Tag Archives: Marissa Toohey

Brisbane day trip #2: Surfers Paradise Festival

24 Jun

BRISBANE DAY TRIP #2: SURFERS PARADISE FESTIVAL  Surfers Paradise is like the trashy younger sister of Brisbane – it’s noisy, flashy and always up for a party. So when I heard the very first local festival was on, I prepared for madness. What I found was actually a lovely combination of sunshine, music, art, sport and friendly faces.

One of many performers in the region for Surfers Paradise Festival.

Surfers Paradise Festival involves special performances in the areas of music, art, food and film. The comprehensive event program includes something for everyone and the festival vibe is so obvious in the streets that it’s worth dropping by at any time of the day anyway.

You’ll see acrobatic performers on ribbons amongst the buildings, artists sketching on the ground along CavillAvenue, bands performing original pieces in the mall and loads of unusual street performers.

The best part is that, despite the winter season, the sun is shining and it’s still very warm!

The festival is due to wrap up at the end of the month but there are still a few highlights to go:

Youth a-live lets “guitar-fuelled” youths take to the stage. The final session is on Saturday 26 June at Caville Mall from 2pm to 5pm.

The Great Aussie BBQ is marketed as one of the biggest events of the festival. It will be held at the Esplanade on Sunday 27 June from 11am to 5.30pm and it’s free!

Beachfront markets are on every Wednesday and Friday from 5.30pm to 10pm. The beachfront markets are held along the beachfront … obviously.

Surfers Paradise Festival has attracted loads of entertaining street performers.

Visit the official website for more detailed information: www.surfersparadisefestival.com

By Marissa Toohey


How to kill a day in Brisbane – a picture story

23 Jun


Swim at the man-made beach at Southbank. You can relax in the water and see panoramic views of the city just across the river.

Walk from Southbank to the Botanical Gardens via the Goodwill Bridge.

Stroll through the peaceful Botanical Gardens.

Explore the CBD and don't forget to go shopping at Queen St Mall!

Take a 15 minute ride on The Wheel of Brisbane for great views and an informative guide about the city's history.

Go to QLD Art Gallery. Currently exhibitions are Ron Mueck sculpture and Unnerved: The New Zealand Project.

By Marissa Toohey

Brisbane day trip #1: The Glasshouse Mountains

19 Jun

Me at Wild Horse Mountain lookout with Glasshouse Mountains in the background.

BRISBANE DAY TRIP #1: THE GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS Perched atop of the flat plains of Beerwah,45 minutes north of Brisbane, lie 15 perky mountains called the Glasshouse Mountains. 25 million years ago they were active volcanoes. Today, only the ancient cores remain, consisting of hard solidified molten rock.

Some of them appear like spires, the others distinctively round. Mt Beerwah is the highest at 556 metres above sea level. To witness a panoramic view (pictured above), drive south east to Wild Horse Mountain and then follow the signed walking track. The cement path detracts from the scenery during the steep walk to the lookout, but it’s only 700m and the view is first class. You will see Brisbane, Caboolture and Maroochydore cities from the top.

Mt Coonowrin

Mt Coonowrin - one of 15 Glasshouse Mountains.

Scenic drives around the national park are clearly signposted and make for a peaceful day out (no GPS necessary).

If you only have a couple of hours to spare, I recommend walking the Wild Horse Mountain and Glass House Mountains lookout tracks. Beefy’s Pies on the Bruce Highway make for a convenient treat in between the two tracks.

The mountains offer more for amateur and experienced climbers, with summit treks, rock climbing and abseiling options. However, the mountains have been closed several times this year because of serious damage caused by rock falls. In May, three climbers were air lifted to safety from Mt Tibrogargan. Climbers should always consult authorities for official weather and condition reports before commencing a climb.

Visit AustralianExplorer website for more information or go to the Brisbane Information Centre.

By Marissa Toohey

Corporate frequent flyer turns to not-for-profit travel

17 Jun

CORPORATE FREQUENT FLYER TURNS TO NOT-FOR-PROFIT TRAVEL  I have officially left the corporate world to enter the not-for-profit sector and it’s going to be a tough transition. For the past three years I have worked in the PR team of one of Australia’s largest infrastructure groups. The company has flown me to most Australian states for photo shoots, filming and events, put me up at fancy hotels and paid for exquisite meals. It wasn’t always glamorous though. In fact, I spent one day filming at an aeration water treatment plant, which means I was covered from head to toe in poo particles by the end of the day. But I achieved silver frequent flyer status and boasted to my friends about regular travel assignments.

Exquisite meals are a benefit of the corporate world

Just two nights ago I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Sydney. I had a huge room to myself, with a spa bath, cable channels and a bed that’s big enough to sleep Shrek and all his fairytale friends. But today I received my first travel itinerary for my new position. It says I will be sharing a room with someone else. For a moment I thought to myself, “How the mighty have fallen.”

I’m no princess. I always rough it during personal holidays, either backpacking in dorms or camping, and I love it! But the corporate world is a vacuum – it sucks even the most reluctant individuals in – and you quickly become used to expensive treatment for work purposes.

I have enjoyed the perks during my service to the corporate world, but I have also been internally torn, at times. The money that has contributed to my special treatment could have better served someone less fortunate than me. For that reason, I welcome shared accommodation for my new work purposes because the organisation’s money is strategically managed for a good cause. There are many other advantages to budget travel anyway. For example, you usually meet more people, get a ‘real’ taste of the areas you visit, and you don’t need to wear a suit.

Stay tuned to read about my experiences adjusting to working and living in Vietnam.

By Marissa Toohey

Heavy backpacks and the symbol of happiness

6 Jun

HEAVY BACKPACKS AND THE SYMBOL OF HAPPINESS  Most people associate backpacks with pain and difficulties but, to me, backpacks symbolise the things that make me happiest: travel, adventures and clothes! For that reason, I almost always wear a large smile as I carry my backpack and I always receive smiles in return.

Yesterday morning I was browsing a shop in Sydney Central train station when I turned around and accidentally whacked a girl with my massive backpack as she was walking behind me. I really belted her, so I felt terrible, but she smiled, apologised to me (I don’t even know why) and then initiated a friendly conversation by asking where I was traveling to. I’m sure if the same incident had occurred while wearing my usual gym bag she would have hissed, cursed and considered whacking me back.

I like hoisting a large bag over my shoulder that weighs more than a young child. Yes, it’s painfully heavy but I enjoy the great encounters and meetings that occur when people sympathise or become curious about my battle-with-the-bag.

I’m less than 160cm tall, average weight, fit but not particularly strong, and my backpack looks like it was designed for a tall man with broad shoulders. It towers a foot above my head and consumes my entire body. The straps nestle neatly around my hips and the pockets cling to the contours of my waist so it hugs the whole back half of my body, as if we are intimately spooning.

It might look silly but I love my bag. It’s not only a necessary part of my travel hobby, it’s a symbol of the happy moments it creates, both for me and others. I will keep that in mind during the hard times ahead in South East Asia.

By Marissa Toohey

Giving and receiving "last looks"

31 May

GIVING AND RECEIVING “LAST LOOKS”  The “last look” is something you receive when you say goodbye to someone and know there’s a chance you won’t see each other for a long time, or never again. During the weekend I received a dozen last looks as I caught up with old friends at my hometown and shared the news about my impending move to Vietnam and intention to continue traveling. I expected the last looks to feel awkward and sad, but my friends looked at me with such warmth and excitement that I really, really enjoyed it.

Image from sydneycityvisits.com

Because I am moving away for a new and exciting job, people are joining me in celebration. Compared to sombre and disappointing seperations in the past, when friends and colleagues have moved away for other reasons, my depart appears to be refreshing and exciting for others to hear. And after many hard effects of the GFC last year, it’s nice to share some positive news.

At the end of this week I will finish working with my current company and experience a whole new round of last looks, this time from colleagues. Now I’m looking forward to receiving the looks and, as I walk out the doors of the office and leave the city I have lived in for all of my life, I’ll be looking back very fondly as well, thinking there’s a chance it might be for the last time.

By Marissa Toohey

Which road trip character are you?

26 May

WHICH ROAD TRIP CHARACTER ARE YOU?  The greatest thing about the vast Australian landscape is the variety of road trips it offers, but the quality of the journey often depends on the characters you travel with.

I conquered one of the most well-travelled routes, from Sydney to Brisbane, in a single day over the recent weekend, rushing because I had to move furniture to a new apartment in Brisbane in time to fly back to Sydney for work on Monday (click here to read why). The journey stretches over 900km along the east coast and boasts sights such as South West Rocks and The Big Banana. But unfortunately I never had time to see the sights during my rushed ride and, because I slept for around half of the journey, I barely even saw the road.

What I realised is that I fall into one of the typical road trip character categories: the sleeper.

You can identify sleepers by their inability to maintain consciousness during sessions longer than an hour in the car, by their constant yawning, failure to sit upright, tendency to casually nod and say “uh huh” rather than to continue conversations, and for their inability to carry out tasks for up to ten minutes after arriving at the destination.

I have always been a sleeper and suspect it’s in my genes because my dad is infamous for falling asleep mid-sentence and while standing up. I know being a sleeper is a pain in the neck for others, especially when travelling in pairs, but alternative road trip characters aren’t much better.

There’s the gamesperson who badgers others to play Eye Spy and The Numberplate Game. The DJ-roadie who hogs the car stereo. The attention-seeker that commands the spotlight and talks about them self for the entire journey (I really hate that one). But the worst of all is the doo-doo guy or girl that requires a rest stop every half hour.

After considering other possible personas to adopt for my next road trip, I decided I should be the driver. Because no matter what your character is, everyone needs to put up with you in order to get from A to B.

By Marissa Toohey

Why I cringed at the syringe

19 May

WHY I CRINGED AT THE SYRINGE  The thought of medical preparation required for a trip to a developing country can be daunting, especially considering the time and money that should be invested in vaccinations. But I realised it’s often not as bad as people lead you to believe.

I was really dreading the vaccination process and was surprised when I successfully received a jab in the arm today without passing out. It might seem like a minor achievement to you, but it’s a momentous occasion that my close friends and family will celebrate.

Yes, I have a phobia of needles and, while you laugh at me now, it’s far worse than the average person’s cringe at the sight of a syringe. I have been fainting at the thought of medical issues since I was very young. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to hear, “she’s going … going … gone!” The extent of my medical phobia is so severe that I recently saw a good friend and her new son at the hospital maternity ward and passed out. There were no drips, needles, blood or guts in sight. I was simply at the hospital to meet a new baby. But the mere thought of medical issues and the eery feeling of the hospital are enough to put me flat on my back.

You can imagine my angst leading up to the travel health assessment today, which is required as part of preparation for my new position in Vietnam. The program organisers provided an entire manual to assist with the medical assessment process which includes lists and lists of vaccinations. It suggested I would need two months to receive full courses of the vaccinations necessary for South East Asia.

I received a pleasant surprise when my doctor recommended just two vaccinations that are actually available in a single dose. Which means I received only one jab in the arm. It all happened so quickly that I never had a moment to think about it, let alone panic.

The reason I require so few needles is because many of my previous vaccines are still effective. Furthermore, I have a squeaky clean medical history and am fit and healthy so the doctor had no reason to run pathology tests.

Of course, individual experiences are unique and, for some, medical clearance is a time consuming and costly matter. I suggest that, before fretting, carefully consider your medical and vaccination history and book a half hour appointment with your GP to deal with all matters in one session.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re afraid of passing out like me, you may as well get it over and done with. It sure beats getting Hepatitis.

By Marissa Toohey

Rolling on past

16 May

ROLLING ON PAST  An old video that features an interview with me talking about my roller derby team on news.com.au has resurfaced. I have had a few people contact me about this recently and it’s funny that most people don’t realise I used to roller skate and coached Sydney’s derby team when they were initially starting out. Today, just two years later (and a fair while since I retired as coach), the sport has a number of teams and is growing fast. Congratulations to the team for increasing the profile of the sport! You can learn more about the Sydney Roller Derby League here, or watch the old news.com.au video below and have a giggle at my responses.

Forfeiting phone plans, internet connections, apartments and …

13 May

FORFEITING PHONE PLANS, INTERNET CONNECTIONS, APARTMENTS AND … It’s a strange thing to cancel all accounts and abandon most commitments in your life. Leading up to an international relocation, you need to forfeit all the things that are considered essential during your day to day life – mobile phone plan, bank accounts, apartment, car – because they are no longer required. These are the things that have been connecting you with society for years and years. I’ve heard the feeling when you’re finally disconnected from everything, is either blissful liberation or pure fear.

I’m getting ready to move to Vietnam and, in around a week, I will have forfeited almost all of my commitments in Australia. You might curiously wonder if I’m subtly referring to my relationship as well but, honestly, that’s the easiest and greatest commitment to maintain. It takes more than seven thousand kilometres to break that up.

I have already sold my car, canceled my phone account, internet, resigned from my job, I will cancel two bank accounts, move out of my apartment and leave all of my recreational groups and professional associations. I’m throwing away most of the things I own as well. What’s left? An enthusiastic couch surfer that’s roaming with nothing but a backpack full of clothes and a smile for a while.

I’m leaving the Land of the Norm and entering the Forest of Limbo, where it’s known by the masses as dangerous and scary but recognised by few as exciting and adventurous. What’s on the other side? I don’t know. Maybe the River of Mum Can I Please Borrow Some Money?

There are a few possessions I just can’t bare to throw away but I can’t take them with me, so they will go to my parents’ house: printed photographs, university books and my professional portfolio. I’ve packed them up nicely and will place them on top of the boxes I stored in the garage four years ago when I originally moved out (sorry again Mum, Dad).

I’m really looking forward to the end of the month when I’m fully emancipated from my life in Sydney, because that’s when I’m going to Brisbane to spend time continuing my favourite and only remaining commitment: my relationship. And I believe that’s called the Land of …? You know how the cheesy ending goes.

By Marissa Toohey

From underwear to board games – Things to consider when moving interstate and overseas.

10 May

FROM UNDERWEAR TO BOARD GAMES – THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN MOVING INTERSTATE AND OVERSEAS  I’m in an unusual position because I will be moving to both Brisbane AND Vietnam shortly. I have been talking about moving out of Sydney for the past two years and it’s finally happening at full speed so I’m really excited. But it’s also overwhelming considering the logistics of, not one, but two major relocations within a very short time frame.

I am due to move to Brisbane because my partner Shea has been offered a six month position for a major project in Queensland. It’s a great opportunity for me to temporarily transfer with him and explore another major Australian city. Shea will move north next week and I will couch surf in Sydney until early June when I finish working with my current company (you don’t happen to have a spare couch, do you?).

At the start of July, after just one month in Brisbane, I will move to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and start working in a new communications and media role for an INGO. Moving overseas requires many additional tasks that are not required when moving interstate, and by moving interstate leading up to my move to Vietnam, it makes simple tasks such as receiving courses of vaccinations very difficult to complete properly. I often think, “If only I could take my doctor with me.”

I have a million things to do in preparation for the first move – catch up with family, friends, throw things out, finish uni assessments, throw things out, pack and throw more things out – so I can’t concentrate on anything but the impending move. Then for the second move, I also need to arrange visas, vaccinations, loads of extra paper work, and I need to assist my current colleagues with a smooth handover during a very, very busy time. It sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

I have developed a Work In Progress checklist below that is intended to help me, and other nomads in similar situations to me, to keep track of essential tasks. Please comment in the box below if you have any recommendations that might help to streamline my moves interstate or overseas. I have moved many times but always fail to do it smoothly. Any help would be appreciated in my time of need!

Things to do:

  • Paperwork – resign from work, email job acceptance, arrange visas, complete travel form, bank form, emergency contacts, promotion details, pre departure report, sign code of conduct and job agreement, download relevant medical examination forms and letters to doctor, note my vaccination history, take a psychological questionnaire, submit my tax, email real estate, complete assessment for Contemporary Communication Theory uni subject, complete assessment for Individual Communication Management uni subject
  • Materials and services – Unlock my mobile phone in order to access global roaming, get a hair cut and colour, buy new underwear, buy necessary entertainment for on the road (maybe I shouldn’t have thrown that travel board game out already), buy Vietnam Lonely Planet book
  • Appointments – discuss resignation and finishing date with boss, meeting with real estate, medical travel health assessment, second stage travel health assessment, pathology test, third travel health assessment, vaccinations, vaccinations, vaccinations, more freakin vaccinations, dentist, call my new job Project Coordinator, phone meeting with Vietnam In Country Manager, meeting with the Australian partner organisation, phone meeting with the team in Vietnam, phone meeting with my Vietnamese counterpart
  • Packing – throw everything out except one backpack full of clothes, three pairs of shoes, laptop, still camera, video camera, phone, external harddrive, handful of photos, drop other things to my parents
  • Change of address – redirect mail for phone, bank, insurance, superannuation x3, cancel electricity, gas, research to see if electoral roll notification is required, RSVP “unable to attend” to upcoming events (sorry!)

Please assist me by commenting with advice in the box below, and wish me luck!

By Marissa Toohey

Vietnam, it’s like winning lotto

7 May

VIETNAM, IT’S LIKE WINNING LOTTO  I feel like I’ve just won the lottery because I’ve been selected for a job in Vietnam and I couldn’t be happier. In reality, I’ll be about as rich as I was in university because it’s a sponsored volunteer program. The idea is that I’ll leave the program with a wealth of knowledge and experience that’s difficult to match, and I think that’s far greater than a high paying salary at this point in time for me.

Photograph from Lonely Planet website

The volunteer program is one of the most well supported volunteer programs available in Australia. I will receive a monthly allowance that covers accommodation and food, in addition to flights, visas, vaccinations and a special establishment allowance. So, while I won’t be earning the big bucks, I will earn enough to get by and it’s cheap enough to explore South East Asia on most weekends and holidays without spending all of my savings.

My assignment is based in Ho Chi Minh City (old Saigon) which is located in southern Vietnam and has a population of about eight million people. The culture shock will be huge. But that’s what I’m in it for. There are so many wonderful sights in Vietnam. I want to see villages along the Mekong Delta, explore the Old Quarter in Hanoi, scuba dive at beautiful Nha Trang and experience the old charm of Hoi An. Over six months I should be able to fully immerse myself in local cultures and unlock the city’s secrets.

The actual role is very similar to my current job. I will be working in communications and media for an INGO that enables vulnerable families to access shelter, water and sanitation. The main objectives are to develop critical relationships with donors, volunteers and media, to provide training for staff in media, and to enhance core communication resources including the newsletter, information kits and the website. Weekly meetings with my supervisor, In Country Manager (ICM), and counterpart will ensure I meet strategic assignment objectives. I have my fingers crossed that we hold meetings in Vietnam’s famous karaoke bars!

I have a lot of preparation to do over the next six weeks. I was already due to move to Brisbane with my partner this month. So I have to move to Brisbane, finish uni, arrange visas, medical and mental checks (it’s a standard procedure, I swear), finish working in my current role, attend Pre Departure Training (PDT) in Canberra, coordinate flights, find accommodation in HCMC, in addition to introducing myself to all stakeholders over the phone in the meantime: my ICM, Australia partner organisation representative, my future supervisor and counterpart.

I can’t wait to get there in July and to begin sharing my new life with my readers. Wish me luck and stay tuned! You can sign up to receive email updates as my new blogs become available. Go to the right menu area and sign up under Email Subscription.

By Marissa Toohey

Top tip – How to stay happy when Mother Earth's a b*tch

30 Apr

HOW TO STAY HAPPY WHEN MOTHER EARTH’S A B*TCH  The problem with coordinating holidays around events that involve nature is Mother Earth often gets in a bitch of a mood. I recently got really disappointed when the weather ruined my plans at the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. Firstly my dive was canceled for the Poor Knights Islands, which are reported to have some of the greatest dive sites in the world. The next day I was booked to swim with wild dolphins – something I have wanted to do since I was five or six years old – and that was canceled as well, because of rough seas.

I was especially annoyed because I usually keep my travel plans flexible, moving from town to town as I wish. But for this particular trip my accommodation was set in stone, which means I couldn’t stick around to go diving or dolphin swimming when conditions improved. The only reason I had a strict itinerary on this occasion was because it was Easter holidays and hotel availability was tight.

When I consider how most of my friends travel – with every single minute locked into a specific time or place as arranged by a neurotic travel agent – I realise most people become frustrated when things get canceled or postponed. And it’s heartbreaking when holiday dreams get swept away. So in effort to help my friends, family and random readers to avoid the heart-wrenching disappointment of a canceled event, these are my hot tips for making a holiday fun and flexible:

Don’t risk forfeiting huge accommodation costs.  Unlike most accommodation websites, such as wotif.com and lastminute.com, hostelworld.com does not require you to foot the whole bill up front, which means you can forfeit a booking at the last minute and only lose a few dollars. I once forfeited a hostelworld.com booking in Japan because I was exhausted after climbing Mt Fuji and just wanted to collapse in a bed at the foot of the mountain, rather than catch a train to Tokyo as planned. Hostelworld.com offers hostels, bed and breakfast arrangements and budget hotels. It’s a great site for booking accommodation when you’re already on the road.

Take advantage of cheap last minute offers.  Don’t book flights ten months in advance and risk cancellation from unforeseen events, such as volcano eruptions! You can grab cheap airfares as close as a month from your planned departure date. Sign up for monthly newsletter updates that feature great sales. Visit http://au.travelzoo.com, www.bestflights.com.au or go to the travel section of your favourite news website, for example The Sydney Morning Herald Traveller distributes special offers and discounts through its e-newsletter. Sign up at www.smh.com.au/travel.

Find a flexible tour operator.  If you’re not comfortable travelling alone or planning it as you’re on the road, there are tour operators that offer flexible arrangements. For example, Busabout offers hop-on hop-off deals on a series of networks. All you need to do is select the network, for example the North Loop of Europe, and then travel at your own pace, jumping on and off Busabout buses in certain cities until you complete the entire network.

Take your sweet time driving.  Hiring a car can be expensive but it allows you to take your sweet time getting from A to B and sometimes produces unexpected discoveries along the way. It also means you can easily access alternative sights to keep busy if events are canceled. If you’re on a tight budget, limit car hire to just a few days as required and don’t forget to claim frequent flyer points through your booking – they can go towards reducing the cost of your next flight.

By Marissa Toohey

I had a whale of a time at NSW’s Sapphire Coast

27 Apr

I HAD A WHALE OF A TIME AT NSW’S SAPPHIRE COAST  I usually retreat north on long weekends and holidays to seek warmer water and sunshine. But I spent the ANZAC long weekend at the Sapphire Coast in southern NSW and feel like I have been missing out on one of the state’s greatest treasures. It has seductive turquoise water and towns with much more character and charm than most on the north coast.

It’s a long drive from Sydney but the scenery makes the journey a treat. The coastal highway winds right and left and up and down which feels similar to driving around New Zealand’s mountainous landscape but, thankfully, its not plagued with winnebagos (which, on New Zealand’s single-lane highways, make the calmest person curse like a drunken pirate).

Eden was our main destination which is marked on the map with a deceptively large title. The town is actually very small. I assume the large title remains on the map from the early 1900’s when Eden had a flourishing population and a successful local economy that was heavily reliant on whaling. Today the town maintains remnants of the old whaling industry, with a charming old harbour full of fishing trawlers, quaint lighthouses and the best part: the killer whale museum.

Killer whales hunt baleen whales (humpback, fin and blue whales) all over the world. But what’s special about the killer whale story in Eden is that it’s the only reported place where killer whales and humans have hunted together. For more than a century three pods of killer whales would lead a local family, the Davidsons, out to sea to join their hunts for baleen whales that were traveling past on journeys up and down the Australian east coast. The museum says a few members of the pod of orcas would even swim right into the mouth of the river where the Davidsons lived and they would thrash their tails to encourage the whalers to join them. When the prey was dead, the Davidsons would leave the carcass for the killers to eat the tongue and lips as payment and then the remainder of the whale was taken to shore. You can read more about the killers of Eden at www.killersofeden.com

Merimbula is another popular destination on the Sapphire Coast. It’s slightly bigger than Eden and is located about 20 minutes north. Merimbula operates one of few dive shops in the region and they often lead dives on wrecks scattered along the coast, including the Tasman Hauler (you know the famous picture of a scuba diver hovering over a huge propellor?). There are also many popular shore dives. I dove underneath the Tathra historic wharf and along the reef nearby and highly recommend it. The dive is scattered with colourful fans, starfish, moray eels and a huge bull ray that made his presence known under the wharf. There’s something transcendent about gliding through rows of pylons that I just love. You can contact Merimbula Divers Lodge at www.merimbuladiverslodge.com.au

Unfortunately a long weekend wasn’t enough to uncover more secrets of the Sapphire Coast but I’m certain there’s more gems to find. I’m planning another trip there shortly, to dive with seals at Montague Island near Narooma. Can we have another long weekend soon, please?

By Marissa Toohey

Spa deals

3 bands I'd fly across the world for

21 Apr

3 BANDS I’D FLY ACROSS THE WORLD FOR   There’s nothing like seeing a band when they’re comfortable and performing in front of their oldest and most loyal fans. There’s an extra special connection between an artist and their home crowd that everyone else misses out on and the connection is so electrifying, it’s sometimes worth flying across the world to experience.

When I talk about flying across the world for a band, I’m not referring to getting tickets to see an old band that announces a “come back” concert, consisting of “have-beens” attempting to revive their prime years by donning latex and a grin despite serious resistence from fragile old bodies (yes, there was a subtle reference to Axl in there). I’d rather remember those types of bands fondly, recalling when they could actually perform. I’m referring to bands that are still reported as being amazing, youthful and can perform their greatest acts.

I wouldn’t hesitate to invest in a round-the-world ticket to catch a glimpse of the following bands in their home countries.

1. Muse at London in England. Imagine experiencing singer Matt Bellamy’s vocal range in full cry, performing the greatest Muse album, Absolution, in front of his own home crowd. Absolution includes songs Time is Running Out, Hysteria and Sing for Absolution.The band previously performed Absolution at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival in England and told MTV the concert was “the best gig of our lives”. I wonder if they can do it even bigger and better…

2. Rammstein at Berlin in Germany. Rammstein is one “hot” band! Even if you are not a fan of Rammstein’s heavy music, you have to appreciate the band’s daring costumes and complex pyrotechnics. The German band has achieved global notoriety for its over-the-top stage performances which often include fire balls and glitterbursts and even the singer, Till Lindemann, spends entire songs on fire!

3. No Doubt at Anaheim in California. This will not surprise those who know me well but, for everyone else, I couldn’t help but include my favourite band ever. You might contest how I put No Doubt into a category of bands that are still in their prime but, in my eyes, they’ve still got it baby! I’d love to see Gwen and the boys perform Tragic Kingdom and revive the great scar era of the 90s.

Who would you fly across the world for?

By Marissa Toohey

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