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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Fixing my Liver & Triple Rainbows

My trip down memory lane continued… and at times, I have to admit, it tends to become a little all-encompassing.

~ Yes, I love to travel. No doubt about it.

~ Yes, I love to socialize.  100%.

~ Yes, I love to see old friends and reconnecting with all of them is all I have ever wanted to do… It's the majority of the reason I'm back in Australia.

BUT… and there's always a 'but'... it can be tiring...

Does that make sense?

As a predominantly solo traveller, as well as someone who has become very accustomed to spending time on my own, I knew I was lacking in some much-needed ME time.  You know those times when you just laze around and relish in the fact that you are all alone, don’t have to go anywhere and don’t necessarily have to do anything… if you don’t want to. 

I needed a little bit of that. 

Lazy ME time.

This has been much of the reason that I am so behind in my blogs.  If you factor in the hugs & the laughter & the stories & the catching up & the sightseeing & the copious amounts of food and wine... it hardly leaves time for writing.

Blame the socializing. 

Blame the memory lanes.

Blame the wine.  Definitely blame the wine.

All the work I did in Southeast Asia, attempting to eat healthy, not drink too much and maintain a somewhat semi-active lifestyle... OUT the window. All out the window. The only exercise I seem to be getting is a couch potato trip down memory lane, often holding a bottle of wine... or two.

I’m a wandering socialite right now.

That sounds pretty impressive... but the repercussions are beginning to take their toll.

Once my AFS weekend was over, my reconnection journey continued down to Melbourne... and it was here that I met up with Kelly Part One.... Kelly Bolton.

I have named her 'Kelly Part One' because there are two Kellys in Melbourne. Kelly Part One and Kellie Part Two. This was the first part of my Melbourne friend experience, hence the Part One section.

The Old Days

Kelly Botlon was an enormous part of my life, and my girlfriend crew, during my time at the Lake Louise Hostel in 1997/98. She was an Australian backpacker who, all those years ago, found her way to Canada for a one-year working holiday... and just happened to get stuck working with me.

"Of all the gin joints..."

When I was planning my trip to Australia, I figured she might be in Melbourne... but I wasn't too sure. Although we were friends on social media, we hadn't connected in quite a while, so I wasn't positive about her location or what was going on in her life. I reached out and I am sooooo glad I did. I was right. She was in Melbourne... and then the plan started to come together for a visit while I was in that part of the down-under world.

I remember Kelly used to make fun of Canadians for our excessive use of duct tape. She's probably right. It seems to be the main adhesive that most Canadians resort to when attempting to fix pretty much anything. Because it became a bit of a running joke, as a goodbye gift to her when she was leaving Canada for good, I made her a full outfit, made entirely out of duct tape.

Heartbroken to discover she doesn't wear it... 😢

Duct tape is so stylish!

She did keep it though, which made me smile.

She said she couldn't NOT keep it... as it was evident how many hours I'd invested in the silly gift.

It was fabulous to see Kelly again... and difficult to believe it had been 26 years since we'd both been flipping burgers at the hostel or slurping back rum & cokes at the bar & grill. It had been FAR too long since I’d hung out with this long-ago Laker, and although we had kept in touch for a long time afterwards through email (which was only very brand new at the time), our frequent communication had eventually dwindled to nothing.

It was time for a catch-up... and catch-up, we did.

I think Kelly was even more excited than I was if that's even imaginable! I know that I can work myself up into a full frenzy of enthusiasm at times... but Kelly was leaps and bounds beyond me. She was the best guide for the day... and had planned our excursion fully down to the littlest detail.

The following morning, we got up and I was treated to a homemade pancake breakfast. After finishing up, we hit the road… ready to pack in a full day's adventure together... but first, I needed clothes. Desperately. My entire pack and wardrobe were designed for tropical temperatures... and tropical temperatures only. I knew that without proper attire, I would surely not survive the wind, the chilling temperatures, the rain and the dark clouds looming above.

It was cold.

It's odd for me to say that about Australia... but it's true.

My tan is fading!

I was carting around 8 dresses,2 skirts and 2 pairs of shorts.

Pants? Zero.

Maybe that seems silly... but I had just spent 5 months in summer.

Once we'd hit the local K-mart and I was suited up properly, we made our way outside of Melbourne to the colourful Brighton bathing boxes.

Ok... get this...

These are small sheds, lined up along the back of the beach... and used predominantly for small boats and various beach supplies storage. I hadn't given much thought to the owners or costing of these colourful cubes... but was shocked to discover that they can sell for upwards of $200,000!!!


Ya... they're beautiful. They're certainly colourful and they're fun to take pictures in front of... but they are NOT worth $200,000+ !!!

That's atrocious.


Who is paying this ridiculous amount to store their beach umbrellas? Someone out there makes TOO much money. These boxes don't even have plumbing... You can't even LIVE in them.

What is this world coming to?

People weird me out.

We did a short walk along the beach and made quite a lot of feeble attempts at taking cool photos, but managed to fail miserably at each attempt.

I love that the Australian dollar is almost on par with the Canadian dollar (89¢ to the Aussie Dollar), so I don’t have to do any messed up, mental math when I'm trying to buy something... And when I say mental, I mean it. When there is math involved, I get mental. Math has never been my strong suit… and trying to work my way through a variety of currencies over the past few months has been anything but easy.

It's been extremely challenging.

Our next stop was Pt. Leo Estate. This was a coastal winery nearby that offered an outdoor modern sculpture gallery. Kelly had her heart set on seeing Yayoi Kusama's large pumpkin sculpture, but as luck would have it, they had taken it out that very morning for maintenance and it wasn’t due to return until the weekend. 

It was disappointing but there was still so much there to see.

Throughout the day, the weather swayed back & forth between threatening clouds and torrential downpours, but whenever we were walking around, we got lucky and managed to stay dry.

The big excursion finale was the Peninsula Hot Springs. This is an area with natural geothermal mineral springs. Each of the pools ranges in heat between 34°C and 42°C.

It was exactly what I needed for some relaxation... and rejuvenation. We nibbled artisan pizza and sipped on champagne in the café lounge... feeling very bougie in our white bathing robes. Everything seemed so luxurious... until the robe eventually soaked up the water from our pool hopping... and what was once cozy cotton comfort turned to damp, frosty and heavy.

In addition to the hot springs, there was a spa, massages, saunas, Turkish baths, reflexology streams, cold well plunges... and more. I contemplated accepting the cold plunge challenge Kelly presented... but I'm a chicken shit when it comes to plunging myself into immediate discomfort, regardless of any health benefits. They say the cold shock helps build up resiliency and the cold water has a positive effect on recovery after exercise. I figured that considering I hadn't technically exercised in what seemed like an eternity, it should be a positive effect I must forego.

I did attempt to cure my liver by strolling down the reflexology stone stream though. Not sure if it worked because when it got too difficult, I deked off to the side of the stream to escape the pain of the jagged rocks. Oh well... I think my liver is past the point of rocks & rubbing revitalization anyway.

We took a million selfies... and why not?

The natural landscape and the views of the valley from the top of the hill were breathtaking.

The entire day was exactly what I needed after all of this memory-lane socializing...

On the way home we saw a double rainbow...!!!

And then it turned into a TRIPLE RAINBOW!!!


They say that's good luck, right? Or three times the good luck?

Either way... I'll take it!

It was the best day.

Garden sculptures ~ Australian wine ~ hot springs ~ double rainbows ~ triple rainbows ~ artisan pizza ~ bubbly champagne ~ colourful beach boxes ~ miles of memories ~ gossip & giggles ~ bizarre, yet hilarious selfies … and so much more!!!

Who could ask for more?

That evening, Kelly’s lovely husband lit a fire for us all outside... and we continued our relaxation, reminiscing and catching up over delicious Thai takeaway & red wine... She has such a beautiful home and a beautiful family. I was kicking myself for not having arranged to spend a bit more time in Melbourne and with Kelly. We needed more time!!! ... and I just have a sneaky suspicion that I would adore this city.

… but it was time to move on. I was being picked up at 8 am the following morning... and venturing out to the Great Ocean Road.

So many thanks for your wonderful hospitality.... and for trying to fix my liver... and for helping me get pants... and for arranging THE TRIPLE RAINBOW!!!!!!!!!

See you in Canada again soon, my friend 🇨🇦

Let's not let it go another 26 years.


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