Life as an ESL teacher: When Pedro tried to cheat at his English test …

Some of my very favourite multicultural experiences have come from my years spent working as an ESL teacher, both abroad and here in Australia. Teaching English to students from every continent not only got me wondering just how many continents there are, it also had me regularly wondering if my … [Read more...]

Collecting juice in Penang – challenging yourself to try new things on your travels

Do you make a deliberate effort to try new foods (and drinks) when you travel?I have to admit that when I first began travelling I was a bit of a food conservative. I was raised vegetarian so trying to avoid meat was one of the issues, but I think in general I was just a bit of a scaredy-cat!But … [Read more...]

Milo and other unexpected familiarities when travelling abroad

I expect to find plenty of unusual and different things when I travel abroad. I don't expect to find familiar things in completely unfamiliar surroundings. But it sure is fun when it happens.On this trip to Penang, for example, the familiar thing was Milo. You know, Milo the drink. I know Milo very … [Read more...]

Cultural differences, circus by circus: Australia versus Slovakia

After many years of circus drought, I've been to the circus twice this year, in two different countries. In most ways, these circus visits were really very similar. But in others they were really quite different.Entrance to the circus in Trnava, SlovakiaThe first circus was actually a Hungarian … [Read more...]

The shock of no culture shock on arriving in Germany

When I first moved overseas to Japan, I definitely experienced a degree of culture shock, as anyone who's been to Japan can understand - they do lots of things differently there. I soon adjusted and loved living this different life, and when I moved on to Slovakia I found another complete set of … [Read more...]

Japanese swimming pool etiquette and what I learnt from having a rest in an Osaka aquatic park

There are so many unique parts of Japanese life that it's hard to remember them all. Recently an article called The expat art of giving up reminded me of a quirk I hadn't thought about in ages: the hourly rest time at the Japanese swimming pool. Swimming pool lanes, photo credit M … [Read more...]

No qualms about nudity in Japan

Here in Australia, we might be a bit on the prudish side ... so when I got to Japan and heard about onsens, the public baths that are a popular place to visit to relax, I got a bit nervous. Taking my clothes off in front of a bunch of other women was not something I was looking forward to.Yes, I … [Read more...]

That’s my (travelling) cup of tea

Call me strange (plenty have in the past), but until the age of twenty-five, I never drank tea or coffee. And I still don't drink coffee to this day. But the tea - well, the tea is all about travelling.I lived in Japan for two years. Sure, you can live in Japan and ignore some of the traditions, but … [Read more...]

My grand Russian adventure is someone else’s summer vacation

I don't remember when I decided that one day I would just have to ride the Trans-Siberian - I really think it's something that I had in mind even before I had figured out where the Trans-Siberian actually ran. When I started planning to do some serious travel, it was high on my priority list. Then I … [Read more...]

Being sick in Japan is big in Japan

With apologies for the corny title, I'm talking illness today because my household is currently suffering through our worst winter plague since ... well ever, probably, since we now have a small boy who is very generous about spreading germs around left, right and centre. Since all I can think about … [Read more...]