Finished with the van!

Please read and catch up over at http://journals.worldnomads.com/dazey311/

I’ll be back here for my LAST month! And the countdown begins.

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Ready to GO

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And we’re off…almost! I set up my new World Nomads journal today here, so everyone can follow on the new blog. I do believe it’s accessible from my FaceBook account as well, so check in! I’ll do a wall post just in case, of course.

It’s been an intersting view days, to say the least. Leaving Sydney was bittersweet – I had a job, I had a house, I had stability, I had the ability to see Aussie Idol Matt Corby (Fri night, OMG! Pix TK) – and I left for the unknown. After traveling for so long, it was nice to be in one spot for a while. Checking into my third Base hostel (Sydney, Magnetic!) Saturday night in Melbourne felt foreign, to say the least. Come on now, I’m a local! Except not, anymore, in Melbourne. Even though I spent three weeks here, after spending a month-plus in Sydney, I had no idea what was going on. This did not help when my brother and his girlfriend, Crystal, were indifferent to how we spent our two days here. Eventually, after wandering around the CBD and St. Kilda Day 1, we decided we’d get out of here and do a Yarra Valley wine tour today. Perfect – learn how to drive the van, see the country, stay our last night in Melbourne, then head out on the Great Ocean Road.

Except not.

We dragged ourselves out of bed at the ridiculous hour of 8:30 a.m., only to arrive at Travellers Auto Barn and have them tell us the van would not be ready until 2 p.m. It needed parts. Fine. 2 p.m. became 3 p.m., 3 p.m. became 4 p.m., 4 p.m. became tomorrow morning. And so it goes. What can you do. So we walked the other neighborhoods, went out for dinner, watched old episodes of Friends at the hostel, and waited. The wineries would have to wait – we’d be setting off on the Great Ocean Road first thing tomorrow.

*This was in no way Traveller’s Auto Barn’s fault. Darren and Sven were as sweet and helpful as can be. It’s a car, cars need service, what can you do! They didn’t even have my phone #, so there was no way they could have even called that morning. Anyways, these things happen! Nothing but love for TAB – they’ve been fabulous through and through.

So L&Gs, we will off tomorrow. First blog post on the newbie, hopefully, comes tomorrow night or the following, when we find some internet access.

Camping. I am camping.

As my new blog motto states, this should be interesting.

“Living” in Sydney

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Hanging at home with my Sydney roomies. Meet Magnus and Natalie! (Again. I met them way back when during Surry Hills festival!)

Yes, I admit it, I’ve been a bit MIA these past two weeks.

In fact,  when I arrived in Sydney, and especially my current home in Surry Hills, I expected I’d be posting more often, not less. After all, I had unlimited internet access. Could I ask for more?

But after a few days I found I actually felt as if I was living in Sydney. I found a job at a travel agency, acquired my own room and six lovely housemates and set about making plans with my friends in Sydney. I was no longer a backpacker — I met up for drinks with Kiwi Daniel and Karen, both serious Sydney-siders by now, and went to shows and dinners with Briyah, my friend and new housemate. I haven’t met anyone new, other than friends of friends. It’s as if I’d moved here; making a life with the people I know, creating work opportunities and spending, yes, countless hours on the Internet checking gossip columns. Just like home, right?

So what would I write about on my travel blog? I suppose I could have documented my grocery shopping trips, my nights spent chilling at home with my new roommates, my beautiful morning kayaking on Sydney Harbor, my double feature at the movies (Enchanted, Darjeeling Limited – both great!), but it felt to me like that wasn’t necessarily travel — it was living.  Which, you know, is kind of boring! Excpet not, because I’m in Sydney going to the beach while I should be working at home. Yeah, I know, I should have blogged. Anyway!

But New Years, New Years, well, that’s far from boring. Right? Especially if it’s spent partying on Bondi Beach. For basically as long as I’ve had this trip planned, I’ve wanted to go to Bondi to see Groove Armada for New Year’s Eve. Tickets were sold out, so I checked Ebay, Craigslist and the Aussie Craigslist, Gumtree. Over $200, all of them. In Cairns, I almost bought a ticket from Scottish Louie for $200, but held out. And finally, after all that and all other plans falling through, I bought a ticket for $150 at 1 p.m. New Year’s Eve. Amazing! I met up with Reaghan and Chris, my lovely Boston friends (thanks J!) and we watched the 9 p.m. fireworks, hitched a ride to Bondi and proceeded to have a ridiculous night. Then I lost Chris, lost Reaghan and made it home on my own by 3 a.m. A night I’ll never forget…well, from what I can remember 😉

And now, my dear readers, the drought is over — my brother Jeff, his girlfriend Crystal and I will be hopping in the World Nomads ambassador van January 7, and I will be blogging my little bum off on a very regular basis for a full month. First stop Melbourne!

Dad Time 101

Up until now, I’ve posted photos to add to my stories.

But I think “Dad Time” is best experienced through pictures.

Nights in hotels: 18

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My bed in Rydges Queenstown. Uh. Maz. Ing. Do you remember the tent!?!?

Fancy Dinners: 18

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This is Whitewater in Manly Beach. We ate overlooking the ocean, then took the ferry back to Sydney. My favorite other meals were the top of Queenstown at the Skyline restaurant buffet and Pony in Sydney. One of the best meals I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Overpriced (but awesome) wildlife excursions: 2

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Underwater at the Sydney Aquarium.

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I did not know these existed. It’s a sea dragon!

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 We met this little guy outside Dunedin. Penguins, yay!

Symphonies at the Opera House: 1

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Playing Schubert’s Great Symphony.

Days in Rohan: 2

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Wow, I love Lord of the Rings.  I could have spent a week in Queenstown. My favorite spot in NZ!

Bungys: 0

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No… 

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And no.

Days spent with “Oldies” (but goodies!): 7

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That’s the Skyline Restaurant in Queenstown.  Meet Lizzie, Georgie, Vic, Cathryn and Bernard!

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Our “Coach Captain” Gordon. 

Farming magazines: 25

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Vintage Tractor!? I am far, far away from New York City.

Mouths dropped when faced with first young, cute boy in over a week: 1

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That’s Simon, our glacier guide.

Pretty flowers: Millions!

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You get the idea. I was a first class tourist — backpacker no longer. I ate well, gained weight, threw my used towels on the floor and did tons of activities. And I saw a lot of sheep!!!

Also, new pics of Cairns and Cape Trib on Flickr. I’m catching up!

Quick update!

New pics and everything to come, but right now I don’t have my laptop and NO wireless internet in the hotel. Prob not in NZ either!

 So I’ll see you all on here when I get back!!

Fa la la la la la la la la la!

It’s Christmas in Sydney!

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As much as I love big cities — and boy am I glad to be back — there’s something about them that just gets you stressed. Perhaps it’s being surrounded by the workforce, not vacationers, perhaps it’s the crowds, perhaps it’s seeing everyone around me in adorable, new, trendy outfits I can’t even begin to afford; but whatever it is, it’s not good.

I’ve got to make sure I find work for Christmas and New Year’s, and I’m not doing a very good job of going about it right now. I’ve sent out emails to a few people to set up meetings and I’ve got three more days to make some calls, but after my dad arrives Wednesday I’ll be in vacation-mode again until I get back from New Zealand. And I’ve got to save up money for the month with the van, otherwise I’ll be hightailing it back to the States come February. And I don’t want to do that!

Why? Because I’ve barely seen Sydney! And when I say seen, I mean seen. The people, the bars, the gigs, the clubs. All things that took ages to figure out in New York. And I’ll have 2 months. I’ve not been up to much since I’ve been back — though I’ve already met loads of nice people at Base. My old friend from Sydney-the-first-time, Karen , been around a ton, wahoo, and I showed around a sweet Dutch girl, also named Karen yesterday. Today I hit the Contemporary Art museum with a Scottish guy named Ewan. We all went to Purple Sneakers last night, the supposed indie rock night I’d been itching to go to for the past 6 weeks, and though we had a blast, playing one song from Maximo Park does not count. Still want to see a gig, but unfortunately can’t afford it.

And here’s when I start e-mailing every music publication in town to see if they need help.

Cape Trib was SO

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This is actually Cape Kimberley but it’s my fave pic!

Boring. yeah. But I walked in the rainforest and I ate weird fruit! And it was pretty!