How opening up to new experiences can enrich your life

Joining groups on the Sapphire Coast can be a positive process

It has been one year since we moved and I am happier than ever! A relaxed lifestyle, reduced stress levels has contributed to creativity.

My pastimes have new pastures to explore. The endless vistas to photograph, new geography to navigate and groups to join helped me along the way. Finding a supportive photography community, @sapphiresnappers, was essential. I have attended worthwhile workshops with the Writers of the Far South Coast – https://www.writersfsc.org.au/. Being of service to the community is also important to me and I have met some wonderful people in Rotary. https://www.rotaryd9710.org.au/~pambula/Home.html.  It is important to belong and these groups helped me to adjust to my new environment.

What do I like most about the move? The peace. Waking to the sound of the ocean is relaxing. Listening to the early birdcalls without any traffic noise is blissful. Not being able to hear your neighbours is soothing to the citified nerves. Watching for Eddie the eagle, who regularly flies by to check out our cat, waiting for Eric the echnida to rid our yard of those pesky ants and observing the habits of the kangaroos that rustle through the bush in the afternoon brings us closer to nature.

Let’s face it – moving can be disastrous but by opening myself up to people, places and photography I have a more satisfying way to live.

Why not consider the groups you can join to learn something new – it may change your life.

Rules for seeing the sunrise

Can experiencing a sunrise improve how you feel?

I have been watching the sunrise for 24 years. It started when I was travelling to work so after changing jobs I continued getting up early. Now, as a photographer, I watch every second, observing the natural world around me in an effort to get a great shot. That ritual provides balance and appreciation in my life, something you can achieve too.

Rules for seeing the sun rise

Don’t be a lush! Drinking heavily will affect your experience

There’s nothing worse than a hangover for preventing you from getting up early. Go easy on the red, or the bubbles, set your alarm and commit.

Mimic Greta Garbo – Find a place where you can be alone

There’s nothing worse than making polite conversation when you want to chill. Being alone is good for you. It reminds you that you don’t need to rely on others and gives you that essential time to reconnect with yourself and nature. In fact, psychological theorist Erikson recognised the importance of nature based intervention by using this method in counselling.[1] So find a safe place where you can be uninterrupted and wait for the magic to happen.

Be at one with your surroundings

Turn your phone off – you don’t need reminders or texts for the 20 minutes it takes for the sun to rise. Allow yourself this time to experience the scene. Listen to the sounds of nature, feel the breeze drift across your face and watch the glorious colours unfold before you.

[1] Burns, G.W., “Nature Guided Therapy” Taylor & Francis, USA, 1998, p.15.

 

 

Tips for busy travellers to the Sapphire Coast

Some of the best sights can be found by pulling over and watching the moods of the Sapphire Coast

 

I have finally learnt my lesson. I have a habit of living in my head. We all do it. Afternoons can be the worst. You’ve rushed from work, picked up the kids, dashed to the soccer fields. Made a quick trip to the supermarket. Home to put the chook in the oven. Fed the dog. Watered the one surviving indoor plant and all the while thinking of something else. What you have to do this evening, tomorrow or have finished by the end of the week.

And all the while you missed something important – like what is actually going on around you.

I have visited the Sapphire Coast since 1986 and I have never actually seen it. Always in a rush, or too exhausted to take in the scenery, I never noticed the beauty surrounding me.

Like how the waters of Lake Merimbula has many mood and colours and how clouds create atmosphere.

How restful it is to sit for ten minutes and observe the changing light, reflections and colour.

Some of the best sunsets can be seen from the many vantage points around Merimbula, whether you are strolling the boardwalk at Top Lake or sitting near the pelican sculptures at Fishpen.

So if you are a busy traveller or just flat out with the daily grind, allow yourself time to appreciate the scenery. And don’t forget – some of the best sights can be found by pulling over and watching the moods of the Sapphire Coast.

The Easiest Way to Enjoy Life on the Sapphire Coast

To walk it is to love it

Ever felt overwhelmed by life? Has the enormity of the task hit you? Or are the changes you have made are huge?

That is how it was for me.

We had moved recently, the house was organised, husband happy in his work and the teenager adjusted (as much as they can be). All the busyness had slowed down and the realisation hit me – I didn’t know anyone.

I was used to walking down the main street and being greeted by people I knew. Sometimes it could be a little annoying being stopped for a chat when you had quickly ducked out.

But no one stopped me here.

Time to get out and walk! I had always enjoyed walking at dawn. You get to meet fellow dog lovers whilst witnessing a beautiful sunrise.

Sometimes, you simply need to take time out from reality and just be.

The Sapphire Coast has some of the best walks in the country. You can walk around the edge of Lake Merimbula whilst witnessing takeoff of the daily flight to Sydney or experience the spectacular scenery of the light to light walk over 3 days. https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/light-to-light-walk

Walking gives me experiences that helps with changing mood. I’ve seen whales steam their way up the coast, heard the early morning screech of galas and disturbed snacking roos. Who can feel negative after that?

After one of my first walks around Lake Merimbula I realised how lucky I was to be starting over. No preconceptions, no judgements. Simply be.

How refreshing.

Why you should take a leap of faith

To explore is to live.

 

For me, moving to the Sapphire Coast involved a huge leap of faith. I had to believe that leaving what I knew would be better. This meant overcoming the obstacles my mind naturally produced.

Like the obvious. I left the city for a country area considered rural and remote. I certainly felt isolated during the first few months when I bumped down gum tree lined roads to get to the supermarket.

Yet the locals reassured me we had done the right thing. They were so welcoming after they found we had recently moved that I knew we would soon belong. Being accepted is an important part of feeling valued and gives a great feeling of self-worth.

The more I explored my new postcode, the more I belonged.

I started with my immediate area and gradually branched out. I had no plan, which made my exploration more like an adventure. I just went where the whim took me. And the more I discovered, the more alive I felt.

Something simple, like taking the dog for her daily run, became the next step in the adventure. Together we saw wild life you would never see in the suburbs and we experienced the open skies and bare beaches of the Sapphire Coast normally reserved for travel stories.

Now it’s your turn.

Choose a place to discover.

Feel the freedom of being somewhere different.

Explore and feel alive.

The best way to discover hidden gems of the Sapphire Coast

Explore. Discover. Immerse yourself…

Imagine walking around a corner and finding something that makes your heart sing.

It had been a busy fortnight of unpacking and the faithful mutt was fed up. Her mournful chocolate eyes followed me relentlessly as I dealt with boxes and belongings. Today, the reproachful stare was enough to move me into action.

I followed the unfamiliar road in the early light, careful to avoid the kangaroos. The dog, grateful for her release, sprinted joyfully down the beach, her grin becoming wider each step. The beach was hard packed white sand, making walking easy.

Following the murmuring shoreline I came across a mound of red rocks. And then I made the discovery.

A few steps further on was a natural beach, about 10 metres wide, protected by a cliff and surrounded by water. On one side – the mouth of the Pambula River and the other, the ocean. It’s a favourite spot for local paddle boarders and sharks.

Mesmerised by the colour of the water, I turned to see Old Man Rock. His features, clearly seen by the rising sun which also heightened the orange tones of the rock. I sat on the sand, throwing the ball occasionally to keep the dog happy, and took in the ambience.

Peace. Serenity. Alone.

Sometimes the best gems are found when you just let life happen.

No research, no planning, just let it be.

 

3 mistakes not to make when moving to the Sapphire Coast

How to find your serenity when surrounded by removalist boxes

It’s no secret that I’m an organised person. Well I like to think that but I can leave out crucial details. Essential details. Like spelling out the correct address that you want the removalist to take your beloved belongings to. You can imagine the chaotic phone call I received …

“You are where?” I screeched.

“It’s okay,” I reassured my husband who was driving the car packed full of the essentials including one teenager with very long legs and a doped up cat who still managed to complain.

Frantically, I texted the address with a map link, praying they would make it to our new home.

Two days later I had not come up for air. Why? I didn’t supervise the unpacking of the truck. I had been warned to stand at the bottom of the stairs to direct the boxes. I didn’t feel comfortable with what I perceived as an authoritarian stance. I assumed the removalist guys would read the large lettering and place the boxes accordingly. The lesson – don’t assume, otherwise you will find half of your kitchen dumped in the spare bedroom and you have to make umpteen trips up the stairs to rectify this.

Finally, remember the benefits of moving to the Sapphire Coast. After a few days of frantic unpacking, the teenager begged me to take a break. We drove three minutes away to the most gorgeous spot, which is still my favourite place. Our eyes feasted on the aqua colours of the Pambula River bordered by national park which, I imagined, looked the same for centuries. It was here, at the Pambula River mouth that I remembered to breathe and appreciate the beauty surrounding my new home.