After leaving majestic Uluru, Suzi and I drove 4 hrs north to the legendary town of Alice Springs, passing desert and scrubland, and along the way visited a cool truck stop and wild bird aviary near Mt. Conner which is frequently mistaken for Uluru. My favourite feature at the Curtin Springs “comfort station” was the loo! Out in the middle of nowhere, a clean flush toilet fit for a princess…and no lizards or snakes. Whew! Always lift the seat just in case.And there are great showers, too, for the dusty traveler. As we were pulling out of the carpark, I spied this huge cattle truck but there were no cattle inside…instead, dozens of camels were out for a ride. Hopefully up to one of the camel ride outfits or perhaps another farm and not to the slaughterhouse. Camel meat is very popular in the outback – I’d like to think they were going somewhere nice.
So off we went, on to the next truck stop – a couple of hours later we were in Erldunda, a pretty spot with a petrol station, convenience store and snack shop (yes, I had a meat pie and a Lamington…yummmmm).Erldunda was also home to a family of emus and my little friend, Eduardo, couldn’t wait to get acquainted!An hour later we were driving into Alice Springs, home to legends and myths and the subject of novels and films. Suddenly the roads were smoother and small homes could be seen just off the highway. And there was the old ‘Ghan engine, named for the Afghan traders who traveled the outback with camels loaded with goods, food and other household needs for the settlers and indigenous inhabitants of this remote outpost of humanity.We checked into our accoms and settled in for the night. But I was woken up by the most unique “alarm”….
We grabbed a morning coffee at Gloria Jean’s, a fab coffee house chain – Suzi’s favourite and she couldn’t believe there was a café in an Alice mall close by.Then off to the market to browse the local artisans’ wares and maybe pick up a souvenir or two.I picked up some lovely handcrafted earrings (above) while Suzi picked up a twirly potato thingy. Looked delicious!We found this amazing fabric store that specialized in aboriginal prints and both purchased fabric pieces to have framed upon return home. Easier to carry in a suitcase and get thru customs than a large canvas art piece. And less expensive, too. Can’t wait to get mine to my framers here in Toronto.We then popped up to ANZAC Hill to see the beautiful military memorial from all the wars in which Australia fought. What a great view…
The following day, I was to meet up with one of my favourite Australian indigenous filmmakers and actors, Trisha Penangke, for an interview however she was unwell and didn’t want to share germs with me so we had a nice phone chat instead – an online interview is pending. Suzi and I were to meet her at Telegraph Hill, the location of the first continental telegraph station and now a beautiful park. I had fun hugging giant trees and talking to the pigeons – Aussie pigeons are extremely beautiful with little tufts on their heads.As we drove down the hill, we noticed street signs pointing to the Alice Springs Botanical Gardens – what? Without much water how could this be? We got a lovely surprise when entering the gardens, finding all the native plants, flowers, trees, and some interesting sculptures and mosaic benches along the trails. Next morning, my Galah alarm clock woke me up nice and early as we were flying off to Darwin, way up north, filled with history from WWII bombings to deadly tornadoes….can’t wait for more adventures Down Under. As we headed to the airport, Suzi pointed out the amazing “parking lot” of planes that had been grounded during Covid – they’re still there, hundreds of jets of all sizes. WOW! Suzi took the next 3 photos.But now, it’s up, up and away to Darwin in the top end.
After Longreach in Queensland, we flew out to the red heart of the country – Uluru – how magnificent! As we drove from the remote, tiny airport, this is what we saw…
We checked into the one and only resort at Uluru, the Ayres Rock Resort, which was made up of several accommodation hubs – we stayed at the modestly priced Lost Camel Inn.The resort covered several acres of hotel rooms, townhouses, fancy-schmancy suites, all with aboriginal décor and serviced by lots of touristy souvenir shops, galleries, a grocery store for the self-catering suites, and restaurants. There’s nowhere else to go so we were kinda trapped there. I did, though, buy a lovely hand-crafted red glass pendent from one of the local jewelers.
The region is pretty desolate, flat and bare, but the resort had lots of majestic gumtrees so we had lots of photo opps. with the leafy wildlife.Our first morning at Uluru, I had arranged for a scenic helicopter flight around the big rock so I was filled with a mixture of excitement and fear…I am not a fan of ‘copters. But everything worked out fine. Apart from travel mate Suzi, there was a nice couple joining us in the chopper…needless to say I yelled “shotgun” and got the front seat alongside the pilot. Hee hee hee. So I’ll let my photos and videos do the talking.
WOW…OMG…and several other expletives! Talk about breath-taking and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even flying back to Uluru’s airport was fun. Seeing the runway, planes and terminal building from above really brought home the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere!
The next day we headed out to Uluru by car to get a closer look from the Cultural Centre at the base of Uluru in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It was so brutally hot for me (over 35 degrees c.) so while Suzi was on an up-close guided tour, I stayed in the air conditioned galleries and gift store/café. The gallery owners don’t like you taking photos of the indigenous works, however, having media credentials helps and Myles, the kind and very knowledgeable curator at Walkatjara Art Gallery, allowed me to snap a few shots (below). Unfortunately I wasn’t able take pics of the artists who preferred not to be photographed – there were several ladies on-site painting huge canvases and on big strips of tree bark – what a wonderful experience to be in their presence during such creativity.Suzi came back with these photos of her walk…wow. I wished I had the energy and staying power to have joined her but I think I chose well!It was time to pack up and head straight north to Alice Springs – a legendary town and once the cross-roads for camel trains and now a major stop for the “Ghan”, a big train that carries passengers from South Australia up to Darwin in the far north. This time, Suzi and I would be driving – about 4 hours distance across desert and scrub land. Hopefully no flat tires! Along the way, we found 2 cool rest stops with flush toilets, meat pies and roadside attractions that included a herd of emus….Eduardo was about to meet his cousins! Stay tuned for the next blog.
Since arriving back in Toronto from my 2 months traveling around Australia’s most remote towns, I’ve been obsessed with maintaining contact with new Down Under friends as well as Aussie social media news and information, especially about filmmakers and musicians. One story particularly piqued my interest as it dealt with both those subjects: it told the story of documentary filmmaker, Tristan Pemberton, and his passion project – a new documentary film that told the story of an indigenous rock band as they toured the Australian outback in some of the country’s most remote places.
Gravel Road tells the real-life story of Jay Minning, singer-songwriter of the most isolated rock band in the world, TheDesert Stars. His four-piece bandmates are traditional land owners of Spinifex Country in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia, which is home to the last nomadic people in Australia. From their home in Tjuntjuntjara, the film follows Minning and his band’s first ever tour as they rock their way across the Western Desert with songs of hunter-gatherer life. Their elders survived the British atomic testing (at the infamous Maralinga site) and the band’s profound connection to culture spans back 2,000 generations. With customary Spinifex reciprocity, Minning shares the journey with East-Coast friends, a band named The Re-mains, providing a rare glimpse into his country, his culture, his music and his extraordinary everyday life. Producer/director Pemberton (shown below with editor Harriet Clutterbuck, ASE) previously collaborated with the community of Tjuntjuntjara and The Desert Stars for many years. He produced short films The Cheater and Maku Digging; the documentary Ara Wankatjara Nyinanyi (The Good Health Story) for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Outback Stories show; a short for Spinifex Health Service Ukuri Wiya (Ganga is Bad); the music promo for The Desert Stars homelands tribute Tjuntjuntjara; and most recently The Tjuntjuntjara Story, a staff recruitment film for the Paupiyala Tjarutja Aboriginal Corporation (PTAC).It’s taken some 3 years to research, film, edit and finally get the documentary on screen: Gravel Road is now screening around the world at international film festivals and last month it was screened at CineFest Oz film festival in Western Australia. The band made a surprise live appearance after the film screened, delighting theatregoers. The audience demanded so many encores, the band ran out of material! Offers for them to appear nationwide are now pouring in.I recently e-chatted with Tristan about his journey with Jay and the band, his relationship with the Tjuntjuntjara community, the filming process, the hardships of filming on the road with a small crew and then pulling it all together in order to launch at film festivals across the country…..
Tristan, you’ve worked on several previous projects involving the remote Tjuntjuntjara community – what was so special about Jay and his band’s tour that fired your imagination? Jay and the Desert Stars are traditional landowners of Spinifex Country where, in 1986, the last hunter gatherer nomadic people in Australia and possibly the world – a family of seven – made contact for the first time. My journey to research the facts around those events started over ten years ago, and my passion to tell that story with Tjuntjuntjara Community – with the community’s full support – hasn’t waned. The fact is, Spinifex People, due to their isolation, have managed to keep culture very intact and remained some of the most traditional people left in Australia, and probably the planet. So the Spinifex People have a unique place in Australian and world history, and Jay writes his songs, tells his stories, from that perspective. That in itself fascinates me and lights that fire in my belly to share Jay’s stories and music through film.Were you a fan of The Desert Stars/Re-Mains prior to shooting the film? Yes. I’d first heard of the Desert Stars on my second trip to community where I was running a filmmaking workshop. Together we’d made a short film, called The Cheater, and during post-production we were looking to add music to the edit. A couple of people involved in post immediately suggested we add some Desert Stars music as they were the local rock band. A CD appeared shortly after and I heard their music for the first time. It was such a perfect fit, with songs that reflected culture of life in the desert and the Spinifex experience. And what great songs. Jay really is a gifted songwriter, weaving his life experiences into catchy melody and poetry, with a great 80s rock feel.
Did you discover new truths about the community, the country, the musicians or yourself over the years it took to get the story to the screen? As long as you keep pushing yourself, I don’t think you ever stop learning about yourself and the world. Filmmaking is hard work, and it never really gets easier. But it’s made easier by the contributions of others. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well the same can be said of a film. Without its village, its own little community, most films never get made, or have a chance to find its audience once completed. So as a filmmaker one of the most important jobs is to surround that story idea with its own community who’ll support and protect it and help it grow into something bigger and stronger. It’s been incredibly humbling to watch as so many have invested time and energy into Gravel Road, with their only reward the hope that it, and the band, will succeed in finding an audience.How important was the input from local elders when telling the band’s story and that of the community itself? Absolutely critical. Without input from elders and the collaborative support of the Tjuntjuntjara community, there’s simply no way I could, or would wish to, tell Jay’s or any story that belonged to the Spinifex People. Afterall, they are not my stories. I just see myself as a conduit, using my skills to walk with and work with Tjuntjuntjara community so together we can share their stories. Collaboration only works when there’s genuine ngaapartji ngaapartji (reciprocity) and cross-cultural consultation and understanding. Jay was the first person – outside the post team – to see an edit, and subsequent edits. And once complete, a private community screening was arranged where all community members were invited to attend. I would never allow a community film to go out into the world before the community got to see it first so they are happy that it’s not mis-representing their story, or presenting anything of cultural concern that shouldn’t be seen or heard. Once Gravel Road had Tjuntjuntjara’s community blessing, it then started its journey beyond the desert into the world.
Did you encounter any resistance from Jay or the musicians when shooting scenes that perhaps revealed more on a personal basis than perhaps they wished to share? And if so, how did you strike a balance with creative differences? Not really. The band were very open to allow me access to their lives during the time I was travelling with them. Occasionally I’d be advised not to record a certain landscape, or capture a particular location – but that was always for cultural reasons which I completely respect and had no reason to challenge. At the same time, I was careful not to push people too far. As a documentary filmmaker you have to use your intuition – or simply ask – to work out when the people you’re recording are getting film fatigue. Sometimes people just want a break from the camera and have some personal space, so I was always acutely aware to allow that to happen when needed. (Jay is also an artist who shares stories through his paintings- see below)After watching the trailer, I can see how all that bumpy dirt road traveling must have put a strain on both your vehicles and your own bodies – how many flat tires, broken axles, empty petrol tanks or back aches took their toll on the musicians and crew? So as not to spoil the film, I guess you’ll have to watch Gravel Road to really answer that question. Though I will say it certainly was uncomfortable sitting in a bus driving over corrugated road for hours and hours, days and days on end. On one of the days sitting on the bus I calculated that if we were hitting 50 corrugations (vibrations) a second, it works out to be 180,000 vibration per hour or about 1.5 million vibrations after 8 hours of driving. That plays havoc on electrical and mechanical equipment, not to mention our bodies.As director, cinematographer and co-producer of Gravel Road, how time-consuming was this project and did you have any sort of personal life throughout production? During the shooting phase, I didn’t have much of a personal life at all. Shooting documentary is all consuming, especially when working in remote locations. There was no sound recordist, or any other crew, with me so I had to be on, or ready to go any time during the day and most nights. Even when exhausted you have to be ready to get going. You never know when you might need to capture that critical piece of the action which will help to drive the narrative forward. It’s hard work!How do you hope audiences respond/react to the film both in Australia and when the film hits international screens? We had our world premiere at Phoenix Film Festival, Arizona USA in April. The feedback from audiences there was very positive with loads of lively and engaging discussion after every screening. Later in April Gravel Road appeared at Poppy Jasper International Film Festival in Morgan Hill, California (just south of San Francisco) where it won Best Documentary Feature award. There, too, we had great discussions around the film, the band and the Spinifex People. So far, the feedback we’ve had has been really positive and audiences have enjoyed Jay’s passion for his music and enthusiasm to share his stories. We often get comments about how great the band play and what wonderful, catchy songs they perform. There’re often comments about the landscape that the band passed through. It’s a feel-good film which shares a really positive story about how the Spinifex People have survived atomic testing and the ravages of colonialism to rise above, keep culture strong and succeed.
Thank you, Tristan, and good luck with Gravel Road as it rolls out into wide release in cinemas around Australia and the world. If you want to learn more about the documentary, visit the official website or follow Tristan and the film on social media:
Talk about the middle of nowhere! But oh what a fun place to visit…..In order to reach Winton, you have to first fly into the airport in Longreach (Winton is about a 2hr drive N.W.).Longreach is, in fact, the birthplace of the world-famous QANTAS Airlines (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services) and they have a wonderful museum/heritage centre celebrating the planes that opened up the outback. Although Suzi and I had a few hours to kill on Longreach while waiting for our flight out to Uluru, we only drove past the Qantas Founders Museum but even then we could see the giant 747 jumbo jet in the middle of the exhibition park. Wow, it’s bloody huge!Instead, we hung around the beautiful little town, enjoying some souvenir shopping and of course, I had to enjoy one of the the locally baked meat pies at the Merino Bakery – and a sticky bun….mmmmmm, deelish!We browsed through the fabulous Station Store [https://store.kinnonandco.com.au/] where you can find all manor of country style home accessories, dried flowers, toys, scented soaps, linens…plus out the back, there was a stockman telling yarns (stories) to a small crowd of tourists. And it was here that I met Eduardo…
When I walked around the aisles of the Station Store, I felt a furry little peck on my leg, looked down and found Eduardo the emu. He obviously wanted to join me on my travels around Australia so I “rescued” him from the shop shelves and he then accompanied me on numerous flights as we hit several more outback towns and cities before heading home with me to Toronto.
The one place that intrigued both Suzi and me was the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame…yes a museum and heritage centre dedicated to the rugged life and history of stockmen (cowboys) who oversaw the millions of sheep and cattle that roamed the massive remote stations (homesteads) of the outback over the past 150+ years.They have hundreds of photos, displays of artifacts, videos and interactive exhibitions including the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the cameleers (the Afgan traders who brought household goods and supplies to the remote regions and whose camels were let loose once the railways were built) and features legendary bush artists, poets and musicians, too.
Rodeos are not the sole domain of US cowboys and western life….out in the Australian bush, rodeos and livestock shows were not only great entertainment back in the day but also the only time people could meet and get to know their neighbours regardless of the fact that they lived hundreds of miles apart. The Hall of Fame displayed lots of newspapers and photos highlighting the colourful rodeo clowns, riders and community…And no Aussie bush museum would be complete without a tribute to Slim Dusty’s “Pub with no Beer” anthem (I grew up listening to that song which every Australian can still sing word-for-word). Of course I had to get behind the bar…Outside there were a number of stunning sculptures including this handsome stockman – The Ringer.…and across the paddock, you can see the QANTAS museum, too. So if you’re considering an outback adventure, please think about visiting Longreach, gateway to the Queensland & Northern Territory outback – here are some websites to explore: https://stockmanshalloffame.com.au/https://qfom.com.au/https://experiencelongreach.com.au/
Located less than 25kms outside of Winton (my opal haven), you’ll find the most amazing “museum” filled with dinosaurs, fossils and all manner of ancient Australian critters: it’s The Age of Dinosaurs – home to the world’s largest collection of Australia’s massive dinosaur fossils and dozens of striking sculptures illustrating their lives millions of years ago.Incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in late 2002, the Age of Dinosaurs was based at Belmont, a privately owned sheep station (ranch); four years later, the high, rugged mesa known as “The Jump-Up” was donated by the station owners and today the Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils and comprises a Fossil Preparation Laboratory, Reception Centre and the March of the Titanosaurs exhibition at Dinosaur Canyon. So much to see and do so before heading off on a guided tour of the dino footprint exhibition, I checked out the café overlooking one of the most spectacular views in the region…
The day my travel mate, Suzi, and I visited was hot yet up on the mesa we felt a lovely cooling breeze. So many things to see so let’s start with the tracks of dinosaur footprints. Our guide was knowledgeable, friendly and eager to share her love of the ancient critters with us all.Suzi went off on a guided tour of the fossil prep lab while I enjoyed the vistas and making friends with the local wildlife…flies. Thousands of them, all swarming around me! I tried to enjoy a popsicle to cool down but it was a struggle…slurping underneath my fly-netted hat while hundreds of flies buzzed around me (you can see the flies in this photo). I gave up so went on a trek around the dino canyon and discovered all sorts of installations and outdoor exhibits…..The views were unbelievable, spectacular – even if all you do is just take in all the views, it’s worth a visit.
Suzi and I joined other visitors in a small theatre and learnt more about the dinosaurs discovered there and named for the region. I must admit, I had fun playing in “Jurassic Park Down Under”…at least there was no running, screaming or biting!
Visit the website for all sorts of historic info and natural history stories from Australia….pick your fave dinosaur! And if you’re planning a trip Down Under, please include this extraordinary experience on your itinerary – it’s so worth it, right Suzi?! https://www.australianageofdinosaurs.com/
Winton in Queensland, is a beautiful little outback town that’s filled with picturesque turn of the last century buildings, sculptures and art installations down the centre of the main street and stores filled with opals and other locally mined gemstones and minerals. My favourite store is run by a couple who have appeared on the hit tv series, Outback Opal Hunters, so it was great to meet Joe Taranto and his jewellery designer wife, Natasha and their doggy mate Duncan, when I walked into their large store, The Opal Miner. https://www.facebook.com/theopalminerwinton
They told me how hard it was digging for opals out in the heat, dust and flies. They’ve been mining for over 20 years, searching for “boulder opals” which are most sought after and valuable. Their store showcases their efforts in both raw form and stunning jewellery designed and crafted by Natasha. They also have cool t-shirts, jackets and other logo’d clothing & accessories. And yes, I bought a fab t-shirt.If you visit their Fcbk page (linked in beginning of story) you’ll find examples of Tash’s spectacular, award winning designs such as…
Their new website will launch in the new year so make sure to check it out early 2023 for int’l sales – yes, they will ship to North America. www.theopalminer.com.au You, too, could own a gorgeous pair of opal earrings…like mine!My favourite memory of my visit, apart from buying my earrings, was all those doggy kisses from Duncan. Who’s a good boy…yes you are!
Although I travelled around Australia visiting all the big cities and coastal tourist havens, the small country town that really won my heart was WINTON, Queensland.I first became aware of Winton when it was the location for films and tv shows featuring my idol, Aaron Pedersen. The whole point of visiting with my travel companion and fellow Pedersen fan, Suzi, was to visit some of the town locations and recreate the scenes (eg: sitting on his bar stool at Tattersall’s Hotel from Total Control – see below) and paying tribute to our screen hero who has apparently now retired without formal notice. Suzi and I actually visited several known locations including Broome which was where his final Mystery Road series was shot (I’ll post a Broome blog later).Aaron is featured prominently in both the Waltzing Matilda Centre and the Royal Theatre which is the location for the annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival which takes place at the end of June. Winton is also home to great opal shops and suppliers, in particular Joe and Natasha of The Opal Miner store who have appeared on the hit tv series, Outback Opal Hunters.The residents and business owners in Winton are a wonderful bunch – friendly, welcoming and eager to chat about their town – I hope I can do them justice here. So first, let’s chat about Aaron, director Ivan Sen and the impact Mystery Road has had on the town. In the large museum dedicated to legendary poet and journalist A.B. “Banjo” Patterson and his world-famous poem/song Waltzing Matilda, there are numerous phots, movie posters and quotes on Mystery Road/Goldstone that stand out as soon as you walk into the first exhibition hall…The museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts from the earliest settlers when sheep were the mainstay of daily life. Shearing equipment, old photos, as well as stockmen’s gear, gold mining artifacts and ANZAC memorabilia – we spent nearly 2hrs going thru the halls and outside into barns…it kept going and going and going. But for any proud Australian, the song Waltzing Matilda is considered the unofficial anthem of the country and brings a tear to any eye, esp. those of us who have been away from home for so long.If you’re interested in learning more about the centre, log on to: https://www.matildacentre.com.au
Another great heritage site is the famous Royal Theatre which shows movies under the stars and also has a museum attached. Look what was playing the week Suzi and I were in town!! Visit their website for a great virtual tour: https://royaltheatrewinton.com.au/What a great building to tour – the old box office, the dramatic entrance into the theatre itself with deck chair seating as well as cushioned chairs, with lots of displays around the projection equipment, then into the museum hall with vintage movie posters, cameras and equipment, as well as tributes to locally filmed movies….and lots of Aaron Pedersen pics!…and outside, they have a Walk of Fame which was created with the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival (founded by Butch Lenton) hosted at the Royal each year. So many Aussie greats are represented there but we hope Aaron makes it to the sidewalk soon. http://www.visionsplendidfilmfest.com/Mystery Road fans may also recognize this motel location – the rooms have been reno’d and upgraded since filming several years ago (it’s under new mgmn’t, too) but yes, this is where Jay Swan slept…and so did we!! In fact, Mystery Road is all around town…including a back alley garage decoration and a “Pinky’s” sign found in a hair salon window.The single main street of the town is filled with architectural treasures – typical Aussie pubs and cafes, stores and art installations…
and the sunsets were spectacular, esp. from the patio outside Tattersall’s Hotel. BTW, the food there was deelish.The other big attraction in Winton for me is the opal market…tons of raw opals and beautifully designed jewellery can be found up and down the street but my fave store to drop into is The Opal Miner. It was such a great experience that I’m dedicating a blog just to their fabulous gems..so stay tuned for my next story. In the meantime, here are a few more random pics of Winton before we head off to the Age of the Dinosaurs archeological park attraction located just outside of Winton. It’s Jurassic Park without the screaming, running and biting!It was so hot, hot, HOT throughout my stay that only an icy popsicle would help!
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world can be found in Australia and I was lucky to visit a few. The whitest sand and most stunning vistas can be found in the Whitsunday Islands that lay off the n.e. coast of Queensland between the mainland and the Great Barrier Reef. Sadly, I didn’t visit there this trip, however, Broome’s famous Cable Beach made up for it with incredible sunsets and miles of soft white sand.
After Suzi and I left the red heart of the country, we flew up to Darwin – bathers need to be very careful where they swim as salt-water crocs as well as sharks and jellyfish patrol the shallows looking for unsuspecting tourists who soon become dinner! It wasn’t the season for any of the big predators but still, we were careful to look but not touch! Great sunsets happen every night so it was great to join the crowds watching as the sun dipped down over the Timor Sea.After our stay in Darwin, we flew s.w. to Broome in Western Australia, which is known for its pearling history as well as the famous Cable Beach and the camels who give rides to tourists (not me, thank you very much). Loved Broome and wish I could have stayed longer – such friendly people and great seafood (barramundi is a tasty meaty fish and I certainly ate my fill).Our final stop was Perth, the state capitol of Western Australia and my home town. Throughout the 60s, my family moved around, first living at the beach before building up in the hills overlooking the city. My sister Jenny who lives in Perth along with her own family kindly drove me to my fave beaches which include Cottesloe and Swanbourne, then onto Trigg (used to be called Trigg Island) as well as her own fave beach, a secret shelling beach close to Fremantle, the big port.I am such a beach baby! I love me some sand, surf and sun…throw in a palm tree or two, and I’m in heaven. I hope you get to find your favourite beach and bliss-out on your next vacay!