Drop the Tension at PechaKucha

Earlier this year, Wendy was invited to speak about our conscious overland journey between Melbourne(AUS) and Katowice(PL) at the Bratislava PechaKucha Night Volume 37.

For those of you not familiar, PechaKucha is a presentation format originating from Japan, that is now popular around the world. It’s simple, yet challenging: 20 photos x 20 seconds. Definitely a tight schedule to summarise over a year on the road! The evening was part of the [fjúžn] festival, promoting and celebrating a multicultural Slovakia.

Wendy’s speech focused on a basic question travellers should ask themselves when coming back from a trip: How should we speak about our journeys? Travel stories often speak of exotic customs, bizarre foods or insane adventures. But do these stories build an accurate image of the place we visited? Don’t we, in stressing the differences, forget that the places we saw and people we met share much in common with ourselves and our own communities? Don’t we, in telling our stories in this way, unwillingly perpetuate stereotypes about how much people around the world differ from us? Is there another way to speak consciously about our travel experiences?

Enjoy the video from Wendy’s presentation!

#5 of 12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland

Here’s the latest episode of our summer/winter reflective series “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.

Nowa Huta

5. How to live without a backyard

For an Australian, your own backyard seems to be a rite of passage. Even in my student share houses, there was always a backyard, usually under-used and overgrown. I hardly knew anyone who lived in an apartment – that’s something only for rich, inner-city, business people. Here in Poland (and the majority of the world), that equation is rather reversed. Continue Reading →

#4 of 12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland

Here’s the next instalment of our summer/winter reflective series, with Wendy looking back at her year as a migrant in Poland: “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.

Those blocks….Katowice

4. To look beyond the blocks

A few kilometers from the charming medieval Kraków city center, things start looking very different. Take a trip to Łódź or Katowice and you just can’t ignore that things look… Continue Reading →

#3 of 12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland

Here’s the next bite of our summer/winter reflective series “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.


3. If it ain’t broke, fix it!

While the modern shopping mall is now a completely normal part of capitalistic life in Poland, unlike back home, it is still possible to meet all of your needs without entering these shiny temples of consumption. In fact, absolutely unlike life in Australia, it is still possible (and affordable) to get most things repaired, instead of throwing away and buying new.

Continue Reading →

Upcoming events in Melbourne!


Dear friends of Drop the Tension,

We are is delighted to announce two upcoming events we’ve been planning for the short time we will spend in Melbourne! We would like to ask you a big favour? Can you please share these events in your networks, inviting friends who might be interested in attending them?

The first one will touch on a place which has captured our attention the most during our overland trip from Melbourne to Poland — Palm Island. During the second event we will try to share what we found to be one of the most important social phenomenons we encountered while travelling — the impact people make while visiting distant places.

Feel free to come to both events and please help us spread the word by sharing our facebook events and inviting your friends over! See you there

Details below: Continue Reading →

#2 of 12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland

Here’s the second course of our summer/winter reflective series “12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland“.

Pierogi by Babcia on Christmas Eve

2. Eat and cook to the seasons

The ever changing, more extreme seasons of Poland, mean you’d better just embrace whatever time of year it is to the fullest while it’s here. Poland has taught me that this also ought to include your everyday eating. Continue Reading →

#1 of 12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland

We’re trying a new technique 😉 Rather than posting one mega article that’s just too long to read, we’re going to feed you this one in bite-sized pieces across a summer/winter (depending what hemisphere you’re reading from!) series – hopefully keeping you hungry for more! The series is a reflection piece Wendy put together looking back on her first year living in Poland: ’12 things I’ve learnt living 12 months in Poland’. Smacznego!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016: Poles flocked to the cemeteries to place candles on the graves of the departed and reflect on life, death, loss and love. On All Saints Day, a national holiday, these sites of grey stones, narrow passageways and quiet resting are transformed into bustling hubs of family meetings, large floral displays and as the afternoon darkness of night settles, the twinkle of thousands of candle lights to mark each life with memory. The smell of melted wax is thick and sweet on the air, escaping from the gaudy, modern plastic lanterns, in the competition to see who’s relative’s grave will have the candle burning the longest.

While I don’t have graves of relatives to visit here, the day was also a time of reflection for me, as it marks one year since I crossed the border from Belarus into the country that I’d travelled half the world over without a plane to reach. I’ve lived in Poland one year now – a whole 4 seasons getting ready to repeat their turns. So let me think a little about what I’ve learnt in this time, in this place…

New Years Day 2016, Wrocław

1. To see the beauty in every season

Continue Reading →

How to stay warm while travelling in cold places

At the moment here in Poland we’re having a cold wave with temperatures below -20°C. I wrote the following post to share what my mom had been always telling me, but what people from warm climates might have never heard. These few simple tips can make even temperatures as low as this really enjoyable, so why not sharing them with those who might want to travel in the wintertime! While Wendy, always afraid of cold, actually quickly started to enjoy the snow. During our travels in Russia we met (female!) hitchhikers who had travelled across Siberia in the winter.

So get your warm clothes and go enjoy the frost!

An Aussie enjoying the snow! Would you imagine?

An Aussie enjoying the snow! Would you imagine?

Continue Reading →

To those graduating high school

The following text is the ‘past student’ speech Wendy gave at the Maffra Secondary College end of year Presentation Night 15th December 2016. 

I would like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land Maffra stand on: the Brayakooloong people of the Gunaikurnai nation and pay respect to the elders past and present.

I’m back in Maffra tonight to celebrate the milestone of my youngest sister Louise completing her year 12. To her and her classmates, congratulations! Tonight marks both the close of one chapter of your life and the opening of a new one which holds more possibilities for you than any of us can imagine. Whether you sit there knowing what you’re going to do next year, or are still making up your mind – to you all, I’d say, take your time and know there are no ‘wrong ways’.

Wendy and Louise: sisters together again.

Continue Reading →


This article was first published on tourism_LOG blog where it was one of the winning pieces of the “Fair travelling and experiencing the world” competition. It’s a shortened version of 5 WAYS TO BE A CONSCIOUS TRAVELLER post with text cut down to minimum for a quick read.

Travelling to far away countries has become a possibility for more people than ever before. This is really exciting as travel is the best education we can get, helping us to become an informed global citizen. But no one ever really teaches us how we should travel…

We fly, sail, Interrail, cycle or hitch-hike around the world, staying in hostels, resorts, home-stays, couch-surfing… But how to get most of our trips while making sure we respect people and places we visit? How to be a CONSCIOUS TRAVELLER?

When you're far away from home, consider the impact of your steps. Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

When you’re far away from home, consider the impact of your steps. Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

With our Drop The Tension project we have travelled from Australia to Europe without flights, looking for answers to this question. Here’s some of what we learned… Continue Reading →