Friday, January 20, 2017

Some Fun From Melbourne

Hey all,

We're here in sometimes sunny Melbourne, Victoria in Southwestern Australia.  We've got an apartment ten minutes away from downtown. It's got a great view, and it's a wonderfully comfortable place for us for the two plus months we're here.

We've been here just over a week and I've already found a multitude of funny signs and happenings I wanted to share with you guys. So enjoy!!!!!!!

Want some flip-flops? Here in Melbourne you don't even have to go into a store to shop for shoes. Just pop in a five dollar bill and take your pick.
Seriously...only in Australia!

Now I've heard McDonald's called a lot of things, The Golden Arches, Micky D's, and McDick's but this was a first for me.  Macca's???
I did some research and found there are many places where McDonald's ISN'T called by that name. Interested? Check this LINK out to see what else is out there.

This was taken at Melbourne General Cemetery. All I could think of was, 
"Wow! Are they strict!!!! Only dead people allowed to hang around here! And only if they're laying down. LOL

I saw this grave and had to take a picture. Read it carefully. This guy was REALLY busy! Wow!

I saw this and just scratched my head. What the hell is this place? Is this where men are taken when found on the street? Is it an old dunny that has been taken down? Guesses anyone?
Enquiring minds want to know! LOL

That's it for now. I hope everyone is doing well. I miss you but I'm enjoying my new way of life.

You all take care, and I'll see you again soon!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, December 16, 2016

And At The Fork in the Road...

Hey all,

I'm really sorry I haven't been around. I've been making some personal decisions about my career and my life that just couldn't be put off any longer. So, since we were moving from Syndey to Brisbane, I took the time to do some thinking.
I've been writing since I was six years old. Literally. And in second grade I published my first work. I fell in love with the story, Two Too Many, a children's book by Nora S. Unwin. For my second grade Parent-Teachers Night, I turned the story into a play. I still remember the thrill that went through me as I got a standing ovation when my name was announced as the author.

And from that moment on I always had a notepad and pen in my pocket.

I can't imagine not being a writer. I am always dreaming, putting together story after story in my head. Some are sexy, some are sweet, but I always know the ones that I can take to print. They are the ones that make me laugh, sigh, weep and shiver.

But being a writer while traveling...well, that's not so easy.  In fact, I've struggled with it daily since we started our wanderings seven years ago. That first move to Singapore opened up a brand new world to me--a world I was able to put in my books. And I firmly believe anything I write in the future will be better because I can add the flavor of these places into each story.

Yet because of my travels--because of the other creative endeavors I'm now doing, I find I cannot give my writing as much time. And the stress of trying to do everything is just too much. So I'm scaling back.

While I won't be stopping my writing completely, I've decided to only work on a couple of books a year. Unless the mood hits me differently, I'll write those stories in my head when I want to, not on any set schedule.

I'll continue to self publish as well as write for Changeling when the occasion arises. But on MY timeline so I will have time to do what else is important in my life. 

Jonathon, my kids, that new grandbaby on the way, my writing, our new home, my jewelry, my photography and our travels...they are all important, and I want to be able to enjoy them...not be stressed by them.

So at this fork in the road, I have decided to choose a different that will allow me to embrace everything I am and not focus so much on a single endeavor. And I plan to enjoy them all. Each and every one of them.

Carpe diem and all that!  Woohoo!!!

I'll be around still, but I won't have set days to blog.  Just when something fun is happening. But I'll be on Facebook--I enjoy meeting with people there, so give me a shout and say HI!

Hugs to everyone and thanks for being my readers!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On the Road Again - Queensland Bound

Hey all,

As you read this, we'll be on our way from Sydney to Brisbane.  

We're looking forward to it, since it's closer to the Great Barrier Reef and all the wonderful diving we're going to do.  We've been saving for it and hope we can do a live aboard with some friends.  Awesome.

It's the hardest part about living on tour--the constant moving--yet, we enjoy the new cities and cultures we get to visit.  Having to pack every few months is a small price to pay for all the cool places we get to see.

Anyway, after all the crazy election coverage and results, I thought today's blog should be lighter...with a bit of fun. So I found this and I'm just not sure what to think about it.  LOL From the Huffington Post...


Ridiculous, right?  But obviously not to him.  He found this "eagle" in a bag of spicy Cheetos and has saved it, apparently considering it an odd type of savings account. 

He's only asking a measly $5,000 dollars for this beauty. And knowing art patrons like I do, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets it.

Anyone who'd buy some of the art I've seen over the last few years would spring for a crispy piece of spicy art. *snort*  Find out more at 

By the way, due to moving cities, my Friday blog will be cancelled. I'll be back on the following Tuesday with all my fun and news.  :-)

Have a great rest of your week.

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, November 11, 2016

Never Mistake the Power of Influence

Hey all,

As you know, this last Tuesday in the USA we voted for our President. And while the choices--IMHO--sucked, they were who we had to choose from. And while I hate the result, I would have hated it no matter who the winner was. I despised Hilary Clinton's past behavior and was terrified of many of the politics of Donald Trump. So I believed America would lose, no matter who actually won.

When Jonathon and I were at dinner one night, we got to talking about how some voters are influenced by certain well known people, sometimes following their instructions on whom to vote for, for no other reason that they are a celebrity.

You know who I'm talking about. There are some who are VERY opinionated about what they feel, and TRY to influence their fans. And there are others who when asked their opinion, give it, and their fans take their thoughts for gospel. But why on earth do people think that being a celebrity automatically gives them some sort of special intellegence?

Does being an actor make you smarter and more politically knowledgeable? Do you know about all the issues just because you can carry a tune? Why is it that because a person is famous, we automatically assume they know more than we? Or that we should follow their lead blindly? Or even at all?

I asked Jonathon if there was a celebrity he would trust and follow about the presidental election choices, and as we discussed it, we realized neither of us would even consider following anyone's lead just because of who they are. In fact, in most cases, we'd be more apt to turn the other way BECAUSE they were using their celebrity status to try and influence people.

Probably NOT what they were going for.

Either way, this election showed a side of human nature that often made me cringe. Not just the mudslinging and backstabbing by the candidates, but the way regular people treated each other in the middle of it. Many people who were for Clinton were rabid about how horrible Trump was, and the nasty posts on FB were legion.  And it wasn't any better with the Trump supporters. I just wanted to bang my head against the wall at the ugliness I heard over and over again.

Anyway, while the election may be over, now we have to deal with the reality of our choice. And since I beleive that the next four years are going to be some of the most difficult in our history, I'm thinking that traveling out of the country may not be a bad idea at all. Maybe when we finally get back we'll have a president that I can actually be happy about.

It could happen.  Right?


Back on Tuesday with a note about our next move. Brisbane, here we come!!!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

If Voting Changed Anything, They'd Make it Illegal

Hey all,

You know what today is, right? Voting Day!!!! And while the title is a humorous quote by Emma Goldman--one that we all understand--voting is still and always should be an honored privilege.

If you're an American, you've spent the last six months listening to all the campaign slogans, lies, truths, debates, history and bottom line craziness of the candidates.  All I can say is I feel for you. And I'm REALLY glad I'm overseas so I don't have to deal with it myself.  *sigh*

But as I said before, even with all the crap we've had to deal with this election, voting is a privilege many fellow Americans died to give us, so please everyone...take a few minutes and cast your vote. Even if you think it won't matter, your vote DOES count, and maybe we'll all be surprised. A candidate could rise from the depths and be one we're all happy to acknowledge as our president!

*sigh* It could happen.

Here are a few last voting memes to give you a chuckle on this horrific--I mean honorific day.  Enjoy!

Until next Friday!!!!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, November 4, 2016

Once in The Blue Mountains

Hey all,

Wow! I have to say this last weeekend trip was one of the best yet. Jonathon and I went to the Blue Mountains and went hiking. We'd driven through them before--when we last lived in Dubbo--but we hadn't had a chance to really enjoy the area before.

We found a decent hotel--nothing special, just a place to lay our heads--in Katoomba.  It's the main gateway town for the area and where the biggest tourist attraction is.  The Three Sisters is set of rock formations that has a really cool legend attached.  Here is a picture, along with the legend...

Three sisters, Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo had a father who was a witch doctor. His name was Tyawan.

Long ago there was a Bunyip who lived in a deep hole who was feared by all.
Passing the hole was considered very dangerous, therefore whenever Tyawan had to pass the hole in search for food, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall.

One fateful day, Tyawan waved goodbye to his daughters and descended down the cliff steps into the valley.

Meanwhile at the top of the cliff, Meenhi was frightened by a large centipede which suddenly appeared before her. Meenhi took a stone and threw it at the centipede. The stone continued on its journey and rolled over the cliff, crashing into the valley below which angered the Bunyip.

The rocky wall behind Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo then began to split open and the three sisters were left stranded on a thin ledge at the top of the cliff. All the birds, animals and fairies stopped still as the Bunyip emerged to see the terrified girls.

As the Bunyip began to approach the girls, to protect them from harm, their father Tyawan used his magic bone to turn them into stone.

Angered by this, the Bunyip then began to chase Tyawan. Becoming trapped, in order to flee from the Bunyip, Tyawan changed into a magnificent Lyre Bird, yet in the process dropped his magic bone. Tyawan and his three daughters were now safe from the Bunyip.

Once the Bunyip had disappeared, Tyawan returned in search of his magic bone, yet this was never to be found.

The Lyre Bird has been searching for this magic bone ever since. Remaining in rock formation, The Three Sisters stand silently overlooking the valley hoping that one day he'll find the bone and turn them back to former selves.

When visiting The Three Sisters, if you listen carefully you may be able to hear the Lyre Bird, Tyawan, as he continues his quest for his lost magic bone.

I love reading about the Dreamtime and legends of Australia. Like this one, there are so many awesome story ideas I can pull from them.

We hiked both days. The first day, we did the Prince Henry Cliff Walk--a four hour walk that traverses the cliffside from The Three Sisters to Gordon Falls.  There were so many amazing viewpoints, I can't even count them all. And each perspective was a little different--enough that each picture I took was just beautiful.  Here's a selection...

The next day we went down the Giant Staircase, almost 900 steps from a viewpoint at the top of The Three Sisters to the forest floor. There were some more amazing viewpoints as you head down. And then the walk--called Federal Pass--is a three hour walk through the rainforest to the way back up the mountain.  It was a funicular, the steepest one in the world and that was a pretty hairy ride, I have to tell you. It has a 52* grade, which was pretty awesome and it was fast, so when it made that last little whoosh up the hill, you were almost standing on your head!

We ended our day with some amazing chocolates at Josophan's Fine Chocolates and then spent the rest of the afternoon driving through the northern Blue Mountains and enjoying the scenery. All in all, it was a great weekend with beautiful views, and a relaxing road trip that refreshed as well as informed.

Makes me wonder where we'll wind up next time?  Who knows????

See you on Tuesday!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Out of the Country Doesn't Mean Out of Mind

Hey all,

As you read this, we'll be hiking in the Blue Mountains. Last week it was the Royal Forest...more of a Bush type of fauna (except for the small Forest Path rainforest) but the Blue Mountains are supposed to be very different. I'll try and share those pics on Friday.

But today I wanted to share about what I'm seeing as an American living outside the United States. It's really funny how things have changed in the last ten years. While every once in a while we'd run into someone who disliked the United States and Americans, most people we're very curious about our country and longed to visit someday.

Well, I have to admit, that's changed. These last few months, people aren't nodding their heads and wishing they could be Americans. Instead, they're shaking their heads and telling me they are sorry that our country is going to Hell in a handbasket. They don't ask who I'm voting for, most believe the two main choices are so bad, they can't imagine me voting for either of them.

And since I agree with them, it's kinda hard to defend the whole situation.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, the only thing I like about the upcoing election are the humorous memes and cartoons I find online.  What is it they say? If I didn't laugh, I'd cry?

I'm really glad I don't have to turn on the TV and watch the USA news. Honestly, I'd rather watch the latest rugby scores or whatever the breaking news is here in New South Wales. I find that the most horrific news is still less painful than the idea that Clinton or Trump may be our next president.

Anyway, since this blog will go live so close to election day, I wanted to take the time to say to all Americans that no matter how BAD you think things are, voting IS a privledge that people died to make sure we all had, so do it. VOTE!!!

Have a great rest of your week!!!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Trip To the Past With a Nature Chaser

Hey all,

Before I start with today's blog, I just wanted to remind you all about my latest book. 

Out today just in time for Halloween fun, it's a story you can read any time of the year.  Check it out at...

Now that the advertisement is over--*smile*--Jonathon and I had a great two days off this week. Monday was a errand day. Lazy morning, doctor appointments, then an exciting trip to the grocery store.  LOL

Back in time for a relaxing night watching the last two of the Bourne series. Hadn't seen either of them, so it was fun.  Nothing like having a snuggle with your Sweet Baboo while watching Matt Damon. *snerk*

Then on Tuesday we got up early and headed out for a road trip.  Our Blue Mountain trip has been postponed until next week due to scheduling conflicts, but that day we grabbed a car and headed south. We wanted to go to the Botany Bay landing site where the English first arrived in Australia, and then on to the Royal National Forest.

The Captain Cook Monument

The small stone monument on the rocks is the actual landing spot.

And this is what it says...under bird poop. LOL

Botany Bay was REALLY interesting. Even though it was another nation's history, we knew enough about the founding of Australia to make it informative. And we always enjoy learning new facts about places we live. And to stand on the rock where the English first set foot on the continent was pretty cool.

I liked that they didn't overwhelm us with the idea of how wonderful the British were to take over Australia. In fact, they were very open about how the British had displaced the Aborigines, the ramifications of that action and what happened in history because of it.

But they did show and tell us about the eight days they spent in Botany Bay. Which included a lot of scientific discovery. Much more than the actual colonization. (that came later) In fact, Botany Bay was named that BECAUSE of the botanical work done in the area.

The park has built a great walk down to the actual landing site, then signage all along the bay. I learned a lot and enjoyed the displays inside the visitor's center. If any of you have a chance to visit, do it. Inexpensive day of learning and a beautiful park to do it in.

After Botany Bay we drove down to the Royal National Forest Park. And wow! What an amazing park. We stopped at the Visitor's Centre first and found out information about different hikes. We were excited, wanting to discover as much of the countryside as possible.

We started with a bush walk down to a waterfall.  It was a beautiful day and the walk was quite nice. Mostly flat, except the last little bit. That was steep and rocky, so we had to be careful. We didn't see any critters, other than some birds like Cockatoos and a Kookaburra, but there was lots of flora that were quite odd--some we'd never seen before. Here is some of what we saw...


Winifred Bush Fire Trail

The waterfall wasn't much, but it was a small oasis of cool quiet water in the middle of the bush. We were surprised at the number of people around, since it's so remote, but it was worth the walk with all it's arid beauty.

Next we went to the Wattamolla Beach Cliffs.  And WOW... We've seen some beautiful seaside views in a lot of countries, but these were just amazing. On Providential Head point, we thought we might have seen a whale spout or two. And the cliff walk... All I can say is we had difficulty deciding whether it was terrifyingly scary or one of the most amazing places I've ever been to. You decide...

So we'd wandered through the bush and climbed the sea cliffs, now it was time to head to one of the prettiest places in the park. The Forest Path Walk consists of some really beautiful countryside--all rainforest oriented. It's VERY different from the other two walks we did. This has palms and wetlands and many of the trees you'd expect in a rainforest. BUT there are also gums trees and regular Australian flora as well. The mixture of the two makes this is a unique and lovely landscape. See what I mean?

As you can see, things are VERY different as you wander around different parts of the park. But it's like visiting different parts of Australia all in one place. And that's pretty cool. I wonder if locals know how great this park is? They talk a lot about the Blue Mountains, but very little about this amazing place.

Isn't it just like that though? So many times familiarity breeds contempt or more likely...apathy. If I've learned anything in our years abroad it's that when we do finally retire back to the states, I will make sure I look around and see what the USA really has to offer. Not just those famous sites like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or the California Redwoods, but something much, much closer.

My own backyard.

Have a great weekend!

CJ England