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Come on over guys and gals

Hey subscribers, you won’t read anything new here, come on over and subscribe at mbs-journey.com or vagabondgal.com

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Doing nothing and loving it

Image of woman jumping and looking into the sun

Jumping for joy in the sun

Just had the best, most luxurious three week holiday. Read about it on For the Journey

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Where has all around the town gone?

Hi Readers.

I’ve moved my blogs to my own domains and re-jigged the focus a bit. Come and visit me at

For the journey (mbs-journey.com) where I write about journeys of the mind, journeys of the body, and journeys of the spirit.


Vagabond Gal (vababond.gal.com) where I will do my more traditional travel writing.

Recently on Vagabond Gal I’ve written about things to do in Vegas that don’t involve gambling or a casino (yes there are lots of fun things to do in Vegas that don’t take place inside a casino). There are fun things to do inside casinos too, and not all of them are gambling related either. I may write about that later in the year.

Also suggestions for walking tours in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia, not Florida, USA).

Come on over and read my new blogs.

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Shopping with a conscience this holiday season

A little tree is just as festive as a big one.

A little tree is just as festive as a big one.

I’ve already written this month about feel good giving and shopping at opportunity shops.

Here are some other suggestions for shopping with a conscience from Jennifer Barbour on Good

What I really like about Jennifer’s suggestions, which are buy local; Buy fair trade; consider the environment / carbon footprint of your gifts; look for gifts that give back; give experiences (and to which I’d add a sixth give opportunity shops a go; is that they work no matter where you are in the world and for all income brackets.

One last thing I’d also add, is a suggestion from a friend who is the wife of a long time teacher. Instead of giving a teacher a gift this year, never mind the gifts, give the gift of experience, some of her suggestions, a promise to do homework next semester; to listen in class every day…It’s just a thought, it’s a gift that will benefit everyone involved.

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Feel good gift giving

Guilt free gift giving, no wrapping required

Guilt free gift giving, no wrapping required

I’ve already written about my love of opportunity shops and I rarely buy a gift new (for myself or my friends)

When I do buy new, I usually wait until I can find out from the recipient what they need or want, and buy that for them. Because I think most of us in the first world have too much stuff.

Way, way, way too much stuff. So why clutter up someone’s life with something else they don’t need and probably don’t want. Why make them feel bad, if not eventually but inevitably when your gift gets put on to a shelf never to be used again.

So here’s another gift giving. If you don’t want or don’t like to go-used.

Think about giving someone in a developing country a goat or some chickens, a well or books for a library. Donate to a food bank, buy school books or pay for tutoring for someone who needs it in your own community. Support a micro-banking effort, an orphanage or efforts to stop child trafficking.

I’m not going to link to the organisations that do this. You will know what sort of organisations you want to support. Some people like non-government organisations, some like church affiliated organisations. Do a search on-line for your favourite and find out what they offer.

If you don’t have spare cash, donate your time (to a worthy cause or to your friends and family). Help someone in their garden. Offer to cook a meal for someone who likes to eat but doesn’t like to cook. Take someone who doesn’t (or can’t get out on their own) for a stroll.

These gifts without a price tag are priceless to the recipients.

And while you decided to do this to do good, you will also discover that when you do something that helps someone, on the other side of the world or on the other side of your fence, you will feel good. I guarantee it.

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Shopping opportunities, turn to opportunity shops

Someone's no longer needed teapot and cup makes a lovely gift.

Someone’s no longer needed teapot and cup makes a lovely gift.

I like things that have been owned by other people. I feel a connection to them when I take something that they used, loved and then passed on to be used by me. I can almost say that I liked these pre-owned, pre-loved items more than brand new things.

Sometimes it’s about the quality of older creations (especially clothes and furniture) and sometimes it’s just about knowing that nothing else had to die or be manufactured using energy and raw materials and valuing that which has already been made.

So I love opportunity shops. I can’t go past one, and I have favourites that I will go out of my way to visit just because I know they will have something there that’s just what I’ve been looking for.

In this season of gift giving, why not try to do all your shopping at opportunity shops. It gives you a multitude (well at least three that I can think of) of opportunities. (It’s not just about saving money)

  • To support your favourite charities and the work they do in your community.
  • A way to cut down on waste.
  • A way to save money and make an impression with a gift that is not just something you picked out of a catalogue or the latest gadget that will be put on a shelf and forgotten in a day or a week.

Make a pact with friends and family members to only give pre-owned gifts this year. Put a limit on the amount spent and put the rest you would have normally spent making the world a better, more equitable or safer place.

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Coffee, one of Melbourne’s many loves

Melbourne and Melburnians have many love affairs. footy, racing, ragging on Sydneysiders, trams… and coffee. (My list is not comprehensive, Melburnians, what else are you having a love affair with?)

Today I want to salute all the baristi who are slogging away on a public holiday, making our long blacks, short maccs, lattes, half and halfs, skinny caps, soy caps, choc top lattes and any other whacked out coffee hybrid. I couldn’t have made it through the day without mine.  And I know I’m not the only one. So hats off to Melbourne’s baristi one and all. Thank you for today, and every day.

coffee one of melbourne's many loves

Handmade Mexican style cup