Hello Australia. What am I doing here?
I moved to Bali in 1999 and it’s been my home ever since. Well it was until the 4th April, 2021, when I flew to Australia. Covid 19 changed things worldwide and I wasn’t immune to its effects. More than a year without income, made the age pension in Australia very appealing. Arriving in Sydney, Australia on the 5th April, I went into quarantine. A week later I turned 66 and submitted my initial application for the pension. On the 19th April, I was released from quarantine and flew to my family on the Gold Coast. Over the next few weeks, my sister, Janet, drove me to dozens of appointments where I re-established my Australian residency and completed all the forms required for the age pension, Medicare and more. Australia loves paperwork.
It’s now late May, and I wait for my first pension payment. One day it will magically appear in my bank account. I’d love to think I could then return to Bali, but I’m advised I may have to stay in Australia for up to two years, before the pension can be taken overseas. Of course I’ll be trying to get back to Bali and my life there, well before 2023.
So here I am in Australia, with my heart still in Bali. I could mope about, bitching and moaning, but that’s not me. Instead I’m determined to make the most of my stay here and achieve heaps more than just getting the pension. Here are my goals for the next six months. Each week I’ll blog and let you know how I’m going.
Goal 1. Quit smoking. I’ve smoked for 50 years. Disgusting! I gave up before departing Bali and haven’t had a cigarette since. Cold turkey has worked.
Goal 2. Lose weight. I ate my way through Covid and by the time I came out of quarantine, I was 127kg. Janet, my sister, accepted the challenge to help me lose weight. My job is to stick to the program and relearn decent eating habits. Here’s how it’s going. 19/4/21 – 127kg. 18/5/21 – 119kg. In 4 weeks I’ve lost 8kg. It’s a start, but my goal weight is 85kg, so there’s a long way to go.
Goal 3. Exercise. My aim is to walk for 2 hours a day. For the last 3 days, I’ve managed 30 minutes daily. This will gradually increase.
Goal 4. Maintain daily contact with Bali and Private Ubud Villas. This is easy and a labor of love. With a great management team on the ground in Bali, things continue to flow smoothly in my absence, but I like to feel needed and so contact team members daily.
Goal 5. Blog regularly. Here it is. I’ll blog every week and I aim to increase my subscribers from 200 to 2,000. You can help by passing my blog along to friends and by suggesting they subscribe.
Goal 6. Write daily. Depression stole my mojo for April and May, but I’m clawing it back and my goal is to rewrite my manuscript, “F#ck Me! What Next?” and to complete another manuscript titled, “Growing up gay.”
Goal 7. Find an agent or publishing house to represent me and my novel, “The Maiden Aunts.” This is a great story and I need to pull out all stops to have it traditionally published. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Goal 8. Catch up with family and friends. Many of my friends, I’ve not seen for twenty years or more, so now is the time to catch up.
Goal 9. Enjoy the multitude of amazing attractions Australia has to offer. In the four weeks I’ve been living on the Gold Coast, Janet and I have been to live music, The Tweed Regional Art Gallery, and the cinema. I’m spoiled for choices. Road trips, stays away with friends and writers’ meetings are also in the offering. I’ll share each new adventure in my weekly blog.
Sidney Nolan Exhibition at the Tweed Gallery. Great Australian Movie. Janet and me at live music at Vikings Surf Club. Mojo Rising band at Vikings Surf Club.