Aussie Outback Dunnies

Let’s be honest, when setting off to travel Australia, despite our primary desire to see the country, the most sought after sign you have your eyes peeled for when on the road is…

Toilet symbols are pictographs

The sign for the nearest convenience

Whether out on the open road, pulling into town, or about to do a National Park hike – the first thing we want to see and visit, wherever we are, is the local convenience!

Fellow ozzie aficionado and on-line friend Marion Halliday – more commonly know as Red Nomad Oz –  has been travelling Australia for years and along the way has not, it appears, just been spying Journey Jottings Journal Maps (which you can see in her guest posts here: My Journey Jottings Aussie Odyssey and also here: Joining the Dots with Journey Jottings) but she’s been taking in some of the stunning views at our public Aussie loos as well!

Her ever popular series of blog posts: Scenic Public Toilets has now brilliantly been turned into a book!

Red Nomad Oz book cover of Australian Public Toilets

In this cute little book (17cm/6.7 inches square) Red Nomad Oz illustrates over 60 of the best!

My personal favourites?

Kata Tjuta Aussie Outback Dunny

View from the public toilets at Kata Tjuta

Where Marion’s quest began!

If you’ve been to Kata Tjuta you almost certainly will have used this loo before setting out on the 7.4km (4.5miles) Valley of the Winds Walk

When Marion stepped out, that fateful day, and saw this view she asked herself: Could this be Australia’s most scenic loo?

Devils Marbles Aussie Outback Dunny

She hadn’t gone far up the road (well 900km/560 miles to be exact) when she was confronted by another contender at the Devils Marbles.

Devils Marbles Public Toilets

In amongst the wonderful outback landscape were these eco-composting long drops, nestled below what looks like teetering rocky marbles.

Out In the Middle of Nowhere Dunny

Australia toilet out in the middle of nowhere

If you find yourself “1,300 kilometres from Brisbane, 1,400 kilometres from Adelaide, 1,700 kilometres from Sydney” and you get the call of nature?

Fear not – There’s a dunny at hand between Birdsville, Bedourie and Betoota (On the junction of the Birdsville and Diamantina Developmental Roads if you weren’t sure exactly where that was!)

Gunnedah – the Lyrical Loo

But for incongruity one can’t drive past the aussie outback dunnies in Gunnedah because as Red says:

Gunnedah’s offering can hold its head high in the public toilet pantheon, because it offers a complete poetry-themed amenities experience!”

Gunnedah Lyrical Loos

 

The toilet block is found at the end of Poets Drive that celebrates the work of 16 Australian writers -

Inside, there are a variety of poet’s names painted on each door to lure you into the cubicle of your choice -

Once there, sitting comfortably you can then ponder their work in greater depth as their works are etched on the back of the door for you to read at your leisure…

And if that wasn’t enough -

There’s “piped Aussie poetry recitations delivered direct to your stall” ;)

Point Quobba – True Blue Aussie Loo with a View

This is my absolute favourite – a true blue long drop thunderbox, if ever I saw one :) It even opens up to views of the ocean.

Point Quobba classic Australian Toilet

So, if you can’t hang on any longer – here’s the link to get your copy of Aussie Loos With Views - for the traveller who thought they had everything!

All photos in this post are copyright Marion Halliday

 

Have you come across a public loo with a view?
Or a contender for the Poet’s Pee-stop at Gunnedah?

Do share your finds in the comments below!

 

And if you don’t want to miss my next blog update, simply enter your email below and I’ll give you a cooeee when it’s published ;)

 

“One Special Summer” – The Travel Journal of Jacqueline & Lee Bouvier

I love delving into travel journals -

My travel journals, your travel journals (if you’ll let me take a peek!), or in this case… a published travel journal -

The Travel Journal of Jacqueline & Lee Bouvier

Jacqueline Bouvier -
the future Jackie Kennedy Onnasis
and her sister Lee’s travel journal from 1951 in Europe.

Travel Journal of Jacueline and Lee Bouvier

One Special Summer

In 1951 Jackie, aged 22, had already spent a year in France and her younger sister Lee, aged 18, was itching to join her having been “filled with curiosity and a longing to see everything [Jackie] had been writing” home about -

But, their “mother was extremely apprehensive about letting her daughters go alone on such a venture”.

However, after much persuasion on how carefully Jackie would take care of her charge -

They were off.

Travel Journal of Jackie and Lee Bouvier

This travel journal – One Special Summer – was created by the pair as a thank you gift to their mother and step-father for allowing them to take off on such an adventure.

Knowing how their mother (like most mothers) would appreciate something they’d created by hand over anything they could possibly have bought for her, they split the job of recording the trip -

One Special Summer Illustration

 

Jackie oversaw all the artistic renditions, the poetry and the parts on Rome and Spain.

 

Travel Journal by Jackie Kennedy Onnassis

 

While Lee wrote the descriptions for most of their adventures.

 

Jacqueline Bouvier Coloured Illustration

 

The combined result is positively charming - conveying the tales of how two girls experienced their first overseas trip together -

As Lee says in the introduction:

“I couldn’t imagine anything that could be more fun than a trip with Jackie, since we both were absolutely psychic about laughter and had the same sense of the ridiculous”. 

Feeling Small One Special Summer by Jackie Onnassis

 

“We did this book in a state of joy and laughter, which was our mood throughout the trip”

 

One Special Summer Journal Extract

Travel Journals are Like Cook Books

I sometimes think travel journals are like cooking – Its not just the fun to be had in the kitchen creating the dishes -

Its the enjoyment you get from devouring what you’ve made, later!

And so it is with creating a travel journal -

The real pleasure comes from devouring your travel journal’s contents years later.

 

Official meetings One Special Summer

I love the way Jackie captures how small they felt at times, such as in the illustration above when they had an official engagement to meet with the American Ambassador in Spain.

It also perfectly illustrates how a simple cartoon’y sketch can be oh so much more expressive than words alone. 

And how by utilizing more than a single method of communication one is given a far richer picture of the whole experience -

So, next time you’re in the travel journal ‘kitchen’, think about mixing up a greater variety of ingredients – Like…

  • a splash of prose
  • a cup of poetry
  • a generous serve of diagrammatic cartoons
  • a dollop of sketches
  • decorated with a smattering of doodly typography

The end of the trip - 1951

  • Then leave it all to mellow and mature, (like a Christmas cake)…

And a few years later when you revisit it, you’ll savour the rich fruity frivolity of your fabled travelling tales.

Do you keep a travel journal when on the road?
What kind?

If not -
Having seen the fun that can be had from even someone else’s travel journal -
Do you wish you did?

Do tell in the comments below :)

And if you don’t want to miss my next blog update, simply enter your email below and I’ll give you a cooeee when it’s published ;)

 

The Serendipity of Travel & Where Serendipity Began – Sri Lanka

Serendipity and Travel go hand in hand

When I wrote a post a few years ago asking

What does Travel Mean to You?

I said:

“I love travel’s unexpected delights and the Serendipity of it” :)

Just as it’s inevitable that we encounter new places, new food and new people on our travels – It’s inevitable that we also encounter unexpected delights that cross our paths no matter how well structured our itinerary may be!
And when it comes down to it -

It’s the serendipity that makes the trip.
It’s the serendipitous encounters that are the most memorable.

But do you know where this wonderful word – Serendipity - originates?

Serendip is the Persian and Urdu name of Sri Lanka.
In 1557 ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’ was a fairytale published in Venice by Michele Tramezzino.

Three Princes

Nearly two hundred years later the prolific letter writer Horace Walpole (son of the first British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole) put pen to paper where he declared he’d made a heraldic discovery “of that kind which I call Serendipity”.
So, on 28th January 1754 the word ‘serendipity’ entered the English language for the very first time.

He explained that he’d derived the term from the fairytale as:

The Three Princes of Serendip
“were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”

 

It was not till the early 1900′s that the word ‘serendipity’ gained acceptance and could be found in dictionaries -

  • By 1958 the term ‘serendipity’ was found in print just 135 times -
  • Between 1958 and 2000 it was used in 57 book titles
  • In the 1990′s it appeared in newspapers 13,000 times
  • And by 2001 appeared on 636,000 Internet pages.
  • Today, when I put ‘serendipity’ into a search engine I got over 6 million references!

I think one can safely say that serendipity is now a part of our common everyday language!

Sri Lanka map named Sarandib

Map by Muhammad al-Idrisi, 1154 (facing south) showing Sri Lanka named Sarandib – Detail from The Tabula Rogeriana

 

I love John Barth’s use of the term in his book The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor (1991):

“You don’t reach Serendip by plotting a course for it. You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings serendipitously.”

 

What serendipitous encounters have you enjoyed on your travels?
Do share in the comments below :)

If you don’t want to miss any of my blog posts simply enter your email below and I’ll give you a cooeee when it’s published ;)