Hey Hollywood! 

America, Uncategorized

What better way to end the trek than a day in Hollywood. A new movie starring Ryan gosling was premiering tonight and I was basically just wandering the boulevard hoping I might spot him, catch his eye and he would fall in love with me immediately.Then we would run away together and he would build me a house and row me down the river every afternoon at sunset.

Anyway, that obviously didn’t happen, so I compensated by spending money in forever 21 on new clothes because the ones I was wearing felt horribly unflattering and were obviously the reason Ryan and I aren’t eloping right now.

Hollywood is an interesting place though. I dislike it as much now as I did when I was here in 2001 and yet it is still oddly fascinating. 

I managed to find the Harry Potter hand prints outside the Chinese theatre and get lost in the tackiest souvineer shop I’ve seen all trip. 

We finished at our LA hotel and not quite ready to leave, those of us staying an extra night went out for pizza together. 

I am finding it difficult to even sum up the last three weeks. I’ve made so many new friends, seen so many incredible things and basically rediscovered life on the road as I do on every trip. 

There is something exciting about not having concrete plans and living simple out of a suitcase. Having the freedom to meet people from all over the world in hostels and on the road is such a privilege. I love watching the countryside change from day to day and the beauty nature hides around the world never stops being amazing. 

These kind of trips always leave me inspired to see more, do more and be more.

Next stop, Hawaii. 

On top of the world in Santa Fe

America


I felt on top of the world in Santa Fe. Literally. As in, we were so high up I struggled to get enough oxygen into my body and ended up with a cracking headache and nosebleeds. I didn’t mind though to be honest, and it didn’t take long to get used to the feeling and start enjoying the lighter mountain air. 

New Mexico is great and it almost felt like we were actually in Mexico. Everything is sunny and colourful. I loved it. 

We wandered around the old part of the city and pottered through the street stalls of Native American goods. 

Dinner was at an authentic Mexican restaurant and after half a litre of margarita, it was safe to assume I had overcome my mountain sickness. 

Boot scootin’ in Nashville

America, Music, travel


We pulled up in Nashville and not for the first time in my life, I was seduced by a pair of shoes. 

It is quintessential country everything, everywhere you look in Nashville including people’s footwear. I know immediately I needed to invest in a pair of these boots and so the search began for the perfect match. 

In a turn of events that is unprecedented for me, the first shop I walked into, I saw the ones. Perfect fit, perfect style and perfect for every night out between now and Los Angeles. 

I put those new shoes on and suddenly everything was right and off to the country music hall of fame I strolled. 

The Country Music Hall of Fame is a shrine to some of the greatest musicians to grace the stages. Elvis, Chet Atkins, Keith Urban and even Taylor Swift. 

Country music really is the dreams of working people.

Later we went to a rooftop bar for dinner and drinks. Night times in Nashville are overflowing with amazing tunes on every strip and street corner. 

We had to make the most of the country vibe as we only had one night here. 

I’m a much better dancer in cowboy boots.

Everyday I’m hustlin’ and I’ve had enough

America, travel

It was a revolution today. See, the thing I miss most about home whenever I travel, is my weekend coffees. On Saturdays and Sunday’s I walk down to my favourite coffee shop, usually with mum and dad if I’m in Kiama, and we sip coffee and talk about our weeks. 

We order a croissant with jam and if a motorbike goes past too loudly we grumble about it. Here, the coffee is terrible and to get one you need to fight the rest of New York in Starbucks for a coffee that tastes remotely like coffee should.

Feeling fed up with the sheer volume of other bodies in close proximity to mine, and remembering the sanctuary of Brooklyn, it was at my request we went back there.  Mostly just for a coffee.  

We sat on a sidewalk and had iced lattes and a piece of cake. The coffee was still bad, but I could hear what Kristy was saying and no one hustled me. I do not enjoy being hustled. 

It was the kind of morning I would have if I lived there. Less tourists, more familiarity.

 

Over the bridge and far away from the crowds of Manhattan.

 
Weary of walking, we took the subway back to Wall Street, posed for a photo holding the Bull’s balls, then walked uptown a little for a last chinatown lunch. We figured as we head south, the opportunity for light and healthy food may be limited so we took advantage of the vegetable options, though it fell short of yesterday’s deliciousness. 

  
Heading uptown for the afternoon, we stopped by the Cooper Hewitt Museum. If you are ever in New York, please come to this place. It is all interactive and in this exhibition you can design stuff by breaking everything down into its most basic elemental form. I designed a wallpaper and a bunch cool furniture. Disney Pixar uses the same concept and they have a display that walks people through the construction of their characters. 

Simplistic creativity is not the impossibility people think it is!

For dinner we finally did the New York slice. Predictably, it tasted like pizza. 

Weerona reunion

America, college, friends, travel

 

Sara, myself and Divya enjoying central park and six years worth of gossip.

  
Six years ago when I arrived at Weerona College, I met four people who changed my life. One of them lives in Sydney and I see her at every possible time we can squeeze into our lives for champagne, wanderings and gossip sessions. 

Another lives in Sheffield, England and I’ve seen her a few times when she’s been in Australia or I’ve been in England. We catch up on what’s app and Skype whenever we can.

The other two were Americans who I haven’t seen since the six months they spent in Wollongong back in 2009. Divya lives in Boston and Sara lives in Philadelphia. 

All four of these girls and I had more adventures in six months than I’ve had in my entire life before or since. There was drama, romance, heartbreak, adventures, and plenty of nights we can’t really remember.

Me being in New York seemed the perfect opportunity to get together again, so Kristy and I met them at Penn station where after six years, it was like no time at all had gone by. 

Sara is half Chinese and knew all the good food spots in china town. She led us to the best pork buns of my life in this crazy restaurant. It was packed and you just got put onto any table where there were free seats. Then the waitresses come around with trolleys of weird looking food and you just pick stuff off and go for it. 

We all decided to walk off lunch in Central Park and the catch ups continued late into the afternoon. It was beautiful weather and the park was packed. We came across opera singers, bands in tunnels and a lot of adorable dogs. 

I did not want to say goodbye. I definitely don’t want to wait six years to see those faces again. 

Monuments are fun, New York is beautiful but it’s the people I’ve shared it with that I’ll remember.

Kristy and I walked the Hudson skyline boardwalk while we waited for Divya and Sara. There were plenty of cool little stops on the way, including this one. There is truth in these words.

Over the bridge 

America, travel

To me the Brooklyn Bridge is a symbol of every New York based movie and show I have ever seen.

A dream of mine has always been to reenact the beautiful moment from Sex and the City when Miranda and Steve meet halfway along the  Brooklyn Bridge to reconcile their marriage. 

Obviously I am not married, nor do I live in New York, and I’m on good speaking terms with all my friends… So there was no need to be all dramatic about the moment. I just walked from one side to the other. And it was… A footbridge.

Actually, Kristy and I walked from Brooklyn back to midtown. Solid all day walk. 

There were thousands of people on th bridge to negotiate, and once safely back in Manhattan we made our first foray into Soho where I remained true to myself and did not buy a single thing that wouldn’t fit in my suitcase. 

We had lunch in the Chobani Yoghurt Cafe which was cool since I didn’t know there even was one of those. 

Walking through Washington square where all the NYU students were was probably my highlight for the day. There was a lot of hype surrounding the election and I felt the buzz of student life drawing me into its clutches. Definitly thought about just rocking up to some literary studies classes and just enrolling at the university here. I am always missing the challenge of study and the intricacies of knowledge you only get to explore in depth as a student. 

I think when you start working full time your energy for knowledge is overtaken by a desire to perfect and succeed. Knowledge takes a back seat. New York is good for breaking that mound. 

We finished the day with a reading break in the park and an outrageous meal at Bubba Gump Shrimp. I obviously took my life into my own hands with my seafood allergy here. 

My Fitbit tells me we did more than 30 000 steps today as we walked from one end of New York to the other.

Tackling American history one monument at a time

America, travel

When people think about New York, I think the majority associate the Statue of Liberty with it immediately. It is what earlier immigrants saw as they pulled into the harbour, and it’s featured in every movie based in New York. 

It has been on my bucket list of things to do since I was a child. 

I’m not exactly sure why France decided to celebrate America’s 100 years of independence with a green statue of a woman holding a torch. Maybe if I had bothered with the audio tour that would have been revealed. 

Instead I raced up a few hundred stairs into her crown so I could be higher than everyone else for a few minutes and go through the special crown access line. 

Seeing New York from the crown of the statue was a surreal experience and definitely worth the 300 stairs and chlostrophobia battle.

  
On the way back our boat stopped at Ellis Island and we had a look through the immigration museum. It put our detention centres in perspective for me. The unceetainties faced by immigrants is something that upsets me at home. People put their whole life savings into trying to reach a better life only to be turned around at the last hurdle. And it is the same here, although they are no longer processed on Ellis island. 

Later in the afternoon we took the time to visit ground zero and reflect on th horror of September 11. The memorial is fantastic although I understand why it is a little controversial. The water features are grand, but it’s a confrontational reminder. 

 

The 9/11 memorial in downtown New York.

 
After so much reflection on the world’s and America’s problems, we lightened the  day with a late lunch in Chinatown at a restaurant on the back streets that had lots of people in it. Perfection.
 

First bite of the big apple

America, travel, Uncategorized

 Arrived in New York after nearly 30 hours of travelling. Hadn’t showered, changed my shirt or brushed my hair. It was unfortunate we were unable to check in at 10am when we rocked up in the hotel lobby but I took comfort in the fact there are heaps of people in this city who look and smell  worse than me.

Not wanting to waste a whole day, we started wandering in the direction of Starbucks for coffee. Nek minnit… Find ourselves at the top of the Empire State Building. 

  

HIGH: 86 floors up, gazing downtown towards the Statue of Liberty.

 
We had been told to expect huge lines and to pre book tickets because otherwise we would spend all day in lines, buuuuut not only was there no ticket line, there was also only a 15 minute wait to head up top. You go through this long winded explanation of the building’s heating system and how it was built but we skipped that in our eagerness to reach the view. I can say with certainty, the building was warm and the sights were amazing.

My travel bud Kristy may be the only person in the world who appreciates books as much as I do. So it seemed fitting that in our zombie-like states, we took refuge in the New York State Library. Wandering through places where the great thinkers of our time have also wandered always gives me comfort. No matter where you are in the world people always value knowledge. I love that the more knowledge I seem to aquire, the more questions I have about the wold. It’s easy to see how academics become consumed in their studies.

The New York State Library houses a lot of amazing work, but it is also a magnificent building I could spend all week in and still feel like I hadn’t seen at all.

THINKING: I wish i could say I was thinking great, life changing thoughts but actually , I was eyeing off the pretzel cart across the road wondering if I should get one for lunch or stick with my salad wrap.

Fast forward through an emergency stop at Forever 21 for new tights, a nap and a quick supermarket trip, we hit the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square for dinner. I am definitely in a New York State of mind. 

  

Brace yourselves, I am heading to America and it’s going to be epic

America, Uncategorized

 

Kristy is my American adventure buddy and will be putting up with me for five and a half weeks of road tripping goodness from one end of America to the other.

Well, a year later than I had initially planned, I am eight weeks out from another adventure.

My friend Kristy and I will be heading across America on a five and a half week road trip that will start in New York and finish in LA, before we fly to Hawaii for a relaxing break before heading home.

We will stay in hotels, hostels, camp sites, and do a lot of sleeping on the bus.

As with any of my trips, the most frustrating part is the lack of time. There will be a lot of quick stops in many cities and only five days to explore New York.

We will take a tour to the Statue of Liberty crown, re-enact a proposal on the top of the Empire State Building, pretend to be our favourite Sex in the City characters as we cosmo sip our way around the New York nightlife and spend a night on broadway.

We both suffer severely from a condition called The Hangries. It’s when you get so hungry, the hunger channels to anger and… well… it’s unpleasant. So we have come up with an eating schedule that incorporates bagels, supersized fries, single pizza pieces and a lot of coffee in order to preserve our friendship.

We plan to make stops in Washington, Memphis, New Orleans, Santa Fe, Las Vegas and a bunch of other mega cool places that I can’t wait to explore.

A lot of people have told me I am crazy for spending all my money on travels and I have a couple of comebacks.

One, I hardly make any money, so saving for any grown up stuff like a house is off the table.

Two, bon voyage bitches.

 

 

 

 

 

Microadventure challenge

microadventures

 

PROOF: This is my bib number for City2Surf. Just in case you didn't believe I was fully committed to registering, training, and running as my August adventure.

PROOF: This is my bib number for City2Surf. Just in case you didn’t believe I was fully committed to registering, training, and running as my August adventure.

I’ve had a full time job for three whole months now, as a regional journalist on the NSW South Coast.
It’s pretty cool. I get to come to work, go out an be professionally nosy about the cool things that happen in a small community, then sit down and get paid to write about it. The downside (let’s be honest, there always is one…) is that I am working all day, and I no longer have the luxury of jetting off somewhere whenever I feel like it.

It is for this reason, that I am committing to the micro adventure challenge. This is a concept that I discovered from Alastair Humphrey’s, who runs a blog dedicated to busy people who need a little more adventure in their lives.
It involves doing one challenge a month, in order to break what I, affectionately refer to, as the eat couch sleep cycle.

A cycle that I am quite fond of, and practise most afternoons, after work.

The challenge is to go out and have an adventure every month. You need to do something challenging that you wouldn’t normally consider doing. You need to make time for it, you need to be committed to it and you need to stop making excuses as to why you were sitting on the couch all weekend marathoning the entire Netflix movie catalogue when you could have been making exciting memories.

I am leaving the definition of adventure for loose interpretation. For example, I do not consider camping in winter an adventure, I consider it a nightmare. So to clarify, this is not something I will be doing.
I will however, be training for the City2Surf run in Sydney as my August adventure and aiming to take a fishing trip, because I have never been before. I may also consider, a summer camping trip.
I will take 10 challenges starting in June then end the challenge with a big adventure over two months, this time next year, in America on a road trip from New York to Los Angeles via the Southern states which, as it happens, I have conveniently booked earlier today.
So cheers to a year of adventures, because working full time should never stand in the way of living, adventuring and exploring the world.