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Leonie Vandeven

Leonie lives by the motto that life is not a dress rehearsal, so will try most things once. Except tattoos. Those things are permanent. During the day she writes serious stuff and deals with issues, crisis, and media. In her spare time, Leonie likes to drink beer, help worms cross the road, remove snakes from her chicken coop, practice free-ranging parenting, and plant flowers for bees and butterflies. She loves sharing stories about her often weird and wacky life and one day hopes to catch a squirrel and rub its fluffy little tail all over her face.

Royally modern Victoria

Clutching the back of the little seat in front of me I peer out the cabin window of our seaplane mentally preparing myself for my first aircraft water landing. Bumpy, hard, smooth or shaky I consider every landing of these mechanical birds a ‘good one’ if there’s no need to activate the emergency slide.  I’m not sure what a seaplane water landing should feel...

Haunting Port Arthur

Whether you’re a believer in the supernatural or not, you cannot deny some historical places and buildings in the world radiate a certain ‘energy’. What this energy is we don’t know, but stories of unexpected reactions to this invisible force field are experienced daily the world over. As a run my fingers slowly across the handmade clay brick remains of once imposing...

Viva Vanuatu

To my left dense forest threatens to swallow everything in its path if not for the busy roadway that halts its creeping tendrils. To my right, I see glimpses of the turquoise Pacific Ocean between simple huts with thatched rooves and walls woven from bush materials and fancy neighbouring resorts offering deep-sea fishing adventures. During our day trip along a single...

Discovering Manila. The Pearl of the Orient

Manila Cathedral Since it was ‘discovered’ by the Spaniards in the 16th century and named ‘Las Filipinas’ after Philip II of Spain, a succession of ‘rulers’ has influenced every aspect of the Philippines, flavouring its food and shaping its culture, creating its unique architecture, and planting its deeply religious roots.  Famous for the several thousand...

Hassle-free camping on North Stradbroke Island

Adder Rock Camping Ground | Photo by: Leonie Vandeven A nesting plover, expertly camouflaged amongst the leaf litter, gives me a sharp alarmed shrill, warning me I’ve over-stepped her invisible boundary as her mate flexes his wings in protest. I side-step automatically, apologising profusely to the annoyed looking little birds, as a group of statuesque curlews watch...

A Fairmont Fantasy

Travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation options abroad, but nothing beats the experience of staying in an iconic Fairmont hotel where the timeless elegance of unique architecture blends seamlessly with uber modern facilities and surprise and delight elements you’ll find nowhere else.  There’s more than 70 Fairmont Hotels and Resorts to...

Flight Review: Air Canada – Brisbane to Vancouver

With new aircraft technology making a world of difference to long haul travel savvy passengers are not only choosing their favourite destinations and airlines, they now look to fly on their favourite aircraft type, with the Dreamliner often top of the list.  Air Canada has recently unveiled its upgraded Signature Class product on Dreamliner flights between Brisbane...

Flight Review: Philippine Airlines – Brisbane to Manila

Storyteller Leonie checked in to a flight from Brisbane to Manila with Philippine airlines in Business Class to check it out. Here is her verdict. Facts The Route: Brisbane to Manila (PR222) The aircraft: Airbus 321-200neo Class: Business Duration: 8 hours Frequency: Five times weekly ex BNE direct The Experience Check-in: Efficient and seamless.  Business...