5 years ago I met a man who stopped me in my tracks and kick-started my heart.

Then I left the country for 5 months.

4 years ago I returned to Croatia, back into the swing of the season – the spark was still there but we let it lay dormant for a while.

5 weeks spent together at the end of the season to see if there was truly something there...

Then I left the country.

I spent every moment trying to convince myself it was just a summer fling.

8 months later he was still on my mind; so I booked a one-way ticket to Croatia to find out. Brave or fool?

2 years and 3 months ago I arrived back in Croatia.

After 2 weeks we were in a rhythm. After 2 months we knew this was it.

5 days to plan a wedding.

1 day before the BIG day my father flew in to surprise and support us. 

2 years ago today I married the counterpart to my soul. 

We were both always whole, but we need each other to shine a light on the half we had shielded all these years.

One day at a time we grow more into ourselves, we work at our relationship and our love continues to blossom.

2 years ago I married my love, today I can say that man is my best friend.

I can’t imagine 1 moment, 1 day, 1 life without you.

Here’s to many more years of love in numbers.

Two years ago today, I received the best gift of my life. Thinking back my heart still floods with emotions and every time I tell the story I get all prickly-eyed.

What better way to honour the moment than a small note…

Growing up, our childhood was let’s say – colourful.

Our mother left when we were young and our step-mother left when I was in my early teens. Both of these moments came with the emotional upheaval you can expect.

But when everything you know gets burned to the ground, from the ashes will always spring new life.

Once the dust settled in our downsized family, I discovered the best thing a girl can have – my father.

As a shearer, my father was away a lot as a child. He was a strong, hard-working, humble man whom I always loved and respected, though it was my step-mother who ruled the foreground of our lives (not always with the most positive hand either).

When she left, my father thought he had failed us by losing another woman. He thought this created a hole in our family that only a mother could fill (he was wrong). It swallowed him for a time, but then he came back stronger than ever.

And what began to grow in that space was love. I discovered my father to be a far greater man than I ever knew. As he finally came to the foreground of our lives, we forged a strong, new relationship built on love, trust and respect.

There were plenty of moments where I am sure he wished there was a woman around. But he took it all in his stride and handled each topic as only he could.

On feminine matters – out grocery shopping, he turns to me and says – “you need any lady products – throw em in!”

Or the ‘sex-talk’ - when I started dating someone older than me, my father decided it was time to sit me down and our chat went something like this –

“So, erm, *clears throat*, I know you are a certain age and I know that there are things like injections or pills, so if you need me to take you to the doctor, I will”.

I did my best not to laugh as this was the most uncomfortable I think I had ever seen my him; my response: “thanks Dad I am already on the pill”. A little shock washed over his face before he quickly recovered – “ok, good, that’s all I had to say”.

Then there were times I pushed the boundaries – like when my best friend came around to my house in tears and covered in bruises once again after being beaten. I told her she wasn’t going home, went inside and said “Dad, she needs to live with us, I am not letting her go home”.

Having already raised a tribe of children himself, another mouth to feed was more than most would take on, but in his ever calm and fair manner, he said “first I need to have a conversation with her mother”. When he returned, there was little more said, he merely confirmed she could stay with us, then added – “you live here with us, you are part of our family and need to abide by our rules.” That was it.

The list could go on to depict the incredible man that I am lucky enough to call Dad.

There were so many moments when he took action and showed his integrity of character, then, there were moments when one would expect a father to step in, but he didn’t.

Like when I finished my law degree, then decided to manage a restaurant instead. Or when I last minute decided to move to Australia by myself, got engaged, moved to London, broke up with my fiancĂ©, went on a nomadic streak, ended up in Croatia as a tour leader on boat, fell in love…

I can’t imagine having a daughter, watching her run so wild and not feeling compelled to add my 2 cents and steer her on the ‘right course’. But he never did.

He didn’t idly sit by; it wasn’t that he didn’t care; but somehow he had the wisdom and discipline to allow me to forge my own path whilst showing me nothing but unwavering love and support from the sidelines of the arena – even when I was face-down in the mud.

This has led me to making a hell of a lot more mistakes than the average person. I have stumbled, tripped and fallen time again, but I have always risen stronger and more determined – and I have no doubt as to why.

I thought booking a one-way ticket to Croatia for love, was the crescendo of my wild and untamed ways. I was wrong.

After 2 months here with the man I loved, we knew this was it. We got on skype with my father – the first time they met each other – and Mirko asked for my hand in marriage (a modern day romantic gesture).

His words were – “I don’t have anything to my name, but I am a hard-worker, I love your daughter and I will do anything for her.” (Looking at this now, I realize he could not have said more perfect words speaking to my father).

Dad was sitting there with his amazing partner Celia and never one to be taken aback too easily, he barely hesitated in saying –

“Well I don’t know you, my daughter will make up her own mind, but as far as I’m concerned - as long as she is happy, I am happy” – this was a yes.

We knew we were going to get married, the only question was when.

We contemplated doing it in NZ or Australia after his season on the yacht, but as the end of my 3-month visa drew nearer, we realized we didn’t want to wait. This was it.

As fate would have it, I visited the registry office in town, the next available time they had was in 5 days (2 days before my visa was to expire), Mirko was able to get off his yacht for a few days, his mother and sister were in the country, so we thought the ultimate – fuck it – and decided to get married.

Living on the wind comes at a cost.

Though I knew this was the right thing for me, I was steeling myself for the fact that I was about to have one of the biggest moments of my life with none of my loved ones around.

There was no way I was going to put the financial stress of my personal choice on them, so I played it off as nonchalantly as I could (following in my father’s footsteps).

“It is just signing the papers, it is not a big deal, we will celebrate when we come to Australia to visit…”

This was a lie. It was a big deal, but I didn’t want them to feel bad and I couldn’t allow myself to think too much on it otherwise I would crumble. So I was convincing myself as much as them.

I spent the week trying to be as Zen as possible; though my emotions were like a plastic bag in the breeze – blowing this way and that, no order, no rhyme, no rhythm.

The day before the BIG day and I had dealt with my emotions as best I could. After meeting a beautiful friend who came to my rescue as the only person to represent my loved ones; we were patiently waiting for Mirko to arrive from the 11pm ferry.

11.10, 11.20, 11.25, no sign or word from my love. 11.30 he burst into the boat we were on and was  acting all kinds of strange. After a very confused exchange, he told me I needed to turn around.

I was annoyed at him, because he was being so aloof, but acquiesced nonetheless.

Standing there in a casual t-shirt and shorts was my father.

I was momentarily stunned and turned to Mirko in disbelief. Then the tears came and I jumped on Dad.

It was like one of those clichĂ© scenes from the movies, except it wasn’t a movie, my father had somehow flown from NZ to Croatia with little-to-no notice and was standing before me on a yacht in Croatia.

I have never doubted his love, but this was more than I ever expected. Once I finally caught my breath enough to stutter a few words, I managed to say “You’re here, I can’t believe you’re here!!”

As always, my father had the perfect response –
“You’re my daughter, of course I am here”.

Even as I write those words I am tearing up.

Tomorrow I will celebrate my 2-year wedding anniversary and there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that the example my father set, is the reason I have found such an amazing, grounded, hard-working, humble man to be by my side through this journey of life.

But today, on the eve of our anniversary, I will forever be reminded of the strength and depth of my father’s love.

Love is not measured in words; it is measured in actions (unless you are a writer of course…)

Thank you Dad for all that you are and all you have given us. There was never a hole in our lives, your love was always enough.

I am learning…

to bend so I don’t break

to be vulnerable, to be strong

 to love my body, so as not to reject it

to forgive, to be free from burden

to accept what is, to stop resistance

to give, so I can receive

to open my heart, so I don’t close it off

to embrace my flaws, so I stand in my perfection

to let the tears flow, to sooth my emotions

to send love, to those who would send me otherwise

to be quiet, so my truth is heard

to stretch my limbs, while staying rooted

to face my darkness, so I can shine my light

I am learning.

#20 in a series of 30 blogs in 30 days: thinking out loud

Thanks for following my journey.

Hahahaha, look at your belly, how can you be so skinny and have such a huge puku??

As I stood there in my god-awful leopard print swim suit at the local swimming pool, this was what another girl pointed to me and said.

I flooded with embarrassment.

Up until that point I had been an innocent 8-year-old, running around, without a care in the world – that’s not quite true, I had my burdens, but my body wasn’t one of them.

But, in that single throw-away comment, like being told Santa isn’t real – I lost my innocence.

I had never thought about my body before – all I knew was it allowed me to do all of the things I loved – swim, jump run, climb…

But just like that, I learnt body shame.

The power of a few small words, especially on children, is incredible.

My stomach has continued to be one of my major hang-ups. When I gain weight, it doesn’t go to my gangly arms, my small butt or thighs – it goes straight to my belly.

Whenever a guy has tried to be intimate, if he even attempted to lift up my shirt while I wasn’t in a flattering position (lying down – preferably with the lights off) I would freak out.

Even now, happily married to a man who not only sees all my flaws, but loves me for them, I still have a tendency to flinch or stress out about my body.

I don’t remember ever liking my body. But actually, a more accurate statement would be – I learnt to dislike it.

I think, for various reasons, we all do.

We aren’t born ashamed of our bodies. As young children we aren’t thinking – wow, Suzy has longer legs than mine, I wish I had curves like Jamie, how does Vicky have a toned midriff and mine is so round?...


We just are.

We run, we jump, we play, we are busy just being.

Then somewhere along the way, someone makes a comment, or the guy we like goes for the tall blonde instead of us, we study magazines and movie screens and realize we don’t look like the image of beauty. Rejected by others, we do the only natural thing – we reject ourselves.

Some people might look at me and think – 'you’re crazy, there’s nothing wrong with you'.

And you would be right, of course there is nothing ‘wrong’ with me, but we all know that’s not the point is it?

We all have our hang-ups.

When I look at you, I see your beautiful smile, gorgeous complexion, perfect hair… when you look at yourself maybe you see a crooked tooth, your frown lines, freckles, cellulite…

It is the same for each of us. We know the most intimate details of ourselves and it is almost always the ‘flaws’ we focus on.

In the past, when I have looked in the mirror, all I have seen is my pot-belly, my varicose veins, the scar that runs down my nose, my curly-frizzy hair, my big nose…

That is up until recently. In the past year I have made a conscious decision to love myself. I was in a dark place, call it depression if you will. Just like a hermit crab, outgrowing its shell, everything was dark and uncomfortable, I knew a change was needed and I was going to have to get mighty vulnerable to allow it to take place.

I started very simply. Every morning, I would drag myself out of bed, go to the mirror and say the words – you are beautiful and I love you.

I felt stupid and absurd doing this, but there is a point we realize, that what have been doing simply doesn’t work; if we want change, we need to be willing to get uncomfortable.

For the first few months, I didn’t feel much of anything. When I looked in the mirror, I still saw my flaws staring back at me. Not only my flaws, but my mind would bring up a reel of my past indiscretions, mistakes, regrets – anything to show me that I am far from beautiful and unworthy of love.

But I kept saying these words, I didn’t believe them, but I said them nonetheless.

After a while, when I approached the mirror, I made it my mission to focus on something I DO like about myself (the list wasn’t very long to begin with) and say something kind about my body. Slowly, over the last few months, these words have started to seep on. Day by day I am doing more small acts to show myself love – the kind of love I have wanted all of these years.

I can say, without doubt, I am far happier in myself and my body than I have ever been. My ‘flaws’ are still there, but I choose to accept them as a part of me. I choose to be grateful for the amazing body I have – the body that has always allowed me to do everything I have needed – work, run, play sports, dance all night in a bar!

Now it seems preposterous (not to mention ungrateful) that I have taken it for granted!

I am not there yet, but I am getting there.

Just over a week ago, the Universe sent me a beautiful reminder that I am on the right track.

We were anchored in front of the island Brac, I watched as a cruise ship lazily made its way by. Standing on the upper-deck, in amongst 20-odd tourists, stood a beautiful, tanned old lady – naked as the day she was born!

Yes, you read right. Standing in the middle of  crowd (all fully-clothed I may add), was a butt-naked old lady.

Initially I laughed, then we all said – what on earth, what is she thinking, standing there naked for all the world to see, at least do that in your own privacy…

Then another thought occurred – 

WOW, that lady has some serious confidence and body love going on!!

I couldn’t help but admire her.

I have had moments of bravery in the past – all of which were alcohol fueled. But at the age of 31, I can honestly say, I have never once stood so confidently in my own skin – with or without clothes.

It clicked.

How completely ridiculous to not love the skin you’re in!

Looking at that old lady, I could sense just how happy she was. I envisioned my future 70-year-old self, I wanted to hear what she thought, she whispered to me –

“darling, do you really think when you’re lying on your death bed that you are still going to wish you had a flat-toned stomach, or… do you think you’ll wish you embraced every single part of your gorgeous self?! Love yourself, love your body, be kind to both – you have a long road ahead, why not flaunt it fabulously, to do otherwise is crying shame!

I don’t know that I will ever have the galls to stand naked in a crowd, or that I want to.

But it is a noble aspiration, to get so comfortable with me, that I could be standing naked without a care in the world, while everybody else gawked on.

Who knows, maybe that WAS a glimpse of my future self…

note: this pic is actually me 5 years ago, just taking the first steps on a long road to embrace me.

#19 in a series of 30 blogs in 30 days: thinking out loud

Today one of our older guests on the yacht decided he wanted to go on the donut. I thought this was brilliant, our deckhand didn’t agree – ‘he is too old and had no strength, he couldn’t pull himself out of the water back onto the donut, so I had to’.

My response: So, it’s great he’s giving it a go.

Him:‘You try pulling 100 kg out of the water and see if you think it’s great’.

Me: Next time ask the son to come along.

Him: ‘the son was there…’

It seemed too obvious to even point out, why would you struggle to pull someone out of the water by yourself, instead of asking for help?

Then I thought, how many times in my life have I done this?

Being the stubborn, proud, Miss Independent that I am, I have always opted to lug around 100 kg of burdens rather than reaching out and asking for help.

In the restaurant scene, I am sure there are more than a handful of waiters who can vouch for this. I was one of those scary waitresses who was fiercely protective of her section (the area and tables you are responsible for). I would prefer to do everything myself rather than risk someone stepping into my area and messing something up, or worse – I would hate to let anyone think I can’t handle it myself.

I was always the head waitress (manager) everywhere I worked, so was always given the busiest section. Most nights I thrived on the atmosphere and got an absolute hit of adrenaline when I worked my way into the ‘flow’ of the restaurant.


There were nights where nothing worked. Nothing flowed customers were difficult and it was an uphill battle trying to keep up.

During these nights, I would get so frustrated at myself and the situation. Where normally I thrived being amidst the chaos, these nights I would be furious my section was so busy and no one was helping me – yet, if anyone dared come near my section they would get my famous death stare.

Talk about a double-edged sword.

There are a number of reasons we refuse to ask for help, but the biggest I believe is pride. Our ego convinces us this would be a huge sign of weakness – we will die before we surrender!!


There is a difference between skiving off, playing the victim and not rising to the occasion vs giving our absolute best and not quite making it. The former needs to tighten their slacks, the latter needs to loosen theirs.

I will not play humble – I have always given my all to every single role. Though it is natural that some days, no matter how hard we try, our best is just not enough.

It is in these moments we need to learn to ask for help. It is not a show of weakness, on the contrary it is a strength to be self-aware enough to know our limitations and humble enough to beseech help.

Working on a yacht as a hostess can be a huge job. I am on the clock 24/7. I am the first person the guests see in the morning (ready & waiting with their coffee) and the last one they see at night.

We operate as a team and everyone pitches in where needed, though being the face of the yacht can be more than a little demanding at times. Last year I struggled with the concept of asking for help. I tried to function day in and day out, giving 110%. Let me say here – this is not physically or mentally possible in ANY role, let alone one that has you living with the people you serve and work with, in a confined space, for 4 months straight.

I broke. I got emotional and snapped part-way through the season. I tried to do it all on my own and failed.

The chef looked at me one day and said ‘Tash, go easy on yourself, these conditions are not normal, no one can give 110% for this long, ask for help if you need it.’

Ask for help.

So simple, yet so difficult to swallow.

He was of course right.

I am stubborn and have difficulty asking for help – and… I have never said that out loud before.

I am slowly learning the more I pull apart my ego and face these truths, the more I see they are just smoke and mirrors.

Now, when I want help, I ask, or if help is offered I graciously accept… (most of the time, I am still flawed – progress not perfection right?)

And guess what?

The world didn’t implode because I couldn’t do it all myself. It didn’t strip away all of my credentials and past achievements.

All that happened was - I asked for (or accepted) help and the task was done, with no unnecessary dramas or undue stress. Amazing right?

Better yet, with less stress, frustrations and bitter thoughts, I can focus on the task at hand, not become embroiled in it. Which -

allows me to be the best version of myself (life is beautifully ironic sometimes).

So the question is, what 100 kg of unnecessary crap are you hauling out of the water alone?

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