Boxing Kangaroos.

A strange world we are living in!

My last image of Australia: early on a Sunday morning and my partner rushes in and tells me that in the farmland behind our home are boxing kanagaroos. Go out there wearing only my jocks with a camera in my hand….

This time next week, we will be in Nara, Japan…..


A Stop Along the Way.

In September 2020, my partner Anya and bought a house.

Normally when we came to South Australia – where I was born and grew up – we rented a holiday house near a suburban beach for a few months, caught up with family and friends, and indulged in our passion for ocean swimming. Afterwards, we then left either for somewhere in Asia or South America before heading back to The Netherlands.

When we arrived in South Australia in February 2020, we did the usual thing and rented a holiday house near a beach for a few months with the intention of afterwards flying to Beijing and catching the train to North Korea. It was all possible then – and seems like another world.

Well, it was another world.

Change and often dramatic change is the only constant in our lives today.

The Covid pandemic arrived and before we knew it, the borders of South Australia were closed along with the borders of Australia – and also, most other countries in the world.

Travel was suddenly rendered impossible.

Our plan B was to drive to remote places in South Australia with our bikes on the back of our old Japanese car along with a small dome tent and supplies and go on long bike rides over the unsealed backroads. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was a fine way to experience the empty spaces of Australia – a powerful contrast with most areas of the planet these days which are overcrowded and overdeveloped – but after six months or so, with the summer approaching and the days of bike riding numbered, we started seriously looking for a permanent dwelling. There seemed to no end in sight to the Covid pandemic along with a world closed down for any kind of travel. 

It was then that we thought of buying a house.

We wanted to be near the coast so we could go swimming, but near the main suburban beaches very little was available and what there was, was very expensive.

So after a while we started looking further afield.

Strange how places that we thought were ‘too far away’ gradually came into view.

That was when we came up with the idea of Normanville – a small town located in a rural area 75 kilometres south of Adelaide. We drove down there, stayed at the caravan park and started looking around. Because it was so far from Adelaide the prices of houses were much cheaper.  One thing was for certain:  the beach was magnificent: 7 kilometres of sand and clear blue water and dunes and no suburbs, hotels, or development.

We finally found the house where we are now – it was a small place in a community of houses, 60 of them, with farming area on either side and 5 minutes from the beach. The price was good and so we bought it and then spent the summer settling in.

It’s worked out well for us: we can spend the summers here and early every morning go to the beach and swim.

As summer turns to autumn, we can shut the doors, lock the place up and depart. It’s a stop along the way, one we will return to once a year, during the Australian summer.  




Last year – when the world began opening up – we went to Spain (followed by Corsica, Finland and Belgium).

We returned to our house last November after a stop in Thailand.

At the end of this month – i.e. this time next week – we will be on a flight to Japan.


Because I Feel I’ve got to Move……..



‘Cause I feel I’ve got to move

Though I’m going, going
I’ll be coming home soon
Long as I can see the light

Pack my bag and let’s get moving
‘Cause I’m bound to drift a while

Though I’m gone, gone
You don’t have to worry, no
Long as I can see the light

Guess I’ve got that old traveling bone

‘Cause this feeling won’t leave me alone

But I won’t, won’t

Be losing my way, no, no
Long as I can see the light

Oh, yeah

Put a candle in the window

‘Cause I feel I’ve got to move
Though I’m going, going
I’ll be coming home soon
Long as I can see the light

Long as I can see the light

Long as I can see the light

Long as I can see the light
Long as I can see the light


A Town Called Horki


In march 2019, when Anya and I flew to Belarus, we knew which parts of the country we wanted to visit but we hadn’t booked anything ahead besides the first four nights in the capital, Minsk.

We had an ingrained dislike of having all our accommodation booked in advance because it allowed no flexibility, no opportunity to change plans. Sometimes it was unavoidable but as far as Belarus went, we assumed we had a fair bit of latitude here since very few tourists ever went there besides a few Russians. Ruled by communist dictator named Lukashenko, the country had been hermetically sealed off from the outside world for decades and had only recently opened up to tourists from Western Europe –  desperate as it was for hard foreign currency. 

Had we made the attempt to book ahead before going to Belarus we would have realised that travel in that country was very different to anything we had done before. Because there were very few tourists in that country – a definite plus point for us –  there were also very few places to stay.

We became acquainted with this situation during the first few days in Minsk when we tried to book the places we had marked on our map of Belarus which we thought looked interesting – and after cross checking them on discovered it was impossible to stay there.

We were forced to change our plans and to travel to those places where there was somewhere to stay. It was a whole new way of travel for us and consequently we ended up staying in places which we would never normally have considered.     

After departing Minsk, it didn’t take us long to also discover that the official government hotels – intended for party officials and bureaucrats  – were to be avoided if possible because checking in involved a simply stupendous amount of paper work, something reminiscent of Franz Kafka’s ‘The Trial’.

Private accommodation was far preferable because there was far less the form filling to surmount and furthermore, it was usually in small towns, which we much preferred to the cities because one got an intimate view of how ordinary people lived in this Stalinist era society which had been quarantined from the outside world and unbeknown to us then – was about to be closed off again indefinitely thanks to the Covid pandemic followed by Vladimir Putin’s murderous invasion of The Ukraine.

The only catch with booking accommodation in the towns was how to get there; regional and local transport was by run-down mini buses and there were often no direct connections. Furthermore it was often hard to get reliable information because of the language barrier; in the cities we usually found someone who spoke some English but it was a different matter outside the cities; furthermore, the printed information on the boards at the bus stations (as indeed on all of the signs) was in the Belarussian script, which like Russian, is Cyrillic.

These obstacles however did not deter us from consistently seeking to stay at the towns rather than the cities. Some of the places we ended up staying at were unique travel experiences – no better example in this respect was the town of Horki, where we stayed for a few nights in an apartment in an old, chipped, high rise block – one amongst many – which had not been renovated and was still exactly how it been built probably in the 1960’s.

In between the apartment blocks were bench seats and  playgrounds, but everything had a rundown, ramshackle feel about it.



A recruitment poster for the armed forces in the main street of Horki. The armed forces are overwhelmingly filled with people from rural and outlying areas who are pro-Lukashenko. 


Waiting for a bus at a local take away place – the coke adds still visible and soon to disappear with the invasion of The Ukraine by Russia and the resulting sanctions – which included Belarus, a client state of Russia. 


Departing Horki proved to be at least as difficult as reaching it.

At the bus station Anya took charge of the purchase of tickets for the simple reason that she had infinitely more patience than me. She stood in a cue and finally reached the counter where she attempted to explain what she wanted; but the woman behind the counter understood none of it, whereupon the people in the cue behind Anya, dressed in some kind regional attire, long coats and strange hats, tried to help. The everyday people in Belarus, despite their serious, even dour, expressions, were consistently helpful and friendly. There was a group discussion and after a lot of gesturing Anya finally made herself understood; in the meantime, seated not far away, I took some photos of this amusing scene and the last shot: Anya turning towards with me holding the tickets in her hand with a big smile on her face:


Sometimes the most mundane achievements can seem truly momentous.




Flags – Rotterdam, The Netherlands, October 2022