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Hello and welcome to my blog formerly called Gypsy-K. Please note that I am only updating this blog while I am walking from Rome to Jerusalem from September 2015. My online home and permanent blog is at You can also sign up for pilgrim postcards and newsletters here. Thank you for being here and supporting my journey. With love and courage, Kym xx

Saturday, 28 January 2012

How to transplant a life

Right now, I’m taking a personal lesson in how to transplant plants as it applies to my life.

According to, “Plants that have begun to outgrow their containers need to be transplanted in order to keep the plant healthy. Root bound plants often become unhealthy and slow growing. Take care when transplanting because doing so can be traumatic to your plants. By following a few simple steps, you'll ease the shock that the plant experiences during the transplant.

I already recognised the need to transplant. My roots were becoming somewhat bound and my personal growth was stagnant. But unfortunately, I wasn’t quite familiar with the transplant process. A few days after arriving back in Melbourne, I discovered how traumatic transplanting one’s self from an old to a new but old pot can be. Yes, I’m back in a familiar environment but my roots are unsettled and feel somewhere between the old pot and the new.

Ignoring my own needs and barely allowing the jet lag to wear off, I began jamming the soil down around the plant in the new pot. I threw myself into what I thought I should be doing, namely job hunting and getting on with a regular, everyday life. I didn’t allow myself time to get used to the feeling of the new pot and I didn’t apply the right combination of fertiliser, light and water to allow myself to thrive in the new environment. I became stressed. I put on a blooming smile but inside I have been wilting and shriveling.

Fortunately a conversation with my very wise, eldest sister enabled me to discover what was going wrong with the transplant process and I altered it immediately. According to step 6 of How to Transplant Plants, one must “place the plant in low light for several days. Continue with the plant's regular watering schedule for several weeks, but after that, you may need to adjust the watering and fertilizing schedules according to the plant's new needs.”

Right now, I’ve stopped jamming the soil down around the roots and am allowing the roots to naturally settle back into Australian soil. I’m not actively job hunting or forcing myself to re-build my life here. I’m allowing myself to rest and look after my health. I am surrounding myself with friends and family. I am being with and allowing the sadness of leaving behind a place and time I have loved. And I am writing. I am writing the book I always said I would write about my travels and this writing allows me and reminds me to be grateful for where I have been and what I have experienced to get me to this place in my life.

I’ll check how the plant is going again in a few weeks. In the meantime if you want to learn for yourself how to transplant a plant, read more here: How to Transplant Plants |

Blooming yellow daisy at Lavandula, Shepherds Flats, near Daylesdford

Sunday, 22 January 2012

How much is enough?

I returned to Australia with 47 kilograms of luggage. Waiting for me in my temporary bedroom were three more large travelling bags crammed full of clothes. In the wardrobe hung some of my “good’ clothes. In my car, a suitcase filled with more clothes along with shoes, bags, toiletries and other belongings piled loosely and in small bags on the back sea. In my sister’s storage container I have furniture, bedding, books, kitchen goods, a bicycle, an oil heater and more stuff that I’ve forgotten about and might remember when I see it again. At my dad’s house, I have a box of clothes and souvenirs sent from India, more clothes hanging in his spare wardrobe along with my old camera lenses (I hope.)

On my second day back in Australia I had to declare my temporary bedroom a disaster zone after an uncontrolled clothes-plosion. I opened the bags pulling out their contents, reacquainting and remembering an old life. The clothes ended up everywhere and eventually, a few days later, I had to fold and sort them into piles. At first I was excited to have more clothes and more choice but when I stood back and looked at the piles on my fold-out bed, I felt surprised and a little shocked. I have accumulated and hung on to many clothes, so many, that I’m fairly sure there is no way I would wear every item in a year.

After travelling and living overseas for almost 2 ¼ years with only a large bag of clothes and personal items plus a separate bag of diving equipment (which was already too much to move around easily) coming back to so many belongings is slightly overwhelming. It feels burdensome and restrictive. Owning so much stuff makes relocating more cumbersome but it also adds to this feeling of being cluttered with things that I don’t really need taking up unnecessary space in my life.

When I was away, I didn’t need much stuff. Sometimes I wished I had more choice in clothing but I put something on that I liked to wear and went on with my day. I shopped for clothes mainly out of necessity and not in excess. I occasionally enjoyed window-shopping but I much preferred to be at the beach instead of a shopping centre. Back here in Melbourne, I am noticing my impulse to shop return. I can barely drive past a shop window without seeing something I would like to own even though I know I have more than enough back at home. I’m trying to keep my eyes focused straight ahead instead.

And it seems that advertising does exactly what it is designed to do, it makes me feel like I need things that I don’t really need. I know I don’t need them because I’ve lived perfectly happily without them.

A writer I follow by email used to keep an inventory of everything she owned on her website for all to see. I like the idea of the inventory, to see exactly what I own and to hold myself accountable to my true needs. I would definitely think twice before buying something and adding it to the inventory for all to see. At the moment, to compile an inventory of my current belongings would probably take a week, at least, and I have more important things to address.

I’ve been back in Melbourne for ten days now and I am confused and uncertain about what my next steps are. I have stopped putting pressure on myself to find a job and get on with life here because I’m just not quite ready to do it. After all, I’ve barely landed and unpacked. All this stuff and all this clutter isn’t helping my clarity. I feel the urge to simplify, to get rid of everything I don’t need but at the same time there is a reluctance to let it go in case I miss it or need it one day. But really, how much past owned stuff do we need or miss right now in this present moment? When it’s gone, it’s gone and we continue with our lives or we go out and buy it again if we really need it.

Along with considering how much is enough stuff, I’m also asking myself how much is enough money. How much money do I need to earn to put a roof over my head, pay the bills and to live the life I want to live? To be honest, I never really had to think about this before. I never even considered potential earnings when I first started working in financial planning. I picked it as a career as a way of helping people using my natural talents and abilities. I worked hard and the money just followed. I never even had to ask for a pay rise it was just given. I became comfortable earning a certain level of income and so now the thought of potentially changing careers and earning less (potentially far less) makes me uncomfortable and scared of not having enough, of having to struggle and most critically of losing the freedom that I have had.

So how much is enough? Have you ever thought about how much you need in your life? This is the question I’m currently sitting with as I slowly readjust to Australian life and I work out exactly what I want and what I need in my life. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

It’s the final countdown

‘I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?
It’s the final countdown’ 
- Europe

The days are slipping away quickly now. It feels like only yesterday that I made my decision and, with much hesitation and reluctance, booked my flight home to Melbourne. I own that decision. I made it without any outside help or influence, apart from visa restrictions, a dwindling bank account and perhaps the encouragement of a much-missed friend or two. But it doesn’t mean I like the decision that I have made.

I’m not sure that my new way of being fits in with my old Melbourne life. I’m not even sure that it fits in with Melbourne. But there’s congruence missing here as well. To stay would mean to stay stalled. I’ve waited, but the fog of uncertainty hasn’t lifted and I’m not sure that it can or will, here. So I’m doing the only thing I know to do and that is to take a step a forward, and the only logical step at this point in time is to return to Melbourne.

I love Phuket, this island which is both the easiest and hardest place to be. Perhaps the most difficult thing to let go of, more than the beaches, the tropical sea or the warm weather, is the freedom I have had over the last two years, to travel, to roam, to dive, to sleep, to write, to do whatever it is that I feel like when I feel like it. Perhaps now is the time to re frame my definition of freedom.

For all I’ve achieved, I still have a sense of failure, that I’ve failed my quest. Wasn’t I supposed to fall effortlessly into a new career or a new love or become a yogi? Where is my Under the Tuscan Sun ending or my Eat Pray Love ending or even my Thirty-Something and Over it ending?

Have I missed something? Not taken a risk I should have taken? (Should the word I still sometimes use which means something that I don’t really want to do but think through the eyes of others I must do.) I know that’s none of this is true and that my story has it’s own unique ending. Right now it is Melbourne but even Melbourne is not the end, just another beginning or another step before another step.

For now, this is the end of a chapter, a parting of ways, and with endings comes grief that must be felt to its conclusion. There is sadness, tears, dread, despair, emptiness, fear. And there are their opposites too. Contentment, gratitude, love, peace, faith. I am returning home both victorious and defeated, full of memories, most happy, some sad, into the loving arms of much missed friends and families.

I enter a new chapter. I have a new notebook, a blank page and my pen is poised to write.