Wise Monkey Musings

australia day – what will you be doing?

Posted on Updated on

Another long weekend is approaching us here in Australia. January 26 marks our official national day – what we call Australia Day. It is the anniversary of when the First Fleet landed in 1788 and it was only in 1994, that we consistently celebrated it as a national public holiday.

So what are we really celebrating?

The Australia Day Council explains it as:

On Australia Day we come together as a nation to celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian. 

And around the country, Australians spend the day attending community events, watching the cricket (if it happens to be on) or playing backyard cricket, having BBQs, going to concerts, splashing around in the pool or the beach, water sports and sailing…. etc the list goes on! Then to top off the cracking day, there are always some fireworks!


But there is no right or wrong way to spend the day.

Regardless of what everyone is doing, there is likely to be food involved:


  1. what Aussies fondly term “a sausage sizzle”: which are sausages cooked on the BBQ, then served with a bread roll, topped with barbecued onion. Sauces are optional.
  2. if not a sausage sizzle, then a BBQ of some sort.
  3. a picnic.
  4. a lamb roast, a leg of lamb or lamb cutlets… don’t forget the mint sauce: weeks leading up to Australia Day, we have regular TV advertisements for lamb.
  5. an ice-cold beer.
  6. at the community events, there is bound to be food trucks of all cuisines. There’ll be gozlemes, dumplings, hot chips, kebabs plus plenty of other choices.
  7. something entirely different because what’s traditional?!

And that is the beauty of being Australian. We are all different and we respect diversity. 

  • We might not all say G’day but a helluva lot of us say, “How ya going?” or “No worries.”
  • We might not all wear cork hats but we certainly love our “thongs” (for our American friends – they are what you call flipflops)
  • We might not all love cricket but there’s plenty of sports for us to choose from.
  • We might not all drink beer but we use beer to batter our fish.

IMG_3861 IMG_3220 IMG_0219




But Australia Day isn’t just about sports and food, there is a serious side.

On this day, Australians with outstanding achievements are acknowledged. There are 4 categories: Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year (60 years and over), Young Australian of the Year (16 to 30 years) and Australia’s Local Hero. To read more, visit the Australian of the Year Awards website.

Also on this day, citizenship ceremonies are hosted around the country. Those whose application have been approved, make their Pledge of Commitment at these ceremonies  then become Australian citizens.

The Australia Day Council say:

Though 26 January marks this specific event [the landing of the First Fleet], today Australia Day celebrations reflect contemporary Australia: our diverse society and landscape, our remarkable achievements and our bright future. It also is an opportunity to reflect on our nation’s history, and to consider how we can make Australia an even better place in future.

If you are in Australia, what are you doing on January 26? 

Or tell us about your National Day and what you do. 

Tell us how you celebrate.

This was a sponsored post researched and written by Wise Monkeys Abroad for eBay Australia

walking to raise awareness and money for angelman syndrome

Posted on Updated on

It’s official and now in the open. Le has resigned from her job so we can go travelling for several months! But our bigger news is that we are planning to also embark on the Camino Walk.

To some of our fellow blogger followers who have walked the Camino or are walking the Camino or planning to walk the Camino, you probably already know this news. But what we are revealing for the first time is that we are walking it for charity amongst a few other personal and spiritual (non-religious) reasons!

The walk starts in St Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenees in France and will end 800 km “down the road” in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Yes, you read it right, we are walking 800 km – it will be over 7 or so weeks.

The Way of St James has only recently been on our radar to do. It began in 2008, when we first heard someone was doing it. It sounded intriguing and sounded like it would be an astounding achievement. Then not long after, we heard of another person doing it and it just sounded too daunting. A few years on, David read “The Pilgrimage” by Paulo Coelho which sparked our interest and before you know it, everyone around us seems to have done it. So last year, we made a pact that we would do this pilgrimage before we turned 40 at it is also on the UNESCO Heritage List. You all know how much we love our UNESCO Heritage List 🙂

After a few highs and lows of the past year, it dawned on us – we needed to do it soon…. So we decided that we would do it in September!

Now to share with you about the charity we have chosen to walk for:

Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics  (FAST) Australia

FAST logo Aus

Why these guys? 


David’s oldest brother has Angelman Syndrome. And we want to raise not only money for research but also raise awareness about the condition. It really is as simple as that!

So all we ask of our readers and followers is to read up about Angelman Syndrome at the FAST Website: http://www.cureangelman.org.au/ and then do ONE of the following (of course more if you like):

  1. Share what you have learnt with someone, have a conversation about it,
  2. Share something about Angelman Syndrome on your social media,
  3. Share our fundraising page (https://give.everydayhero.com/au/wise-monkeys-abroad) amongst your family and friends
  4. Support us on the 800 km walk by donating – proceeds go directly to FAST (except for transaction fees taken by the banks),
  5. Reblog this post or share on your various social media to spread the word of what we are doing, OR
  6. Encourage us through your comments on our blog, Twitter and/or Facebook as we prepare and face the 800 km.

Thank you in advance for you helping us spread the word and raising money for Angelman Syndrome!

More posts to follow about the Camino itself.






our second blogging award: the liebster

Posted on Updated on



What a pleasant surprise to be nominated. Two very gracious monkeys would like to thank Emily from innocentnomad for nominating us.

What we have learnt, thanks to the post written by Emily, is that the Liebster award is a nomination for up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.

So here are the rules to the Liebster Nominations!
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back up to his/her blog.
  2. Answer the 10 (or 11!) questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate other bloggers for the award who have less than 200 followers.
  4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Our responses…..

1. How many languages do you speak or do you ever learn some of the language of the country you are visiting?

Mrs Monkey: English, Vietnamese, school level French & Italian.

Mr Monkey: English, school level Japanese

We took Spanish lessons before we went to South America and loved it. We tried keeping it up but the class hours were not feasible for us to continue.

2. What country are you visiting next?

Singapore is our next overseas trip and we have been there in 2005. The next country we are visiting that we haven’t been to is Brazil in June next year! Cannot wait for that!!

3. What is the first thing you pack (not counting your passport or underpants)?

Travel diary – never leave home without it.

4. Do you prefer to travel solo or with friends?

Since we began travelling, we travel as a two-some & occasionally with family. Neither of us have in fact travelled solo.

5. Do you prefer hostels or hotels?

We have opted for hotels previously but after joining the blogosphere, hostels are not completely ruled out.

6. What is your best or favourite travel tip?

When travelling, don’t expect things to be the same as it would be at home

-This is what everyone should remember when travelling. Everything from language, food, drinking water through to shower pressure and toilets: expect it to be different either for the better or not. At least if it is for the better, you can be pleasantly surprised. And if things are not to the same standard as what you are use to, you won’t be disappointed.

7. If you could live in any country and never leave, where would it be and why?

We’ve seen a lot of countries (not as many as we’d like) and we’ve loved lots of them but there isn’t one that we could settle in. Australia will always be home and with our families and friends here, we could never live far away. It’s not only about the country but its also what is important to us. We have to admit though, we have it pretty good here in Australia, such as health care, welfare, food, personal safety, diversity in cultures as well as lots of land mass with plenty to explore! Maybe we are bias … 🙂

8. How spontaneous are your trips?

Most trips are booked well in advanced. But our destination is generally “spontaneous” in the sense that we do little research before we decide where to go next. Once we decide and lock it in, we then start planning the detail.

9. If you could sit next to one person on a plane, who would it be (dead or alive)?

Sounds corny but we want to sit next to each other. It’s our travel tradition, most of our travelling life has been flying with each other. It wouldn’t feel right without the other. We flew back from Vietnam separately and that was too weird for our liking!

10. Name your top three favourite blogs!

Top three blogs:

(1) innocentnomad : this was one of the first blogs we subscribed to when we joined the public blogosphere. Love her style of writing and what she’s got to say

(2) ourworldheritage.be : these guys share the same interest as us when it comes to exploring and seeing UNESCO heritage sites. We are yet to compile an official bucket list but our unofficial bucket list is ticking off the UNESCO heritage sites around the world.

(3) It Started in Asia: another blogger who loves travel and is in a similar situation to us: working full-time and fitting travel in wherever possible.


Now we would like to nominate the following blogs for the Liebster award (apologies if you do have more than 200 followers – we nominated you also because we would love to see your answers 🙂 );

Love from Cornwall

Life Unmapped

Roo Around the World

It Started in Asia

Southern Kissed

These are your 10 questions:

1. Where was your first ever overseas holiday?

2. What is the strangest thing that you have eaten whilst travelling?

3. What is your best or favourite travel tip?

4.  Do you prefer hostels or hotels?

5. Is there anywhere you have travelled that you wouldn’t recommend to others? Why?

6. Do you still send postcards when you travel?

7. Do you collect souvenirs? If so, what is it that you always pick up?

8. Do you use suitcases or backpacks?

9. If you won an overseas trip, all expenses paid for, where is your ultimate destination?

10. Name your favourite 3 blogs.

the wood(en) anniversary

Posted on Updated on

Silver, ruby, gold anniversaries sound so glamorous. And why does our wood anniversary sound like a dud? Seems a little unfair that 5 years is deemed so worthless compared to 25 years or more. But guess it only matters if you are buying one another gifts – which we don’t do.

Wishes from the Press Club (in Melbourne)
Wishes from the Press Club (in Melbourne)

Every anniversary for us is as important as the last and we don’t need any gift or jewel to signify this. It seems an unusual concept for us to buy each other gifts for our birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and Christmases etc etc. Flowers die, chocolates get eaten, material items have an expiry date (because they get old, broken, damaged, forgotten and gosh knows what else) so we opt for something that is much more long-lasting! True to our philosophy, we prefer to make sure that each of those important occasions are marked or celebrated with an experience. Experiences become memories which don’t get forgotten (at least not willingly). For us, it usually comes in the form of a theatre show, a major sporting event, a fine dining meal or a trip away – basically anything that we get to share together.


So anyway, here, we are – September, 2013 which marks 5 years since we got married. The years have passed by so very fast that it makes us wonder whether we will be at the silver anniversary (that’s 25 years) before we know it?! Where would we be then? Looking into the crystal ball – we see that we would be in our 50s and still travelling, more than we are able to today as we would be retired then! Well, that is the plan and we can always dream.


In the meantime, let’s not concern ourselves on what the silver, ruby or gold anniversaries hold for us. Let us celebrate each and every day and be grateful for the life that we have, the family and friends we have and the fact we can do what we love most and that is travel! So for now…. Turkey awaits us to help us celebrate our wedding anniversary and maybe we can find something wooden (that won’t get confiscated by Australian Customs) to bring back to remind us of how we celebrated one fifth of a quarter of a century 🙂