There is a fantastic TED talk by Daniel Kahneman on the two kinds of happiness:

1. Remembered happiness: so that when you look at your life, you feel good about how you lived it

2. Experienced happiness: feeling happy in the moment

As I understood his ideas, neither kind of happiness is better than the other. Ideally, you get a balance of the two. I’m pretty good at the remembered kind – stepping outside my life and feeling happy about the way that I’m living it. But I’m not so good at just relaxing and enjoying the moment. And sometimes that’s important. Life recently has been a bit stressful – on top of all the usual pressures of organizing a major expedition, waking up at 3am thinking about pirates of the non-Johnny-Depp kind had started to take its toll.

happiness beach australia
Happiness: thanks to Marian, our hostess with the mostest

So it was too good an opportunity to refuse when a kind friend (actually the aunt of the husband of Daisy who does my newsletter) offered us the use of her house in Denmark. Not Denmark in Europe, where I went for the COP15 conference in December 2009, but Denmark, Western Australia. Much closer. The idea was that this would be a final chance to savour the pleasures of Australia before the hectic days of the final countdown to launch day on April 5th.

Marian picked us up after my presentation at the University of Western Australia on Thursday night, and we drove the 5 hours south to Denmark, arriving just after midnight. We awoke the next morning to find ourselves in a little piece of Aussie paradise. Over the course of the next 3 days, Marian ensured that we got the chance to enjoy the best of Oz.

Koala fur is surprisingly fuzzy and wiry. Like a nylon carpet.

Koalas – check.

Kangaroos – check.

Gum trees – check.

Beaches – check.

Barbecue – check.

June with kangaroo

And Australian wines galore – check.

Thanks, Marian, and to Debbie and Stevie at the Pentland Alpaca Stud and Animal Farm, and to Daniel at the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk, for a spectacular weekend. I get to enjoy it twice over. It was fantastic at the time, and I can also store up these happy times so that I can think back on them from the ocean, when I can barely remember what a tree even looks like. This one will live long in my memory as a “happy place” to return to when the going gets tough.

Other stuff:

Exchanging bows with a camel

We didn’t quite step off the world over the weekend. Like many others, no doubt, I was shocked at the news from Japan. Following hot on the heels of floods, fires and earthquakes in Australasia, 2011 has already had more than its fair share of catastrophe. Is it just me, or does this feel significant? What next? Locusts?

Earthquake at the top of the line. Fremantle at the bottom of the line, over 5,000 miles away.

Some geographically-challenged people have been asking if I have been affected by the Japanese tsunami. No, I’m a long way away from it – see map. But thank you for your concern. And thanks to UncaDoug for the Google Earth graphic.

I will be doing a public presentation at the University of Western Australia on March 31st. Details available on the UWA website.

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of my arrival in Antigua, after rowing my first ocean, the Atlantic. Oh happy day!

Up a gum tree on the treetop walkway in the Valley of the Giants
June at Williams Bay
You want me to row across THAT?!


  • Hi guys….all the pics look great and the stories and sights all sound as though you had a great Australian experience…We love the giant treetop walk!!
    sorry we couldn’t be there again, but will endeavour to catch up before you go on your Voyage on the 5th.

    John and Noel

  • hoorah for Auntie Marian and Denmark. We cuddled that Koala this time last year! Glad you had the time out. Good to stop and think every now and then.

  • Message to Joe in Alaska. We tried to reply to your message to the Website, but it was returned as permanently undeliverable. Please try again. Rita.

  • Fantastic pictures…of many evocative times…The forest and Marian’s capacity to offer the very best of a nurturing paradise seem like a wonderful pause in what is a truly inspiring womyn’s journey….I can only but feel apologetic for my sedentary moments!!

    Jill faulkner

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