Tips on how to be a good social media friend.

How to be a good Facebook, social media, friend, or blog follower is quite simple. It’s called ‘netiquette’ an online version of etiquette. Basically, it’s just being a good social networking friend to both the person blogging, or posting on Facebook, and to your other friends too.

use IMG_6302

So how to be that good friend?

Just like all those funny, or cat video clips we watch and repost, it’s really helpful to your writing friend, or photographer, or artist, to repost their work too. Artists and writers need people to read their work or consider the artwork whether this is by pencil, paint or camera.

Another way is to comment on the piece, or ask a question, or tag a friend telling them, “hey Pat you will enjoy this” or “how about we go here on our next weekend break Peter”. Your other friends will value the fact you were thinking of them, and are introducing them to artists or writers or bloggers will no doubt trust your taste, after all you’re friends so will have much in common.

If you have read one of my books, could you also add a wee comment about it on Amazon. Links to my blogs, Facebook pages (four of them!) and other social media pages are on my webpage for easy access.

So see, it is really easy to be a good friend to your writing friend, your favourite photographer, or local artist – and that tiny commitment will make a huge difference to them. Sitting at home, creating without any feedback, can be difficult, and for travel writers like me, it’s often the interaction I have with my followers that shows tourist destinations or activities that yes, this is a person we should invite to our city, country, or event. The more they can see that people follow me and enjoy my writing the more likely I am to get invitations or commissions to write.

One word of warning though, if you are anything like me, you need to do this instantly you see the blog or Facebook post or it will be gone forever, lost in all the other daily activity and busy minds! This doesn’t have to be a big chore, once a day would be wonderful.

And, if you repost blog links (or posts) to my pages on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media like StumbleUpon or Instagram, add a hashtag # (eg #kiwitravelwriter or #travel or #goodblog) I’d be really grateful: so, ‘thank you’ in advance.



Kiwi travel writer proves she is ‘not a sucker’

The Kiwitravelwriter fails at sucking even when given a lesson in eating these snails!
The Kiwitravelwriter fails at sucking – even when given a lesson in eating these snails!

Many thanks to Rash (Jo’s Bamboo Cuisine) who really tried hard to teach me to get the insides out of these native snail while at the Sarawak Cultural Village and the Rainforest World Music Festival (#RWMF) earlier this month.

While she and other locals made it seem so easy, it became very obvious I need to practise sucking more, or, carry a pin to winkle them out next time!

“It’s easy, just suck, then eat.” As she also told me … they’re like rubbery chewing gum!


Girls guide to rugby

What are my qualifications for writing this blog you may ask 

Well, I can spell Rugby, and I’m a girl

  • I once, briefly,  coached a rugby team of 7 or 8 year-old boys
  • My husband coached a team ( Shirley Club)
  • Buck Shelford is my by marriage cousie-bro (for the curious; his grandfather and my mother-in-law were twins)
  • I am a  one-eyed Cantabrian and an All Blacks supporter
  • My younger son played for Shirley, and Canterbury in the lowest grade (before a major motor-bike accident)
  • I opposed the Springboks playing in NZ and was even arrested in 1981 for protesting
  • I’m opinionated and love fun – and these are my best qualifications to write this blog



How to pick the best team to follow

 If you don’t have a particular local team to follow during the world cup colours are a great way to choose one.

Find the team whose colours suit YOU best and become their fan. If black makes YOU look cute, follow the All Blacks.  If green and gold are your favourite colours well it’s the Australian team for you as that’s their sporting strip.  There are many stripes of red, blue and white.

When the forwards get into a huddle to fight for the ball the technical term is a scrum. Sometimes the “other team” behave badly when in this pack, (cluster or huddle) and have to be sent to the sin-bin.

Learn history: NZ Rugby started in Nelson – it originated in the mid-1800s, in the UK, when some cheeky bloke called William Web-Ellis picked up the ‘foot’ ball and ran with it: or so I believe!

For your information: touch judges never touch anyone, and hookers are not REAL hookers – they are very import in the scrum as it’s their job to ‘hook the ball’ away for the ‘other’ team. When they do that they become happy-hookers, although this is not an official rugby term.

Use Numerology Pick the player to support and follow by his number ( which as you know equates to his position on the field) For me that would be an  easy choice, as my local team, (Canterbury/Crusaders ) and the All  Blacks #7 is the world’s #1 (Richie McCaw )

Learn the rules and rugby-speak. That will amaze the boys (and other girls too I guess) then pick a team (or player) and support them totally: remember they can do no wrong! A sign at the Christchurch Central library – ‘books with balls’ – Well, rugby is a game with balls! The commentators often make (inadvertently) funny comments when talking about balls and you can too.

Crouch, touch, pause, engage. This is a rugby term used when the forwards get into a huddle to fight for the ball. It can be used as a timing strategy in many situations that need a few seconds countdown. A friend uses it daily in her to get in and out of her apartment

The three biggest men are put in the front row of the scrum, and the next two biggest get behind (they call these men ‘the tight five’ because they hang onto each other tightly) them and try to push the other team backwards. In the ‘olden days’ supporters would call out ‘weight weight’ meaning put more weight into the big shove. My mother embarrassed me by saying “No, don’t wait.’ She needed a guide like this!

The ‘backs’ have mathematical terms for some position names – for someone lousy at figures it is not strange that my teenage love played as ‘fullback’ or #15 rather than one of the five-eights. Other names such as ‘centre’ #13 and ‘wing’ (11 & 14) are self-explanatory

The ‘tight-five’ is a dangerous place to be especially for ears. Many people don’t like cauliflower, and no-one wants their ears to be called that but many front-rowers have them because of repeated hits to the ear. Once this happens, the person’s ear may look lumpy forever. Some wise players try to prevent this by wearing headgear.

Read rugby history … this link is about the 50 greatest All Blacks … knowing this will impress your rugby-head mates


rugby 7


Post travel distress disorder and jet lag. How do you cope with it?

Once again I’m suffering from post travel distress disorder! (see an earlier post on the topic) It seems to be a common theme for me over the years of travel and travel-writing – albeit a high-class problem!

Most friends complain of jet-lag: for me it seems I have an emotional and work lag and find it hard to ‘get cracking’ or even motivated to get going with all the work I have planned.

Not being able to write and being over weight makes me feel like this fellow in Bratislava!

This week may be a turning point as, with along with shedding some of the weight I acquired during my trip on the long-boat Njord, I have started to return to my usual routine and last night I again went out as a volunteer dog-walker for the SPCA with puppies from the Wellington shelter. (Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

I have also written a small blog about a swan tapping on my window while on the Main River and now this one … so slowly a writing routine is starting – and long may it continue. I have even posted an update on Facebook – and Twitter will soon follow!

kiwitravelwriter reinvented herself – you can too

My recipe for ‘how to run away from home and reinvent yourself’

  • Start as a child with a love of reading. This involves hiding under the blankets reading of far away places that creates a desire for travel: I imagined I was Anne Frank in her Amsterdam attic and Heidi on the mountains of Switzerland. Naturally, I was the hero between the covers of every book I read.
  • Add, listening to far away, static-crackling voices in languages I didn’t understand on my brother’s crystal radio, and dream of exploring those lives, and there you have it! The germ of an idea, the yeast of a dream, began bubbling below the surface of my conciseness. The first, most basic ingredients for my developing recipe were lined up on the bench of my mind.
  • Cover, and leave that bowl of imagination to infiltrate through life’s ups and downs, keep reading, keep dreaming until life and circumstances add more ingredients. These extra components are where your individuality, situation, and conditions, add to the recipe and finally, the end result! (NOTE: Unlike many recipes, this one is totally tailored to each circumstance.)

My extra ingredients included: the deaths of a 20-year old son, and my husband, recovery from alcoholism, and too many birthdays. In my late forties, I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Perhaps I could play catch-up with the traditional Kiwi penchant for travel. read more here

Follow your dreams

Tiny plane, big sky, big world

‘I want to be like you when I grow up’ is written on a backgammon set given to me by a young American woman when I was in Greece. I have heard them so often as I travel and I agree – and I too want  to be like me when I grow up. Maybe that’s the secret, maybe I haven’t grown up. Just another baby-boomer who wants it all; now. However I believe I have a better life than anyone I know. Beyond my wildest dreams actually.

I am not the only person to hear such words. Over lunch with Rita Golden Gelman (The Female Nomad.  Vintage.2001) she tells me she too has had the same experiences. We agreed that rarely do our adventures and writings inspire older travellers to throw caution to the wind and join us – but many young people see us as a wonderful role model. A compliment indeed.

We offer an alternative to being captured by societal norms – life on the road. As Rita said, “there is more than one way, to do life. ( read how I have done life in Naked In Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad – see link at top of this page)

Crazy, courageous or downright selfish are the viewpoints people take when judging our lifestyle. Another one that Rita seems to have had more than me is the assumption that you are “running away”. Not so.

Although I often use the term “ I’m running away to. . .” I am not running from anything but towards something new, exciting, different. That does involve leaving the society and expectations that we have grown up with – but it’s not running from. Its making different choices. Continue reading “Follow your dreams”

how to behave in the air – do you need reminding?


+  If you are asked to board in groups, there’s a reason.  It is called efficiency.  Cutting in line to get on the aircraft before your group is summoned will simply delay take-off.  Indeed, this form of aircraft entry is designed so that there are not people blocking you as you try to get to your assigned seat and they try to get their carry-on luggage situated by standing in the aisles.

+  Do your best to stow your bags in the bins above your assigned seats.  If you can’t, secure a bin within reaching distance.  This is helpful not only if you need something from up above during the flight, but also after the plane has landed and you are allowed to reclaim your carry-on and deplane.  In both instances, you are apt to cause the least amount of commotion if you are easily able to grab your bag out of a bin.plane overhead

+  Keep your laptop underneath the seat in front of you, for your protection as well as for the protection of the people sharing your overhead bin.  Since items tend to tumble around a bit while stowed up above, expect some fallout some of the time when the bin is opened. That said, the last thing you or your fellow passenger needs is to be knocked on the head by a flying computer.  The same goes for bottles of wine or pieces of heavy glass.

+  If you are toting any of the items mentioned above (computers, wine bottles, etc.), do not book a bulkhead seat (a seat that faces a wall) because those particular seats do not have any seat in front of them and therefore they have no under seat storage capabilities.  By default, those passengers occupying bulkhead seats must stow everything in the overhead bins.

+  If you are physically able to help someone struggling to get their bag up above in the overhead bins, do so without hesitation.  Likewise, if you need help with your load because you are not strong enough to get it up above by yourself, ask nicely if someone can help you, whether that be a flight attendant or a fellow passenger.

+  At the beginning of a flight is a good time to gab but when the lights are lowered after your meal, remember that some people like to take that opportunity to sleep or to watch a movie.  If need be, keep your talking to a minimum and whisper if you must keep the conversation going.

web passport etc+  If you are one of those people yearning to sleep in peace while up in the air, consider purchasing a pair of headphones that reduces noise.  Bose offers this product and so does Pro-Tech, with their NoiseBuster ( The latter is my choice since, at least for me, the quality is as good as the Bose alternative and yet the NoiseBuster is much less expensive.

+  Check this article (click here)  for more ideas from Kelly S Kelly, great travel writer and Tampa Travel Examiner.

%d bloggers like this: