Saturday, August 27, 2011
This blog draft has been too long taking up space in my back pocket, right alongside the handful of postcards I buy with the sincerest intentions to send you from every city. Oh trust me I have tried. This draft must be the most well travelled free rider in the whole of Europe.
I must be suffering a mild case of bloggers block because I have no idea where to start. Seeing a sneak peak of our world through my own eyes has not only opened them more so, but sent my thoughts spinning into overdrive. My mind is never in one place long enough (quite literally) to catch and bottle it's contents, and for now I'm learning to appreciate the feeling. Plenty of time patiently waits back in the real world for me to think and hold responsibility.
And now on the home stretch mark, as I casually lay in the shade overlooking a postcard picture worthy sight of the majestic big blue, realising how far from home I really am, I finally have the will to say something; IM ALIVE.
Perhaps it has something to do with me being over a month into the solo part of my trip, but I am now well versed on the importance of touching base. So this is me 'checking in'. I'm alive,
relatively well, a little older, wiser and softer around the edges. I'm not lying dead in
some down town gutter, nor have I had to resort to sleeping in one (yet). And so far against
even my own expectations I have managed to navigate my way from A to B, and B to Z.
The last near 4 months has felt like a day at disneyland. So many stunning things to see, too many interesting characters to note and I have that constant butterfly feeling in my stomach. Not sure if its a good or bad thing. Riding the rollercoaster seems the clique way to explain it but it really is the closest comparison I can find for now. At first the initial buzz, followed by fun, fear :- sometimes both at once. Then comes that feeling of sickness, followed by throwing up, wanting to get off, not being able to get off because you are halfway through. Then finally getting off. Realising it wasnt that bad. Going for a massive icecream then lining up again for a different ride because the last one left you shaky but still wanting more. Then at the end of the day leaving exhausted, resting up to do it all again tomorow.
When people I barely recall ask where ive been so far, and might I add this is more common in conversation than the typical exchanging names and pointless pleasantries, I genuinely have to stop and think about it. Because I move through fresh, buzzing places as quick as day passes to night. And I have run out of fingers to count the countries I have rolled through. For the record all fingers still remain. Its a blast, but yes there are times when i find myself absent mindly google earthing home. Somehow the more people that surround me, the more I think about the ones that patiently wait at home, at how irreplaceable they now seem.
So consider this your long overdue postcard, my dears. Misplaced along the way, slowly finding its way back to you. In Typical postcard form I wish I could post photos right now. All 5000 of them.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
The coast is clear. Finally.
Procrastination at its best. 1 hour before I should be on the road and I'm still pottering around nowhere near ready. I'm not one of those people who constantly whinge about how terrible the coast is; its not. Given its repetitive and filled with all kinds of funk and slur. I love this place. Sure I need to get out, but so should every 20 something coastie once or twice. More than anything I am (strangely already) missing my bellas. The Bellevue Bandits. I feel like our little clique has been split right down the middle and half of us take to the air while the others mind home base. I cant help but wonder how things will change in 5 months. I hope I still have a warm fuzzy place nuzzled on the laps of the ones I love. I'm taking you all with me in spirit!
As I have to keep reminding myself to breathe, words just get the better of me. I imagined myself to say something a bit more whimsy and inspirational as I take the first step out of the comfort zone. Except right now all I feel like saying is;
Or ‘Bye’, ‘see ya’ as we would say. It literally means “to the seeing again”. I don’t know how those Frenchies manage to give life to the dullest of over indulged saying, but dammit they do. :)
I have such a fascination with time. The way it ticks at a consistent pace, slowing up for nothing and no one. Its covert manner flying under the radar yet still in full control of its petty slaves. We are all slaves. I suppose.
I typically appreciate the structure and routine of time. Just like with sleep I try to push the boundary however far too often am I left scolded as the flames creep up. Each tick of the clock pushing us bit by bit further. Some of us into the pits of Hell. Others onto new chapters.
A minute ago it was still March. Then I blinked and the next moment I am physically standing right here in May. The month of Mayhem. Never mind that my thoughts and mindset seem to have missed the trip and still remain. I let time get the better of me. That sly little snake slithered past so soft I didn’t even hear the clock strike once. Or perhaps I was so caught up in avoiding a face to face meeting with time I forgot that it shows no mercy. No matter how high I pull the sheets over my head.
Time to me is authority. Its controlling and unlike our year 9 maths teacher does not offer extensions on homework or show empathy for perfectly executed excuses. I like to squeeze the most out of time, yet carry on in a way that seems I'm not fussed by the consequences of rebellion. I'm trying to think about a time when I arrived more than 5 minutes before the train departs the station. There's just something so satisfying about setting your sights on the platform and falling into the carriage just seconds before the door shuts you off. It could reflect a drive for challenge and success. But I'm thinking its got more to do with pure adrenaline.
And now as TIME is finally running dry, and we prepare to chase some good TIMEs in another TIME zone, I realise that there's no way I'm going to finish off my to do list and still have TIME to fly off into the night. Oh well, I guess I can do it some other TIME.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
“the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about”. – Oscar Wilde: homeboy.
The other evening we played a game of Chinese whispers. The concept of whispering a simple message through 5 people seems easy enough, yet still proved too hard to follow for a bunch of young delinquents like us. Its funny how in the course of a few ears words can twist and turn to such extent. I can now see how harmless Goss can escalate and pass itself along. While the initial whisperer is left trying to recall what they actually created to begin with. Of course, our versions of Chinese whispers are fun and involve bagging each other out in a light hearted manner. I am no bitch/ hater in real life. I do however walk around with the vision in mind that the people you keep company with are a clear reflection of yourself. That is why you’ll rare find me snuggled up with a common bimbo for more than minutes at a time as it literally sucks the life out of me to the point where I wonder why the urge for breast implants has never found me.
I enjoy sitting back with a cool bevy and watch the drama unfold right before my very eyes. Sometimes i swear it’s a show for the hidden MTV film crew lurking in the bush behind, but mostly I conclude its just for sake of juicy, over reacted drama. Some days times get so dull and bland (or is that just the character of people I'm occasionally forced upon) that I consider creating the drama myself. You know, taking my shirt off outside the beery to show how well my protein supplements are doing and kicking the shit out of a fellow pub crawler. But, its lucky for us that being on a coast that is considered small (in relative size to Sydney), all we need is to put a few hormonal females in a room with past flings and feelings hanging on the wall, whisper a few of the wrong words to a few of the right people, pull the pin and
Bomb goes off in face. Usually filled with a vivid colour display of fireworks to be enjoyed by all. Just like fireworks, the drama can be short and a costly affair. From the comfort of my simple existence do I watch, and chuckle to myself. It’s all a bit of fun for those not involved. Sometimes pieces of potential goss casually falls into my lap and I find myself having to decide to shelf it or pass it along to the next set of open ears, and should I spread it like Chlamydia it could create an afternoon delight for all to enjoy. But the reality is the truth does reveal…and punishment for the sly comes in the form of many means. Karma, STI’s, social suicide, public awareness.When it comes to my own personal secret keeping, I find the best source is my precious kitty. Her ears are always perked up ready for the goss, and she gives no attention to me or what im saying, unless I do so while holding a can of opened tuna. Persuasion at its best.
Tonight as my ears started burning I Initially joked that it was due to being talked about (those old wives really know their stuff). Well heres hoping I was being spoken of. Compared to the drama addicts of the coast I live a somewhat quiet life. The biggest drama I have is avoiding the company of such people. Rolling around trying to rub it off and further taint this already over ruled town of ours. I’d like to think that when and if i get bitched about, its with the sweetest of intentions. I try to see the best in people, even if it through their exterior of 3 layers of fake tan.
You know you love me. XOXO Gossip Girl
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
What better way to learn about the ones you love, then to hit the road with them.
Yesterday was Eurotrip meeting numero 1. A table of girls, 5 laptops, a ball of nerves and some cold hard accommodation options made for an interesting before lunch cocktail. I spent most of the morning looking at 4 and 5 star hotels online, in a desperate bid that one would hear my silent cries for decent and essentially cheap options. I failed to find anything and spent the rest of my day sitting on my hands biting my tongue, as the girls booked hostels. Hostels. The word reminds me of hospital. And hospitals bring back no fond memories to me. To further stinge our Euros we booked everything with the impression that 4 of us are travelling. However, last time I checked there was 5 of us young, fearless, geared up females. Shotgun being the little spoon I guess.
For me, the struggle with accommodation will be the worst. I have lived in my sheltered little burrow since ever. Never have I lived out of home where I am currently the only bird still in the nest; which pretty much means I have run of the place. I very rarely sleepover anywhere because I find I sleep way better in my own environment. Add to this the five star hotel standards that comes with working in such properties and you can see why 5 months on the road could pose a problem.
As I finally get my head around the mediocre sleeping options, I'm moving onto the next challenge at hand; packing. Supposedly it is an art form only a handful of experienced travellers can master. This fine morning I attempted a trial of culling my life down to a single 65 litre backpack and the results are as bleak as last weekends weather report. I could tell you what I managed to squeeze in, but the list for the latter is much longer.
There is no room for;
- more than one jacket. This means that should I get cold outside, i’ll need to hop into my sleeping back and roll around town. And should I decide to buy new clothes along the road, I’ll need to wear the jacket 24/7 as it will no longer fit in the bag.
- Books. They are worth their weight in gold to me and unfortunately are just as heavy. Praise the penguin collection. With tiny text and not enough budget for a hardback I can hopefully squeeze a few of these little guys in. Sanity pending.
- My cat. I’m not even ready to talk about separation anxiety yet.
- My oversized sombrero. Upon arrival in London we are apparently giving jet lag and sleep the finger and ringing in the first night on the other side of the world with an ‘Around the world’ themed party. My instinct for every dress up party is to first see if If I can incorporate the Puss in Boots look from Shrek into an outfit. Sadly, the boots and sword combo wont fit, and my option number 2; sombrero isn't looking too promising either. I guess I could wear it on the plane.
- ‘Princess mood’. When the girls went to America there were rules. Everyone was allowed one princess moment. There's even an official sign for the princess moments. And they made fun of each other for being princesses which really took the focus away from the would be bitching. Here's hoping when the attitude surfaces without invitation, we can embrace those moments and laugh them off.
- Chocolate. I share addiction similar to what I imagine someone hooked on Heroin feels. I generally like to have it with me at all times. But on the road it would melt. Devooooo.
- proper underwear. Katie so kindly pointed out the other day that sexy lace briefs and thongs take up far less room therefore are more travel appropriate. GULP.
- My dignity. I'm going to have to leave it safe and sound at home. If I take it with me there's much chance ill loose it and spend the whole trip mourning.
I'm already starting to learn new things about my friends. For example, Tina’s name is actually Christina. If I learned this off the kindred spirit that works at Flight Centre I can only imagine how much closer sleeping in the same bunk bed sector will bring us. Also Tina is somewhat a ‘booking whore’. She booked the most accom for the day, with the quickest times. Thank gosh I was only left with the task of booking one place, for 2 nights; Salzburg. After some 6 hours of deliberating and thorough research I finally booked something. And I got my hotel; Crown Plaza, for the same price as what we would pay at a hostel. Can have cake and eat it too!
Its getting quite clear that home will not be the place we are staying or the possessions we drag around the world with us. Home will have to take shape in form of friends. That I can warm too. Lets hope they can handle me :)
Friday, April 15, 2011
The pile of travel books is slowly growing on my side table.
“the independent walkers guide to France”,
“the clumsiest people in Europe”,
Lonely planets; '”tales of backpacking'”, and
“Europe on a shoe string” to name a few.
Then there's the regular must see guides filled with too much information to process over just one pot of tea. Rome, Pairs, Madrid, Sweden, Greek Islands, London, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Germany. The list goes on. And im sorry to say that I can’t even point finger to these destinations on a map yet. I am that oblivious to the world around me, hence the reason I need to get out of this place; even for a moment. The attack of all this information is making me rather dizzy, to the point where ill soon need to start breathing through a paper bag. I have to accept that I cannot possibly know everything prior to arrival, and in knowing it all I would push the boundary of traveller to common city dweller quick smart. Which I suppose defeats the purpose of travel in the first place.
Those who travel are always looking for something. Love, new perspective, knowledge, ourselves, or even just an excuse to run from the harsh race of reality. To think about bumping into people on one or all of these pilgrimages will surely prove to be an amusing mix. When asked my reasons for travel, I immediately defend it is to ‘find myself’. As clique as it sounds I think it is a journey everyone must undertake at some point. The extent of how much soul searching comes down to the individual of course…and how many $$ they are willing to sink in the process. Ghandi says that ‘”the best way to find yourself is to loose yourself in the service of others”. Sadly, after years of working in a service industry that grooms the personality out of its employees, I have lost more of myself than I have found. As miraculous a soul as Ghandi was, philosophy is clearly not his forte. And my confidence is at an all time low. As though I walked into the pub one night full of life, and walked out minus $26, faith in human kind and my own personal confidence. Most people seem to think I currently ‘know myself’:- and if that the case I suppose I need a better reason for the trip. So to that I suppose id say ; I'm travelling to further get to know myself, if indeed I am myself and not consumed by some mischievous imposter. And what better way to prove this then to be thrown out of comfort in a foreign land, surrounded by quirky characters.
Everyone has ‘a place’ on this crazy planet. Wether it be a physical destination of where you belong, or a sense of self that guides you through. I fear that while all around me are gracefully falling into theirs, I am left standing on the edge with nothing particular aside from the sun in the horizon to focus on. Nobody likes to be left behind and I see myself as the mouse running on the spinner wheel. Its constantly turning, exhausting me to the core. But I'm getting absolutely nowhere. However spinning in circles does and will always remain a fun exercise for mice and Fiona alike.
In all my homebody antics I have a feeling I will spend the next few weeks buried deep in my books of Terrifying tales of backpacking gone wrong. hopefully there lies some inspiration….and I can finally pluck the courage to lock in plans for the rest of the trip where I wave bon voyage to my trusty travel companions. I think its taken me so long to decide because I know that in that moment I will have full control of what I'm doing. I could be anywhere in the world: and wherever I am it will be because I chose to be there. Without taking into consideration anyone's preferences or requests, Just all time me time. Scary stuff. Especially coming from someone who doesn’t quite know if she knows who she is, what she's doing here, or where she's headed next. Heck I'm not even sure what my favourite colour is today!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The Central Coast is renowned for taking an event or concept and running with it. Full steam ahead is generally the motto and Pretty much any excuse will do to call in sick, further procrastinate an assignment or drink during the day. Today was one of those days. And April didn't fool us. Sun, Sand and scuttle party followed suit. The occasion was sinking ship. However the event itself hardly mattered. To be honest, we probably could of sat comfortably watching a piece of dog poo float for 5 hours straight and still experience the same thrill.
The HMAS Adelaide was finally plonked to rest today on the bottom of the ocean floor of the beach I hold dearest to my heart. The N/A. At 10.30am?….no wait 11.30…or maybe it was 12 midday? Initially when the idea was laid on the table some years ago I refused to eat a bar of it, much like I would when faced with a bowl of broccoli or any other green vegetable (as it appears I don't like seeing green OR eating the nasty colour either). I was right alongside the protesters. Preferring the influx of people to flock to another watering hole for scuttle times…ie Umina or Tuggerah Lakes (no offence guys). But Victory was not to be mine and everyone in the office wouldn't let me forget it when the date was finally set and stone this time around. So if you cant beat them join them I say.
On a dingy roof 15 of us lay, with what we thought was the best view in – or for our case on the house. I took into consideration my fathers wise words ; “dont stand on balconys, its days like these they collapse from having too many people on them”, and went one up; to La Roof! The view street residence isn't of the highest OH & S compliance standards. In a short time I have witnessed; beds break, rooms been turned upside down; quite literally, Human hat stands falling to a disastrous death, a backyard with no chance of a precious garden bed blossoming any time soon, man made T pees and a constant laidback lifestyle of a place that so many more friends than official residents feel comfortable calling home. Its one of my favourite things seeing boys in their natural environment and The View Street Hooligans (copyright, watch out T unit) never fail for entertainment. Sitting on a roof feeling superior and mighty was the only way to watch the ship sink. However unsafe I felt. I come to realise that I'm far more at ease concurring heights of the nature kind.
Yesterday Dave and I decided to play tourist and frolic on a lookout trying to get a glimpse of the ‘’sheeeep’’ as we like to call it. Lying on the rock, lazing in the clouds, looking straight down over the cliff feels far more right then being on a man made object to me; strangely enough my knees barely shake. Put me on the roof of a 2 storey house however, and ill kick and scream like a child until my boots firmly touch the ground. Thanks for having us over boys. May the broken tiles forever hold their piece.
They say a picture says a thousand words. But when I see this one all I want to say is BOOOOOOOM.
Gary, as usual, decides to live on the spontaneous side of life and rocks up to the sinking in a kick ass helicopter. (little did I know or I definitely would have hit him up for a lift). When half the bugs; or dragon fly as Tina points out, had to buzz off to refuel (suckers), he was still kicking it, hanging out of his seat with one hand holding on for dear life, the other taking this sweeeet shot. with even enough energy left for a quick dash to Sydney and back. Considering he was one of the bunch lucky enough to take to the air, the copyright is necessary!
So whatever floats your boat, Give it your all.
Or you may as well have gone down with the ship.
I'm herby initiating an official ‘scuttle party public holiday’.
One day every year we get to blow up things. Oversized sombreros are compulsory and so is drinking vodka with breakfast juice*
The only question remains; what can we blow up next???!!
* providing no dolphins get harmed in the process.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Im such a nature junkie. I like nothing more than loosing myself in a secluded rainforest, somewhere along the beaten track. The creepy creatures, the sound of silence and the hints of light through the canopy give me the jitters; in a good way. Strickland State forest would have to be one of my favourites. In high school our Earth and Biology classes would take day trips studying soil and the ecosystems. I was a tad bit rebellious in those days and always took the opportunity to run a muck keeping my teachers on their toes. More in my element covered in dirt and leeches than at a party I must say.
The other day I returned. Heart set on a breezy afternoon walk and a bit of play time with the foliage settings on my camera. The conditions were perfect. But after only minutes I was struck with the daunting feeling of solitary I usually long for. The eerie rainforest that I usually find peaceful pulled out its dark side and turned on me. I found myself shaking in my very boots, thinking about mass murders and listening to every bird in the distance, crystal clear. Not a single sole to bother. Needless to say I got out of there before I had the chance to further psyche myself up. I think I need to accumulate some bush walking buddies. You know, just in case the next Ivan Milat is lurking behind that humble rock.
Dearest Alex took to the isle for the first (and surely only) time. Congratulations darlin’, Quite literally she was whisked away by her Knight in shining armour. Mrs Knight. Call me a sap but I love a good old wedding to brighten up an otherwise miserable cloudy day. She wore one stunning Collette Dinnigan number in an intimate ceremony at Crown Plaza Terrigal.I had the best date in the house Mr Harpley Bazzar or ; The Count Aaron Harpley- Carr as he is officially known to most. The ceremony was short, unlike my dress which you can see below in the ‘Gypsy’ post. Everything about the wedding felt genuine. From the personal touches of the guest singers at the ceremony to the floral arrangements, some looking fresh picked from nanas over indulged garden. Bless!
When we weren’t taking care of the sushi platters being tray passed we were ogling this special touch typewriter. There isn’t a sweeter way to wish the Knights well than to hand type a little message on a machine which has long seen its used by date. Only sweeter would be hand scribble message with a parchment and ink/ feather pen combo. However that would have been some messy, and I am not known for my neat hand. After playing on said typewriter I am convinced that had I been born into the right era, I would have spent my days typing my little heart out. Though I don't quite know if my blog would flourish in such an environment where each posting would be individually typed to loyal readers, sans spell check and sent via courier pigeon or the legendary postman pat. I can really appreciate that the ceremony and following canapé service were open for all, while the actual reception was reserved only for the bridal party, parents and grandfolks in a sheek set up in The Hunter Valley. We are told the clouds are every wedding photographers dream in capturing the day and the light drizzle is a sign of good luck for the marriage itself. I suppose…after torrential rain at my parents wedding and having to settle for photos in the church only, they still seem to be going on after more than 20 years, so this is one good luck myth ill gladly believe. And nothing encourages you to reassess your own single existence than seeing such beautiful others making a life changing commitment to one another. One things for sure though, if Im lucky enough to find that amazing madness that is ‘love’, I'm having type writers, Polaroid cameras and a band that knocks out some killer old school rock hits at my dream wedding*.
*note; dream wedding may or may not be on the cards for everyone. And that's what cats and amazing girlfriends are for. :)