memories waiting


Do you remember where you were when you heard JFK was shot? A line on a tv show that’s rhubarbing in the background…but a line I’ve often heard in social settings.

Before my time but instantly I remember where I was when I heard Robin Williams was dead. I was in a Starbucks on Newbury Street. The little one was in line and I was using the wifi and checking facebook while I sat near the window. When something big happens you can’t avoid it on fb. Not something I wanted to know, let alone sitting there, a world away from my comfort zone.

The little one’s new apartment was literally across the road. What I don’t remember is whether we already knew that – were we there to look at it, to meet one of the guys? Or were we just randomly on Newbury Street and she wanted something with caffeine… She was in that Starbucks so many times over the two years that she doesn’t remember that particular visit anyway. It was my first and only time but I wonder if I’d remember if not for the image of my screen and my disbelief.

Who knew I’d ever go to Boston. And then in two years I went twice. There are bits of Boston that I know now! I doubt I’ll ever get back there but I have to remember, when darkness is sliding down the sky and blanketing me, that I didn’t ever have the faintest clue I’d see Boston in this lifetime…so who knows what’s next. It’s not over yet.


american days

Three weeks of them to be exact. I spent most of that time in Boston, a brief window in NYC, and a few halcyon days in the Hamptons.

Yes, dear readers, I’ve been places I never imagined.

The Boston of this trip, my second time there, was such a friendly city. A little familiarity goes a long way. I had my bearings.

What a gem of an airbnb apartment I started out in. So close to everywhere I needed to be, and so private. Down a tiny lane, off the main street, beyond the security gate an oasis courtyard! and a sweet little home away from…

So much joy at the youngest one’s graduation – hats in the air on the steps of the library, and later, four flights up, champagne with all the day oner’s.

When in Boston don’t miss the Public Library. Go on in and I so doubt you’ll be disappointed by the beauty… Visit the Mapparium – I can’t really say why but it’s like nowhere you’ve been… And if you see nothing else you shouldn’t miss the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. That place will never leave you. What a wonderful gift she gave the world! I’d love to have known her…

oh and hey, have a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry in the North End 😉


Boston Library



New York was all traffic, sirens, and bar stools.

A long drive to the Hamptons and another world. Slow paced towns one day bursting with the summer crowd the next but the contrast from NYC – the space, trees, wild deer. And Something’s gotta give beaches…
The rich and famous are all there apparently, but all you’ll see of them is a hedge.


There were many other adventures such as the disastrous second airbnb, the hotel room intruder and meeting two of Boston’s finest Po Po (SUCH gratitude to that hotel’s staff, and the PoPo themselves), oh the lovely Public Garden, the much photographed line of ducks, the coffee shops and bakeries, stumbling across Buddhist art by accident, riverside walk by the Charles, the many angels I met throughout my holiday. The emotion of the last day.


And then home.

Travelling ghosts and shadows

I’d love to be someone who doesn’t even understand the symptoms of anxiety. Has no clue about it. I don’t wish to lack empathy or compassion! but it’s exhausting taking it everywhere with me. Let me enjoy this long planned trip to Boston. Let me not drag the weight of this fear around every day. 

On the other hand the dark pools I’ve fallen in and the clinging vines I’ve fought through have made me a person I actually really like. It’s all contributed. 
I can do this at home – a full day without fear! Trip goal. 

(Is that pathetic?)

true north?


We went north last week where the days are warm – and the waves, and dolphins, are at the bottom of the garden. That’s no lie.

Six chairs of laughter around the groaning pizza table. Cousins on tour.

The town overflows with people – tourists; and the ferals down from the hills, wearing scent of whacky weed. All lured by the road to promise…

I heard Julia Gillard speak at the writers’ festival, and I met her afterwards. A minute of history with our first female Prime Minister.

Stop the wheel, I want to get off. This rat race feels so very wrong on return. There’s another world of wonder out there…




we didn’t do our learning IN a laneway


Last night I dragged myself out in the cold, out of my apathy and had the best time. Went where the wild things were…

wild thing

Such is the magnetism of Walter Mason. He shared experience, and magic, with a room full of us for just over an hour. I came away with valuable writing, and travelling tips! And a big smile and lightness of being. It’s a tonic just being in his company – something I already knew and, as a community service, I’m sharing that knowledge with you 😉

Walter is incredibly generous with his time – check his blog for information about talks, workshops, trips he leads…read his books! Many of his talks involve showcasing other authors and are freely given. He’s also an example of how to make the most of social media – again not just for himself.

I’ve been a huge fan since I first discovered Destination Saigon and I hope we cross paths again and again…


(check out laneway learning too)





Change came through the front door like the Hogwart’s bus in the last twelve months. I know that change is the only constant, and I know well the Buddha’s teaching on impermanence…even so, there’s been a lot going on.

For many years it felt like things were stagnant, as mother’s care was front and centre. Life ran by roster and schedule. I couldn’t go to the supermarket without clearing time out with siblings. Someone always knew where I was. It just didn’t seem like it would ever change.

I went to Ireland! I’ve always wanted to stand where my ancestors did and breathe. To know why I feel Irish. The opportunity was thrown at me and it all happened in a rush.

Youngest, yes the ‘sick’ one, moved to America…also unexpected and sudden, and it’s done.

And then BOOM. Mother took her last breath surrounded by, touched by, all her offspring. The roller coaster went way, way down and had to instantly speed back to the peak…

Eldest married that gorgeous guy! Such a happy night under the stars. Smiles, laughter, speeches, tunes, friends, family. LOVE.

And those four major life events took place within two months…boom.

Without pause to process, the calendar flipped over, and work should have chugged along without brain engagement. (Yes, I’m aware of how ridiculous that sounds 😉 – obviously I use my brain in the office, but I know what I’m doing and the day flows..)

Something broke between my boss and I earlier this year, and maybe it’s not my escape anymore – I can see beyond this life.

I sold the old marital home. I’ve long wanted that part of my life gone and in this current ridiculously high market it was snapped up, to be torn down…new life.

The winds of change are swirling. Next?

I begin to think I must be dreaming again, sleeping better, because I have no responsibilities. Nothing to worry about when my eyes open. No need to check in or out.

And so next year I might take two voyages of discovery. Mid year back to the US to my baby’s graduation. Before that – an author friend let me know he’s hoping to lead a writing retreat in Laos. IF it goes ahead who wants to join me….Livonne do you have any travel plans next year? Robert, February in Luang Prabang?

I think I’m going to write the Irish story in Laos.