Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Just a Moment in Melbourne

So once again I have been really bad about posting updates on my blog. The good news is that the reason I haven't updated is because I have been really busy with work; making a TON of money. I promise I will do better in the future.

So about six weeks ago I went to Melbourne with a few friends for a long weekend; now I am finally going to tell you all about it. It wasn't exactly the weekend when we went because we had to schedule around work. All four of us worked Saturday night until about 2am then had to catch our flight out at 7am. Needless to say none of us really slept. As soon as we arrived in Melbourne we hit the ground running. Fortunately for us, one of the group members had a friend who lived in Melbourne so he picked us up from the airport and drove us around for the day. 

Our first stop of the day, Brighton Beach to take our tourist selfie with the colorful beach shacks

Once the selfies were taken we headed off to the Queen Victoria Market to browse and have a snack. Then we grabbed a beer at this cool bar under a bridge called Ponyfish Island bar. (Stupid me didn't take a photo of it) We continued to power through our sleep deprivation and caught the sunset from the Sky Tower. 

We had an amazing view of the city

Then for dinner we had a well balanced diet of pancakes and sugar
Hey it's vacation right? I can do what I want, it doesn't count in real life...

The next day was my favorite! We rented a car and drove part of the Great Ocean Road but saw some of the main highlights. It is an amazing drive with beautiful scenery the whole way. For some parts you drive along the coast and others you drive through a national park which is just amazing. 

12 Apostles

Loch Ard Gorge

For our last day I visited the Melbourne Zoo and went shopping at H&M. Then we met up with some other friends from work who were also in Melbourne and celebrated Laurie's birthday.

Wednesday was the day we were supposed to fly back to Melbourne but for some reason we forgot how to travel. In the morning we were just relaxing waiting for our flight (slightly hungover), then when we should have been leaving for the airport we decided it was a great time to get nachos. (They were delicious) We catch an uber to the airport and realize we only have an hour until the flight takes off. So we run into the airport and try to check in, turns out check in closes 45 minutes before the flight and our dumb selves didn't check in online like normal people. So we were stuck because the next available flight out was not until 630am the next day. We spent the next 3 hours searching for a new way home. Laurie and I ended up taking an all night bus home while Ignacio stayed. (Jerk got lucky and jumped on a flight home that night)

Things I would do differently:
  • Stay longer. Three and a half days just wasn't enough to see everything. I would have liked to spent two/three days alone just doing the great ocean road.
  • Go at a different time. We went in September and it was still super cold and unlucky for us it rained every day. If it had been a little warmer and less wet I would have enjoyed it so much more. 
  • Do a little research. Maybe I'm stupid but I thought the public transportation was a little confusing which made it difficult/expensive for us to get around.
Also, here is a video of the trip... Duh

Sunday, September 6, 2015

At the Risk of Sounding Cheesy...


As my alarm sounded at 6am this Monday morning I did what I always do, hit snooze. Just ten more minutes and I will get up, I always promise myself.  But today I worked up enough courage to get out from under my warm blankets and get ready for all things, the gym! I found this amazing Groupon for a fight & fitness gym just 25 minutes walking from my apartment. I was drawn to this gym because they have Spartan race training and Muay Thai kickboxing (which I did a little back in college). Today was my first day giving it a shot, and it kicked. My. Ass! (I loved every second of it)

But to get to the point of why I wanted to write this blog is the feeling I had after the gym. You know those moments of clarity that just hit you and all of a sudden you feel awake? Like before that very moment you had just been a zombie going about your life but not really being present in it? Well, I had one of those moments walking home from the gym. I was all sweaty, walking through the CBD with my headphones on when Hold My Hand by Jess Glynne started playing and that wave of joy and contentment washed over me. People all around me rushing to work, sexy men in suits, students running to catch the bus, the sun bouncing off the skyscrapers, and I am in the center of it standing at a crosswalk tapping my foot to music. That’s when I realized, this is my bliss. Could this feeling all be because of that high you get after a good workout? Maybe, but don’t ruin my happiness with logic.

Some of you back home wonder why I love traveling so much, well here it is. For moments like the one I had today. Living in a foreign city, feeling both completely anonymous and part of a group at the exact same time. I am forced outside of my comfort zone in order to “survive” in this massive yet beautiful city. The thrill of moving here with no place to live and no source of income then the rush of relief when you find both. That first day of school feeling when you are unsure if you will make any friends and if they will want to sit by you at the lunch table or invite you to their slumber party. Then meeting so many new people from different backgrounds and feeling a kinship with some who share the same gypsy spirit as you. There are always highs and lows of traveling solo but the benefits are clear, at least for me. I feel like I am exactly where I am meant to be at this point in my life and its totes the best! ;-)

I guess the point I am trying to get at with this word vomit of emotional feels, is that through traveling I have learned more about myself than expected and I know what makes me happy. It’s not always peaches n cream, but chin up kids, find what makes you happy and do it, it’s that easy. If you are not happy in the situation you are in, change it, life is too short to be wasting time on things that don’t make you happy.

So that’s enough feels for one week… Also, I touched a kangaroo! AH

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Update: Sydney Living 6 weeks Deep

So I have been really bad about updating everyone on how my life is going here in Sydney. In all fairness I haven't really done a ton of exciting stuff. It took me about a month to find a job and then another week to get started so most days have consisted of me sitting around the house and job searching (It's hard trying not to spend what money I have saved). Of course I have gone out drinking on the weekends but that isn't very news worthy.  Anyways, so I have officially started working at an event center as part of the waitstaff. It's casual work so I never know what my schedule is going to be like each week, which kind of stinks but I get paid really well. I am hoping to find a second job that is also casual so between the two I can work about 35 hrs a week.

A couple weeks ago I went to the Tower Eye and saw some amazing views of the city at night. I guess I didn't realize how massive the city actually was.

Also, after my first few days at my new job, I discovered I was allergic to my new work shoes! AHH I had cankles! It was actually really itchy and burned like a mofo for a few days, but I exchanged the shoes and after a few days my elephantiasis went away.

My body seriously hates me....

This past Sunday I was able to enjoy the beautiful weather at the Royal National Park. We walked along some cliffs next to the water, chilled on a beach and drank some Corona's. It was an amazing day, maybe one of the best I have had here so far. The water was beautiful shades of blue and green and the sun was shining with only a few clouds in the sky. 

It felt good to be outside, enjoying the beautiful landscape that Australia has to offer.

I can't wait to have more opportunities to explore this amazing country. 

So that pretty much sums up my first 6 weeks here in Sydney. Now that I have a job and am settled in to life here, hopefully I will have the opportunity to explore new and amazing places around Sydney and beyond. Peace and love until next time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Moving Down Under

So I have just finished up my first week of living in Sydney.  I haven't done much in the way of tourism because I have been busy apply for jobs and acquiring the right documents in order to get these said jobs.  I did however one day stumble up the harbor and the Sydney Opera House. It is most definitely as cool as it looks in pictures, now I would love to go see an actual show there.

The first week flew by so quickly because when I arrived on Tuesday, in order to stay awake, I applied for a couple jobs on a site called gumtree.  By that afternoon I had been emailed back by one company about an interview. I really had no idea what this job was all about because the description was very vague, but hey a jobs a job so I went for the interview on Wednesday. I thought the interview went terrible because it was the first time since I was 15 that I was in a group interview (weird).  Apparently, I looked more together than I thought because I got the job and on Thursday I was back for training. Turns out though that this job was essentially a door-to-door sales job and I am most definitely not about that life.  Yet, I stayed because I figured I could stick it out for a few months just so I could make a little cash then find a better job.  By Friday I learned that this was not the case at all. We had in the field training and I was miserable! I hated it so much that once I was on my own I hid in a bush so I didn't have to knock on any more peoples doors (I'm an idiot I know).  So after that work day I let the manager know that this job was not for me and went back to the internet to apply for more jobs. 
Throughout the week I was also apartment hunting and on Saturday morning after some very bleak tours I found my new home. It is a roomshare in Pyrmont, right next to Darling Harbor. I have five other roommates (don't worry dad, all girls) and a pretty  nice view of the city. Even though I quit my job I still jumped on this apartment because I was ready to get settled into the city. Luckily I saved up enough money back home that I have a nice little cushion to help me through until I find a job. 

Until next time, keep it classy people!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Parents Perspective on their Traveling Kid

Fortunately for me (sometimes not so fortunate) my mother is always brutally honest with me. I generally always know her opinion on my life choices. Generally, her opinion doesn't sway me one way or the other but that doesn't stop her from telling me. In this situation, it is nice to hear that even though she doesn't fully understand my love for travel, like why I would enjoy sweating it out in the jungle or living in a house with 35 people and one working shower, she still supports me. If you are ever wondering what your parents think of your travels, it's best to just ask! Their answers might surprise you. Here is what I asked my mother:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

BIG NEWS: I am Moving Down Under

That's right! It is finally official! I am moving to Australia this summer (their winter, I am a poor planner). I will be leaving June 21st and have a full year visa, so I can work and live anywhere in their country. I have no plans yet because like I mentioned before, I am horrible at planning in advance. I am super proud of myself because I managed to get my visa approved 6 weeks before I actually leave. My vague sense of a plan is to fly into Sydney, stay in a hostel, find a job, then find an apartment. I need to get that money before I can afford to live in an apartment for $200 a week.
I just wanted to post a quick little blurb about this exciting news! If you didn't know I also have a vlog on youtube where I post videos about travel and my life! I like to think I am somewhat of a better vlogger than blogger, but that's really not saying much. Check it out! Subscribe to my channel! I will be a lot more active on both this blog and my youtube channel once I start traveling again!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Backpacking Central America // Top 10

I decided this week to rewind to last summer when I went to Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador with my old roommate from college.  I haven’t been travelling much these past few months because I have been saving for my big move to Australia! So I haven’t had many interesting things to post on here.

So this is just going to be a kind of free for all of information that I think might be useful for anyone travelling to these areas.  Before we arrived our only set plans were to fly into Belize City and fly out of Guatemala City, that’s it. We didn’t want to make any set plans so we could just go wherever, whenever and stay as long as we felt like it.  When we landed in Belize City we didn’t know where we would be staying that night. We just picked the cheapest taxi ride and went that direction.

Belize Top 5

5.  Dirty McNasty’s Hostel in Caye Caulker. This hostel only really sticks out in my mind because I got a really bad sun burn and they came in for the save with air conditioned rooms. I might have had a touch of sun poisoning so the A/C was my savior. It also had a really cool vibe and served free rum punch each night so all the guests could hang out.

4.  Private Cave Tour in Belmopan.  We stayed in this great hostel called the Hummingbird Guest Lodge that included free meals! The owner asked if we wanted to see a cave, so he took us on our own private tour of some cave he knew about and then dropped us off at the blue hole national park where there is a sink hole you can swim in. Naturally we were fed fruit and beer for lunch, and the owner was super friendly and I glad we had a chance to be shown around by a local.

3.  Iguana Project in San Ignacio. It was a little further of a walk than we had anticipated from our hostel in the main part of town, but it was definitely worth it! The Iguana Project is part of a hotel, but they take you in small groups down to where they take care of the Iguanas.  After a brief introduction they take you inside the cages and you get to feed the adult Iguanas. The guide will pick up the iguanas and place them on you so they can crawl around and eat the leaves.  Then you are moved over into the baby section.  They are so cute and tiny you can hold them in the palm of your hand! But once again they throw them all over you so you are covered in baby iguanas. It was so much fun!

2.  Tsunami Adventures in Caye Caulker. We went snorkeling through this company and it was amazing! We saw a manatee, turtles, stingrays, and Nurse Sharks. If getting up close and personal with all those amazing sea creatures isn’t enough, they also take you around the island and give you food and rum punch. Important: NO MATTER WHO YOU SNORKEL THROUGH, WEAR A T-SHIRT BECAUSE YOU WILL GET BURNT! (A rash guard shirt/drifit shirt works best) I learned that lesson the hard way.  I thought I was doing a great job reapplying the sunscreen every time I got back on the boat. The only problem with this method was that my skin wasn’t dry when I applied it and I would be jumping back in the water for more snorkeling before it had a chance to soak in. I am pretty positive I had a little sun poisoning.

1.  Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Tour from San Ignacio.  I honestly can’t remember what tour company we went through for the ATM tour because there were so many places we walked into for pricing (Unhelpful I know).  It was about an hour and a half drive from San Ignacio to the site where we began our tour. We had an amazing tour guide who had all sorts of information about rocks, caves, water, vegetation, and even the types of animals/insects living inside the cave.  The best part about his cave tour other than the great information was all the climbing around we did and there were actual skeletons still in the cave that you could see up close! It was amazing and creepy at the same time.  The fact that they leave everything the way they found it makes it a living museum and you get this cool yet eerie effect. I wish I had pictures or video to share but that is one strict rule they have on tour. No Camera’s! (If you google the cave, you can see some pictures and get an idea because people used to be able to take in camera’s).

Guatemala Top 5

5.  Semuc Champey Tour from Lanquin. We took a half-day tour through our hostel (El Muro) where we hiked up to see Semuc Champey, went tubing, and had the opportunity to jump off a bridge… (This was one of those moments you could finally answer your mothers favorite question, “If your friend jumped off a bridge would you follow?”)  The main reason this is ranked so low on my list is because the day before we celebrated my birthday so we had to struggle through with massive hangovers.  We didn’t realize we had to hike straight up hill for 45 minutes or that we would have to climb up a waterfall inside a cave.  It was definitely a very adventurous tour that we were just not mentally prepared for (also I thought I was going to go into liver failure or something dramatic because I felt so sick).  Also, another issue we had with the tour was that there were just too many people, we felt like cattle being herded through the cave and the tour guides could be pushy.  Overall, it was fun but there were many times I thought I might die. Moral of the story: Don’t do this tour hung over or if you are afraid of heights.

4. Los AmgiosHostel in Flores. I don’t know what it was about this hostel that I loved so much but it was one of my favorites for the whole trip.  They had a restaurant and a bar inside and you could book all sorts of tours.  We had a great time socializing with friends we had met along the way and they even had this crazy sound proof room that you could drink in at night so the neighbors wouldn't be disturbed.  Also, the small island of Flores was cute and had a few fun things to do during the day.

3.  Tikal Tour from Flores. There are many different times the tours take place and a lot of people pick the sunrise tour.  We decided against it because many travelers told us it was so foggy in the mornings to actually see the sunrise. We opted for the 9am tour so we could still be out there before it gets too hot. It was an amazing tour with intelligent guides.  Even though we were out there at 11am it had already begun to get hot, like up in the 90s. Once the guided tour was over you could stay as long as you wanted because there were shuttles taking people back to Flores every 45 min. It is a great place to explore and you can even climb up some of the temples for an amazing view!

2.  Volcano Pacaya. You have to do it! There are no words to describe the beautiful views from the top. Also at the top there is an area where you can roast marshmallows over hotspots (I think even my sneakers melted a little).  I could go on forever but this post is already too long, so just take my word for it and hike this bad boy.

1. Antigua. Everything about this city makes it my number one pick for this list. From the beautiful old architecture to the nightlife, there is nothing disappointing about Antigua.  There is something for everyone in this quaint old town.  There are history museums so you can learn about the culture, you can hike a hill for the perfect overlook of the whole town, there is even shopping to be done.  I have not yet mastered the art of haggling but this town was a great place to practice, I bought a ton of amazing stuff to take back to my family.  Did I mention the nightlife? You would think this small town would be sleepy on a Wednesday night but instead they had ladies night at some of the bars and it seemed like it was the place to be.  There are tons of places to eat, drink, and dance to every genre of music. It didn’t hurt that I ran into my friend from Ireland (good lord the Irish really know how to throw them back).  If you can only visit one or two places in Guatemala, Antigua should be at the top of your list.