Mother’s Day in Australia

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Today is Mother’s Day in Australia! My friend is having a family get together at her house & we’re all making a dish for the table. I’m going to make a salad – I haven’t cooked in 4 months! That’s desperate! A salad isn’t even cooking!

We went for a wee walk in Bundereen & it was beautiful. Australia has so much to offer! I love it! I loved getting together with my friend’s family. They are all so nice & have a great sense of humour. They welcomed me straight into the family fold & I didn’t feel like an outsider for one second.

Packing was tough but I am certainly becoming more ruthless which is a tremendous achievement for me! Being a backpacker with hoarding tendencies is a burden, physically & mentally. Any minuscule step towards overcoming this is a triumph in my eyes!

Tomorrow I set off for China. I’m sad to be leaving Sydney because I had such a wonderful time.

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The perfect day in Sydney

My second day in Australia was the most perfect day of fun! In the morning my friend & I went to a really cute Saturday farmers market. It was full of fresh food stalls, baked goods, juices & street food as well as fresh flowers, homeware & skincare. I loved browsing & tasting all the different foods. I had a fresh juice for breakfast & a steak salad for lunch. I feel healthy & content. I think I’m having a reverse culture shock coming back from Asia.

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Next up we went to the shops to pick up a few bits & pieces. I ended up in Mecca – a Sephora-esque shop. I found a miniature Origins night mask that I’ve been searching for for over a year! I also finally bit the bullet & got a neck support for the remainder of my travels. I just can’t cope with dozing off inflight for 2 minutes & waking with crippling neck pain. It will be worth $20 & the hassle of carrying the bulk of it around.

After shopping we went to the cinema to see The Jungle Book in 3D. I really miss the cinema when I travel despite not going much when I stand still. The movie had amazing CGI effects. 3D has developed a lot over the past few years & it doesn’t hurt my eyes half as much! FYI The Aussie popcorn is just salted, I adore a mixture of sweet & salted….

We went back to my friends house & her boyfriend was waiting for us with a bottle of bubbles! We went for the most delicious Indian meal & finished the bubbles & a beautiful red wine. This Indian was on par or maybe better than the food I had in India. I got a bit of angst eating the Indian food in India for fear of the hygiene levels of the establishment & I am so happy to shake this worry back in Western countries!

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Totally full & exhausted after our fun filled, perfect day, we got home & quickly dispersed to bed. What a lovely day. I knew I was right to look forward to Sydney again.

Back to Sydney!

With a sad farewell to Thailand, a brief stop in Kuala Lumpur & a mandatory McFlurry, I jet back to Sydney. I’m so lucky to be able to see my friends again! I’m so excited about going back to Australia! I had such a nice time last time I was in Sydney catching up with my friends & I can’t wait to see them again! I’ve really missed the western culture as well – which is not something I’ve ever missed before whilst backpacking.

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After doing zero shopping for the past few months & with my limited clothes selection either falling apart or driving me crazy I am super excited to pick up a few things! My flip flops are deteriorating off my feet & I’ve been wishing for them to last until Australia so I hope they endure the final steps until I find a new pair. I also need non backpacker clothes such as jeans & new tops as my others have holes or I’m sick of wearing them. I’m terrible at not being able to throw anything out so it will be interesting to see how proactive I am when it comes to the crunch! I’ll be back in Europe in a month & unwilling to buy clothes at Swiss prices, therefore shopping is high on my list.

I look & feel especially atrocious & haggard after my day of travel although my mood immensely improves when I meet a dear friend for lunch. We went to Bar Luca & got burgers. Not any old burgers – I assure you. This was the best damn burger of my little life! We got the ‘Blame Canada’ which contains all sorts of culinary delights as bacon, cheese, maple syrup & poutine. I sincerely URGE you get one if you ever drop by Sydney. It was simply incredible! We ate these in an orgasmic state on a grassy patch overlooking the sea. We took it in turns to cry out with pleasure & admiration. Paired with the joy of seeing my friend again, you could say I was in a somewhat euphoric state! My lord it was AMAZING!!! I was craving a burger since March & this one has to be one of, if not the best burger I’ve had in my life. It was so reassuring to eat without the fear of getting sick.

In the evening I met my friends for food & drinks. It was so lovely to catch up but I’m sure I wasn’t much craic because I was wrecked from all the travelling. I had alcohol for the first time in 2 months & I didn’t really enjoy it. I don’t even know why I bothered drinking at all. It just felt like I just did it out of habit. A part of me regrets it because I didn’t need it or want it. By the time I got to bed I had been on the go since the night before. I have to be kinder to myself before I make myself too haggard!

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Lying in bed I contemplate how it’s so strange to be doing ‘normal’ things like shopping again. It’s dawning on me that this adventure has an expiry date & I don’t feel ready to give up this lifestyle just yet.

Can I get your wifi password please?

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The solemn backpacker oath uttered daily. As soon as you take a menu you feel entitled to have access to their wifi. Half the time it’s probably the only reason you picked that cafe.

Indian’s with their dry sense of humour have made me laugh on more than one occasion with their wifi passwords.

The waiter stares me straight in the eye & announces ‘wifinoworking’ to the absolute horror of my friends & I we ask in panic that the wifi isn’t working hoping for a different response. “No, wifi no working. The password. Wifi no working.”. After several similar exchanges it becomes apparent that this deadpan comedic genius is telling us that the wifi is in fact active & working & the password to access it it ‘wifinoworking’. Fucking hilarious! This brilliance gives me faith in other people when I see how much pleasure they can squeeze out of an otherwise mundane job.

Here are some more gems I came across:

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Most creative method for telling you their wifi password!

Ubud

With little research & a few trusted opinions I have opted to start my Bali adventure in Ubud. People have told me Kuta is really touristy & full of Bogans (Aussie chavs). I get the impression that it will feel like just another tourist resort & won’t be especially Balinese – which is the experience I came for.
If Ubud isn’t that touristy to people I would hate to see the more touristy Kuta! Ubud is bustling with people. Every 20 steps a guy on the sidewalk is shouting taxi at me & waving a sign. I have developed a comedic slap stick walking motion to indicate to the taxi drivers that I am indeed walking & happy to do so. I look crazy. This has not deterred my idiotic reflex response.
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The footpaths are broken & quite narrow with people stopping sporadically in front of me. Other tourists walk straight towards me in couples expecting me to somehow evaporate to let them by then reappear behind them. Even someone I was with commented on how people almost walk into me…. I’m short but I exist dammit!!! This little town is too much for me. I have to escape to peace.
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I acknowledge my irrationality

After 2 nights in Ubud finding my bearings & getting frustrated with people I am heading to the East Coast of PadangBai.
Peace out folks ✌️
Please note, I’m not hating on Ubud! My body & mind seem to be craving a peace that the streets of Ubud cannot offer me. Everyone I speak to adores Ubud. In fact, I haven’t met anyone else who dislikes it! Maybe I’m just hangry…..

Farewell Nelson, maybe

imageI’ve enjoyed kicking back in Nelson. I’ve been staying at Paradiso Backpacker Hostel* which is awesome. It’s clean, the staff are friendly & they have a free unlimited wifi, a pool, hot tub, sauna, volleyball, table tennis, free breakfast, free soup & bakery leftovers! It’s a 10/15 minute walk out of town but it’s no big deal. I was paying $30 for a 4 bed female dorm, however there seemed to be plenty of other options including camping & camper vans/cars.
It has been interesting adjusting back to hostel life after renting my own room with the same housemates for over 2 months & having my own apartment for 6 months prior to that. I miss the ambiance I forge in my own space. I’m also adversely reacting to the potential friends in the hostel by thinking of them as strangers & really missing my lovely friends from Wellington! This conflict of emotions is encouraging me to take a day or two to adapt to my new lifestyle choice. I have poignantly questioned why I have the incessant compulsion to build a life & routine for myself just to walk away from it, move & start all over again. Why?
After much deliberation I have decided to travel with Stray** bus for my trip. I’m going to make life easy for myself for a change – they take you to all the main places of interest, make stop offs on the way & guarantee you accommodation. This will save me a lot of time, thought & energy making plans & booking & finding hostels, as well as saving me the stress of not being able to find anywhere as it is peak season & the hostels seem to be at full capacity. I have opted for the South Island pass (The Ron Pass) which includes the deep south. This pass is valid for 1 year, I can use it multiple times & it cost me $699 on offer (they seem to have offers on all the time). Another great thing about travelling on Stray is that I will meet fun like minded folks with reciprocative attitudes to myself, keen to travel New Zealand & have an epic time! This is probably the main reason I favoured it over traveling alone via campervan.
I purchased my pass 30 minutes ago & I am on the waitlist to travel to Abel Tasman today so maybe I’ll be on the bus in half an hour or maybe I’ll go tomorrow. Either way I am packed up & going to sit outside my hostel & wait to find out!
Here’s to adventure, new friendships & the freedom to be so laid back!
*Paradiso Backpacker Hostel Nelson
**Stray Travel

Resolutions

    
This time around I have decided I want to do something rather weird & quirky….. Nothing too dramatic. Ok, so I have pondered getting the side of my face pierced but I have opted not to pursue that (for now). I am thinking of a crazy trip somewhere – like ride a tuk tuk around India or cycle the South Island. Something a bit less done. Something I would not have previously contemplated.

 
Inspiration is always welcome on this blog so please post any suggestions in the comments for me 😀
On a side note I am also considering a dry January or something slightly less restricting. So far I have went 4 days without booze which is possibly the longest I’ve ever gone without alcohol in New Zealand. Working in a bar exponentially increased my alcohol intake. My body will revel at the long overdue & wholly deserved respite.

Today is Day 1 of running! I went for a run to the centre of New Zealand this morning! It was not the flattest terrain I could choose to begin running again, but it was fun. It was rewarding to get to the viewpoint & I’m exhilarated to call myself a runner again! ☺️🏃💨

I hope to make little adjustments in my lifestyle for as long as I can maintain them while coming up with my random epic trip…. Happy new year everyone! x

Proposal of Intention made

I have a plan! Well, not so much a plan as a proposal of intention.

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I’m going to the South Island at the start of January to discover & explore for a few weeks. At the end of January I’m flying from Christchurch to Wellington in time for the Rugby 7s. Perfect!

By this time I hope to have a clearer idea of where I want to settle & work – & whether New Zealand is the place for me right now.

I have handed my notice in at work & will finish on New Years Eve. This will be my first New years eve in 3 years where I’m not working at midnight & I am elated! I made a promise to myself last year that I would be off work & celebrate like a regular person. I’m going on a new years eve road trip around the north island for a few days. I couldn’t ask for a better start to 2016!

I feel so much better to have an idea of what the next month holds for me rather than winging it in Wellington for another while. My next question is the cheapest & funnest way to get around the South Island – Stray bus? Hitchhiking? Driving?

Crisis Level – High

I moved house yesterday & I am having a potential crisis over what I’m doing with my life etc, etc. I was not put here to work for minimum wage & struggle by. I have a laugh, but there’s got to be more. I generally have 2 meltdowns a year: one is around the time of my birthday & the other happens sporadically when I least expect it. I’m sure I’ve already exceeded my quota this year. I will try to block this one out.
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It doesn’t help that I currently have no internet access to procrastinate & create various short term solution options. When we eventually acquire a solid internet connection I am creating a Wellington exit plan. Sorry Wellington, it has been fun but I think we need to see other people…..

You want a job? Here, have 2

My last few weeks have revolved around panic, stressing out & frantically searching for work. I was even contemplating booking a flight back to Ireland where any productivity into finding work is zero due to family, the cutest niece & nephews, an adorable wee dog who tugs on my heart strings (exacerbated by catholic guilt) & attending to my ’rounds’ to see everyone whom I love dearly & miss.

Lo & behold I get a job offer & I feel GREAT!!!! Then… BAM!… Another one. Just like that. In less than 24hrs.

Now I am in a helpless, weighing up, seeking advice from my friends, pro-ing & con-ing, to-ing & fro-ing between life altering decisions. This could, of course, be more productive if I wasn’t doing 13 hour days.

I’m thankful that it’s a better type of stress. Plus if both opportunities seem so good that they are difficult to choose then either are going to be fantastic options. Right??? I have to hurry & seize my next adventure!

People of the internet!!! I beg thee! Tell me about life in Lausanne & Copenhagen so I can make a better choice! Also, what is the spider situation in each? Are they big? Sinister? Plentiful????