The Tribe That Lost A Piece Of Their Soul And Discovered A World

Here’s a little Christmas present for you all –  it’s one of my favourites of all the things I’ve written “for kids”.  But really, it’s for everyone who understands…

William Bowmore Wise liked to travel, and he liked to take pictures.

He especially liked to take pictures with his very expensive and very clever mobile phone that had a very clever camera built into it. He had a big camera too, but his phone was easier to carry around.

William B. Wise lived in a big city in Australia, but he really liked to travel.

Fortunately he was quite rich, so he could afford to visit a lot of interesting places.

William liked taking pictures of people who had less than he did because he thought they were interesting. He wasn’t being smug or unkind. He just didn’t quite understand them.

He’d always been quite rich and didn’t know what it was like to have to make his own clothes or bake his own bread. He couldn’t imagine what it must be like to grow his own food or catch his own fish or build his own house.

William didn’t even really understand what it was like to have to work hard to have enough money to buy food or a place to live.

He took pictures of people working and building and fishing and farming because they were things that to him were different and unusual.

When William took pictures of people, he didn’t think of them as people. It was like they were just things. Things to take pictures of, just like bridges and buildings and sunflowers and sunsets.


The Williwilli people were a very small, very ancient tribe who lived in Central Australia.

There weren’t many of them any more. They didn’t have a home. They hadn’t had a home for thousands of years.

dscf3840The Williwilli people were nomads. They wandered from place to place, and built rough shelters to sleep in for just as long as they stayed in one place.

Sometimes they would hunt, sometimes they would fish, and sometimes they would gather the fruits and plants that grew in what other people called the Outback.

The Williwilli people knew a little about things like cars and cameras and computers. They’d seen them when they happened to be at a place where there were tourists visiting.

They knew about such things, but they weren’t very interested in them.

Those were things that the Williwilli people had never had, so they never missed having them. They were quite content with their lives and the way that they lived them.

But one thing that none of the Williwilli people liked was to have their picture taken.

They really really believed that if someone took a picture of you then they took a piece of your soul. That was the thing inside you that made You who you were, and if someone took a piece of it then you would be less You.


Continue reading The Tribe That Lost A Piece Of Their Soul And Discovered A World

A Traveller’s Tale

A friend of mine, Julia, just got back from a cruise along the coast of Alaska and Vancouver Island. It’s a great trip, I know – I did it a couple of years ago!

Comparing notes, I asked what her highlight had been. Her answer surprised me.

“It was about seven o’clock on the first actual morning of the cruise,” she said. “I was out doing a little run around the promenade, getting my miles up, you know?”

I get it. I’m used to seeing Julia walking or doing a gentle trot along the beach near where we live.

“A door opened and this lad walked out onto the deck. Nearly collided with me. I suppose he was about eleven. He just stood there, looking around, kind of hugging his stomach and going ‘Wow!’ a lot. I asked him if he was okay – it looked like he might have a tummy ache or something.”

“The boy shook his head and explained he was from a little town in central Canada. It was already dark when they got on the boat last night. He lived near a river, but this was the first time he’d ever seen the ocean.”

“The sight literally took his breath away. That was my highlight – sharing that moment with that boy.”

And moments like that, my friends, are why some of us travel as much as we do!


Some thoughts on coming back to Australia after nine months travelling…


It’s morning, and the beach is quiet.  A photographer and I are the only human life to be seen or heard.  She’s taking pictures of the old pier.  My pictures are all stored in my head.

Wind blowing the light sand, looking like fine plumes of water as they skim across the harder packed surface.  Not a single sheet, or a wave but ripples and wavelets – patterns like ragged lace.

Now and then it swirls or eddies but mostly it moves in long rapid sweeps.  Sometimes you really can see the wind.

A cormorant waddles ashore, stretching and flapping its wings to dry them.  The smaller seagulls give him a wide berth.  It’s a lazy time of day for them.  The picnickers aren’t out yet and the dawn fishermen have gone, their scraps already consumed by the early birds.

Twenty or so birds – terns and gulls alike huddled into themselves against the wind.

It’s a little chilly perhaps, but not cold.  Not cold like some of the places I’ll travel to.

Places further than even those gulls will fly.

I’ve walked on cobblestone streets and icy roads.  I’ve seen ancient cities and modern metropolises.  Stood in deserts and under trees that were a thousand years old.  Wandered into grand cathedrals and straw huts.

Now I’m sailing on an ocean on the other side of the world from the beach and the old pier.

But it’s all coming back to me.

I’m coming back to it.

50 ways to say “Thank you”

masvita      baraka laufik       kyai zoo tin baa dai      aw kohn

doh je        meitaki                hvala          dekuji

amasay ganala            motashakkeram           vinaka

kiitos          merci          tapadh leat                  danke

ehvkhahreesto    aabhar       mahalo       shalom       kurssurnurm

dalu           terimah kasi        domo arigato gozaimasu

goh mab seumnida      paldies       achiu          xiexie

bayarlalaa           shukran     takk            dziekuje     obrigado

multumesc          spasiba      hvala          ndatenda   istuti

kea leboha          gracias       asante       nandri        khop khoon

thoo jaychay       barkallaoo feek            tesekkur ederim

caym on     enkosi        aagbabire           ngiyabonga

a huge great HUG!