Woh Woh Woh – Where have you been Lily!?

Wow, sorry guys. I kinda went AWOL there didn’t I?

But guess what? I have SO much to tell you!

When I left you last, oh so many months ago, I was in the Mediterranean, working on a 70ft classic sailing yacht. Remember the one?

image11Right. So, Marc and I are still working on the same boat, but a lot has happened in the meantime! For starters, we bought a boat together !!!!!!!! Yes, we bought a boat together. That’s sort of like marriage isn’t it? It felt just as serious and stressful and fun and heart-racing as marriage anyway.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Introducing… our new darling lady… the one and only…

Sailing Vessel PROJECTION – a Stevens 47:

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Wow, right? Are you thinking what I’m thinking? (**NB: I’m thinking: DAMN, that’s a big boat!!**)

Yes, we bought a big boat. She’s 47 ft long! That may come as a surprise to those of you that know me as the “smaller is better” “go small go now” “who needs a fridge anyway” philosophical sailor… but there is rhyme to our reason, don’t you worry.

Here’s the thing. It’s not just our boat. It’s your boat too!

The story is, we’re launching our very own business. It’s called Projection Travel and it’s officially a company so you can go ahead and put PTY LTD at the end of that 😉 We will be offering sailing and cycling charters throughout the Pacific, starting in January 2016. Think gourmet food, kayak expeditions, tropical bike tours, turquoise anchorages, yoga mornings etc, etc…        So, can I get a HELL YEAH?

More info on all that exciting stuff will come over the next few weeks as we get our website launched – watch this space for an opportunity to join us for some sailing and cycling adventures!

But by now you might be thinking… what about baby Portal?

Yes, baby Portal.

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My first love… my beautiful, darling Portal. This little lady will always hold a very special place in my heart. She taught me so much of everything. And she made it easy. Portal was a wonderful First Boat, and our journeys together… all the way from the smog of LA, through the clear waters of the Pacific, and into the tidal belly of the Brisbane River… will never be forgotten! 

What? Portal’s GONE!?

Yes, ’tis true. Well, she’s “moved on” let’s say. She has found herself an abundantly suitable new caretaker, who I trust will love and care for her twice as well as I did. She will mosey her way along the Northern NSW coasts, and be grateful to have the wind in her sails once more.

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… So that’s about it for the BIG NEWS items. A summary, for those of you that skip to the bottom:

  • I left my job in the Med for a 3 month crazy-head-spinning trip to Australia, where I scrubbed my lovely boat Portal within an inch of her life and sold her to a delightful man named John.
  • Marc then came to snatch me back. It was a joyful reunion after 2 months too long!
  • Then, we signed some big documents with scribbles at the bottom to say we just bought a NEW boat – Projection.
  • We are now back at work in the Med. But only for a few months – in September we jump ship, and start the real project – Projection Travel: Sailing and Cycling Adventures.

Stay tuned for more 🙂

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On becoming a Foodie

You know, I come from a family of amazing cooks. My grandfathers were both bakers, and one of them even a world class Danish pastry chef, Sven. He had a son who is a professional baker, Gus. He also had a daughter, Susan, who’s deliciously diverse cuisine skills are pro-level. She had a daughter, Ella, who makes the world’s best crèpes, among other delicacies. Together these two ladies, Susan and Ella, have been known to gourmet-cater to over a hundred people… while camping… for THREE days.

Get it? They’re good. Really good.

And I’ve kinda always been the one that wasn’t so good. Not that I’m known in the family as a ‘terrible cook’ or anything…  it’s just I’ve never been the one whipping up new recipes or organising feasts for dozens at a time. I’m the dishwasher in the kitchen, or chopper at best. And I know what my mum would say to this: “but you make great bread!”

My bread is alright. I’ve had better. But you know what? I think I might actually be growing into a ‘good cook’! Whether it was my early passion for heathy, sustainable food (vegan), my various jobs in hospitality, or just my damn good genes, I believe I can now officially call myself a ‘foodie’.

The culmination of my culinary experience has come in the form of my current job – cook on board a privately owned yacht. I’ve had to learn quickly, cater to lots of different preferences and figure out how to do ‘gourmet’ while sweating your weight in salt, inside a steaming, rolling, galley.

And it’s been a lot of fun! Obviously I still have a LONG way to go in being anything close to world-class, but I reckon I can whip up a pretty delicious dinner party these days.

I’ve been learning from lots of different sources, altering recipes here and there to suit. One of my favourite cook books is Pete Evans’ “Healthy Everyday” which I draw a lot of inspiration from. I’ve been baking exclusively sugar-free treats, and a lot of these dishes are gluten free too. Here are some of the things I’ve been trying my hand at:

Polenta patties with mozzarella cream and seared arugala

Polenta patties with mozzarella cream and seared arugala

Sushi with crushed sunflower paste, fresh herbs and raw vegetables.

Sushi with crushed sunflower paste, fresh herbs and raw vegetables.

Pumpkin Soup with grilled prawns and a hint of miso and sesame flavour

Pumpkin Soup with grilled prawns and a hint of miso and sesame flavour

Avocados stuffed with marinated shrimp

Avocados stuffed with marinated shrimp

Mmm, a Pete Evans winning recipe - Pomegranate and herb crusted salmon.

Mmm, a Pete Evans winning recipe – Pomegranate and herb crusted salmon.

Sushi with freshly caught (I love sailing!) fish and goat cheese

Sushi with freshly caught fish, cucumber and goat cheese

Beetroot-goat cheese salad, zucchini boats and rosemary potato wedges

Beetroot-goat cheese salad, roasted zucchini boats, rosemary potato wedges, and quail egg mushrooms

Oven-grilled filo quiche

Filo quiche with oven-grilled smokey vegetables

Sugar-free date and walnut slice

Sugar-free date and walnut slice

 

I love these little guys - Crushed Pea patties with smoked salmon and quail eggs

I love these little guys – Crushed Pea patties with smoked salmon and quail eggs

A wheat pasta alternative - zucchini ribbons with a raw tomato and peppers salsa

A wheat pasta alternative – zucchini ribbons with a raw tomato and peppers salsa

Dairy free, sugar free,  chocolate raspberry mousse

Dairy free, sugar free, chocolate raspberry mousse

 

That’s it! Lots more learning to come, but so far I’m quite happy with the progress… and I sure am having fun!

 

Cycling For The Moment

IMG_0816 2014 comes to an end. Imagine, in say 20 years, we’ll be blogging “2034 comes to an end”. Doesn’t that just seem like such a distant future? And yet each day goes faster by so that decades might slip on, unnoticed…

Not that I feel 2014 was unremarkable! Quite the opposite. I fell in love (!!), started two jobs, moved back to the northern hemisphere, learnt to cook (sort of), and helped dream up a future business (more on that later!). But today, I am reminded of making the most of each day, each year. Today I have returned from a wonderful bike trip, and the fire, the passion.. the ‘carpe diem’ is burning bright.

It was a short little bike trip. Just 30kms up, and 30kms down. Marc and I have both done tours where we pushed out 30kms before breakfast, so it may even be exaggerating to call it a ‘trip’. But like any bicycle journey, no matter the distance, it had plenty of sweat, ups, downs and adventure.

Christmas is a time for family, to be sure, but with Marc’s in Canada and mine in Australia, we decided to make the most of a romantic holiday. We found two bicycles, lashed on a couple of plastic baskets, loaded them up with way too much (*heavy!*) deliciously home-made treats, and set off, wobbling, up the road. Our destination was a little village called Lofou, about half way up the mountains of Cyprus. A night in a ‘traditional guest house’ suite, complete with fire-place, loft and stone cottage vibe would be our prize. Would our makeshift bike racks, bald mountain tyres, and out-of-practice thighs be up to the task?

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It may only have been 30kms, but it was 30kms of unrelenting climb. Up, up, up. Sometimes, a nice 5-6% grade, the kind where you can click into your middle-of-the-low-end gearing and push on up at a moderate pace. Other times it hit the 12-14% mark, and despite being in my lowest-possible gear, I was cursing the wide nobby tyres and too-small bicycle frame, thighs burning as I urged my weight forward. We did, however, punctuate the journey with an out-of-this-world picnic, and munched on treats white taking in the majestic view.

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We did make it to the top, and our incredible accommodations were every bit as charming as we’d hoped. Champagne, chocolate mousse and scrabble by the fire… not a bad way to spend Christmas! By noon the next day we were packed and on our way back down the mountain. Another 30kms… but this time? Downhill baby!

IMG_0829 What a joyous feeling to be careening down a perfect slope, wheels spinning, watching vineyards roll by and goat-bells ringing through the hills. What a truly, live-in-the-moment feeling. The euphoria that comes over me in times like these, reminds me how important it is to follow your fire, as often as you possibly can. Sailing and cycling are my fastest ways to that freedom, and in those moments… whether it’s my gears propelling me down a mountain or the wind pushing me down a swell… in those moments, time is frozen – the moment just is.

60kms, two days and about 100euro each. Why not go?

And the memories? The memories are the kind you know you’ll remember, even as they are unfolding, even in, say, 2034.

Changing Gears and Moving Fast

I actually don’t know where to start.

Life has been moving so fast, even these quick blog posts have been swept aside. I’m still stuck in a slow February on here, which really, feels a lifetime ago.

I’m living in Bodrum, Turkey. How’s that for a start?

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Ok, ok, I’ll back up. Well, for us hopeless romantics, it always starts and ends with LOVE doesn’t it?

Four and a half years ago, a man named Marc came into my life. I was sailing on “Ramble” in the Caribbean, and as we motored into a marina in the BVI’s, we passed a very fine, 90ft, classically designed yacht. She was a head turner. While everyone else was busy admiring her sweeping lines though, my attention was caught elsewhere. Leaning against the mizzen mast, was a very large-framed, well-loved, touring bicycle. I knew more about bikes than boats at the time, and I was instantly curious to meet its owner – obviously a fellow bike traveller.

The next day I wondered up the dock, and was introduced to Marc, a French Canadian… nomad. A single word isn’t enough, but nomad fits him better than most. We went cycling around the island together, and I learnt he had been on the road for almost 10 years, at first on two wheels, then later afloat. Needless to say, we had a lot in common, and discussion flowed easily as we shared stories of adventure.

I was 22 at the time, and just a few months earlier had bid farewell to my sweetheart, Charlie, before crossing the Atlantic on John’s 36ft classic “Ramble”. I was truly inspired by Marc’s enthusiasm for life, our friendship and certain conversations staying with me long after I had sailed north.

We stayed in touch over the years, through letter-writing and the occasional email, sharing the trials and tribulations of the long-term traveller – how to stop, when to keep moving, love, jobs, family…

When Portal pulled into Brisbane, I was, after 6 years of ‘on the road’, ready for some stability. I liked the idea of a 9-5, of relatives close by, of a community I was connected to. Nevertheless, any friends I told this to would shake their heads in disbelief. Maybe they know me better than myself. Maybe they knew, that despite me really wanting those things… income, stability, family… that I would give it up, all too easily, for love.

Marc flew out to Australia from Vancouver, in March. When my mother asked him what had brought him here, his answer was pretty clear: “Lily”.

Charlie and I had separated, and were working on our new phase – ‘friendship’, but I was in no hurry to embark on another romantic adventure, relishing my newfound freedom and time alone. Anyway, I had a long list of firm criteria I was looking for in a future partner and even a cursory glance at it would have you questioning if such a man existed.

Must be adventurous but also grounded and professional.

Must have great sense of humour, but love a heart-to-heart too.

Must move fast and not just welcome, but breath change and all things new.

Must not take life too seriously, but just seriously enough to live it to the fullest.

Must have his health as a top priority.

Must love sailing and cycling and want to share that with kids, as a family.

Must want financial stability.

Plus a whole bunch of other stuff, like a passion for music, languages, writing… and deeper, harder to find balances too, like loving me tenderly without putting me on a pedestal.

It was a lot! I wasn’t holding my breath.

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But now I’m in Bodrum, Turkey, working on a 70ft wooden yacht as first-mate and cook, with Marc, that handsome French-Canadian as captain, and suffice it to say, he does exist, and I’m still holding my breath.

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