So Susan, can you tell us what was included in your DreamTrip?

Perth Dreamtrip inclusions:

  • 4 days/nights at Novotel Perth
  • 3 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
  • Full-day sightseeing tour of Rottnest Island
  • A wonderful host to look after us from arrival to liftoff
  • Bottle of wine on arrival

As a travel photographer, I have taken many adventures and trips overseas. Often we forget to explore our own backyard. The last time I visited Perth was 20 years ago. When I came across this trip which included a full day tour to Rottnest Island, I was in. Sometimes we have items on our bucket list of far and exotic places. One of my items was to see the cute Quokkas on Rottnest Island.

Perth was my third DreamTrip in 8 months. Last December I traveled to Hamilton Island, again another bucket list item ticked off…to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, which I did and was just spectacular. Then December off to New Orleans to jump on a cruise through Mexico and Honduras.

The Perth trip was fantastic. We always have a certain expectation when traveling. Whether it’s the hotel we will be staying in, the activities and tours we book and the service we expect. This trip did not disappoint in any way. Great hotel, great people and the fact that I met so many other wonderful travellers from all over the world on my 4 day adventure really made this trip complete.

Funny/Best moment

Heading out to Rottnest Island everyone was excited to meet a Quokka (not to be confused with meeting The Fockers lol). These cute little marsupials are native to the Island and cannot be found anywhere else in Australia. What a surprise when we hit the Island. They were dotted all over the place, waiting to pose for the camera. Best moment for me was getting that all special selfie with a Quokka.

I traveled to Perth in April this year. It was the perfect time to go. The skies were blue, warm days and slightly cooler nights. Living in Sydney I never really get to experience the sun setting over the ocean. Experiencing a glorious sunset one evening at Cottesloe Beach was just magical. It was one of the highlights of my visit to Perth.

Sept- Nov is also a wonderful time to visit. The wildflowers are blooming in the Spring time and the weather just glorious.

Next on my DreamTrips bucket list is definitely Mexico again, Vietnam and perhaps NYE in New York. So many choices and amazing experiences waiting to be lived.

Thanks Susan! I can’t believe how cute those quokkas are! That is definitely on my to do list. If you’d like to know more about DreamTrips  and our travel club please contact me or call today on +61411040688. Need more inspiration about Perth? Take a look at this blog.

 

Katische

 

noosa

Travel: Noosa – a little bit of paradise in Queensland, Australia

noosa

Noosa as seen from Noosa North Shore: Image- Katische Haberfield

Noosa

Noosa is a little bit or paradise right here in Queensland, Australia. If you’ve never been, then put it on your to do list immediately. Notice I didn’t say “bucket list”. That’s just a wish list, when what you really need is an action list. Life’s too short to wait for someday, so watch this video and take positive action to put yourself in the picture as soon as possible!

Where is Noosa?

  • Noosa is on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. It’s 2 hours north of Brisbane by car.
  • For travel information including nearest airports visit this website.

What is there to do?

For official tourism information visit this website.

  • Swim, surf, SUP, kayak at one of the many pristine beaches
  • Walk in the lush Hinterland
  • Walk through the National Park which has beach views 🙂
  • Relax at one of the many day spas.
  • Eat at one of the many restaurants on popular Hastings Street or along the beach, or along the river at Noosa Heads.
  • Take a cruise along Noosa River
  • Play golf at Noosa Springs Resort
  • Visit the botanical gardens
  • Attend a cooking class

Personal Dining Favourites:

Noosa Festivals

It certainly feels like there is always something happening in Noosa, with the following line up annually of festivals. Be sure to organise your travel long in advance of these events as accommodation books up by return visitors in advance.

Don’t want to organise it yourself? Then let me help you? With my travel club we have a 24 hour concierge who can make all your bookings for you and Triathlon our booking engine utilise. We have a price pledge guarantee, so you can’t lose. Contact me now for further information or read more about the travel club.

Hamilton Island

Travel: Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island

Mention natural wonders of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef is one place that automatically comes to mind. The Great Barrier Reef is a 2,300km eco-system but for most of us pristine beaches,  aqua water, marine life and holiday resorts complete with sun lounges and cocktails come to mind. Apart from a brief day trip when we travelled to Cairns in year 10, sadly I have not been. I’ve travelled around the Greek Islands, but not the spectacular islands of the Great Barrier Reef which are in my own backyard! So this weekend I spoke with my friend Ann, who recently holidayed on Hamilton Island, which is a part of the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.

 

Here’s what Ann had to say about her Dream Trip:

 

What did your Dream Trip Include?

  • 5 days 4 nights ocean view room at the Reef View Hotel
  • Welcome and Farewell dinner
  • Daily breakfast
  • Day trip to Great Barrier Reef
  • Half day trip to Whitehaven beach
  • $200Aud resort credit
  • Bottle of champagne in our room
  • Airport transfers to and from Hotel

Why Hamilton Island?

  • Always on our bucket list to explore the Whitsundays and dive in the Great Barrier Reef. We take our own backyard for granted and so many beautiful parts of Australia yet to explore.

Was this your first Dream Trip?

  • First DT and definitely will not be our last. You haven’t been on a true holiday until you do a Dream Trip.

Often trips don’t match our expectations- i.e they don’t look as good as the glossy brochure or our mental image of what it will be like. How did this trip meet your expectations?

  • 100% met our expectation as we knew the exact itinerary. We had a host who was part of our trip from the time of booking and until we checked out of the hotel. A couple of my friends had been on this same trip and couldn’t stop raving about it.

Funny/unexpected moment on trip?

  • Diving for the first time. I was excited and eager to take that first ever dive with my instructor. As soon as I got the gear on, practiced the breathing technique and was told “right ok we are ready to take the plunge now”. I froze and had a little panic attack. My instructor was very encouraging and gradually eased me into the dive from the snorkel area. I was so glad I didn’t chicken out and went through with it. Best experience and can now tick diving in the Great Barrier Reef off my bucket list.

Do you recommend this trip?

  • Highly recommend this trip. An amazing experience where everything is organised for you from the moment you book to arrive at the resort and until you head home. We made life long friends on this trip and also had the opportunity to spend quality time together.

Best time of year to go? When did you go?

Anytime is perfect at Hamo. We went in June our Winter. The weather was perfect not too hot and warm enough for a swim. In summer the stingers come out in the water and you need to wear a full body swim suit to swim.

What’s on your Dream Trips bucket list for your next holiday?

  • Uluru for a short trip and Greece/Cyprus for a longer international trip.

Thanks Ann, you’ve totally inspired me to travel to Hamo! Can’t wait. It’s been on my bucket list for too long! 

Inspired? Contact me to find out how you can join the best travel club in the world and go on a Dream Trip exactly like this one that Ann went on.

P.S Hamilton Island is only a 1 hour 45 minute flight from Brisbane or 2 hours 20 minutes from Sydney! Add it to your next holiday to Australia, or if you are a local, make sure it is on your holiday travel plans this year!

western carribean

Travel: Cruising the Western Caribbean with DreamTrips

Ever wanted to go to the Caribbean? I thought so- it’s on most of our bucket lists. Today I spoke with a friend of mine Brad Razmus, who did exactly that in 2016 with another of my friends Susan Papazian.  So I thought I’d share with you all about how he found the trip, what the highlights of the Western Carribean were and how you can book the same cruise.

 

Comments from Brad:

“This trip I did with my Travel Club has been a life changing one for us and many people we met. Once again I’ve traveled with one of my travel club business partners Susan. We booked our first cruise to the Western Caribbean, traveling via Dallas and New Orleans before and after the trip. The cruise departed New Orleans and we visited Costa Maya, Mexico, then Hondurus and final stop Belize and back to New Orleans.

We had an amazing time and met some amazing new lifelong friends. Look forward to the next trip! Will be hard to beat!”

Live Video from Brad’s holiday

How to book:

To book this cruise you need to be a Dream Trips Member. Give me a call on +614 110 40 688 and I will let you know all the details. I can send you a pre-recorded webinar to watch which explains the travel club. You can also watch a video about the travel club here. 

 

 

 

 

Travel: Serendipity Animal Farm, Brisbane, Australia

Not all traditional farm animals lead a happy life. However, they get a second chance at Serendipity Animal Farm in Brookfield. We learnt about Serendipity when some of our friends “checked in” on Facebook.  As my son Hamish loves animals, I thought we should check it out. I briefed the children that the animals might not really be happy about being patted as they might be afraid of humans, however, we found that this was not the case! The animals were very friendly and completely comfortable with the presence of humans. If they are hungry they will walk right up to you, looking for food- so watch out for your bags! They know to sniff out food…

We arrived right on opening time and spent about 1.5 hours at the farm, patting pigs, chooks, goats, cows, horses, ponies and camels. Smaller children who are not afraid of animals and who would like to picnic and play on the swings would probably spend a couple of hours easily at the farm.

Angus fell in love with the resident camel “Lagertha”.

The following happy snaps were taken on my iPhone 6s.

Animal Refuge Serendipity

Serendipity Animal Farm Lagertha

Serendipity Animal Farm

Brookfield Serendipity Animal Farm

Ok one or two more (we couldn’t resist):

How to get there:

Visiting hours and other information:

  • Sunday, 10am- 2pm (weather permitting).
  • Admission is FREE, however, a donation is appreciated to cover vet fees and food costs for the animals. Cold drinks are on sale and you can buy a bag of food to feed the animals with (lettuce and carrots), but please bring cash as there are no EFTPOS facilities.
  • Parking is on the side of the road, not in the farm grounds.
  • Wear closed in shoes, and preferably gumboots or those that can get muddy/you don’t mind stepping on or in puddles or accidental animal poo.
  • You can bring a picnic, and there is a small play area (think swings like you have at home, not an expensive play facility), and there are some tables and chairs, however there is limited shade, so bring a hat and plenty of water.
  • Mobile Animal Farm available for birthday parties
  • Some animals available for adoption, but details are available only via the website, and the adoption process is strict to ensure that the animals receive a “forever” home.
  • You can learn more about the farm on Facebook or via their website.
  • Like to donate? $10 will buy a bag of carrots/apples$20 will buy 1 bale of hay, $50 will buy building supplies, $100 will provide vet care for 1 animal

The best view in Australia: Huff Post Blog

Have you ever wondered where the best view in Australia might be? Or indeed, even what it would be? Would it be a city view, a rural view, an ocean view? I think for each person, it would be different, however, I have found one that makes my heart sing. I wrote about it on the Huffington Post. Click on the image of the article to read it. I’d love to know your thoughts about the view.

 

Best view Australia

Golden Gate Bridge Abe Khamis

Photography: ‘The day I chose to live’ by Abe Khamis

Golden Gate Bridge Abe Khamis

Golden Gate Bridge. Abe Khamis

September 27th 2013

My first week in my first trip to San Francisco had mostly been spent working. For the record, ‘working’ included watching the Americas Cup races, lots of fine dining and a concert featuring The Black Keys and Maroon 5.

I decided to take a tour bus on the one day free from work commitments. I wanted to capture as much of Sydney’s ‘sister city’ I could in 24 hours. For some reason, I packed my old film camera, the Nikon F3 and a single roll of black and white film. One day in San Francisco and 36 frames to capture its beauty.

Close to 10 years had passed since I made the effort to take any photos. Working as a professional photographer extinguished the pilot light that fuelled this former passion. Even the most exciting of hobbies become tiresome once they become a vehicle to paying bills and feeding kids.

Abe Khamis

“Contrast on Fillmore”. Image by Abe Khamis.

 

Polly the tour guide announced that The Grace Cathedral will be our second last stop on approach. I checked my camera and was surprised to see half the roll of film was consumed taking images of the Golden Gate Bridge. I had been in awe of this bridge since seeing it in the neighbours Encyclopaedia Britannica as a child. The structure certainly deserved half a roll of film.

The problem I faced pulling into The Grace Cathedral was that I had one, possibly two frames of film.

The inside of the church was typically Neo Gothic, much like St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. What I wasn’t prepared for was an installation of ribbons falling from the ceiling. This installation was in place to celebrate the churches 100th anniversary and it was just sublime. The sun setting through the stained glass was just starting to illuminate the miles of coloured ribbon. So much colour, so much light. I could have taken 100 different photos and still had inspiration for 100 more. But I only had one frame of black and white film. Panic set in.

It was at this moment I decided not to get back on the tour bus.

Instead, I scouted the church for my one photo. I eventually found my spot and lay down on the icy cold marble floor.

People looked down at me almost in disgust. How dare I lay on the floor with my head butted up against the altar?

Their stairs fell around me as I simply looked up and waited patiently as the sun continued to descend on its downward path.

I waited for what Henri Cartier-Bresson famously termed ‘the decisive moment’.

That moment came and I released the shutter.

That moment was more than just a photo.

Senses heightened as I absorbed my surroundings. Cold marble against my spine, scent of burning incense in the air, and sandstone arches bathed in the glow of the setting northern sun.

It was a sunset unfamiliar to me and unlike anything in the southern hemisphere. I noticed a patch of light on a plaque acknowledging the tomb that lay below. It was in that instant, with the dead below me, that it occurred to me. I am on my ‘last life’ and 41 years have already passed.

This moment was bordering on spiritual.

A new found desire to want to be me was awoken. In this moment, I had opened my ‘eyes long closed’.

As my back lay against the cold marble floor, I knew that for the first time in my life, I was anchored to ‘the now’ and the now had never been so beautiful.

I wanted more of this and there was absolutely no shame in wanting the life that is mine to live.

Do not be afraid to ‘embrace your light’. It is yours, and yours only.

Abe Khamis

 

Graced with Light

“Graced with Light”. Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California, USA. September 27th 2013.

 

Abe Khamis

Abe Khamis

Abe is a freelance photographer based in Sydney Australia with over 20 years experience photographing people and places. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and he has won National Awards from the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers [AIPP]. Abe finds his greatest fulfilment by capturing experiences and telling stories through his images. Abe can be found on Instagram, Twitter or his website.