By on 10-11-2012 in Australia 2012


Our view after hiking up Indian Head rocks.

As long as I can remember, whenever anyone asked what my favorite color was, my reply was “blue.” I never gave it much thought until a few months ago when I was walking on the Stone Harbor (NJ) Point Beach. I was experiencing pure bliss and was trying to put my finger on why I was so totally happy there. Then it hit me! I was surrounded by blue. The blue water and blue skies were enveloping me. The whole town seemed to glow with it. My condo was on the bay and the view from my windows was nothing but blue skies and blue water there also. I’ve had that same blissfulness here in Australia; first while on the whale watching trip last week and again on our Fraser Island trip.
I almost passed on the whale watching trip. I’ve been on many half-day boat trips in New Jersey, but I would always opt for the fishing trips over the whale watching trips. I’m more of a doer than a watcher. I’m glad I chose to go on this trip here in Australia. As when on the fishing trips, just being on the boat was enough for me. I positioned myself on the bow and just sucked it all in. The whales were awesome, they put on quite a show for us, but the blue renewed me.
The blues I experienced on our Fraser Island excursion were exquisite. I didn’t want to leave. When Professor Davison said at one point that they could leave me behind, I replied “please.” The first day we went to Lake McKenzie and Basin Lake. The white sands were so beautiful, but it was a little overcast and we didn’t get the full effect represented in the travel brochures. The next day was my favorite, though. We drove for a long time on the beach, I took a plane ride, and we swam in the Champagne Pools and Eli Creek and climbed Indian Head for some unbelievable views. I was in heaven. I allowed the blue to wash over me and gained an appreciative perspective of the journey that led me there. Life is good. God is great.
The third day we hiked to Wabby Lake and Lake Birrabeen. The sands were wonderful and the weather was cooperating, but the ocean is my touchstone. I may go back before we leave Australia next month.
What is your touchstone? Where do you feel the most at peace?

I’m on the Other Side of the World!

By on 10-05-2012 in Australia 2012

I’m on the Other Side of the World!

Hi, my name is Marilee Houtz and I will be sharing my journal entries from Australia with you. I hope you enjoy these posts.

30 Sept, 2012

I’m in Australia!  I’m on the opposite side of the world and everything is opposite.  I guess I should share what got me here.  I’m not your normal college student.  I’m a 54-year-old woman with 5 daughters and grandchildren numbers five and six due in April.  My life has taken some wild turns in the last few years.  I finally got out of an abusive marriage, lost 60 pounds, got a great job, made a bad career move, lost a great job, went back to school, and am now living the life.  That about sums it up.  It has not been a total piece of cake, though.  I lost my only sister this year, and that still breaks my heart every day.  I took my classes online last semester, and fulfilled a lifetime dream by spending the entire summer at the beach. Now I’m on a beach in Australia!  What a wild ride it’s been.  Sit down, shut up, and hold on!

LaTanya is teaching me how to blog, as I am a dinosaur and have never blogged before.  I hope to give readers a different (i.e. older) perspective on our journey.  I hope I don’t bore all you young whippersnappers too bad!

The trip here was a grueling 30 hour ordeal, with an 8 hour layover in LA, a 14 hour flight to Brisbane that took off at 1:45am our time, and a 3 hour bus ride to Hervey Bay.  Our motel is directly across the street from the beach with a beautiful walkway that goes on for miles.  The weather is not conclusive to the beach yet, but it is turning from spring to summer here, so we should be having beach days soon.

We’ve been exploring the town, and I went on a 3 hour walk the other day to find where my Weight Watchers meeting would be the next day.  It didn’t look that far on the map, but my blisters proved me wrong.  I found a lot of interesting and useful places along the way, so the girls and I took a bus trip to the mall I found the next day.  Hervey Bay is a small quiet resort town, and there is not much in the way of urban conveniences or nightlife, but it is beautiful.  It is totally different than Stone Harbor, where I spent my summer, but I am learning to appreciate it.  As the sun gets brighter, the water is turning a tropical turquoise blue.  We are taking a trip to Fraser Island next week that has beautiful white sand beaches, and I am planning an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.  Life is good.

I enjoy walking and exploring when I travel.  What do you enjoy when traveling?