4th July is here again and millions of people across the world are coming together to celebrate America’s Independence Day. Today marks 241 years since America gained independence from the British Empire in 1776. Celebrations have kicked off with parties, picnics, fireworks celebrations, baseball games and parades. Americans may know how to throw the biggest party but it is not only our friends across the pond who celebrate their freedom on this day each year; it is also a day of celebration for the Philippines who mark 4th July as the day they gained independence from the USA in 1946. Rwanda also celebrates its Liberation Day on 4th July; the day it was freed from genocide in 1994. So it’s safe to say 4th July is a special day for many people from many different backgrounds. For us Brits, we’ve always had a bit of a love affair with America. The Hollywood…

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Huddled under our blankets, we waited patiently. It had just gone 9 o’clock and the light was slowly fading – it wouldn’t be long now. Like most spectators at the nightly Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, we were getting giddy with excitement at the thought of seeing hundreds of the world’s smallest penguin – the ‘Little Penguin/ ‘Little Blue Penguin’ or even cuter, the ‘Fairy Penguin,’ return to shore after an epic day at sea. Out in the Southern Ocean little penguins might swim anything from 15-50 kilometres and dive down as far as 20 metres in search of fish. Measuring in at just 33 centimetres tall and weighing as much as a large bag of sugar, the little penguin is native to the southern coastline of Australia as well as the coastal mainland and islands of New Zealand where they also go by the Maori name of Kororā. We…

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This morning I went for a morning run down a pretty canal, over a little bridge and through some wide-open fields. I passed a smiley lady who was walking her dog, said ‘good morning’ to a friendly chap up and about tending to his barge, before catching a glimpse of a woman pouring her first cuppa of the day through the kitchen window of her pretty barge. I was beginning to slow down and take a breather when I spotted what I thought was a deer over in the distance to my right. Perspective can be deceiving so for a moment I thought it might possibly be a rather large rabbit or hare but then its white, fluffy looking rump patch came into view and it looked up, giving me the chance to see its majestic profile. Seconds later the deer began to run but not in a bouncy spring lamb kind of way. The deer was running like springbok run from leopards and cheetahs on wildlife documentaries. Apparently…

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‘Now this looks like a good spot to call home’, Gordon thought to himself. High up in the leafy eucalyptus trees at Kooloonbung Creek, Gordon Firie was settling into his new surroundings following a stint in Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on the east coast of Australia. After a very lucky escape he was delighted to be back in the wild once more where he could carry on enjoying the quiet life in New South Wales. Sporting a bright yellow new fashion accessory, Gordon was hopeful the yellow tag in his left ear would make him stand out to other koalas and to the little people who pass by from time to time and look up excitedly and point at him. He hoped they would know there was something different about him, something special – and there was…he had been on an adventure. Gordon was surrounded by the sounds and smells…

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From Delhi to Agra, Ranthambore to Jaipur and the ‘lake city’ of Udaipur, Rajasthan filled us with excitement. At times the cities instilled a wee bit of fear and shock in us, it should be said, but we were experiencing it for the first time, with no make-up on nor any frills. ‘This is India’ is a commonly said phrase which we used ourselves on more than one occasion to make light of a fair few frustrating situations. For its many flaws, no one can deny that Rajasthan is heavily laden with jaw-dropping, shiny and exceptionally well looked after palaces, forts and magical places. It has wonderful qualities; not least the vibrancy of its street life (especially during wedding season), its smiley children and its unfaltering passion for religion – something which is certainly not exclusive to Rajasthan. After a while though we found ourselves longing to get away from the dust…

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This morning we had a wonderful experience snorkelling with turtles and beautiful marine life, barely a five minute speedboat ride away from the shores of bustling Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia. This afternoon we tried our hand at surfing for the first time and did our best to catch some waves, all the while being surrounded by a soft, white sandy beach and nothing but blue skies overhead. Wait a minute. This all sounds a little too idyllic…though it does on reflection tick all the boxes for a successful social media post where the norm seems to be to paint a picture of perfection no matter what you’re doing or where you are – something we’re all guilty of from time to time. In the spirit of telling it like it is, here’s what really happened… We snorkelled away happily with the turtles (that part is true…

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When we stepped off the modern airport express metro line which brought us from Indira Gandhi International Airport into New Delhi, we were confident we could find our way to our hotel with ease – things looked simple enough. It seems though that the metro had lured us into a false sense of security, giving us a soft and gentle introduction to the city of Delhi that was quite the polar-opposite of what we were about to be confronted with. Bleary-eyed but alert, nothing could prepare us for the rollercoaster of emotions that engulfed us within seconds of exiting the station. Any chance of finding our feet or getting our bearings vanished in an instant. Utter chaos surrounded us in every direction. The well-known saying that India is an ‘assault on the senses’ is most definitely true and Delhi was no exception. We looked left, then right, before repeating the…

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