This week I’ll be participating in the Walk For Autism fundraising event which involves walking 10,000 steps each day to raise money and awareness for those on the Autism Spectrum. It’s an important cause to me as I have been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism myself and have only just begun to embrace and explore the fact that I’m autistic. Plus I really need to continue to work on my weight loss, fitness and well-being goals. https://everydayhero.com.au/event/walk-for-autism-2018

On Monday morning, I went to an RPM class with Shelley at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. As usual, I was feeling restless and unmotivated but this was about the only class I could make it to this week so I pushed myself to go. Thankfully our instructor Shell was feeling the same way as she too also had a busy weekend. But once my bum’s in the saddle, I’m fine and ready to burn some calories (aka Easter Eggs I still haven’t finished yet!).

Today we did a mixture of the new release and some older tracks including Jamiroquai’s Cloud 9, Sigala & Ella Eyre’s Come Here For Love, Andrew Rayel & Christina Novelli’s Lighthouse and DJ Sammy’s Sunlight. Whenever I’m not at my best, I always set lower and more achievable goals and for RPM, that’s usually around 300-350 KCal but somehow I managed to burn just over 400 which is a pretty decent effort for Monday morning. http://w3.lesmills.com/israel/en/classes/rpm/music-tracklists/

On Monday afternoon, Mum and I drove down to Paynesville where we’ll be staying for a few nights this week at the Resthaven Caravan Park. Our cabin is a spacious, self-contained unit featuring a living area, kitchenette, master bedroom, four bunk beds, a toilet, vanity and shower and an outdoor front deck. In the caravan park itself, there is a pool and spa, BBQ area, playground, laundry facility and games room. http://www.resthavenpaynesville.com/

On Monday night, we had a brief tour of the small boating township as well as grabbing a pizza for dinner. We also had to get our bearings driving around the residential backstreets in pitch black darkness with minimal streetlight. Paynesville offers many local shops, services, cafes, restaurants and eateries including IGA Ritchies, Foodworks, Bendigo Bank, CFA, pizza, fish n’ chips, The Old Pub, medical centre and community centre. https://www.travelvictoria.com.au/paynesville/

On Tuesday morning, Mum and I caught the vehicular ferry and visited Raymond Island. A popular tourist attraction, it only takes a couple of minutes to travel between Paynesville and the island which accommodates passengers, cyclists and vehicles. We decided to walk along the koala trail which is 1.2km long and takes about 20 minutes. With the help of some American tourists, we spotted our first koala high up in the gumtree and a couple of others along the way.

There was also some native birdlife on the island including crimson rosellas, rainbow lorikeets, black swans, pelicans, common seagulls and spotted pardalotes. I also really appreciated the large scale properties on the island each with very unique looking gardens and front facades, some of which were painted to look like boats. Other properties looked rundown and dilapidated with rusted fencing, aged timber and peeled/flaking paint. http://www.raymondisland.net/

On Wednesday, Mum and I spent most of the day down in Bairnesdale. The upside of this East Gippsland township is that most of the shops are within walking distance and a lot of incidental exercise to be had. The downside is that it’s very busy traffic wise and you have to keep your eyes peeled all the time when it comes to crossing the road. We had lunch together at Cells Cafe, visited the East Gippsland Art Gallery and caught up with my Auntie Rosalie at the New Leaf Cafe inside Dahlsens Mitre 10https://www.travelvictoria.com.au/bairnsdale/

This month’s exhibition is called “Calling For Rain” which features a collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures which used natural elements like gum nuts, gum leaves, twigs, branches and bark with hand-painted elements. I particularly liked the highly realistic looking bird’s nest. There was also a gallery featuring large portraits of dark looking figures with flowers and leaves collaged within the artworks and thick layers of gesso used. https://www.eastgippslandartgallery.org.au/sofiedieu

I was also really impressed with this particular Mitre 10 store as it contains a florist and a gift shop area inside the garden section which you don’t see in many other Mitre 10 stores. Of course considering we were there for about 5-6 hours, my energy levels plummeted dramatically and I got easily fatigued around the middle of the afternoon. There’s honestly heaps to see in Bairnesdale and you can’t really cover it all in one day. We decided to just have an easy dinner tonight and bought a BBQ chicken from the local Woolies store. https://www.dahlsens.com.au/

On Thursday morning, Mum and I booked twin massages at Jasmine Chinese Massage Bairnsdale. Every time I step into a new massage salon, I always seem to get myself a little nervous because there is always a degree of uncertainty in my mind. Will I be able to handle the pressure? What will be in store for me? What if I don’t understand what the Asian lady is saying? What if I get confused or embarrass myself? But I put all of those worries into the basket along with my personal belongings and just tried to enjoy the experience.

The massage started with a foot spa for 5-10 minutes with my feet soaking in a tub filled with rose petals. Next I had my head, neck, shoulders and back massaged with oil. I was quiet for the most part as I like to get into the zone even with numerous distractions happening around me. Next she massaged the same areas with some hot stones and then I had my feet massaged. Like most Chinese massages, it was a little intense at times but I could handle it as I knew my limits and I had a lot of tension and stress built up in these muscles especially from Easter weekend. http://www.jasminechinesemassage.com.au/

In the afternoon, we decided to go for a walk along the main street of Bairnesdale and dropped into a couple of homewares shops including Seven Sundays and also had lunch at Easy Eats Cafe. The weather was still in summer mode, made worse by strong gusty winds blowing autumn leaves and dirt around the streets. Not exactly the most pleasant weather to be walking in but at least there’s lots of shops to have a browse in. https://www.sevensundaysbairnsdale.com/

On Thursday night, we went out for dinner at Paynesville Hotel (formally known as The Old Pub Paynesville). After a brief afternoon nap at the caravan park, I was still feeling a bit drained and restless from the hot humid weather and lack of sleep. The main bistro and bar area seemed pretty packed tonight and the waitress warned that it could take up to an hour for our meals to be cooked. But we were both hungry and didn’t feel like going somewhere else for dinner. We both ordered the beer battered gummy shark plus a bowl of steamed veggies.

The venue is appropriately named being an “old” establishment built in the late 19th century. The lighting inside the bistro was pretty dull and there was no staff to greet us upon entry. It was literally help yourself to a vacant table. Also the tables weren’t cleaned with used glasses and napkins left behind from the previous customers. But these negatives aside, the food was well cooked and the portions were pretty decent for the price. Thankfully we only had to wait around half an hour for our meals to arrive. Not exactly the best pub I’ve ever been to but I’ve been to worse. https://www.paynesvillehotel.com/

On Friday morning, we departed from the Resthaven Caravan Park and started to head back home. We had breakfast together at @The Fig Bairnsdale which sits next door to Bendigo Bank and across from The Esplanade. The food was delicious and very affordable. Next we drove down to Stratford and went to Wa-de-lock Cellar Door which used to be the old Fire Station and even kept a few items in the cafe including the fire extinguisher and fire alarm. I was starting to feel a little depressed at the thought of going home. Back to my routine and how stressful and overwhelming my life can be at times. But I can always go back to visit Paynesville and Bairnsdale again when the time is right.

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