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Street dancer in Medellin Colombia

Minds Alive! On Hope Street

Not that long ago, this neighbourhood was a no-go zone in the world’s most dangerous city. Today, it’s a tourist hotspot where Spanish speaking souvenir sellers saturate the sidewalks. Not being one for trinkets,…

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Public Enemy No. 1 

Writing Never Mind The Jollop was an attempt to exorcise my pandemic frustrations. It was working. Until the deportation of Novak Djokovic from Australia sucked me back in and had me questioning my affection…

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The Legends We Outlive #46

…A birthday message from the Rookster As the years roll by, I’ve begun to notice the legends I outlive. It puts things in perspective and has me asking, if I’m gonna join ’em, I…

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Boy in the Better Land

When Shutter Island opened its doors, we had it on our toes. Destination México. Our plan, to earn online and see a few sights – in a land that loves freedom as much as…

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Free Expression As Revolution

As a kid, I kept my trap shut. A stutter will do that to you. You have something to say but dare not risk the embarrassment of those words not making it past your…

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Shutter Island

“Flying overseas. No time to feel the breeze.” – After six months of captivity under Kim Jong Boris, the good ship Rookster sets sail again. The old country was unrecognisable. That post-Olympic swagger I…

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A Tale of 2020

Well, it weren’t the year we had in mind. But you take the rough with the smooth don’t yer? Especially where over-hyped global pandemics are concerned. In January, we moved to Madrid for my…

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Same Same But Different

We came into this world on the same day. My forceps provided the slipstream for her, 5 minutes later – and twin-life began. It was a mixed bag. The fun of having a ready-made…

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A Sort of Homecoming

Three years ago the freedom of infertility set me on a mid-life meander to Melbourne. Last month, I went home… So, what have my cohorts and countrymen been up to without me? Well, apart…

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Music From The Motherland

Recently, I discovered something laying dormant inside my mobile blower… Podcasts. More precisely, Desert Island Discs. There are hundreds of ’em – and many are my cultural counterparts; from Gallagher and Brand, to Weller, Winstone and…

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Van Diemen’s Land

First I heard of Van Diemen’s Land was back in the 80s when my Walkman was partial to a bit of Rattle & Hum*. Little did I know, it was real place that one day would…

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Pull The Ladder Up Bruce

Some call it Australia Day. Others, Invasion Day. For me, it’s January 26th – a public holiday and a welcome break from the daily grind. Australians woke to the news that their prime minister…

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Ocean Drive

The anniversary of my 4th decade on the earth gave the old girl an excuse to fly out for a visit. Fancy man in tow. My end of the bargain was to assume the role of tour-guide-slash-driver for…

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Cash on the Hip

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a footballer (well, and a gangster – but that’s another story). I’d have been in with shout, but lager and birds sabotaged…

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Point Nepean National Park - Portsea, Mornington Peninsula

10 Years a Slave

Approaching 30 and birdless: “I stopped looking for a dream girl. I just wanted one that wasn’t a nightmare.” – Charles Bukowski As luck would have it, one turned up anyway – and it…

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Treasury Place - Melbourne

Back in the Game

This time last year I was looking out of my Canary Wharf window thinking: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” –…

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Hong Kong Airport 2012

Hello Goodbye

It’s been a while since my last post. So let me fill you in. When we wrapped up the backpacking we headed for a 6 week stint with the in-laws and Chinese New Year…

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Phnom Kulen Cambodia

That Was The Trip That Was [Video]

With the backpacking part of this trip done and dusted. I’ve been in a reflective mood and put together a montage of the journey so far. Now it’s onto Melbourne where another new experience…

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Chiang Mai, Thailand

When Harry Met Rooky

Got chatting to this monk the other day. Didn’t catch his name, so for the sake of the story we’ll call him Harry. The conversation* went something like this. Rooky: Being a monk must…

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Watching The Ships Roll In

19 Nights in Nam

The next stop in our tour of Indochina was Vietnam. This is what I saw… Saigon Scooters With 35 million scooters in Nam, you can forget what the green-cross-code-man told you. You’ll be there…

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The House of The Rising Sun (2013)

Drop your Angkor, weigh your thoughts…

Cambodia, a perplexing place – one day you’re watching the sunrise over the “8th wonder of the world”. The next, you’re standing in the middle of the killing fields shocked by the evil humans…

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Teenage Kicks (2013)

Teenage Kicks

After 4 months on the road, travel burnout was beginning to kick in – sightseeing had become a chore and I was missing the sense of purpose that work used to provide. Thankfully my…

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Bombay Luck

Our 34th day in India takes us to Bombay, and my mind adjusts to the flagrant poverty people had warned me about. Even before my feet hit the tarmac my window seat shows me…

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Book: Be Here Now

Be Here Now by Ram Dass My rating: 3 of 5 stars In India and en route to an ashram, I was looking for a spiritual read to complement the trip. I heard this…

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Cell Block Hippy

When the missus first floated the idea of a week in an ashram, “reluctant” weren’t the word. Don’t get me wrong, I like my yoga as much as the next man, it was the…

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Temple Tunes

There’s something about a Hindu temple that makes me wanna sing a bit of Sanskrit. I’ve only gotta enter one of those places and the words “Govinda jaya jaya” or “acintya bheda bheda tattva”,…

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To Kill A Sunrise (2013)

South India Road Trip

Coming from Singapore, India’s like a different world; cows at bus stops, blokes in skirts*, people eating with their hands, shoeless pedestrians on dirty roads, entire families on one motorbike (sans helmets), regular power…

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Singapore Sunset (2013)

Singer Poor

Our journey down the Malaysian peninsula finishes with a few days in Singapore – everything is just that little bit better; shopping malls are spotless, public transport runs like clockwork, even the quality of…

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Mosquito Island

Bored of Melaka and with a few days to kill before Singapore we weigh up a trip to Tioman Island. The weatherman tells us they’ll be rain all week, but Time magazine had it…

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Melaka: A Poor Man’s GT

One of the benefits of colonialism is that you get towns with plenty of character, and in the case of Melaka & George Town that’ll get you world heritage status too. Well either that,…

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Flags of the New Regime (2013)

KL: The Second Coming

It’s been 6 years since I was last in KL, but that was a honeymoon and sightseeing weren’t exactly a priority, so we’re back for another look… One thing we missed on our last…

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Show Me The Way (2013)

A Town Called George

After 2 and half weeks on Borneo, where it’s all wildlife and trees. It was time to get back to a proper city; 5 days in George Town, Penang was just the ticket. One…

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Sunbeam

Ancestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

For some reason, I’ve always had an interest in human evolution and how we got here. So when the guidebook told me that the oldest human remains in SE Asia were found in a…

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Borneo Done

A few of my favourites from the 17 nights we spent on Borneo. Where we stayed (nights)… Sabah; KK (3) -> Sandakan (2) -> Kinabalu Park (2) -> KK (2) -> Brunei; Bandar Seri…

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The Friendly Dictator

Our journey along the north coast of Borneo takes us to an old stomping ground – Brunei was a British protectorate until 1984. These days it’s a “dry” country (you can’t buy booze anywhere)……

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Parklife

I’m no David Attenborough, but if they’ve made somewhere a world heritage site it must be worth a butchers… So off we set for a couple of days in Kinabalu Park. Our accommodation was…

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Swing for your Supper

Hanging with the Orangs

It’s not everyday you get to see an endangered species in its natural habitat. So the opportunity to visit an orangutan sanctuary was too good to miss. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre aims to…

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“Meat Bone Tea” to You & Me

One of the drawbacks of being married to a Chinese Doris is that from time to time you can end up in some decidedly suspect eating establishments. One such establishment was Yu Kee Bah…

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Photo Essay: Macau – Part 1

Macau’s become like a second home and as a result I’ve been a bit lazy with the camera. But the few half decent photographs I did take are below. I’m back in January for…

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You know bro, YOLO…

If we’re talking about living for the moment and making life count. This kid puts it better than I could… Breathing is a luxury and I could die today I would like some change,…

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Wide Awake in Macau

The locals tell me Macau used to have a sleepy village feel. Not so now. It’s not only woken up, it’s practically an insomniac. The little former Portuguese colony, is the only place in…

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The Fool on the Hill (2013)

The Wisdom of the “Fool”

  Visiting Big Buddha* reminded me of that old Beatles tune – The Fool on the Hill**. Not because he’s a fool, but because people don’t seem to be taking much notice of him.…

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Reckon I might take this advice…

Poem: “No Leaders, Please”  invent yourself and then reinvent yourself, don’t swim in the same slough. invent yourself and then reinvent yourself and stay out of the clutches of mediocrity. invent yourself and then…

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The Day We Caught The Plane

Wednesday 24th July 2013: It’s a lovely English summer’s day and I’m in the car on the way to the airport. John Denver’s words play out of the radio: “I’m leaving on a jet plane.…

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Revolutionary Road

Our “Revolutionary” Road…

If there’s one film that’s left a mark on me and the missus it’s Revolutionary Road. Winslet and Di Caprio play this couple in 1950s America, who dream of moving to Paris to be…

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Tube Train by Cyril Power (1934)

Probably my favourite piece of commuting related artwork… Not much has changed in the last 80 years! Power used linocuts with separate blocks for each colour. For more detail click here.

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Book: The Art of Travel

Saw this book and thought it’d be worth a read before the trip… The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton My rating: 2 of 5 stars Don’t really know what I was expecting,…

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Step 1: Give work the *Spanish Archer

  After 5 years at this place it’s time to call it a day. It’s the first time I’ve jacked in a job without another one line up, but sometimes in life you gotta…

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Going Nowhere

An ode to my fellow commuters…

“Wanna be wild ‘cos my life’s so tame, Here am I, going nowhere on a train, Here am I, growing older in the rain.” – Noel Gallagher

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