COVID19 sucks. International travel is still banned, state borders in Australia is a thing and despite Queensland having a population of 5+ million and being around 8 times the size of the UK with just 6 deaths – rules and regulations are everywhere. So when I had a chance to take a few days off in Brisbane, I decided not to travel but to write this experience instead:
Day 1: South Bank Run & Thoughts on Minimalism
Having just finished the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss I was compelled to add a little life into my – life. Wife & Son did a yoga class at South Bank while I went for a run. 5K around the Brisbane River, through the CBD and botanical gardens along a man-made beach all under a blue sky with fluffy clouds. We finished with friends at a the garage café – a common post-ride meeting place for cyclists, sporty and 5 AM types.
Later back at home I’ve started a “minimalist journey”. I’m taking stock of possessions and evaluating whether some things fit into my life or not. Having spent last year basically living out of a suitcase I’m surprised at how many “precious” items I’ve stored here. It’ll be interesting to see what gets disregarded at the end of this short break.
Day 2: Son, Minimalism & Investments
Our Son is now 10 months old. It became even more apparent to me especially today just how much he’s grown. We spent a fair part of the day together playing, dancing, feeding, visiting the garden, the park and the local café. It’s remarkable how quickly children grow. As a parent you notice the subtle spurts. His blabbing now sounds more like words. He points at objects and looks to me for an explanation. Most entertaining – he can dance!
The minimalism quest continues still today. I’m piling up all of my unnecessary items to be disregarded by the end of this break. My goal is to fit all my be belongings into a suitcase and backpack + 1 bicycle (which has its own luggage).
Speaking of taking stock some of my investments paid a return yesterday & today. I prepared a better tracking Google Sheets of my income, assets, forecasts and goals. I’ll share a post later about using Google Sheets to track personal finances. It’s an agenda item for any budding digital nomad. Here’s my payout over 2 days:
- 30€~ Airbnb Payout
- $62.50 ANZ Dividend
- $88.20 CBA Dividend
- $37.18 Xinja Interest
- 26€~ in Bondora Payments
“Many a false step was made by standing still.”Fortune Cookie 🍪
Day 3: A Bicycle Ride
It’s just before 7 AM and it’s already 26 degrees. This is spring. With this heat also comes “magpie season” that time of year when magpies (“devil birds”) are out in full force. They aggressively swoop unsuspecting passer-byers. Their favourite target? Cyclists.
Despite the heat and the lurking enemy above I braved a café ride. At Hussk Café I had a croissant, doppio and a fresh orange juice. COVID 19 laws require me to scan a bar code, provide my full name, address, email address and phone number in order to sit down.
Nobody complains, almost everybody complies. It’s the “new normal” or so we’re told. Just as I’m making the most of this short staycation, a few pages into Andrew Henderson’s book “the Nomad Capitalist” – this resonates with me:
“But have you ever stopped to realize that where you live is #1 in nothing?“Nomad Capitalist – Andrew Henderson, “The Default Mentality”.
On the way back I wondered what Brisbane might be no. #1 in… Surprisingly it wasn’t in the top 10 list of most liveable cities in the world. But Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide were? Adelaide I agree is indeed a very liveable city, the climate is dry, the seasons are varied as well as its landscape. Property is affordable by Australian standards but Sydney and Melbourne, really? Sydney and Melbourne have the most expensive real estate prices in Australia, the highest crime rates (in Australia) and the worst pandemic response to date. It sounds like a place to get ripped off, murdered or worked to death if you ask me. No thanks. Brisbane is by far a more liveable city than Sydney and Melbourne in my view. As much as I love Brisbane at times, I can’t say what it might be # 1 in the world for…
Day 4: Garden & Playgrounds
My usual weekend morning routine is an espresso followed by a trip to the garden. Most things need to be watered first thing before the sun gets too hot and burns holes in the leaves.
One travel souvenir I recommend worth collecting? Seeds. Flowers and plants remind us of people and places. The scent of lavender reminds me of Croatia, Olive trees of Italy and Adelaide, berries of Estonia and Sweden. It’s sustainable and nearly free.
Now before the Aussies get all righteous about their beloved laws: Many Aussies don’t realise this but it is actually legally possible to import seeds to Australia. You must declare the seeds on your customs card. Whether the seeds are allowed in depends on their classification. Yes, you read this correctly. Check the Australian Government BICON (Biosecurity Import Conditions) database for what’s allowed. The Australian national pastime of discouraging anything and everything from abroad with “yeah nah secur’dy mate aye jiest wif ya biodiiiiiivesdy ‘n dat” is out of touch with reality. You are allowed to import seeds. Not all. But many.
At the childrens’ park we entertained our young son. The ground is mostly soft, made of some rubber material, suitable for crawling, rolling, falling. There’s a few obstacles to keep kids busy like: swings, climbing surfaces, mazes and slides. All over Brisbane you can find parks like this, surrounded by trees and large open green areas suitable for picnics and BBQs. Everything is free including gas and/or electric BBQs, toilets with running water and paper. The shade cloth provides protection from harmful UV rays.
Day 5: Sunday Markets
In Brisbane suburban farmers’ markets are on the first or last Sunday of every month. In the case of Mitchelton, it’s the former. It’s about 8:00 when we arrive and the temperature is already around 25 degrees.
Blackwood street is closed to vehicles during the market. The entire street is now a pedestrianised open mall. It’s busy. People stroll up and down looking for quirky handicrafts, coffee and pastries but fruit and vegetables are especially popular. Bargains are everywhere. The millennium go-to (avocado on toast) will set you back around $13 in a café. Here you can buy a bag of locally grown avocados for $2.
We met with a friend at the markets. The abundance of coffee and food goes hand in hand with Australian hospitality. Unlike Germany where on Sundays the entire nation dies, in Brisbane, the markets bring large crowds all over the suburbs. Mitchelton offers a typical local experience but international visitors might prefer the West End markets. West End markets are by way of proximity to the city and entertainment options more interesting.