Friday, August 7, 2009

Close Encounters With Baggage of a Different Kind

I always write pretty hypothetically on here because I'm conscious of who's reading and judging, and this is not really an anonymous blog. But for the sake of this story, I'll put all metaphors aside and get down to the point.
Since I've been in Australia, there's been no love, at all. Which for the most part has been good for me. I needed time alone and to accomplish things on my own. Not to mention that a man who wants to go east when I want to so west is not going to last long. However, since I've got a long stint in Southern Cross, I thought it might be a good idea to have someone entertain me for a change. Working in the pub gets me out there and feeling rather confident. As a smiley and bubbly person, it's not hard to strike up a conversation with just about anyone that walks into the Club. I've had good luck with meeting blokes and checking out the potential in this town, which I must say it's not so bad. But this week instead of sideways glances and smiles I actually got asked out...4 times! Yeah, I'm on a roll. The problem is, I'm not really interested in the blokes who have pursued me, but because I was really happy to have someone take an interest I've just gone along with it. Last night I met up with a guy in the pub, played some pool and took a walk. The conversation was generally good, but I could tell he was light years ahead of me. And I'm at that point where I'm really ok with that. I love being naive and 23, inexperienced and still a little "stupid". I thought the night was cool and casual and it was a nice chance to have a chat, but for some reason he thought it was a date and did the ol' lean in at the end of the night. I dodged left and avoided it like the plague. Maybe not the swiftest move, but I was in no mood for a pity kiss. As I walked away rolling my eyes, I knew right away that this was not something that should be continued. Am I being too hasty, should I give it another try? Another bloke has called me three times and texted 5. I haven't responded yet. I know I'm not really into this guy and I don't feel like wasting my time on it. But should I grin and bear a few dates so that I can get back in the game, get some practice? I just don't know if I could fake it.
Moral of the story is that I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to dating.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

There's something in the air is Southern Cross that makes the air seem fresher and the sky look more blue, the people friendlier and the vibe, oh so relaxing. Not to mention the ability to make everyday seem like the weekend, especially when I'm drinking more beers than I'm slinging. Southern Cross is a small town part of the Yilgarn Shire located 400km east of Perth. Its industry is based in wheat harvesting and mining with most of it's population on a "one week on, one week off" schedule. I moved here when I found an ad on the internet looking for a barmaid for a couple months work, and since my bank account was rather sad looking, it seemed perect. But what I didn't expect when I pulled into into SX was to feel so happy and at home in a town with basically one street. I've been mixing drinks and helping people bet on horses for a week now and things are fantastic. I already know the locals and their signature drinks, made friends and have got a library card. As I sit on the veranda overlooking the town, I can't help but feel at peace and that I'll fit in just fine. I've even managed to meet a geophysicist who knows what Quantec is!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Like Vegemite!

Any traveller backpacking accross Australia knows that when you start to like Vegemite, you've crossed over to the dark side. Vegemite is Australia's claim to fame; a brown food paste made from condensed yeast. When it was developed in 1922, it was originally the goo that's they scraped off the bottom of the barrels after brewing beer. But for obvious reasons, it's now mass produced for the aussies. To an unsuspecting outsider, Vegemite appears to be a sweet Nutella like substance that you would slather on your toast...but don't do it! It's saltier that all the oceans combined, bitter and malty. If you're brave enough to try it, only use a smidgen so you can hardly see it, and taste cautiosly. After 9 months of being here though, I have come to LOVE it! There's really nothing like a cheese and Vegemite sandwich or a cheesymite scroll. Don't worry, I'll be bringing enough back for everyone to share in the special experience!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tough Stuff- Saying Goodbye

Sometimes the hardest part about travelling is not being able to go home at a moments notice when it’s really important. A few days ago, our family lost a member; my aunt Pat. The news came over the internet waves like most information I receive these days, and I can only be thankful that this kind of technology exists. As I cried over the laptop with my mom and dad, I cursed that the teleportation or instant money technology hasn’t been invented yet.
It’s a hard notion to wrap your head around that things may not be the same when you get home; people have moved on, moved out, hooked up, got married, and even passed away. And as much as I want to go back to the life I left on October 23rd, 2008, I know that will never happen. All that any traveller can hope for is that there will be a place for them, somewhere, when they do decide to return. And all I can offer when I’m gone, is that everyone can trust that I think about them everyday, and miss them more. Here are some words to describe aunt Pat; may she find peace where she is now.

Patricia Coulson Hawes
March 17th, 1948- July 8th 2009

She wasn’t a woman that I got to know very well outside the realm of an aunt, but the life she lived was the greatest way that I had gotten to know her. Her children, Kyle, Amy, and Julie, were always a great inspiration and influence for me and I’m sure to a lot of others as well. They are a true reflection of Pat and all the things that made her a wonderful person, multiplied into three wonderful people. Opening her home to Grandma and caring for her for many years. Her work with teaching challenged children; a gift to her students and a reflection of her kind, generous nature. Finally, her way of being; always being the picture of happiness, even when things may not have been, her brilliant sense of humor, her warm and inviting regard; and for me, her laugh. The most honest and joyful laugh, that when I close my eyes, I can hear it and picture her face.
She was not only my aunt, but a mother and a grandmother, a sister, a partner, and a friend. A magnificent woman whom I will miss greatly, and I only hope that I can express that here, as I cannot be with the family at this time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So Canada, How About We Get Together Some Time?

I love my country as much as the next Canadian, and I’m damn proud to tell people where I’m from when they ask and revel in the pleasure when they say it’s better than being American! But to tell you the truth, I’m not all that knowledgeable about Canada as I’d like to be. I can give tourists a rundown of the highlights of where to go, but I’ve never been out of Ontario; I don’t know what birthday this is for Canada; looking at a map sends my brain into overload. Get my drift? I know nothing about my home. And it wouldn’t bother me so much, because after travelling so much over here, all I want to do is get back to explore my own backyard…but everyone is going without me! All I’ve ever wanted to do it travel, but have always had the problem of finding mates to go with, so I’ve become the fearless lone traveler and ventured out solo. Only now that I’m away have my closest network of people now decided to travel. My parents are heading out west to BC and Vancouver Island, my brothers are going to Seattle, and my friends are doing a roadtrip across Canada, or so I’ve heard. Where were all these people when I needed to go! I shouldn’t complain; I’m in Australia, but sometimes it’d be great to travel with people I know, and the best times I’ve had have been with friends. I guess I’ll just have to convince them to all go again when I come back. Oh Canada, my home and native land, I miss thee, yet I hardly know ye.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No TV and Little Kids Make Laura “Something” “Something”

So, I’m a nanny. Usually the general requirements for you to be a nanny are things like cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, liking kids…wait, maybe that should have been first. Now, I can honestly say that the first three things I’m a pro at and I actually enjoy doing a lot, but the last requirement, and usually the most important is the one I have the most trouble with. I’m not going to say flat out that I don’t like kids, but I find it very difficult to entertain children, discipline them, try to figure out what’s wrong when they cry and just keep them happy. I’m clueless, and I doubt that four weeks will be enough to really get to know these kids. This has been the fist day that I have been with the kids since Kate had them in town for the last two days. Granted they are very tired today, but seriously, I just can’t do it. I feel so board and unhappy when trying to care for children. I don’t want to come off as a crappy person, but it’s just the way I feel. It kinds of frightens me because I don’t want to become a Brooke Shields and want to disown my own children the second they come out of the womb. It’s probably not the job I should have taken since I kind of know that this is how I feel about kids, but it was a great gig to get my visa and Kate is such a great lady. I just hope that I can get over myself to help these kids. Anyone have a suggestion? And don’t say TV because there is none here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What up in WA!

So the search for a job only lasted two weeks, thank goodness! I’ve got a gig on a farm as I hoped, but will only be spending a month here. As well, I’m playing the role of nanny extraordinaire, taking care of two kiddies, Jack and Asha, as well as keeping the house in shape.
The last two weeks in Perth were really good. I didn’t much play the tourist card this time, opting for long sleep ins and TV time. It was nice to just kick back for a bit. I did get to do some fun stuff however; Amanda and I went sand boarding last week in a town called Lancelin. It’s renowned for its vast expanse of sand dunes great for 4-wheel driving, or like Amanda and I experienced, bogging you car and then spending an hour trying to dig it out. We rented our boards from a cafĂ©/convenience store/hardware store (that’s how small this town was) and drove up to the dunes. One board was like a skateboard with straps to put your feet in and ride like a snowboard; the other was exactly like a snowboard but was meant to sit on. Unfortunately the thing about dunes is that there are no chairlifts and we had to walk up every time we went down. We tried the boards every which way, but I found the best was standing on the sit down board; if only snow boarding were as easy as that. Amanda and I got a little cocky and built a jump which she successfully got some air off of; I did not! I recommend that if anyone gets the chance, do some sand boarding- even though I’m still emptying sand from my sweater pockets!
Another adventure was down to a town called Kallamunda which is said to have a history with extra terrestrials and ghosts. We went to a great new age bookstore where I met a fellow Canadian who has been living here for 7 years or so.
The rest of my time was spent listening to a few great musicians bang their drums, tickle their keys and strum their guitars…Amanda and Scott are musicians who teach and jam at the house!
Yesterday I left Perth on a bus to a small town called Kojonup. I was picked up by Kate, the mom and owner of an byodynamic egg farm. We ran some errands in town before heading back to her farm which is about half an hour away from the town. On the way, we rescued (kidnapped) a lamb that was running wild and had no mother. Kate told me that if we didn’t do something that the lamb would probably die. So I sacrificed my jacket and held little Lambington in my lap the whole way home. Today was my first official day on the job…but it really doesn’t feel like a job at all. Kate had to go into town to pick up another girl and took the kids with her leaving me here to mind the house. I spent all day just cleaning and doing laundry…reminiscent of my days at Lakair- not to mention it smells like Lakair here too making it hard to remember that I’m in Australia still. It’s such a warm and inviting home and I know I’ll be getting along just fine.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I’m not done yet.

So, my parents are moving to Barbados. Yeah, go back and read that again. "Did she mix up moving with vacationing, or Barbados with Burlington?" No no, you read it correctly. Just when I was getting used to the idea of moving back to a home in Toronto, it all gets changed. But such is my life when it comes to these sorts of plans. And I am my parents’ daughter. I can never make up my mind of where I want to go or what I want to do, and usually decide on a whim or a feeling. So I can’t expect my parents to be any different. They always said they would move around the world if an opportunity came up; and one has. Dad’s going to be doing work out of Barbados for the next few years.
This new piece of information has changed what I plan on doing for the next while. I had always assumed I’d finish my year in Australia and then go home, but since I really don’t have a home anymore, it really leaves the decision up to me, where I want to live. As I’ve travelled around the country I learn more everyday about the opportunities there are here, and frankly, it’s just too much to cover in a year.
After I was finished in Tasmania, I make a split second decision to move over to the west coast. Coming over here has been something that I wasn’t sure I would ever get to accomplish. Now that I’m here, it’s come clear to me that I really want to stay another year. In order to get a second working holiday visa, the government requires you to do three months of agricultural work in farming, fruit picking, mining or fisheries. Since I’m running low on time, I really need to get these three months done now. The search has been hard but I feel like I’ve got the resources now to get the right job, it’s just playing the waiting game to hear back from employers.
For now, I’m living with a highschool friend, Amanda Timler, who moved here a few years ago with her family. She’s been really great to put me up while I search for a job. For now I hope to enjoy a bit of Perth before I get stuck on a farm for three months. Wish me luck in the search!


When you tell an Australian that you’re heading to Tasmania, you’ll either get a laugh or a response like “Why are you going there? To see the two headed people?” Native Aussies mostly think that Tasmania is full of inbreds and hicks, and generally not a place worth crossing the Bass Straights for. But ask a fellow traveler what it’s really like, and you’ll get the truth. A wonderful island removed from the mainland full of beautiful landscapes, untouched beaches, and picturesque mountains. Over the last ten days, I’ve had the chance to experience Tasmania for myself, and the latter explanation of this state is the correct one. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been to a more beautiful place in Australia yet.
The trip started in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, at Sophie’s nan’s house. I probably never would have made it here if it weren’t for Sophie and her family roots. From here, we rented a camper van care of Devil Campers (much better than a Wicked one) and began to drive. Luckily Tasmania is a very small island so the driving distances were short each day. Our travels brought us to Port Arthur on day one which is a historical site to experience Australia’s convict past. It’s host to old prisons, churches, cemeteries and barracks. Most of the buildings are in ruins, but some houses and prisons are in tact or restored. We took a ghost tour in the evening, hoping to get a scare, but were more delighted in the guide’s historical knowledge of the area.
Most of the trip was spent doing a lot of bush walks and hikes. Highlights were a walk to a lookout over wineglass bay at Freyichet National Park, and a hike around Dove Lake at the base of Cradle Mountain. The east coast ended up being quite rainy, but with brilliant bursts of sunshine we were graced with about ten rainbows a day, perfectly placed in the view of our photos.
The town to Launceston was beautiful, full of parks and historical buildings. Unfortunately we rocked up at the weekend the V8 car races were on and couldn’t get a seat at any restaurant in town. One unexpected gem we found along the way was a town called Penguin which hosted some of the best markets I’ve seen in Oz. But not better than the Salamanca markets held in Hobart every Saturday. If you ever make it to Tasmania, make sure to be in Hobart on a weekend!
Overall it was an amazing experience that I know not many backpackers get to experience, so I count myself lucky!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

East Coast- In Detail!

Day 1- Thursday Surfers Paradise After packing up the Wicked Van, Julia and I set out on the road for our first destination of Surfer’s Paradise. Surfers is located on the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane and is described as plastic and as fake as a cheap spray tan. The stigma was true on first glance at the so called Paradise, but a quick drive outside the city center proved it to be beyond paradise. With beaches as far as the eye can see, perfect waves for surfers, a nightlife like no other, and national parks just a short distance away, I’d say it lives up to it’s name. It had been about 5 weeks since I had seen a beach and layed in the sun, so naturally, that was the first thing we did. It was great to get back into the water; however, it had cooled considerably. The air started to cool as the sun set, so we headed to some of the shops to take a look around. We asked a couple locals and a fellow Canadian what is the thing to do on a Saturday night- apparently it’s ladies night at every club and we were entitled to drink for free- and free is what I like! We buzz back to the van which is parked outside a hostel and sneakily use their facilities before we go out. I have to say that I’m not much of a clubbing person, but the drinks were free! 3 hours and three clubs later, we find ourselves being “entertained” by some male dancers and it’s hard not to snicker under the influence of several complementry champagnes. Suddenly they announce something of actual interest to me; a woman is doing makeup…for FREE! Of course I couldn’t say no to that; and the male dancers weren’t very coordinated anyway! I sat down in front of the artist and closed my eyes- wait- open them back up. I’m getting a spinning sensation. Ok, I wanted my makeup done so I close my eyes again. The whole room was spinning and the second I get off the chair I beeline to the bathroom to throw up. It doesn’t happen, but that was the end of the road for me. We sleep in the van that night and discover that it get’s really cold in that tin can. I wonder if it was a good idea to take a van south when it’s turning cold! Day Two- Friday Surfers Paradise- Lamington National Park We had been coaxed by a charming Irishman to stay an extra day in Surfers to do a pub crawl, which meant we needed to find something to do for the day. The schedule said we were to be heading to Byron and I hadn’t planned anything. But such is roadtrip life- there’s no such thing as an itinerary. Luckily, Lamington National Park was close by, and as a destination on my checklist, not yet checked, I thought it’d be perfect for a day trip. The drive up was as beautiful as ever, winding up narrow mountain roads. The land was lush and green with trees canopying the road. It felt almost enchanted. At the top, we took a tree top walk that guides you 20m above the forest floor to see life in the trees. Next we took a hike to McLean’s Falls- words fail me at the moment to describe what it looked like, but breathtaking will do. We made sure to drive back down before the sun set, and to get back in time for our pub crawl. There’s really not much to say about that. Moderately fun you could say! Day Three- Saturday Byron Bay Finally we were on our way to Byron Bay. I had heard so much about it and almost every traveler I ran into recommended it. My friend Marianne had been there 4 years ago and when I asked her what she liked the best, she told me about The Arts Factory. For months, I’ve been eager to see this hostel, and when I laid my eyes upon it, I was not disappointed. This hostel is one of the oldest in Byron with accommodation, bar, restaurant, and spa. You can choose to stay in a dorm, in a teepee, in a hut on the water or camp. Even though we had a perfectly good van to sleep in, I knew I needed to stay at The Arts Factory. Before we checked in, we scoured the town and all of it’s backpacker friendly luxuries; ie. Free internet! As well as heaps of travel assistance, the town offers all the amenities to stay for longer than you expected. It’s boasts a beautiful beach great for surf and swim, nearby dive sites, and coastal walks. If you pop into town, they have the best alternative/ hippie lifestyle stores and cafes. Being here I felt very relaxed and at home. I never wanted to leave. After exploring, we headed back to the hostel to see what was happening…it was Saturday night after all! After some hmmm-ing and haaawww-ing, I was called by the sweet sound of a didgeridoo from my window. Across the way at the Budda Bar, a band called Loonaloop was playing a set. I quickly went over and was absolutely blown away by the show. It was mostly an all girl group with a trance, psychedelic sound accompanied by didgeridoo and electric violin. After dancing my heart out and snatching up a cd, I was ready for bed…at the Arts Factory! Day Four- Sunday Byron Bay- Nimbin Sunday is synonymous with Markets is Australia, so when it comes to that lazy weekend day, you know you have to drag yourself out of bed to drift through the markets. There was a particular town about an hour and a half away that is known not only for great alternative markets, but for it’s non conventional lifestyle. And by non conventional, I’ll be blunt. The town is called Nimbin and it’s the marijuana capital of Australia. After the Aquarius festival in the ‘70’s, the hippies just never left, and never grew out of the hippie lifestyle. 30 years later, the town is characterized by funky murals, colourful buildings and hand written signs. The people are much more colourful; permanently stoned, hair that hasn’t been cut in 3 decades, and skin that will probably smell of incense till they’re put in the ground where marijuana would probably sprout in 6 months! It was a great experience to see these people living somewhat harmoniously together in a constant state of pot hazed euphoria, but after we were offered to my pot by 4 different children, and weed cookies by a crazy old lady, it was good to get back in the van and have it only as a fun memory. From Nimbin, we headed on a scenic drive past Mnt Warning and up to Nightcap National Park where we viewed yet another beautiful waterfall. Since the sun was beginning to set, we headed back to Byron for a Sunday Session at some of the bars in town. I had been lucky enough to end up in Byron at the same time as a friend of a friend of mine; Chad and his brother Greg. We ended up hanging with them at their hostel, Aquarius, then popping out to a bar down the street. The bar seen, however, was getting a little old for me, so it wasn’t as enjoyable and the previous nights, but good to experience the Byron nightlife.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Wicked World

So today IS the tomorrow I worried about yesterday, and guess what, everything turned out alright. I've begun my Wicked roadie with a German girl named Julie. We left Brisbane on Thurday morning and headed to Surfers Paradise to soak up some sun and enjoy the Gold Coast night life. After much convincing from the Wicked Pub Crawl crew we decided to stay an extra day in the area. We needed something to fill our time so we drove up to Lamington National Park. The drive up the mountian was absolutly beautiful and breathtaking. We did a tree top walk and a 2h hike to a magnificent waterfall. My pictures will never do it justice. We arrived back in Surfers to begin our night out...6 clubs, free drinks and some bowling was enough to give me a great big headache this morning, but not stop us from hitting the road again. We have just arrived in Byron Bay; hippie town NSW! We're going to go to the beach and then roam the streets and try to hook up with some more backpackers, but that won't be hard.
I'm so glad to be on the road and travelling. A month was the original allocated travelling time, but I think I'm going to extend it as long as I can!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On the Road Again

Relax...ok, someone tell me to relax. I'm leaving...yeah I'm leaving, but not on a jet plane. In a Wicked's my dream and has been since that post you read months ago. Here it finally is. I love when things are so far away and then somehow end up on your doorstep awaiting you tomorrow. But today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday and it's all turned out fine. That's what my original van was supposed to say on the back. I was solely going to take it based on that saying, and because it has stars on the ceiling (read post back in December). But I didn't feel safe in it, so I have the one that says " Goddesses are just angels with big boobs"...which both my travel mate and I have, so good riddance.
Tomorrow begins the epic journey I have been looking forward to basically since I got to Australia. I'll be travelling for a bit shorter than a month and covering about a 1/4 of Australia. How cool is that! And just when I thought I would have absolutely no one to do it with, fate, and a cafe near work, brought me Juliane. She's a German girl, season world traveller, speaker of 3 languages, and needs to get out of Brisbane. She's keen on travelling but doesn't have a lot of dough, as per the greater population of backpackers. But she's awesome and I think we'll have a lot of fun.
I had dinner with my friends and roommates tonight just to say farewell. I'm excited to leave, but the feeling is bitter sweet. I'm so grateful for the many wonderful people into my life while here is Brisbane.
Now for some last minute packing...
See you on the Gold Coast!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Quarterly Update

This is the first quarterly update of the new years goals. I'm pretty happy of the progress I've made, but I've been reminded of the work still needed to be done. 9 more months to complete it all!

1. Learn to surf- good progress
I've gotten on a board and ridden a few waves. I plan on living in a coastal town to take up the sport.

2. Ski New Zealand- no progress
Hasn't happened yet, but it's still summer. ETD is August for NZ.

3. Bungee Jump ( or some other extreme sport)
- no progress
Same as above

4. Get in shape- good progress
I've joined a gym and try to eat healthier. I've gotten back some endurence and increased my cardiovascular strength.

5. Blog- mediocre prgress
Still Blogging- Just not a lot going on to blog about!

6. Keep in touch more often- poor progress
I've been doing ok but I could make much more of an effort- starting tonight!

7. Take more pictures- medicore progress
The new camera is working out well and I try to take more pictures when I can

8. Travel alone- no progress
No opportunities to do so yet

9. Shake the Someday Syndrome- good progress
Yes- well, I've been working on it, and I'm getting better. This post is proof that I'm keeping up with things I said I'd do.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Still searching

I'm having a mid trip crisis. Someone asked me how long I've been here and when I told them, 5 months, they coolly remarked that I was almost at my half year mark; half the trip was over. I was not very happy with this and didn't even put it together that I was almost at 6 months. So for the past week I'm been having major mood swings and questioning what I'm really doing. I've hardly done anything, and there's so much that I want to do. I don't think I'm going to have time for all of this.
Secondly, I feel quite alone here. I came here with Carley, and love it when we do trips together, but I worry that we're on two very different paths, and she'll not be ready when I am. Other than that, I really have no one to travel with. And I guess not just travel, but spend time with and lean on, and have a strong relationship with. I really miss my family back home, and all of my friends, and dearly wish that they could be here doing this with me.
I feel pretty hopeless at the moment, like nothing is moving forward, I'm just at a stand still. All I want to do is travel, but I haven't got enough money or someone to go with right now.
At least the weather is cooling down...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Thoughts of the day:
Frequent and extensive transit systems are no good when you have no place to go
Cities are pointless to live in when you have no one to go out with
Phone plans are expensive when you have no one to call
Having a gym membership does not necessarily mean you'll get in shape
The concrete jungle is slowing taking its toll on me

I'm having a hard time trying to find my happiness here. I'm really not happy to just stay in by myself, it's rather lonely, however I'm not entirely happy to spend every weekend at the pub, drinking away all the money I'm supposed to be saving. And to be honest, unless you're with really good mates, or you completely inebriated, it's just a mundane evening 9 out of 10 times. This is highly conducive to my lack of self confidence I'm sure, but I could have just grown out of that partying phase.
My dream involves a coastal town, a part time job and second hand surf board. Why do I find it so complicated to make that happen. The whole point of being here was to rid myself of strings and responsibilities and do what I want.
I'm looking for answers but I'm stuck in limbo...and believe me; the rent is too high in Limbo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A picture worth a thousand words

I got this idea from a fellow blogger on It's a pretty cool idea, everyone should give it a go, on your own blog or FB.
here are the rules:
1. go to your picture files or wherever you store your pictures on your computer.
2. go to the sixth folder and select the sixth picture.

3. post it on your blog and tell the story behind the picture.
4. tag a couple other wonderful bloggers and leave a comment on their blog telling about it.
This is a sweaty snap from early January when I went to Sunset Sounds, a music festival. I fell in love with Brisbane that week and decided that's where I was going to move. I also discovered some great new artists who performed beautifully. This was on the first day of the fest, fairly early in the day, and getting straight into it drinking!

Pass it on!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I ♥ Quiksilver

If you ever come across Quiksilver the brand, no doubt Kelly Slater’s face will come along with it. Pro surfer from his teenage years, Kelly continues to be the poster-‘man’ for Quiksilver across the world. As I worked for Quiksilver back in Toronto, we’d loop several videos of surfing competitions or footage of Kelly catching a great wave. It was a hard thing to imagine when it was -25 outside, what it would be like to watch a pro do what he does best, but an impromptu trip with my best buddie and a Wicked Van had myself on Snapper Rocks beach in the VIP bar watching the best surfers, including Kelly of course, surf the 2009 Quiksilver Pro Comp.

Rewind…the weekend began as all my other weekends do; at the Wicked Campers Depot working my usual Saturday shift. This was my week to only work until noon, so I was in pretty high spirits for the day as it was. There had been talk with Carley the night before whether we should head down to the Gold Coast to catch the Quik Pro, but we just couldn’t decide how to get down there. Sam, who’s been working at the event all week was unfortunately working Saturday all day as wasn’t able to bring us down. The Wicked van idea came up and I was pretty sure I could swing us a deal. So to my ultimate satisfaction, I was granted a Wicked Van on Saturday at the “Awesome Employee” Rate! 12pm couldn’t come any slower, I was just so excited to get on the road and down the coast. Now I must remind you, I have always been an automatic driver, and since living here, I have the graces of patient people to teach me the stick. I’m pretty confident when it comes to my driving, but this was going to be my first time driving with no help, a full trip in a standard van. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. But only a few wrong turns ended up being the obstacles on the road, and the trip went seamlessly.

We arrived in Coolangatta late afternoon to catch the last couple heats of the men’s division. I was pretty much as excited at a 13 year old at a Hannah Montana concert. Going to a Quik Surf Comp has been my dream for so long, and to finally see it happening was truly overwhelming…especially when you run into a surfer as big as Dane Reynolds, which Carley and I did!

Fast forward to Sunday…after a cozy sleep in our Wicked Camper, Carley and I rose early to get back to the beach. Sunday morning was Roxy Pro, women’s division semi-finals and finals. It was really great to see some chicks ripping up the waves, and even better to see DOLPHINS! Yes, dolphins, just chillin’ in the water with the surfers. It was my first time seeing 1. Girls pro surf, and 2. Dolphins. But the day gets even better. We meet up with Sam who’s come down for the day and surprised us with VIP passes to the best bar/viewing area. All the Carona and Red Bull you could skull down, and a full view of Mr. Kelly Slater as he surfed his late afternoon heat.

Rewind…When I began working for Quiksilver in Sept 07, it was a dream come true for me. I’ve always been a Roxy girl at heart, so working for the company wasn’t like a job, it was just getting something I loved to do everyday. But it went beyond clothing for me, and probably most of the people there. Quiksilver has truly changed my life and brought be to places I only dreamed of, so it has a big soft spot on my heart, and if you look close enough, it’s probably shaped like Roxy!

So fast back forward to me watching Kelly surfing, and to say it was overwhelming is putting it lightly. A year ago I knew I’d be coming here, but nothing can prepare you for actually accomplishing it.

After the last waves were surfed, I got back in my van, by myself this time, and made my way back to Brissy. By far one of the best weekends of my time here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A World Apart

I always love a good story about new travels, especially from a great writer. This is an e-mail I received from my brother who's out in B.C. on a ski trip at the moment.

"I have arrived alive and well with no kinks along the way (despite my paranoia). We arrived and waiting for us as we got to baggage claim was Adam and Stephen and after a quick hello and pick-up of the bags we rushed to the car to avoid paying for parking. We packed all of out crap into the car (quite tightly mind you) and along with a duct tape hood, rear end, and back door that cant open I strattled my skies around Calgary and to our destination (wearing my seat belt of course). On our way we got a great view of the mountains and I was able to manifest my camera out of its bag and get few shots. About 20km away from Invermere we stopped off at the Radium hot springs and took a dip. It was awesome. We pulled into Invermere around noon and came to a very..."lived in" house. So about an hour later we finished cleaning the pube tumble-weeds and headed out for beer and hamburgs. That night we headed to Mount Panorama where we had three hotel rooms with a bunch of people that the guys work with (Every Monday the guys and fellow workers get a deal on rooms and rent them out to party in, then go to the bar where a live band plays. That is where we went after having some drinks). To summarize the night, I got bombed (I blame the altitude for that). Needless to say, after knocking over a glass and smashing it, coupled with attempting to dance and fending off more drinks, we headed in for the night. Had a great sleep and woke up at around 8:00am (Due to someones drunkenness who left the window open) and ate some breakfast then hit the hill. I died 3 times...more like 100. Long story short I ate shit all the way down a double black diamond due to my skies being "set for a 3 year old" says the ski tech. But after the traumatic experience that is the DBD me and Adam stopped off at a little cabin on the hill and had some hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps on the deck and basked in the sun with the BEST scenery I have ever seen. Now I am back at the pad yearning for a shower, so I will message yall again with some pics to go along with it, Love you all."

Alex, you need to start blogging, I love you too!

Single in the City

8:30pm, T.V. on, cell phone quiet- pathetic for a Saturday night, and a Valentine’s Saturday night at that. Feeling very dismal I put some decent clothes on and set out on a mission for my lover, moiseur chocolat (he’s French) But as I get going, I’m enjoying the cool feeling of soft rain on my skin and exploring my new neighborhood. As I walk to the main restaurant strip, I’m greeted by a hundred bouquets of red balloons littering the street. The restaurants are packed and there are couples everywhere…but I find myself not bothered and just keep walking. I realize that I haven’t really dated anyone or been in a real relationship for over 2 years. Being out of school and not in any sports or groups, it’s really hard to meet people of the opposite sex. I have no trouble meeting backpackers, and cute ones at that, but they’re just as temporary as I am.

Eventually I do end up at the grocery store and have found what I think are my fellow singletons; cute guys everywhere...with their girlfriends. There’s just no winning! I still buy the chocolate but the walk has made me feel so much better, I don’t need to eat my feelings, but it would be good just to have it on hand!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The dream lives on…

After the roadtrip around the country in a Wicked van fell through, I’ve been planning trips on my own, whether it be by plane, or bus or boat, but I’ve never given up on a Wicked Van. I really want to drive the open road, and camp in a van (down by the river), just live like a hippie. Well, the dream flickered a couple days ago, and now it is alive and possible. Instead of taking the job at the coffee shop I last wrote about, I was offered a job with Wicked, and of course, I had to take it! Today was my first day and what an inspiration it is to see backpackers travelling this grand country! I’ve even met more Canadians, one from Sault St. Marie! It’s amazing who you’ll run into over here. I’m really excited to be working for Wicked, and I know it’ll open up some great opportunities for me down the road…literally!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Again, it's been awhile, and a lot has been happening. After my week of becoming a pro surfer, I became wise in the way of Australian camping on Stradbroke island; a beautiful island off the coast of Brisbane. A heap of us went over to celebrate Australia day-for five days! Now I must make a confession, I've never really camped before. With the luxury of Lakair lodge and the island, there's just been no opportunity to pitch a tent and rough it. But that's exactly what we did, and it was awesome! A prime camping location right next to the beach was the perfect set up for cricket games, kite flying, beach walks, and surfing. Not to mention the barbecues, star gazing, and yes, copious amount of beer! After what felt like 3 weeks of vacation, we had to leave the island and head back to reality. While everyone else retired to their homes and jobs, I was venturing into a new home and preparing for a job hunt. I've left Rockhampton for good now, and have decided to settle in Brisbane for a couple months. My good friend Dan was kind enough to offer a room to me for a few weeks whilst his flatmate is overseas. It's been great living here and after the first day I even had a job interview. Now that was 4 days ago, and as things usually go with me, it's all been changed again! I've found a more permanent place to live in a suburb called...MILTON! I know, how great is that! And after trialling the job from hell and quitting, I found another job at a popular coffee shop right by my new house. Someone upstairs is working for my benefit!
So to recap, good travels, good friends-new and old, new job, and new place to live! I won't have accessible internet at my new abode, so not a lot of new posts, but I'm going to try my best!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My Friend Florian

Last night was amazing. I finally feel like a traveler again. Loren and I quickly made friends with our German roommate named Florian. He’s been here for about 4 months now and will be staying 3 more weeks before he goes back home. His original plan was to stay 3 more months, but he finds work hard to come by and feels like he’s missing out on good opportunities while waiting for work. His band has been signed back in Germany to a label so he needs to go home anyway. I understand where Florian is coming from in the aspect of work, and his stories have given me some insight for what to do and what to avoid.

Some of you may or may not know, I was very interested in fruit picking here at some point, thinking I’d get the chance to work outside and save heaps of money, but it doesn’t seem that way since I’ve been talking to other backpackers. I guess the conditions aren’t that great, you don’t get paid well, or in some cases not at all, and if you need accommodation or transport, all the money you make ends up in that. So, I’ve definitely been rethinking that as something to do.

To tell you the truth, after the next 2 weeks, I have no idea where I’m living or what I’m doing. I have about a million ideas, but I’m trying to find the one that feels exactly right.

Last week I was in Brisbane for the Sunset Sounds music festival and from that I was 110% sure I was moving to Brisbane, so much so that I’ve spent all my time researching and applying for places to live and work. But now that I’m in beautiful Noosa on the coast, I wonder if this is somewhere I’d like to live instead. Or should I go all the way south and settle in Sydney, which is such a great hub for traveling from and meeting fellow backpackers. It’s been such a struggle to make a decision. One thing for sure is I must work pretty soon, I’ll run out of money before I can get too far.

I’ve also just been reminded that I am carrying all of my possessions in 3 large bags, which means it’s not that easy to travel with. I’d love to just get rid of all my clothes, but I’m my mother’s daughter and I don’t get rid of anything.

Anyways, things are great, I will post more when I don't have to pay for internet!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Goals

I know what you're thinking, new years resolution she's going to stick with that. I am skeptical too. However, I drew such inspiration from a fellow blogger about making goals that I have to do it myself too. I figure that if I write it down here then in one year, I won't be trying to remember what I said my resolution was.
This year given my circumstances, my goals are not as they usually would be, and although I already have a million goals set out for this trip, a girl could always use a few more.

1. Learn to surf
I'm taking a trip at the end of the month to the Sunshine Coast to get my first surfing lesson. It's a start and I want to continue with it for the rest of the year until I can say "Yes, I can surf.

2. Ski New Zealand
This is one of my ultimate goals of the trip, but I feel like it needs to be here because it is a big obstacle. I am planning to be in NZ in July/August, am saving money at the moment to do this.

3. Bungee Jump ( or some other extreme sport)
Queenstown NZ is known for extreme sports and I have be dying to do take the leap.

4. Get in shape
Obviously this has to be in here. I've been out of shape for a year and a half now and time isn't slowing down. Plus, if I'm going to be doing all these sports, I need some endurance for it.

5. Blog
I already do this, and I love it so much, but I need to do it more often because I never say as much as I want.

6. Keep in touch more often
I rely too much on Facebook and this blog assuming everyone reads it, but forget everyone who doesn't read this. So more letter writing and personal e-mails. At least once a month to the oversea'ers.

7. Take more pictures
I used to be a picture fanatic but now I never take pictures. Hopefully my new camera will help. I need to documet this year!

8. Travel alone
I know mom and dad won't like this too much, but I need to do it for myself. I need to depend on me and only me.

9. Shake the Someday Syndrome
I'm getting better at this due to a saying someone told me; Proper Preperation Prevents Poor Performance. It's drilled in my head and it seems to work. So no being lazy this year, and use everyday to be productive!

10. TBA
This has to be a good one, needs more thought.

I'll follow up with quarterly updates, can someone remind me if I forget! I hope you all have make a goal for yourself this year. I wish you all the best for a safe and happy year in 2009!

New Camera!!

Today I bit the bullet and splurged on something I have been waiting and wanting for so long...I'll just call it a Christmas present to myself. May I introduce the Olympus 1050SW Waterproof camera!! It's everything I could want. I got it on sale (thank you boxing day sales) and in the most exquisite colour...champagne! I had to order it to get it in that colour, but at no extra cost except seven long days. It was love at first sight and I can't wait to get my hands on it and drop it in the Pacific! Stay tuned for underwater shots!!!