I’m from Sydney originally and despite travelling the world, moving to Melbourne and constantly popping interstate – Sydney will always be my home.
I have darling friends and family there that I just can’t stay away from!
I wanted to minimise my trips to Sydney but I am realising now that my home is wherever my heart is. I’m happy in Melbourne and settled to a degree there so I am lucky to be able to visit my friends and family and the beautiful city I grew up in.
Since moving to Melbourne I’ve actually visited Sydney 17 times! Work, friends, family, events – 17 times!!!! How fortunate I have the funds, time and resources to do this. Travel is part of my life.
Sharing with you some moments from that last visit with the ones I care about!
(also got to see Mum, 3 best gal pals from Sydney, Dad, Great Aunty and Uncle, friends from my amazing trip to Machu Picchu and my adopted little sister Naomi.)
As I stood in the beautiful tropical waters of Magnetic Island, I threw my head back and laughed out loud as I realised how LUCKY I am to live the life I live.
How I can take 5 days off a month (though I worked remotely) and be just 30 minutes by Ferry from this paradise. A spur of the moment trip to Townsville and a day trip to this amazing place, Magnetic Island, has made me reconnect, refresh and REALISE what life is all about. LIVING! Loving! Enjoying!
Feeling very thankful today.
Travel is the only thing you can buy which makes you richer!
I am no stranger to the barnyard variety of animal yet I’ve never had such amusement or pure joy at the site of these lovable creatures. When visiting Isla Del Sol, the regular acquaintance of mules, sheep and piglets made me smile to no end.
What was most interesting about the farm animals here was the simple methods of herding and care for the animals. We saw a young girl of approximately 9 and a boy of aged 5 herding down a steep hill – a mule, 5 sheep, 2 pigs and a bull. I had to ask this little girl if the bull was ok as he walked towards me with his horns protruding forward – she giggled and steered him away assuring me it was safe to pass. How much of a city girl did I feel in that moment and yet so much admiration for this beautiful girl and her way of life here on Isla Del Sol.
Walking from North to South of Isla Del Sol on Lake Titicaca we passed may small backyard farms and saw many neighbours and families helping one another. I loved the community feel and the cohesive living of the animals and their keepers. Little piglets ran at our feet as we headed for the North beach and provided us with a good laugh as they scratched their butts on the walls and wooden planks. Ah the simple life.
My only complaint, I wished at one point the donkeys would rescue me and walk me up the hill but they are working animals and what a good job they do. Farm yard fun in Boilivia.
A friend of a friend and I were having dinner a few weeks ago and I was expressing my interest to explore more of Australia and in particular visit some friends in the Army in Darwin and Townsville. She said “Well would you want to go in 3 weeks?”
“Dates?” I replied.
“18-22nd Feb” she said with glee.
“Mental Calendar isn’t ringing a bell!” I responded like gun-fire. “How much?”
“$100 – name transfer and they are yours! I can’t go due to work commitments.” she replied.
And within a week it was settled!
It’s so fantastic to be here visiting my friend in Townsville. Not only was I in dire need of a break, but also I have been wanting to come here for 2 years since he was posted here. I had never been to Tropical North Queensland and was keen to see what it was all about.
Suffice to say, I came here knowing nothing and have been pleasantly surprised at every twist and turn. Black hawks and Chinook helicopters flying over head, palm trees on the roads, storm clouds rolling in only to be blasted away by sunshine, islands off the coast and mountains on the land. What a dynamic and beautiful landscape.
Staying in my friends lovely Air conditioned apartment with 2 swimming pools and a spa bath in the courtyard, I’ve been very comfortable.
A stunning drive up Castle Hill to get an incredible view of the city and a plan to come back and walk up it with the many other exercise fiends later in the week.
Off to Magnetic Island tomorrow. Just checking out what’s on and what I should do – though pretty keen just to walk around, lie on the beach and generally explore. I think you need more than a day on the island to see it truly.
Where do I start! Tears, tantrums and a lot of time wasting! This is the frequent occurrence when dealing with the bus system in Bolivia!!
We wanted to go from Copacabana to Uyuni, The Salt Flats. We knew we had to go via La Paz, all good! But we didn’t now we’d end up spending a night there and wasting an entire day and missing out on our 3 day tou in Uyuni. Here goes the story.
We arrived in Copacabana on 2nd November and then went to Isla Del Sol for 2 nights. At this time however we enquired about Salt Flats tours in Uyuni and transportation there. We had learned that we could go from here all the way to Uyuni in an overnight trip and then do our 3 day tour. Great. We’ll buy tickets and negotiate when we get back.
No! Lies. All lies. And this is a regular occurrence in the lovely country of Bolivia. I spent 2 hours walking up and down a hill walking into every bus and tour company there was asking could we get tickets from Copacabana to Uyuni…… No was the response. Not only this but whilst I was running around town, my friend Jess was researching the route and came across some very interesting information. “A blog post identified that we would have to get out of the bus at a lake on the way to La Paz, go by ferry across the Lake whilst our 3 tonne bus goes across the water with all our belongings on a ferry also. I’m sorry WHAT!!!!!!! None of the companies mentioned this when I was asking about “direct from Copacabana to La Paz” Are you kidding me? Where in the world is there a “direct bus” that has to cross a lake by ferry MINUS it’s passengers! Who would think to ask this question? But in Bolivia…. These are the questions you MUST ask.
Hot, bothered and frustrated I finally came across one that would do it. More than I wanted to pay but it would have us arriving in Uyuni the next morning, via La Paz that night and leaving by 4pm In the afternoon. The conversation to get to this point is quite interesting:
Me: “So this is a direct bus to La Paz”
Me: “It goes straight to La Paz without stopping?”
Me: “So you don’t have to cross a lake at any point on that bus journey?”
Senora: “Oh yes, you cross the lake?”
Me: “So it’s not direct?”
Senora: “It’s direct via the lake. All the buses go via the lake. They have to. This is the direct way to La Paz”
Case in point Bolivia!!!
So anyway, buy the tickets. Skip with glee. Tell Jess and at 4pm we head up to our bus. Hand the man my ticket and no…….. this is not a ticket… this is a RECEIPT! This was not the first tie this thing had happened to us. It happened in Peru forcing us to buy a new first class ticket and forego our pre purchased ticket! ARGHHHHH!
Luckily I had time to RUN down the hill and find the senora who conveniently had my tickets sitting on her desk! What are you doing to me!!!!
She was very sorry, came with me to the bus and assured me I would have no problems in La Paz. Oh might I mentioned as I ran up the hill I thought I’d lost my phone and flipped out! Luckily it was in my bag.
We got on the bus and it took me half an hour and 3-4 ranting blog posts to calm down and laugh about it. But I knew this wasn;t the end.
Despite my begging and pleading I had only a receipt for my La Paz- Uyuni journey and I also had to call a man “Javier” when we reached La Paz to arrange our bus for 9pm that night. I had a bad feeling….
After 3 hours on the bus, and now at 4000m Altitude, we were weary travelers and ready for our overnight bus. Jess suffers badly from the altitude sickness and was dreading the stay in La Paz. I had to hunt for the ticket office, they knew nothing about it, found another with similar name – explained again I don’t have a ticket but a receipt and that this bus company isn’t even here! WHAT!!
I get cash out, huge notes so no person in the station will give me small change to use the phone. Eventually I get a lady to cooperate and I use the phone to call Javier….. to learn that our bus is TOMORROW!
I was at the end of my rope! After getting over the shock, I tried to negotiate another bus, I tried to get a refund and tried to understand how the hell this had happened. I expressly booked the ticket for today. He tells me he told her it was full and that there were only seats tomorrow but she had not managed to pass on this message – despite my begging and pleading for a ticket and not a receipt, she’d still forgotten to pass on this VERY important piece of information. I ended up a fuming, crying, shaking mess on the phone and my Spanish was fast going out the window. I was beside myself. How could this system be so unbelievably disorganized and unreliable and how the hell are we ever going to get around this country.
A tanty followed, informed Jess of the situation who was hell bent on going after Javier for our money, and then a resigned phone call to make plans for the following night.
Luckily Jess knew about Loki Hostal in la Paz and even had the address so we could head there for the night and rest our exhausted bodies and brains.
So… bus travel in Bolivia. It’s so common, it’s so available, it’s just SO unreliable. Allow 1 or 2 days either side of plans and if you are on a tight time frame then beware.
Bolivia, you are beautiful – but damn you frustrate me!
Bethany Hamilton, 23, lost her left arm to a tiger shark when she was surfing with friends ten years ago. The shark took a gash from her board – 38cm wide and 20cm deep and that was also enough to take her left arm. But she didn’t lose her courage or her passion for surfing. After only three weeks she was back in the water, learning to surf again. Her friends thought she was crazy including Alana Blanchard who was surfing with Bethany at the time of the attack. Alana herself said even she was scared her to go back in the water, after seeing her friend Bethany being bitten. Let’sface it, unless you’re a mermaid your chicken wings would be coming out after you saw your friend getting mauled by a shark.
“People didn’t really think I would continue surfing, but I’m passionate about being out there…
The cheers and sounds of the basketball give my a heart a little flutter as it brings back memories of my first time at the NBL in Australia at age 11.This started a love of basketball and many years of season tickets.
To see an NBA game live in the USA was like a dream. The lights, the show, the basketball stars and their amazing talent create an electric atmosphere. This was always my favourite thing about the basketball, they really involve the crowd and make it an exciting spectator sport.
We cheere with the cheerleaders, ate Chicago style hotdogs, drank electric lemonades and cheered for the NOLA (New Orleans Lousiana) Hornets.
It started out as a great game but unfortunately in the 3rd quarter the Hornets started slipping and In the 4th they couldn’t sink a basket to save their lives. A bit of a disappointing end to be honest, but to be fair, I always thought the New York Knicks would win.
An awesome experience and definitely recommended for anyone visiting the States in the Basketball Season. Get along to the basketball, and don’t worry about the cheers – the big screen and the many cheerleaders will help you get behind the home team.