My Journey to Oz, Episode 1

This time last year I was packing my car to move to San Diego and assume the role of nanny to my youngest grandchild. This year I packed for a very different adventure — nearly a month Down Under, in Australia, which these days is called Oz by many of its residents.

As I traveled I made notes in my iPhone, and expanded on them when I had time. I posted photos for my family on Instagram, and for my wider readership on my personal Facebook Page. People seemed to enjoy them, so I thought I’d transcribe my journal and post it here for my blog readers. I started in Perth on November 27, and continued around the coast by train to Adelaide, wilderness tour bus to Melbourne, car to Canberra, plane to Brisbane and then by a variety of methods back to Sydney, where I am sitting as I write this. If you like the idea of following along with me, please post a comment at the end of this post and let me know!

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wingWe were on the Qantas Airbus 330 and in our seats twenty minutes before flight time, and we were in the air on schedule. I had amazed myself by transferring my tour guide, maps and brochures, which had covered my dining room table for months, and my three other piles of “stuff” (clothes and toiletries, gifts for friends and family, food) into my roller backpack and my computer backpack fairly easily the day before the trip. I had further amazed myself by exhibiting none of my usual symptoms of anxiety or stress preceding a journey of this magnitude. On the way to the airport I was calm, happy, and ready. Wow.

And now I was on the plane, my nose pressed against the window as the San Francisco Bay Area became smaller and smaller and then disappeared behind a bank of clouds. The cabin crew had distributed customs cards while we were waiting to take off, so after we leveled off I put the tray table down and began to fill it out. Before I finished, our menu for the evening meal was in my hands:


I couldn’t wait!

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13 Responses to My Journey to Oz, Episode 1

  1. Linda Tarvin December 27, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Howdy doody Marlene, Yes, yes, yes, sign me up please if I am not on your list. The funniest thing ever is that when I got your message about being in Australia, my first thought was “Oh, well, I guess I didn’t need to feel bad about never getting around to call you during December to come and pick persimmons.” I had a small crop on the H tree in back and an the most amazing crop ever on the Fuyu tree out front. Your side says you like soft persimmons. Well, I still have some Fuyus and some of them are definitely getting soft and taste very much like the other variety do when they soften. So give me a call or an email when you get back and we can talk persimmons,

  2. Linda Tarvin December 27, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    OMG What a menu! One of almost everything please! Never have had ginger vodka but it sounds interesting. Looking forward to visiting OZ with you. Thanks!

  3. Janet Myrick December 27, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

    Love it, can’t wait to hear the rest of the story about your trip. How exciting.

  4. Marlene Bumgarner December 27, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

    So happy you are enjoying my tale, Janet. More to come this weekend! Marlene

  5. Marlene Bumgarner December 27, 2017 at 7:37 pm #

    Isn’t it just, Linda? Glad to hear you want to hear the rest of the story. I’ll try not to disappoint.

  6. Marlene Bumgarner December 27, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    I think you might be a subscriber, Linda, but I’ll check. And yes, I’ll come your way to pick up some persimmons. Perhaps on a Sunday . . . ?

  7. Dena Kehler December 28, 2017 at 6:24 am #

    Adventures in “Oz”
    I am living the adventure through your eyes! Keep on writing. I’m enjoying this so much more than all the school-age textbook and homework years ago!!

  8. Marlene Bumgarner December 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

    Thanks so much, Dena! More to come this weekend. Marlene

  9. Madeline Crews January 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm #

    Oh yes, I am looking forward to more! This will be a special vicarious trip to Australia for me!

  10. Marlene Bumgarner January 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

    So glad you are enjoying it, Madeline.. I’ve posted Episode 2 which should be listed on the right side of your screen (if not, go to the actual website at
    Episode 3 will go up over the weekend. If you are a subscriber, you’ll get an email with a link to the post on Tuesday morning. Enjoy!

  11. Donna Avina January 6, 2018 at 7:02 pm #

    Loving your travel images as they play in my head while I read! I cannot believe that fabulous menu! Some sodium excess but they offer good alternatives. I hope you tried the Finlandia Vodka. It is fabulous.

  12. Marlene Bumgarner January 6, 2018 at 7:10 pm #

    Wait til you see the photos I took from the train . . . the views of the Avon Valley and the ””Nullarbor Plain. I’m still dreaming about them. Marlene

  13. Marlene Bumgarner January 6, 2018 at 7:14 pm #

    No – I have not tried the Finlandia Vodka, but will watch for it.

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