Serendipity

The film Serendipity released in 2001 brought to my attention this idea of fate and chance meetings. I am a strong believer in fate and have always thought that what will be will be.

Serendipity

I have again been reminded of this true occurence of fate.

In January 2007, I met a lovely guy at the Big White Ski Resort in BC, Canada. He was a firefighter from London, Ontario, Canada visiting for just a week with his mates. We met at the bar one night and he was such a sweetheart, we talked and got on so well.

He left a few days later and sadly, I didn’t get to say goodbye. We both felt as though we’d missed out on something special there. We stayed in touch via email and texts but soon lost contact.

I arrived in LA, just a few days back on 28th January 2011. 4 years after I originally met him. As I land in the airport I have a text saying “Hey Emma.” It wasn’t a number from my contact list so I was quite surprised by it. I soon after replied asking who it was and to my great surprise, it was the candian guy from 2007.

“Hi Emma, remember me, the firefighter from Canada. We met at Big White in 2007. I know it’s been a while but I just found your number and thought i’d give you a buzz.”

This is crazy that just at this time of year, as I arrive in North America and switch on my Australian phone, he decides to contact me. He also told me that he was returning to Big White for a week with his buddies and asked if I could head up.

So who knows…. I might be skiing on the weekend and fallin in love by Monday 😉

Counties I’ve visited

This is a list of the countries I’ve visited and how many times I’ve been there.

My brother and I decided to do this for a bit of fun.

 

Here goes:

 

  • England x 6
  • Scotland x 4
  • Japan x 2
  • Germany x 5
  • France x 4
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Canada
  • USA x 4
  • India x 5
  • Nepal x 2
  • NZ x 2
  • Bali x 2
  • South Africa
  • tanzania Kenya
  • New Caledonia  (possibly 3 seperate destinations)(Loyalty island, Devine island, isle of pines)
  • Austria x 2
  • Denmark
  • sweden x 2
  • czech republic
  • spain x 2
  • Mexico
  • Singapore x 2
  • hong kong x 2
  • malaysia
  • thailand

 

I have been to 28 individual countries as we counted it.

 

But I have visited countries, i.e. entered a foreign country 58 times. hahha

 

This years plan:

  • Bahamas
  • St Maartens
  • St Thomas
  • Bangladesh.

 

competing with my dad for most countries visited!!

 

How many have you been to?

 

Sydney Sunset

On a recent evening out in Sydney, I was once again reminded how beautiful the city I live in really is.

 

 

Sydney’s sunsets are some of the best in the world and the evening of November 23rd was no exception. With a back drop of Sydney Harbour you are hard pressed to find a better frame for this picturesque scene.

 

 

 

We were located at Sydney’s Opera Bar just below the world Famous Sydney Opera House.

http://www.operabar.com.au/

 

Pricey drinks, but delicious cocktails. Decadent menu for those who choose it including the sampler for two, or a nice hearty fish and chips as you sit by the sea. A bowl of sweet potato crisps are a great share dish for the table.

 

A lovely place to spend a Sunday afternoon and enjoy some of Sydney’s best views

 

Farewell Jess!! Don’t forget the beauty of Sydney. Enjoy Canada

What happens in Canada, stays in Canada

My friends and I had a saying when we were doing our season at Big White, Canada……. “What happens in Canada, stays in Canada”

I found this keyring in a shop in Vancouver, the day before I left to head back to Australia. I bought one for my best gal pal from the mountain and gave it to ger when we were back in Oz.

I still have this keyring in my drawer and whenever I see it, It makes me laugh. That’s what Travel memories are for! To make you smile long after the event.

I stayed so true to this statement, that when I was talking about Canada to my friends this week, I realised they barely knew a thing……. and that’s how it shall stay!

Courtney Crow- THE EXPLORER GIRL

Courtney Crow is the founder and operator of the amazing website http://www.explorergirls.com. I was lucky enough to find Courtney when looking for extra places to blog and how glad I am. Through this amazing travel website just for awesome, out there, adventurous girls, I have met some true friends.

Courtney is a freelance writer and photogrpaher. Her most recent posting was at the 2010 Winter Olypics in Vancouver. Meeting the likes of Shaun White and Torah Bright are just the part of a normal day for the adventurous Courtney.

Read about why she loves her home country the USA and make sure to check out the awesome website she has created for us travel lovers!

1. Name
Courtney Crow

2. Occupation
Online Publisher and Professional Photographer

3. Country of Residence
Australia
4. Country of Origin
USA

5. email/contact/ website
http://www.ExplorerGirls.com and http://www.CourtneyCrowPhoto.com


6. Why do you love Travel?

I love travel because it can open your mind up to all kinds of things…adventures, people and places. It’s the best way to learn more about the world and yourself. You always meet amazing and interesting people always along the way.

7. Favourite place in your home country and why?
Just recently I visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Monument Valley in Utah. I was blown away with the beauty of the landscapes. It was somewhere I had never been before and only seen in postcards. I went back to Utah to go ATV riding near the Zion National Park and again was taken back with all the beautiful terrain.

My other fave would be all the beaches…Florida, California and Hawaii!

8. Best place for tourists to visit in your country?
Now, I live in Australia and have for 8 years…I would say tourists who visit Australia have to go into the Outback. It’s somewhere people often skip because it can be hard to get to, but totally worth it. Uluru is just awesome!



9. What other country would you life in if you had to leave your country?

If I had to leave Australia I would consider moving to Canada. After visiting here for the Winter Olympics and living here for over a month I have seen so many great things about this country. The people are friendly and welcoming, the landscapes are beautiful and there are adventures all around us…snowboarding, heliskiing, dog sledding, hiking, biking, climbing, sailing….and the list goes on!

10. Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country?
People love travelling in Australia for the Great Barrier Reef, surf beaches in Sydney and along the coast lines and the Outback.

11. Favourite activity when around your city?
My closest city is Melbourne and when I’m there it’s all about shopping!

12. Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed?
After touring around the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley I realised how much I don’t know about the USA and how many more places there are to explore…Yosemite National Park, Montana and so much more!

13. Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country?
When visiting Australia I would say just make sure you don’t travel into the bush or outback alone…it’s so vast and large and people can get lost and disappear.

14. Must see movie featuring your country and Why?
I would highly recommend ‘Australia’ the movie – it is a great tale about the history of Australia and shows some of the amazing landscape Australia has to offer.

15. The best book to read before visiting your country?
I would recommend ‘In a Sun Burned Country’ by Bill Bryson, because it tells you so much about Australia and it’s funny.

16. The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?

You must try Kangaroo! I know it sounds awful, but it free range and tastes really good!

17. Best time of year to visit?
Australia is best to visit in the summer, then you can advantage of all the warm beach days and hit the famous Aussie surf!

Chris – The Aussie Nomad

Chris is an avid traveller, blogger and tweeter.Blogging and twitting about his travels around the world, Chris has some great stories to share. Chris is also a techie and has saved my life on Twitter and WordPress a number of times. Read why it is that Chris loves his travel and his AUSSIE AUSSIE Home.

Name

Chris Richardson

Occupation

IT Consultant

Country of Residence

Australia

Country of Origin

Australia

email/contact/ website

www.theaussienomad.com

www.twitter.com/theaussienomad

Why do you love Travel?

Ever since my first trip to Hong Kong (http://www.theaussienomad.com/travel-thoughts/my-first-overseas-trip-part-1/) I’ve been hooked. The food, the culture, just seeing how the rest of the world lives is fascinating to me. Also I’m a sucker for wanting to check out old buildings and the history of places, Australia lacks that being such a new country compared to the rest of the world.

Favourite place in your home country and why?

Nothing beats my hometown of Casterton (http://www.theaussienomad.com/travel-thoughts/casterton-my-home/) although Melbourne is a close second. Back home has the quiet country roads, the small town community and my family. Its peaceful and full of so many great memories, its hard to beat that.

Best place for tourists to visit in your country?

Everyone knows about Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru and the Gold Coast these days. I’d love to see them venture into the smaller towns of Australia. Perhaps Ballarat in Victoria to see Sovereign Hill or maybe Tamworth for the Country Music Festival.

What other country would you live in if you had to leave your country?

I think if I had to leave Australia I would want to live in Canada. for a long time I have seen the two countries as having similar values and attitudes. Not to forget everybody I have known from Canada just seem to be great down to earth people.

Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country?

Travelling with some friends up to Queensland on the plane. We flew out about 9am and had our first beer 20 min later when the seat belt sign went off. That set the tone for the rest of the week.

Favorite activity when around your city?

I actually enjoy getting out and going for a run/walk around Lake Wendouree. It’s not much of a lake with the drought now but its a great 6km walk to wind down and relax.

Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed?

While I have travelled just about all over Australia, I’ve only just scratched the surface. An example was my visit to Tasmania that lasted just two days for work. I’d love to ride around it on a motorbike and take it all in.

Any warnings for travelers visiting in your country?

Australia is a big place. Everything is spread far and wide so be sure to factor that in when you come to visit. Don’t just think you can zip down the road to see Melbourne when you live in Sydney.

Must see movie featuring your country and Why?

I think people should watch The Castle. It’s a classic Aussie movie that I have watched many a time. It’s full of great Aussie characters and you will get more than your share of great Aussie slang.

The best book to read before visiting your country?

I’m not so up on great Australian books but my advice would be to grab a couple of good guide books (Lonely Planet etc) and go with that.

The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?

Every Australian loves a BBQ so head to the local butcher shop grab a nice big old piece of steak and find the nearest BBQ to cook it up on. We are also fairly partial to a great feed of Fish & Chips.

The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier?

How you goin? – How are you today?

Mate – Friend

Barbie – BBQ

Best time of year to visit?

I would visit from December to about March so you catch the summer.

The 4 words that best describe your country:

Sun, Surf, BBQ’s & Beer

Graham Robertson, CANADA. Travel Profile

Our first Traveller in the new Traveller Profile series is Graham Robertson from Canada.
Graham is also a Travel writer, focusing on Technology for the Travel Industry. His blog wWw.Projectwander.com hosts interesting articles, interviews and tips for the latest travelling gadgets, news and changes.

Learn more about why you should visit Canada, based on Graham’s recommendations:

  1. Name: Graham Robertson
  1. Occupation: Outbound operations supervisor & Writer forProjectwander.com
  1. Country of Residence: Australia
  1. Country of Origin: Canada
  1. email/contact/ website:
    wWw.Projectwander.comgrayum.ian@gmail.com


  1. Why do you love Travel?
    I love travel because people are always at their happiest when they are travelling. Working in the travel industry means I am around like-minded people all the time and it’s that kinship that keeps me coming back before. By kinship, I mean the bond all us travel people share.
  1. Favourite place in your home country and why? Long Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I think Long Beach really represents what Canada is to me, it’s laid back and has some of the best ecotourism in the area. Worth the long drive, plus you can make a stop at cathedral grove on the way: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/macmillan/

  1. Best place for tourists to visit in your country? Vancouver is a pretty obvious choice- great mountains, forests and ocean all in the same place. Theres a reason why it’s always in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world! I think if you’re going to the opposite side of Canada, Montreal is worth checking out. Interesting blend of cultures and people plus great food.

    1. What other country would you live in if you had to leave your country? I have already left my country for Australia, so definitely there. Looking at moving to the UK soon, excited to be in a place with so much history as I have always lived in very young countries.
    1. Favourite activity when around your city? I was actually from a very small town on Vancouver Island and there wasn’t too much on offer for tourism, but if I had to pick I’d say either whale watching or a cultural tour focusing on the Aboriginals of Canada and their history.

    1. Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed? I think its very common for people to take their own country for granted and I am no exception. I have seen more of Australia than I have of Canada, but I do plan to remedy that at some point. I guess the saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” applies here!
    1. Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country? Couldn’t really think of any serious warning for Canada. If you are from a warm country, don’t underestimate how cold Canada can be! Also, spring on the west coast means about 10 degrees, so dress warm and be prepared. That being said, our summers are quite nice and usually get up to about 24-28.
    1. Must see movie featuring your country and Why? For me, anything hockey related! This is actually a difficult question, Canada seems to feature in a ton of movies and TV shows as America due to the tax breaks we give the film industry. As for a movie actually featuring Canada, I am at a bit of a loss at the moment. I’m sure I will think of an awesome one in an hour or two!
    1. The must eat dish or delicacy of your country? Poutine! Its basically fries with gravy and cheese. For those that DONT want to die of a heart attack I would suggest some Westcoast smoked salmon. I haven’t found it better anywhere else in the world.

    1. The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier? E.g. How much? Too expensive or Hello. Being that we speak english (for the most part) I will go with: “Eh?” “Where is the next Tim Hortins?” and “aboot”. I think you might only get those ones if you are actually Canadian.
    1. Best time of year to visit? This is debateable. I think winter (November to January) because I love Canadian winters. If you are not a fan of the cold, hold off until summer (June to start of September). Only issue with visiting in summer is your visit will coincide children’s summer break. Personally, I say go for the winter to get the full experience.

    1. The 4 words that best describe your country: Pure, friendly, & environmentally focused

    Also contact and follow Graham on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Grayum_ian

      Taiwan offer Free Tourist Tours for Transiting Travellers

      Stop over’s and transit time in Airports can often be one of the major pitfalls of International travel.

       

      Picture this: You have just been on an 11 hour flight and you now have to wait 6 hours in a sterile, cold, unfriendly and busy International Airport Terminal. You are then faced with another 12 hours or so of flying time before you touch down wearily at your destination. Transit is not all that terrible when you are on your way to a country and your fun filled holiday, but it’s a whole other story on the way back. You are dreaming of your own bed but the wait continues to drag on, will you ever see your beloved pillow again?

       

      Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is combating this problem with the Transit Tourist program. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau offers FREE half day tours from the Airport on either the cultural route or the City route. This allows travellers to get out for 4-5 hours and enjoy the sites of Taiwan. This is especially good in an airport such as Taiwan Toayuan as it really is a big, sterile, quiet and lonely airport.

       

      I was lucky enough to arrive at 6.30am on February 12th 2007, so with what felt like a hangover and 12 hours until my flight left, I was not looking forward to the day. Luckily I bumped into some other weary travellers and we all headed to the tourism desk which we had been notified about on the plane. There were 6 of us there and we quickly formed a bond and chose to do a cultural tour of the city in the morning, this meant that we could get back to the Airport by lunchtime and then travel all together by shuttle to the central Taipei. This way we got the best of both tours.

       

      I was so thankful to have something to do for the day and to have met such a unique and interesting bunch of people to spend the time with. A Greek/ Aussie guy named Zoran, A Canadian girl living in Oz named Sarah (Nugs), A Japanese/ Australian whose name evades me and Tony and Nick from Newcastle. We clicked right away and spent the journey to the temple and ancient city chatting about our trips to date.

       

      The cultural tour was definitely worth braving the wet and foggy morning for. The ancient city was fascinating with intricately designed buildings containing little businesses that had been running for many years. We really got a great peek into the Taiwanese culture. The guide was brilliant as well. He was knowledgeable, animated and very open to questions. We had 3 hours to stroll around the old city, temple, morning market and small art museum. I was so fascinated by the culture and really was disappointed now that I only had a short day here. Taiwan is onto something with there little taste tester tourist trips. Marketing 101 – free samples!

       

      After shopping, seeing the sWhen they say Fresh, they mean Fresh!ights and being stunned by some of the Taiwanese customs- including having a live fish on hooks at your stall to show just how fresh your produce is, we boarded the bus and headed back to the airport. Our now tight knit group then jumped on the city shuttle to head to the famous Taipei 101! How lucky are we to have such a fun filled day with only 10 hours to spare!

       

      We arrived at the incredible Taipei 101 and decided lunch was probably the best option first and as the tallest tower in the world also doubles as a shopping centre, we were able to find a rather large food court to satisfy our appetites. Choosing lunch was interesting….. and finding almost an entire chicken in Sarahs soup was an experience, but overall the food was delicious and the choice unfathomable. Great Asian flavours and at wonderfully low prices. Tallest Tower in the World

       

      We decided to walk through the many levels of shops that we could never afford to purchase things from and amused ourselves with the many gadgets and products on offer. It was then time for the tallest tower in the world, Taipei 101! Once you reach the top you are greeted with both indoor and outdoor viewing decks which offer amazing views over what appears to be the entire island that is the tiny Taiwan. There was also a museum inside containing strange and unusual coloured lights – we didn’t know the purpose of it but it was fun to explore. Photos were in abundance and many oohs and ahs were spoken. It’s definitely a sight to be seen and one to cross off the old traveller list.

       

      We got back to the airport around 8pm as we were all rather tired from our Big Day Out. Happy to realise once we had checked in that we had most certainly made the right decision in having a day out as the Airport was so quiet , sterile and un-welcoming.

       

      Of all the airports to have to spend the day in- Taiwan’s International Airport is the best. What a great idea to help tourists on their long journeys and to entice them back to this beautiful and interesting country. If you have the option, choose Taiwan as your international stop-over, all you need is a day to have a fantastic taste of Taiwan!

       

      You can take advantage of the Free Half-Day Tour for Transit Passengers offered by the Tourism Bureau. The Presidential Office Building, the Taipei 101 Mall, and several other places of interest are included in the tour. You may register at the Arrival Lobby Tourist Service Center.

       

      Terminal I: Morning tour: bus leaves at 7:45 a.m. and returns to the airport before 1 p.m.* Afternoon tour: bus leaves at 1:45 p.m. and returns to the airport before 6:30 p.m.*

       

      Terminal II: Morning tour: bus leaves at 7:30 a.m. and returns to the airport before 1 p.m.* Afternoon tour: bus leaves at 1:30 p.m. and returns to the airport before 6:30 p.m.* *Actual return time to terminal may vary according to traffic conditions.

       

      For information at the airport go to: http://www.taoyuanairport.gov.tw/english/about/item_e_e.jsp?itemid=6

       

      For information on Travel in Taiwan visit the Tourism Bureau website: http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0000236

       

      Exploring the Ancient City

      Night Noodle Market- Asia comes to Sydney

      The buzz, atmosphere and splendour of the market makes for a lovely night out in Sydney
      The buzz, atmosphere and splendour of the market makes for a lovely night out in Sydney

      Isn’t it amazing that we can go across the otherside of the world and become completely immersed in that culture. We could tell you the foods that are eaten, the local dress, the best museums, and even give you a brief general history. But when it comes to our own country, or even city, we haven’t the foggiest what’s happening in and around town!

       

      I had this realisation last year when my Canadian friend visiting in Sydney asked if I would like to attend the Night Noodle Market. My response to him being ” What in earth’s name is that?”
      It would just so happen that the Night Noodle Market is part of the Sydney Food Festival which carries on through the whole month of October. The Noodle Market is positioned in Hyde Park and is a cultural hats off to the wonderful flavours and tastes of Asian cuisine.

       

      Sydney is full of Asian style food and we are rapidly gaining restaurants of an Asian influence spreading throughout Sydney suburbs. However, there is nothing that resembles the wonderful street style market stall set up of an Asian Food Market that is such a highlight of visiting such countries as Singpaore, Malaysia and Thailand.

       

      So smack bang in the centre of Sydney during this month, a magical, mystifying and temporary extravaganza of Asian Food stalls is set up for all to enjoy. Hyde Park is the location and it is festivally decorated with lanterns and lights, stalls and music. The aroma of the many Asian nations culminates in the mid spring air to give you a sense of being in a far off land of sunsets, bustling streets and warm temperate evenings. A true sense of Asia comes to life  in the centre of the city, and you don’t even need a ticket!

       

      I was delighted to be introduced to this wonderful world that lies right in the heart of my home city, and none the less by a foreigner. It sometimes is necessary to act as a tourist in our own city to rediscover the beauty and wonderement which is actually on our very doorstep.

       

      I enjoyed a beer from China, a starter from Vietnam, some noodles from Singapore and wonderful dessert from Indonesia. All within the space of an hour.

       

      The market is running all of this week, from October 12-16 (Mon-Fri) and then continuing on next week from October 19-23 (Mon-Fri). The dinner trading, 5pm-9.30pm.

       

      So why not grab a few friends after work, head into the park and enjoy the sites and sounds of Asia in our own backyard.

       

      For more information visit: http://www.siff.com.au/events/noodle-markets

       

      Don’t miss the chance to see a side of Sydney you’ve never seen before!

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