Hi. I’m Jen. I’m an everyday person who loves adventure. Check out how you can become adventurous too. It’s not as hard as you think!

Do you like adventures? Come on one with my amazing friend Jen.

Free State of Jen

Adventure can be anything you like. It doesn’t have to be a massive feat of physical strength and death defying endurance where you freeze your butt off on mountainsides or get chased down by a gang of rabid koalas looking to make even all the wrongs of their past. I mean, if that’s what floats your boat then by all means go for it, but I’m guessing that for most people (me included) the koalas are out and so is the mountain…for the time being that is. Once I build my skills and my self belief and maybe even my own crew I’ll be able to get Zen with that mountain and perhaps convince the koalas that revenge isn’t the best tactic for a peaceful revolution nor for their image. I used to think they were so damn cute before I wrote this. Now I’m not so sure.

Adventure is…

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The Steven Bradbury of Writing

A great post on persistence in writing

Belinda Grant writes

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It has been one of the those weeks.  A week where I haven’t enjoyed writing.  Where I have felt discouraged.  Where I felt overwhelmed with the fact that there is no way to know for sure that I will ever get published.  Where I read a great book and wonder how I think I can ever compete?  Where the idea of handing work to my writing group makes my fingers shake above the keyboard?

When I first started writing I followed a pattern:

  • Write regularly for a while.
  • Have one of those days where everything I wrote and everything I read that I had wrote seemed awful.
  • Stop writing for two months out of discouragement.
  • Open the document again and decide maybe it isn’t that bad.
  • Write regularly for a while.
  • And repeat…

And surprise, surprise, I never got my novel done.

I know that every writer feels this way…

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Leaf curling spiders in the Aussie scrub

Spider web in the Australian scrub

I spent last weekend in a special little corner of Australia where the bush meets the ocean. There were lots of leaf-curling spiders’ webs around, but this one caught my attention because of the haphazard looking extension ‘downstairs’.

The homeowner, which would be a member of the orb-weaving spider family, was carefully tucked away inside its leaf. Can you spot it? It’s the brown curl in the middle of the big round web at the top.

Looking for black opals in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales

Lightning Ridge, in north-western New South Wales, Australia, is famed for its opal mining, and in particular, for being the largest source of precious black opals in the world.

Sandstone opal mine cavern and timber support posts
10 metres underground in a Lightning Ridge opal mining cavern

During Lightning Ridge’s searing outback summers, the temperature underground is around 20C, making it a comfortable place to search for Australia’s national gemstone: the opal.

The protagonist in my current fantasy manuscript is from a fictional continent similar to outback Australia. His mother scratches out a living in the local mines, so I was particularly interested to learn about the history of opal mining. Opal Mine Adventure offer the fascinating experience of visiting an old opal mine, which gave me an insight into the motivation and practicalities of digging for these brilliant gemstones.

In years gone by, miners sank shafts using a pick and shovel, then chipped away at the sandstone deep underground armed with a pick and candle, looking for a valuable find.

Waste dirt was traditionally raised in buckets by hand windlass, often into a truck such as the one below. The dirt then underwent ‘puddling’ to remove the dirt from the sandstone and harder materials.  If colour is found in the stone, it is buffed to determine the quality of opal that lies within.