Thursday, May 19, 2011

She Said I Think I'll Go To Boston


For those who do not already know, I have decided to come home. I have been toying with the idea of coming home for about a month now and things have finally come to a head here and I feel like it’s my time to leave. I met a lot of great people here and had a lot of fun, but the vacations over and I’m ready to come home. I feel more motivated than ever to try and sort my life out and get a real job, and at the end of the day that’s what this trip was about for me. I wanted clarity. It only took me four months, but I feel ready to come home. Australia is a cool place, but it’s just not for me. I wanted to get as far away from home as I could when I decided to come here and I’ve quickly learned that you can take the girl out of America, but you can’t take America out of the girl. I felt so lost during my senior year and after I graduated, but I don’t have the same sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about the future as I used to. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the rest of the world while here to say the least.

So that’s it for now. I might keep this blog going (and change the name obviously) because I’ve enjoyed writing it. People who I never thought would read it have told me they enjoyed hearing about my adventures, which I think is pretty cool. For most of you, I’ll be seeing you soon, but for those friends I’ve made along the way, I’d like to think of this not as a goodbye, but as a see you later.

PS: I have another, longer blog typed up explaining how I came to lose my job here. It's not pretty (I wrote it a couple hours after it all went down and was still very angry), so I'd rather not publish it on the internet for all to see, but if you'd like to know the story, just ask. I'm more than happy to share.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Quick Update!

So once again I've been slacking on the blog updates but for good reason this time. I've been in Melbourne, as most of you know by now, and I have a job! I'm working at a bar, Bertha Brown, which is downstairs from the YHA hostel where I cuttently live. I'm actually updating this from their computers right now which is why this is going to be short. It's had it's up and down moments, but the people I work with are pretty cool. Working at a bar is a lot fun too- we had a bucks night come in last night (that's a bachelor party for you non Aussie's) and they tipped us a lot of money. Normally you don't make tips here so that was pretty sAweeet. I'm still trying to find a place to live, but I have the day off tomorrow so I'm going to try to make it down to the library  and use the free wifi there to try and sort my life out. My life for non consists of working and sleeping so I haven't done too much, but once I get my barings and make some friends I'll be going out and having fun again haha. Well that's all for now really. I've been a little homesick for the fist time since I've been here, but that only lasted for a day. Once I get more settled I know I'll love it here- Melbourne is a lot cooler than Sydney (at leats in my opinion) so I'm hoping to stay here for at leats three months, but as you know, none of my plans are ever set in stone so who knows what's in store for me...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Worlds Worst Job Interview


As you know from my previous post, I had a job interview today at what I thought was an events promotion company. As it turns out, their ‘events’ are charities and they ‘promote’ them by hassling people on the streets to donate money (*womp womp*). Needless to say, I HATE these people. I avoid them at all costs. They annoyed me to no end in Boston and they are EVERYWHERE here in Australia. I won’t look these people in the eye and have even crossed the street to avoid them in the past. I remember while working at the Ad Club a co-worker of mine (who shall remain nameless) was harassed by one such individual and told them to get a real job. At the time I agreed, but after my interview today I have to admit, that was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done.

I woke up at 7.30am this morning to get ready which is probably the earliest I’ve gotten up since before I moved to Glebe, put on my cute interview outfit, grabbed a muffin from the 7-11 and was off. What exactly I was off to was a complete mystery to me. I had seen a posting online for an events promotion company and given my experience in both the events and promotion industries I thought this was for me! I found the office easily and there were already two other girls waiting for what we thought was an interview. Being who I am, I started to chat with them. Just the basics, where are you from, do you like Australia, what’s you’re favorite color, all that BS. Eventually the reason why we’re all sitting there comes up and I admit I have no CLUE what position I’m interviewing for. As it turns out, neither do these two girls. This should have been a huge red flag that something was up, but that’s how desperate travelers are for work.

Me: I mean, they say they’re an events promotion company, so maybe we’ll be organizing events?

Other girl: I just hope it’s not a sales job- that would be the worst.

Swedish girl: I wore jeans to an interview, I’m clueless!

Ok, so the last girl didn’t say that, but WHO shows up to an interview that says dress business casual in jeans???

Next thing I know, me and the Swed get called into another room where we are quickly shuffled outside to meet one of the ‘teams’. Turns out we’re going to be spending the day out at one of our events (they still haven’t said WHAT the so called event is or what our role will be). We hop on the tram and are off, the whole while, the guy in charge gets to know me and the Swedish girl. We get to our destination and me and this girl still have no idea what’s going on. Next thing I know, the guy tells me to go wait over by a bench. When he comes back, the Swed is gone. Apparently this is interview elimination style and home girl didn’t even make it up to bat. I haven’t even had time to panic yet, but now I’m officially anxious, paranoid, confused and STILL don’t know what I’m interviewing for.

Finally, the charade is up, and the ‘team’ all take out their Oxfam shirts and put them on over their smart business casual clothes. I have finally succumbed to the reality that I am interviewing for a sales job. FML. This was no ordinary interview. This was more of an improv show where I prove I can make a fool of myself while manipulating people into donating their hard earned money to whatever charity we’re working for at the moment. First I had to watch and see the different styles of each team member while taking copious notes. Then I had 20 minutes to approach random people and get them to tell me what their most embarrassing moment was. After I passed that task I had 15 minutes to come up with 10 ‘ice breakers’ I could use to approach people. My final test was to pitch to 3 people in 10 minutes (hopefully even getting someone to sign up). I felt like I was on a bad game show. I am ashamed to admit I even used the classic line “Excuse me sir, I think you dropped something. *man looks around confused* You dropped my heart.” You can laugh, but I was desperate! I thought about just walking away a few times and giving up, but I was doing pretty good, so I stuck with it out of curiosity and boredom. This is not something everyone can do and I thank my years of acting when I was younger and all those dumb improv games I used to hate for getting me through.

Turns out, I did better than I thought. The guy in charge wanted me to meet the big boss for a final interview. I’d have to start tomorrow and I’d be working mon-fri 8am to 5pm. This game was fun, but not THAT fun. I told him I had to think about it and immediately set off for the nearest pub to get a beer and have what just happened to me sink in. I felt swindled. I felt high on adrenaline. I felt like a fool for thinking I could get a real job in Australia off of Gumtree.com.

The night before I had been offered a job at a bar next to the hostel where I’m staying so back I went to get a drink and see if they were still offering. They were and I have a trial tomorrow. I hope it goes well, but seeing as how I got offered 2 jobs in less than 48 hours of being in Melbourne, I’m not too worried. I know this was a long one, but I HAD to share my experience. I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll keep you all updated once I actually get a real job.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Toto, I don’t Think We’re In Kansas Anymore…


With a new move comes a slew of new emotions and accordingly, a new blog post. My 12 hour long bus ride wasn’t too bad- it was a full bus which sucked and the driver wouldn’t stop texting (I had to sit in the front seat and could see) which caused me to fear for my life on a couple of occasions but I made here alive nonetheless! I’m alone again which is good and bad. It’s real motivation to get my shit together and find a job and not just bum around all day like I had in Glebe, but it’s also lonely- especially since I no longer have free internet :(. I even managed to pull a job interview already, which is pretty sweet! I had applied to an events promotion company back in Sydney right before I decided to leave and they called me for an interview. Since I had already booked my stuff for Melbourne, I told them I was unavailable, but they said to give their Melbourne offices a call which I did this morning and have an interview already for tomorrow morning at 9am. I’m excited and nervous! I’m not exactly sure what the job is for but the company seems cool from what I quickly got off their website and it’d be a legit job that could go on my resume back home.

I still have so much to figure out here though. Where I’m going to stay once this week is up, what I’ll do if this job doesn’t work out, what happens if I run out of money, what am I going to wear tomorrow, what is the meaning of life, etc. You know, all the basics.

I desperately needed to screw around for my first 3 months of being in Australia. I just wasn’t happy at home and was sick of trying to get into this whole ‘real life’ gig that everyone keeps badgering me about. At the end of the day, I just want to be happy. I know this is clichĂ© and sounds so easy, but it hasn’t been for me. I keep expecting there to be this AHA moment in my life where the curtain gets pulled back and it turns out I’m meant to be a (insert career like job here) but that’s just not going to happen. I know this. The wizard is not real. He is just a man behind a curtain with a cool smoke machine (and a sick hot air balloon, but now I’m letting my metaphor run away with me).

Ok I am exhausted, so I’m gonna sign off now. If anything big and exciting happens, as always, you’ll be the first to know :) 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011 :)

I know this may not sound very exciting to most of you but recently I did something I've never done before and I felt it was appropriate to blog about it. I dyed my hair... from a BOX! I know, but don't freak out, I think I did a good job considering years of watching my dad and dying my friends hair. It was $15 and it is in these harsh economic times that I had to make a decision like this (not to mention my favorite hairdresser is currently thousands of miles away). It was supposed to be auburn but it came out more purple than red. I'm still happy with it though- it's a lot darker than what I had before. It was fun but I have to admit, I prefer the salon.

Also, I just finished getting rid of a lot of my clothes. Many of which were donated to the charitable case of Lucy, but many of which I also am going to put in a drop box. I needed to get rid of stuff and if I'm not going to wear it in Australia, then I don't need it. It's my own fault for being too hungover the day I planned on packing and rushing to do it the morning of my flight where I proceeded to pack my entire closet away. At the end of the day, I'm glad to be getting rid of it. I just should have done this before I left, but se la vie!

I know this wasn't very exciting, but for now I'm just excited to be leaving Sydney soon. I've loved being here and I'll miss the friends I've made here but I know I'd regret it more if I stayed here because it's easy. I've being doing some research on Melbourne to get myself more excited and it sounds like a cool place! I leave in less than a week and I cannot wait to get there!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Big News!

Or at least, considering I haven't had much of any news in awhile, it's news haha. So I'm loving being in Glebe and Sydney and I am truly having the time of my life, but I've decided I can't stay here. I mentioned in a post many weeks ago that Sydney just doesn't really feel like the right place for me, so I'm leaving in two weeks to go see what's going on in Melbourne. I've fallen into a routine here that I can definitely see myself getting trapped in so I'm getting out now while I can still afford to haha. Sydney has been great and I've met SOO many awesome people here and had a blast partying and sightseeing and just chilling out doing whatever I feel like, but I need to remember why I'm here. I had to get that out of my system, but I need to get my ass in gear now. I've heard nothing but good things about Melbourne so I really hope this works out for me!

I have to give 2 weeks notice at the place where I'm currently living before I leave, which is why I'm waiting 2 weeks. It will also give me time to do some research on Melbourne and try to get a general idea of what to do when I get there. Then I'm gonna book another fun 12 hour bus ride and off I go!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ramblings!


So I’ve been very bad at posting updates to my blog. I suppose I just don’t have as much to say now that I’m settled and sort of into a routine. That and a lot of the stuff I want to write about I’m sick of thinking about. Right now I am happy. And it’s been a long time since I could say that. For the first time in my life I have no responsibilities, no one to answer to, and I am taking complete advantage of it. My life is essential college without the classes and/or part time job. And what’s wrong with that? Whose idea was it that we shouldn’t enjoy our lives while we can instead of doing what we have been told is the right thing to do and what we’re supposed to do? I’m not saying I plan on quitting life forever and not getting a ‘real job’ but why is it so taboo to take time off? And there’s that whole ‘real job’ thing too. I have NO clue what I want to do after all of this (and thankfully I don’t have to think about it for a long time still) but when I do occasionally think about it out of habit I just assume I’ll continue my search the same as I was when I was home and no time had passed- writing cover letters, sending out my resume, and using any and all contacts I have to get in somewhere, anywhere. I honestly haven’t been putting thought into that subject at all while here- I’m not sure what made me jump to that. I just want to end up doing something I love. Money ruins everything. I am so fortunate that I have worked my butt off and saved so I can do this, but I know people doing it on MUCH less.

Also, I’ve been doing an insane amount of reading while here. I just started 1984 (well, I started it 2 days ago and have read two thirds of it already) and wow what a mindfuck. I always knew it was but I’ve never actually read it so I figured why not? I’m loving it, needless to say, but it’s pretty dense. It definitely has made me stop and think about a lot. I’ve read 8 books since I’ve been out here and next on my list is The Book Thief. If anyone has any suggestions for what to read after that I’m all ears! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"And I Will Write it Down For You"

For those who don't immediately recognize, the title of this post is from a Something Corporate song called "Miss America". That song just came on shuffle as I sit here being unproductive so I figured at the very least I owe my friends and family a blog update. To be perfectly honest, my life has taken on somewhat of a routine, which is why I've been lacking on the blog updates. There just isn't much exciting stuff to talk about anymore. Also, a lot of the adventures I've gone on have not been anything I feel like sharing on the internet. I've been having a lot of fun nights going out with my new roomies and stuff, St. Patty's day was especially fun. It's also nice (and makes me extremely nostalgic) waking up with friends and recapping the night before and laughing at our belligerentness. It makes me miss college and waking up from a night out only to crawl into Katie's bed and piece the night together before going to Annie's or the bistro for something to eat. Here, sausage rolls are the breakky of choice after a night out and I swear when I come back to America the first thing I'm gonna do is open up a sausage roll shop and I'm gonna make millions. They're basically ground sausage wrapped in a flaky pasty (I imagine them to be what hot pockets would taste like if they weren't shit). On the other hand, people in Australia (and apparently around the world) don't have solo cups. WTF?!?!!? Like, my Irish roomie asked me the other day, "so what's up with all the red cups in America?" It blew my mind to say the least. How do they play beirut? or flip cup? what's the middle cup in kings? how do you distribute beer at parties? or bbq's? or beer-bq's? This was 2 days ago and as you can see I'm still trying to process that bit of info. Also, British people call wallets purses and a purse is just a bag. And at the end of a sentence what we call a period they call a full stop. And a crosswalk is a zebra crossing. The worst part is I'm outnumbered by about 500 to 1 since there aren't any other American's in almost all of Australia so I look like the weirdo when really, we all know it's them.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

So it's been awhile and I've been having a fantastic time, but I figured you all deserved an update. I love Glebe. I love my room and this place is wicked chill. Aside from Emma, there's another English girl in my room, Lucy, and an Irish girl, April. They are fantastic. April is a tiny little thing and I don't know how she fits so much personality in such a small space. She's hilarious and has started calling me America haha. She also has a boyfriend who is a chef and is making us a 3 course gourmet dinner tonight. I still haven't started this whole job search thing- it's so easy to say I'll do it tomorrow, but tomorrow has turned into a week so I might have to actually get my shit together soon. OK- I know this was very short but I just don't have much to say. I have lots of little stories about adventures but they're not anything I want to end up on the internet...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm Not Homeless!!

So I have officially moved into my new temporary home at the Rooftops Travelers Lodge in Glebe. It's another hostle, but they do longterm stays. I'm currently booked in for 4 weeks but I'll probably stay longer- it all depends on finding a job and if I could find a better living situation. I have 3 other girls in my room, Emma beign one of them. I was just SO happy to finally unpack and have a palce to call home agian. I've even made a CV and applied for a job- only one, but that's a start! I went grocery shopping today too which also made me extremely happy, but I'd say my favorite part of today was when I straightened my hair!!!!!!! It's been 6 weeks since I've been able to do that and as you all know, my hair is ALWAYS straight at home so it's been tortorous for me to have it either curly or up in a ponytail all the time. I also went and ran some errends that included getting a pillow and a flashlight and I wanted to go to Target (yes they have them here!!! #brandloyalty- can you tell I miss twitter?) but K-Mart was much cheeper. Tonight we're gonna go to trivia at the bar across the street, but for now I'm doing laundry and being lazy. I know this was short, and perhaps I'll do a more detailed post later but I just wanted to give you guys a quick update. I miss you all more than you know!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hunter Valley


I don’t really feel like blogging right now, but I’m just hanging out waiting to go get lunch and then go to the zoo so why not. I’m at the Hunter Valley and I have fallen in love with Australia and wine all over again. We took the bus here and before we could even check into the hostel we went on our first stop of wine tastings for the day. We went to four places all together and this one was probably my least favorite overall. It was all massed produced wine with gift shops and expensive shitty blends infused with fruit for the tourists. The other 3 places we visited were all locally grown and produced in the Hunter Valley and you could taste a difference. My favorite was the third one we visited and I got a DELICIOUS bottle of white wine. I know, I normally go for the red but this was aged perfectly and for discounted price of only $24 I couldn’t leave without it. We’re still here all day today and for most of tomorrow so I’m sure I’ll find a nice bottle of red by then- probably a shiraz since it’s so popular here. I also learned that apparently I have a developed palate and I can thank my parents for always letting me have “just a small sip” of their wine since as long as I can remember. Without them I would not have the same appreciation for this delicious drink so thanks mom and dad!

We also did a cheese tasting and oh my God you have not tasted cheese until you go to the Smelly Cheese Shop in the Hunter Valley and sample anything and everything they have. I WISH I had a permanent refrigerator because I would have bought them out of business. We might try to go back before we leave to sample more delicious stinky cheeses.

The wine, food and views here and breathtaking. If you are a fan of wine you cannot go through life without coming to Australia and visiting any one of the many wine areas here. Again, I’m sorry I don’t have a camera to share all of this with you, but Emma has been taking pictures and I have gotten her permission for you to add her as a friend on facebook so you can comment on them. 

Lost In Translation


March 3, 2011

I feel like I don’t know where to begin this one. This is such a weird time in my life and there have been a few times recently when I’ve really wished I had someone here who spoke my language. Everyone speaks English (for the most part) because it’s Australia (duh) but no one speaks American. Especially in the group of people I hang out with who are all from the UK. I never realized how something so small could make me feel so homesick. I tried to explain to them what a biddie was the other day and really struggled- especially without one nearby to point out as an example.

Also, and I don’t mean to offend any of my new friends incase they are reading this because I do love them and have so much fun when we’re together, but I need to meet new people. As most of you know, I am a social butterfly. When I go out to parties with friends, I’m the one that immediately disappears and goes off on my own adventure making friends with anyone who is willing. As comforting as it is to have a group that I belong to and people that I can call up everyday when I’m bored to just sit with and find something to do, I want to go out and meet new people. I know, I can take the initiative here and just go out and on my own, but it’s easier to do these things in a group. It’s extremely intimidating (and not necessarily socially acceptable) to go to the bar alone and just approach random strangers. Doing this in a hostel is one thing- which I loved about the traveling I did. I suppose this is one of the drawbacks to starting to settle down in one place.

On a very different note, I’ve been doing an excessive amount of reading. After finishing Eat, Pray, Love (which I have lent to my new friend Emma) I started the first in the Millennium series, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and everything people have said about these books is true. I finished the 500 or so page book in about 4 days (in typical Leah fashion- I could probably read all 7 Harry Potter books in less than a week if I tried- oh wait, I have) and bought the second today. I also picked up a copy of The Great Gatsby which I LOVED reading back in Shuman’s class and perhaps it’s my nostalgia for America, but I want to give it a second go.

Emma, our other friend Holly, and myself are going to the Hunter Valley this weekend (I’ll either be there or back by the time I get around to actually posting this though I guess) and I am so excited to do a mini road trip and get out of the city. It’s only about 2 hours away from the Sydney but it’s a completely different world. I’ll be surrounded by some of the finest wine in Australia and I can’t wait to taste it all! We get back on Sunday sometime in the late afternoon where I go to the YHA again for a couple nights before I move into my new home in Glebe for the month. I’ve spent the past week next to the YHA at a different cheaper hostel and I can’t wait to get the fuck out of here and back to the 5 star hostel. I’d rather not dwell on the negatives and re-live how shitty this place was now that I’m leaving tomorrow morning, so I won’t go into it, but just know it was dirty and gross and there were rude Danish boys in my room who I wanted to punch in the face everyday.

I suppose that’s it for now. This was another doosie (how do you spell that??) but I’ve had a lot on my mind and keep forgetting to share it here. Also, just a reminder that I know it’s not as exciting that I’m in Australia anymore since I’ve been here just over a month now, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t want to hear from you! I got so many emails from people back home my first two weeks here and now when I check it’s mostly Ruelala which just depresses me because they don’t ship internationally. Even if you think you’re life is so boring there couldn’t possibly be anything to share, I still want to hear form you! Just say hi- it doesn’t have to be anything too epic. I miss you guys and America more than you know…

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Life Update!

So apparently my last post was a bit of a downer and I just wanted to quickly update you guys on some decisions I've made and some things I need to accept that are out of my hands.

So today I went to the Optus store to finally get my phone sorted out and turns out I can't. In order to get a phone plan with data and internet and all that jazz I need to pass a credit check. In the states, this would be no problem. But I'm not in America, I'm in Australia and I don't have a job or any credit history here at all so needless to say, I failed. After that news sunk in I went to Global Gossip to let off some steam by yelling at them some more about fixing my phone so I can text people back home. Turns out it's not my sim card or global gossip- it's my stupid useless Blackberry. So as of now, I can call you guys and you can call or txt me, but I can't txt you back. Maybe I'll look into fixing this problem better at a later date, but for now I'm just going to deal with it.

On a slightly better note, I'm going to be staying in Sydney for at least one more month. My friends are all staying at a long term hostel in Glebe- a suburb 10 minutes away from the center of Sydney- and starting on March 8 I will be here too. It's not exactly the nicest place in the world and I'm sharing my room with 3 other people (one of them is my new friend Emma :D) but it's cheaper and I like the area. There are tons of little cafes and restaurants here too which means it shouldn't be too hard to find a job.

So this all makes me feel a little less stressed. Tomorrow we're doing the bridge climb which should be a LOT of fun and then this weekend were going to the Hunter Valley to drink wine, eat cheese and then drink more wine. But for now I'm going to finish watching the Oscars and relax. I miss you all more than you know!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Aussie Rules Football (Or Whatever That Weird Sport is Called)


So I haven’t updated in awhile but I guess not a whole lot has happened that’s worth updating or is appropriate for the internets. As many of you know, I flew back from Brisbane to Sydney so I could be with the few friends I made here on my birthday as opposed to being alone and trying to make new friends in another new city. This was good and bad for a few reasons. I had a FANTASTIC birthday for starters. Me and a bunch of friends went to this nice Italian restaurant by the Rocks, a more historic part of Sydney that almost reminds me of a cross between Quincy Market and Beacon Hill. Afterwards, we went to Kings Cross, the Red Light District of Sydney, where we proceeded to get drunk and have a lot of fun. Though I wish I could have spent my birthday with my friends back home, this was definitely not one to forget and I had an amazing night.

The downside to coming back here is that I had cut my traveling a little short and I still don’t feel ready to be back in the busy city of Sydney where I slowly watch my money drain away without any of the satisfaction I had while traveling. I know I need to find a place to live and its really difficult to find anything that isn’t either a shit hole, in the middle of nowhere, or stupid expensive. I’m flying blind here and it’s very overwhelming. Also, the group I hang out with consists of this one girl, Emma, and 2 guys, Chris and Ollie, and we would all love to find a place together, but it gets a little trickier when you’re looking for 4 people instead of one or two.

This also brings up the whole job crisis. I still have enough money that I’m not having a panic attack at what I’ve spent (and I wouldn’t have spent what I have on anything else in the world) but I feel like I need to get a job before I’m completely broke. I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t put any effort into this yet. Again, it’s overwhelming because it’s a lot more complicated than in the states. I need to completely remake my resume (again I feel like I’m flying blind here) and on top of that, since I’m clueless about where to live I don’t even know where to start looking.

I don’t know what it is that’s making these two tasks that sound so simple cause me so much stress, but it is. A part of it might be that I just don’t want to live in Sydney. I don’t feel like I’m in Australia when I’m here. I just feel like I’m in any city anywhere in the world. Part of why I wanted to come all the way to Australia was to have new experiences and live in places I haven’t necessarily lived before. Don’t get me wrong, Sydney is really cool, but I’m starting to think it’s just not the right city for me. There is no doubt in my mind after spending over 2 weeks on the beach essentially when I was traveling that I am NOT a beach person and never will be. I was born a city girl and will die one. I just don’t think Sydney is the city for me.

This all sort of culminated last night in the bathroom of the bar with my friend Emma when me met a woman from Canberra who started talking to us about jobs and Australia and where to live and it dawned on me (again it was one of those moments I felt really dumb for not coming up with on my own) but maybe I should leave Sydney and try things out somewhere else. Again, this is one of those things like when I decided to travel for a little bit that only has just come into thought for me, so stay tuned for updates.

They say you can’t run away from your problems, and I don’t think I came here because I was running away from things (though there definitely are things I was trying to escape when I decided to come here) but that statement holds a lot of truth for me now. I don’t know where I’m going on this adventure of mine but I need to learn to just stop and breathe. I’m only 23 years old and I’m only 4 weeks into this great journey. Again, I wish I had the natural ability to chill out and go with the flow, but that’s just not how I work. I just jumped into this whole Australia thing and it’s hard for me to learn to just see what happens. My dad likes to tell a story about how when I was little and started playing soccer in the first grade I joined in the middle of the season because I needed to watch the game and learn how it all works before I just jumped in. That’s a very good explanation for how I like to try to live my life (control issues much?). The season just started here and I’m not only learning the rules as I go, but I feel like I’m playing without a coach.

Well that was QUITE the long post but it had been awhile. I hope you’re all doing well. I’m hoping to get my phone sorted out today and get a data plan with a different provider and when I do you will all get txts and bbms and pictures from me. Wish me luck on all fronts because I feel like I need it now more than ever….

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Fantastic End to A New Begining


So I really want to just nap and read my book but I’ve had such a fantastic lazy day today I had to write it down now or I never would. Let me start off by saying I am so happy I stopped in Brisbane for a couple of days before continuing my travels which, for those who don’t know, are actually ending sooner than I thought. I have a plane ticket to Sydney which leaves tomorrow at 1pm and gets in around 3pm. As much fun as I’m having traveling alone and meeting new people, it was brought to my attention by a couple of cool Canadians I met here that it just makes sense to spend my birthday with the good friends I’ve made in Sydney. It astounds me that this thought never occurred to me myself, but no matter, because I made it happen.

Let me start by saying that all of the YHA’s I’ve stayed in have been fantastic, but this is the newest and by far one of the best. I have me OWN bathroom in my room (!!!) and air conditioning (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) which the Aussie’s refer to as aircon, not AC. To top it all off, my room was empty last night except for me and I never realized how much I appreciated having my own privacy until this moment. I wish no one will move into the room for tonight, but I’m not holding my breath.

After a fun night drinking with some Danish guys I met in Byron who I bumped into here and a couple of other guys I went to my own private room and slept very well. I have to admit, I’m still having vivid and unsettling dreams, but not even the insane things I dreamt about last night can bring me down. I went to the bookstore yesterday because I already finished the 2 books I brought with me (American Psycho and One Flew Over the Cuckoos’s Nest, both fantasitc) and purchased Eat, Pray, Love (because I’m traveling and needed a girlie book after so much gore and mentally unstable men) and I’ve already read the first 130 pages before noon. I also got The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because I’ve heard nothing but good things and figured I’d join in with the rest of the world and see what the series is all about.

I don’t know if it’s because I started Eat, Pray, Love, or because I’m living my own version of the book (perhaps a little of both) but the days I spend alone doing whatever I feel like doing at that moment are jus the best days ever. After a nice breakfast of eggs and toast and bacon I finished the chapter on Italy in my new book and was inspired to go try this cool pizza place we passed last night while walking around. Pizza in Australia is shit. I don’t know what they do to it here, but it’s just not good. This was probably one of the BEST pizza’s I’ve ever had. Ever. To top it all off, it was a mushroom pizza. Mushrooms gross me out more than any other food, but something about me said to order it. These mushrooms were roasted to perfection and soaked up all the garlic and salty flavors in a salivating way that will forever make me rethink this odd, edible fungus. One delicious pizza and two glasses of fantastic Australian Chardonnay later and I am a happy camper back in my ‘airconed’ room about to start the second part of my book.

I can’t wait to get back to Sydney by plane and not a 14 hour bus ride (which does mean I have to throw out my souvenir from Nimbin, but oh well). My birthday should be sooo much fun and I wish you all could celebrate with me. This coming weekend me and my new friend Emma who I left in Sydney are planning on going to the Hunter Valley for a girls weekend drinking wine and eating cheese and I think it sounds like the best way to end my short time traveling. I miss you all but I’m still having a fantastic time and whenever people ask if I’m homesick I respond with an astounding NO. It would be great to share this experience with you all in person, but I have to say, it just wouldn’t be the same…

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fraser Island


So I’m off Fraser Island and back in Hervey bay. Fraser was SUCH a great experience. I met so many cool people (and a couple of not cool people, but that happens everywhere- no point in dwelling on the negative) and had a lot of fun getting to see and do everything. After a certain point I really felt like I was on the island from Lost. There is even a shipwreck on Fraser! Unfortunately I think my camera is dunzo, but I did try to take a few pictures on my phone. Anyone know if those get automatically saved to my memory card (*cough*Melissa*cough*)? Like, if I put by blackberry’s memory card in my card reader will the pictures show up on my computer to post? If not, you will all just have to wait until I get a data plan for my phone and post them that way.

I’m spending the day in Hervey bay because I haven’t booked my next travel plans yet. Once I wake up a little more (it’s only 9am here) I’m going to book a greyhound bus to Brisbane and a couple nights in a hostel there. I was hoping to be in the Hunter Valley for my birthday, but if I stick to my plan, it looks like I’ll actually be in Newcastle. Se la vie. Wherever I am, I’m sure I’ll have a good time. Positive thinking goes a long way…

While I was still on Fraser Island I got to talk to this one Swiss guy about life, traveling, relationships, etc. and it was a really nice talk. I felt like I was back in Mr. Dickerman’s philosophy class at BHS. He had a lot of insight into himself that most guys never seem to find. I have met so many interesting people during my travels and I love getting to hear everyone’s opinions on life and the world. Most of you said I was very brave for traveling alone and leaving my home and friends and family behind for a year, but I don’t really see it like that. Traveling, and most importantly traveling alone, has been extremely therapeutic for me. I really didn’t have a whole lot going for me back home and felt very lost and depressed. Being here by myself hasn’t ever felt lonely or sad. Sure, I do have moments when I get caught up in the world I left behind, but they always pass, and if anything, thinking about it here allows me to have a clearer head on the issue. I promise you, it is not terrifying to do what I am doing, and everyone has it in them to put themselves in my shoes and go on their own adventure. It doesn’t need to be traveling (though I highly recommend it) but I think it’s so important for people to take the time to get to know themselves. Any fears you may have about that will vanish the second you realize how much good you will actually get out of the experience. 

Some Thoughts While On Fraser Island


I have so much to say I almost don’t even know where to start. I spent today on Fraser Island and it is amazing- like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The island is HUGE and it’s all sand, yet it has managed to grow and support a rainforest. There are plants and trees just growing out of the sand like it’s normal. The life cycle here is pretty interesting too- I guess the trees shed their bark as the years go by allowing the brush to gather on the forest’s floor and eventually catch fire by means of lightning. You’d think that was bad for the plant life, but they do it on purpose. After they burn, the plants re-grow healthier and more lush, like a phoenix from the ashes. It made me think about how in a way, I came to Australia to shed my bark only to ignite on fire and come back feeling more alive and aware of myself and the world around than ever before.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking while I’m here, mostly because I’m alone and have the time. It’s crazy how even though I’m thousands of miles away it doesn’t feel like that, because a lot of the things that would creep into my head back home have traveled with me here to keep pecking at me. My dreams haven’t been helping. They say when you’re used to smoking and stop you have vivid dreams and let me tell you it is true! I’m not having restless sleep, but I do keep dreaming about one thing in particular which I spend most of my days trying not to think about, which is probably why the subject comes to haunt me while I sleep. I wish I could turn it off, but they say time heals all wounds, so I suppose this is just a part of the healing process.

I need to learn to relax- it is not a skill that comes naturally to me. Spontaneity is one thing- I’ve loved taking my travels day by day, not planning anything in advance so I can do as I please- but I still haven’t managed to master the laid back attitude of the Aussies here. I know, it all comes in due time, and perhaps it’s just something I need to learn to accept instead of change. Again, only time will tell.

Traveling alone is something I think everyone should do in their life. You don’t have to worry about pleasing someone else or going on their schedule. You get to figure out what you really want to get out of your trip and just do it. My short week of traveling has quickly taught me this, and it makes me slightly anxious to come back to Sydney where I feel it could be easy to fall back into a routine out of simplicity and laziness rather than work on really figuring myself out as I feel like I am now. I’m almost afraid to get stuck in one place so soon and put down roots because there’s so much to see! I know, I’m getting ahead of myself and over thinking everything instead of just living in the moment, but it’s a habit that’s hard to break.

This blog entry was different from the rest and I hope you guys appreciated a more intimate look into the world of Leah. There’s so much more that’s been happening and I wish I could share it all with you but there simply are not enough hours in the day.

Waiting in Brisbane...


I am so exhausted. So I finally left Byron Bay and I’m in Brisbane right now waiting for my bus connection to Hervey Bay where I’m going to do my tour of Fraser Island. I don’t have internet here so I’ll have to remember to post this once I’m at the hostel.

My last day in Bryon was spent doing laundry and getting a massage. I’ve never had one before but I can safely say that it won’t be my last. Also, I finally met someone else to hang out with, and I have to say we were both sad we only got to spend the one day together. She convinced me to do the pub crawl again and this time it was MUCH more fun. It was an older crowd (and by older I mean my age and not 18) and though the clubs and bars were just as shitty as I remembered, the group of people was much better and I had a blast. The free drinks tasted like they had hardly any liquor in them, which was fine with me because I had to wake up at 6:45am this morning to catch my bus and I was definitely not drunk when I went to bed. For whatever reason, I woke up this morning with the WORST hangover ever. I think I was just really dehydrated and it was so early in the morning, but whatever the reason, I felt like shit.

I’m feeling much better now after resting on the bus and eating here at the Brisbane Bus station. I forget if I’ve mentioned my once again changed travel plans to you guys, but after Fraser Island I hope to come back to Brisbane for a couple of nights then go to Newcastle and then hit the Hunter Valley for some vineyard tours, hopefully in time for my birthday.

That’s it for now, I’m pretty exhausted so I’m going to read and chill out before my bus leaves in an hour and a half. Oh- so it’s possible I broke my camera. Don’t freak out though guys! I think I may have just gotten sand in it or something. It turns on and the lens comes out, but then it goes back in and then out and then in (that’s what she said lol) and then it says lens error. I’m hoping it just sort of fixes itself… And in due time I’ll put up the 20 or so pictures I’ve taken to represent my 2 and a half weeks here haha.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day Trip to Nimbin


Guess who finally took pictures with her camera! You’re going to have to wait for me to post them though because being a noob I only took about 7 pictures so I’m waiting until I have something more substantial more to post.

To fill you guys in I went kayaking with dolphins two days ago which was SO much fun! We technically didn’t see anything because the dolphins we saw were kind of far away so that means if I want to do it again I can for free. I’m not sure if I will though because it didn’t exactly help my sunburn. And trust me guys, I am applying lots of sunscreen! You just can’t help it here.

On a more exciting note, yesterday I did a day trip tour to Nimbin and had SOO much fun! Once again though, I felt pretty old riding on the bus with a bunch of 18-20 year olds, but I just tried to ignore them and their immature behavior. We left the hostel at around 10am and made a pit stop around 11am for beer. The way the law works in Australia (according to our bus driver, Jim, who was awesome) is that if the driver allows you to drink on the bus, you can. So we all stocked up on beer and got a little tipsy (well, I stayed sober even though I did drink a little, but the youngin’s got a little more riled up).

After the beer run he took us to this tiny waterfall where those of us who wanted went for a dip. Of course I went in because I had never swam in a waterfall before! It was nothing too exciting and the rocks were way too close for me to muster up enough courage to jump off one of the short cliffs into the pool below, but I swam in it enough to cross that off my bucket list.

We piled back onto the bus and finally set off for Nimbin! Again, because my parents read this, I’m censoring a lot of what happened, but if you want more about my amazing time just ask ;). For those of you who don’t know, Nimbin is a very small hippie town known for one thing. I spent my time walking around the small main street with my friend and then we sat in a cafĂ© and talked to one of the locals who has lived in Nimbin for 7 years. I’m not sure where he was from originally, but we had a great time getting to see some of the local color.

So that’s been my past two days. The girl I’ve been hanging out with checked out last night so I’m once again alone. Two new girls moved into my room who are older (31 and 29) and they’re kinda weird. They seem nice, but they’re very weird. It’s not something I can really describe in my blog- you’d need to see them and talk to them yourselves.

OH! So last night we were all just sitting in our room and this one girls starts freaking out and apparently a gecko had found its way into our room! They’re pretty common out here, but that still doesn’t mean we want one in our room! Being stereotypical females we all panicked and found the first boy we could to get it out for us. That also reminds me- keep an eye out for when I do post pictures because when we stopped for BBQ lunch during my day trip to Nimbin we made friends with a 2 foot long lizard! It was soo cool!! But also slightly terrifying…

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Adventures in Byron


So yesterday was a fantastic day! I went to beach around noon with my new friend Kat (guess where she’s from… London. I don’t know what it is but the Brits just seem to flock to me…) I thought I had done a good job with sunscreen but my belly and the backs of my legs got very burnt. They hardly get to see the sun so I’m not surprised but today I’m feeling a little sore to say the least. Later today I’m going with Kat to kayak with dolphins which should be LOTS of fun, but I really hope being out in the sun doesn’t make my burn any worse.

Yesterday, after the beach, we walked up to the Byron Bay lighthouse which had spectacular views. Guess who didn’t bring their camera again though? It’s ok because I’m still here for awhile so I might just do the walk again so I can actually take pictures and post them to facebook for you guys. I have lots of cool pictures on my phone and I wish there was a way to get them on my laptop to share with you guys…

After that we had dinner at a great little Israeli restaurant where I had falafel. We had signed up for a pub crawl earlier in the day so after a filling meal we headed over to that. At age 22 (almost 23) I have never felt old at a bar before. This pub crawl made me feel 30. Everyone showed up already wasted and was between the ages of 18 and 20. Needless to say we didn’t end up getting drunk dispute our efforts, but the night ended in a funny little twist that I’d love to share with you, but unfortunately my parents read this. So friends, feel free to message me if you want to hear about the dumb Costa Rican kids we accidentally swindled.

Bryon Bay is one of the most beautiful places I have been yet and if you find yourself in Australia I absolutely recommend coming here for a few days. I’m doing a day trip to Nimbin tomorrow but then I want to look into booking a tour of Fraser Island for a night and then try to book a night or too in the Hunter Valley back near Sydney for some wine tours and then end my short vacation and head back to Sydney. Once I finalize this all more I’ll be sure to let you guys know :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Byron Bay


12 hours on a bus does not go by quickly let me tell you. I have made it to Byron Bay in one piece, however, and that’s all that really matters. Unfortunately, it’s cold, rainy and overcast so I spent my first day wondering around a little in the rain, but I spent most of my day inside reading and napping.

Byron is pretty cool though- I feel like most Clarkies would love it here. It’s a pretty hippie town with lots of cute shops but it’s extremely small. There’s one main road that takes about 5 minutes to walk down and leads you to the beach. The beach is GEORGOUS, but like I said the weather was awful today so I didn’t get to enjoy it too much.

Regardless of the size there’s still a fair amount to do. You can take a 2 hour walk up to this lighthouse which seems to be something that everyone does while here. I’m also planning on booking a day where you go kayaking with dolphins! That’s probably what I’m most looking forward to. They also do day trips out to Nimbin, so I’m thinking of going on one of those to check it out and if I like it I’ll book a couple nights stay at the end of Byron Bay and if I don’t, at least I went and got to see it.

The hostel’s pretty quiet though, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the weather or if there just aren’t that many people staying here. It’s probably a combination of the two though. Not a big exciting update, but I haven’t really done anything yet. When something more exciting happens I’ll be sure to post.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

TTYL, Sydney

So today I just finished checking out of my hostel in Sydney and dropped my GIANT red suite case off at the Work and Holiday place so I can go travel for a month! It's still early here and my bus doesn't leave for Byron Bay until 7pm so I have a lot of time to kill which will probably be spent back at the hostel reading American Psycho which I just started or relaxing on the deck by the pool. I am SO excited to be leaving Sydney for awhile and I made a bunch of friends who will still be here when I get back which is a comforting thought. My new official travel plan is to see Byron Bay, Nimbin and anything else in that area that sounds cool, then go to Fraser Island, and then head back to the Sydney area and see the vineyards in the Hunter Valley. Once I make my way back here I want to try to find a place to live in one of the surrounding suburbs because they're cheaper and have better job opportunities.

I've done a lot since my last post and still haven't taken a single picture with my camera. I know, major fail, but I always forget to take it with me places and when I have it there's nothing exciting to take pictures of. This is a bad habit I know I need to break but I've NEVER been the one to take tons of pictures (or any for that matter) so bare with me.

Last night was the Chinese New Year Parade which was cool for about 10 minutes and then it's pretty boring because you can't really see anything and it's a lot of the same stuff. It's the year of the rabbit which I THINK was when we were born (we being people from '88) but I'm not 100% sure.

Other than the parade I spent yesterday doing laundry and packing. Oh!! I almost forgot! I saw a bar fight last night. So me and this girl Sam who's in my room and who I've been hanging out with a lot went to Scubar, the bar right below my hostel, for some drinks and to play some pool. There was probably no more than 10 people in the bar at any given point because it was a Sunday and this one Aussie came up to us (CLEARLY intoxicated) and wanted to play pool. We said sure at first not thinking anything of it. He turned out to be a HUGE drunken douche. He wouldn't stop calling people the c word, he insulted me in many ways and kept being rude to everyone around. He was buying everyone drinks and wasn't out of control, just rude, so we just sort of ignored it. Then this one guy who wasn't drunk but apparently had a huge attitude got in his face and next think I know my drink got knocked out of my hand, the table fell over where we were sitting (don't worry guys, my phone almost got drowned but I saved it) and my friend Sam who's a cop back home was dragging him out of the bar. I was totally fine, no one even touched me, so don't worry, but there was broken glass everywhere and everything happened really fast. The bartenders said that almost every Sunday they get one local guy like that who causes a scene. I'm not judging any Aussie's based on his behavior though because everyone else I've met so far has been very nice and not rude at all.

So what a way to go, huh? I'm off to grab some breakfast and then chill out like I said. I finally got to skype with Katie and my dad yesterday which was SOOOO nice!!! I miss you all soo much!! Please let me know if you want your own skype date and that can easily be arranged :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bad Mood Blog

I don't know if it's the weather (which is currently 100 and its only 11am) or if everything I've done is finally starting to catch up with me and I'm just exhausted but today I am in a horrible mood. Two new asian girls have checked into my room and they are noisy and annoying as all fuck. Their luggage has taken over almost the entire floor space and one of them is STILL asleep in bed, snoring, probably because she was up on her fucking phone which wouldn't stop ringing all night in between her texting and click click clicking away. One of them is even sick and if she gets me sick I swear I punch her in the face.

Here's a funny story though about my night two nights ago which remembering might put me in a better mood. So there's a bar right below my hostel where most people go to party at night. The other night they did speed dating and I missed the first group but let me tell you, some of the most attractive people I've seen yet were going in this round. When it ended and they asked if I wanted to do the next round I enthusiastically said yes. What a mistake. One of the guys was mentally retarded (I'm not being mean, he actually WAS mentally retarded) another was about 300 pounds and spit in my face as he mumbled about who knows what, and one of the guys even got kicked out half way through because he was making the girls feel uncomfortable. As you could have guessed, I met no one interesting. After the speed dating though I did meet this one guy who I spent the rest of the night talking to and might even see again before I leave Sydney. We shall see.....

Yesterday I went on a walking tour with my hostel which was TONS of fun. Again I met a lot of cool people, but I also met a couple of jerks. This one Italian couple was much older (like our parents age) and on the sidewalks they say look right or look left so you know which way traffic is coming. I don't know if you've been to London, but it's the same there because not all of the world drives on the same side of the road. This couple noticed and says "Must be for the stupid Americans" I could have spit in their faces I was so offended and pissed off. I hope they go traveling in America and get hit by a bus because they looked the wrong way while trying to cross the road. There was also this guy from the Netherlands (I think) who made a few snide comments about me being American which I took as rude whether or not he meant it that way. These are the first and only anti-American things I've experienced and let me tell you, it never made me feel more patriotic. I wanted to shout a big FUCK YOU to all of them for their closed minds and ignorance.

Well this was slightly therapeutic. Tonight I'm going to dinner and then to see the Sydney Tower with the fourth girl in my room who I've been hanging out with a fair amount this week. It should be a lot of fun and should make up for my rotten mood.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

StumbleUpon IRL

OK so I only have about 15 more minutes of paid internet at the hostel before I get kicked off and have to buy more so I'll try to make this quick (edit- I bought more internet- my Australian life is just too exciting for 15 minutes).

Let me start with something that I find funny and encounter everyday but haven't yet shared with you all. So I'm walking everywhere. Probably like 5 miles a day. No Joke. Just down to the harbor and back is a 30 minute walk (45 for a normal person but I walk freakishly fast as you all know) and everyday I tell myself I'm not going to do that walk and everyday I find myself doing it more than once. That being said, if you don't already know, people drive on the other side of the road here. In America something I never thought about was when you're walking on the street, you walk on the right because that's the side you drive on. I cannot tell you how many people I walk into everyday because I'm constantly trying to move to the right and they're going to the left.

But now onto more exciting things. So the Work and Holiday people opened a bank account for me and today I went down to pick up my debit card. Once again I told myself I was going to explore other parts of Sydney, and once again I found myself making the walk down George Street towards the harbor to the Westpak bank on Pitt St where my card was waiting for me. Once I finished that, I made a spur of the moment decision to take a different route and explore some more and stumbled upon the Royal Botanical Gardens.

I really wanted to see them and even though I didn't have my camera or water or anything I would have wanted to bring when I saw them I couldn't resist just going now and checking it out. I took tons of pictures on my useless blackberry because it was better than nothing, but I hate not being able to share them with you. Honestly, in order to fully appreciate what I saw you would need sound and smell-o-vision. It was like Australia's version of the Arnold Arboretum but a lot cooler because I hadn't seen it before and it was much more exotic, showcasing plant life from all over the country, not just Sydney. There were so many cool animals like the flying foxes which are really bats but look a lot like birds. I've seen them flying around at night but here they were all wrapped up in their wings upside down in the trees. Everywhere you went it smelled amazing and different. I couldn't describe half of the things I experienced so you should all just come to Australia and see for yourself.

Today was fairly overcast and after feeling a couple raindrops I decided to head back. Again I told myself I'd take a bus instead of making the walk and again my curiosity got the best of my and I took a new route back to the hostel stopping at a crowded food court for a chicken kebob wrap. Luckily I didn't get rained on, but my spontaneous adventure I'm afraid caused me to add even more pink to my already rosy cheeks.

I have my RSA course tonight which I am NOT looking forward to but I suppose I'll be glad to have it out of the way. Tonight I think I'm going out with the same group I've been hanging out with for the past few nights and then possibly going to Bondi Beach with them tomorrow. We added a New Yorker who just arrived to our group of friends which was nice in some ways and not in others. It was comforting having someone around who sounded like me, but if we were in America I never would have hung out with this girl. She was nice, just not my type. I'm not sure what I'll do with myself to kill time before my course, but I'm off to figure it out!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What A Great Day!

OK I know I'm doing an excessive amount of posting but today was a really good day and I just wanted to quickly let you guys know where I'm headed next!

I check out of my hostel in Sydney on Monday and as I mentioned I am heading to Byrons Bay. I booked my bus ticket (it's a 12 hour ride with stops for food) and a week in a hostel there. I am SO excited and the travel guy who booked it all for me was just as excited and said it was very smart of me to do some traveling before settling down in Sydney. I couldn't agree more! So I get in on Tuesday morning and have a week to chill out on the beach and see all that Byrons Bay has to offer. As I mentioned, after that I'm still planning on going to check out Nimbim and from there I think my next stop is Fraser Island. It's the largest sand island in the world (not sure exactly what that means, but I think it's basically a giant sand dune). They say it's best to spend 3 days there to get the full effect. After that since I'm already headed north I might try to see the Great Barrier Reef, but because of all the floods and now Yasi (google it if you don't know) I might stay away and just have to head to Queensland once the wet season is over. After all that, I'll either look into wwoofing or try to hit the vineyards before settling down where ever I decide.

These plans are of course subject to change but it feels better to have it all laid out in my head (I'm not being anal at all...) Of course I will do my best to let you all know where I am, and seeing as how I'll probably be staying in YHA hostels which all have internet for $4 an hour I'll probably still post an epic amount of blogs.

But the real reason I wanted to post again was to tell you all about the AMAZING day I had. After sleeping in until around 10 (I had a late night last night) I was able to spend the first day alone which was so nice. No offense to Tchad who has been following me around, but I have been waiting to ditch out on him for awhile now. After booking my travel to Byrons Bay I took the ferry over to Manly Beach. What an amazing way to spend the late afternoon. No worries everyone, I got there around 2:30 and used plenty of sunscreen so I came away with more freckles and no burn! After relaxing in the water and sand I had a raspberry gellato and caught the ferry back so I could go to the apple store and get my laptop back!!! EVERYTHING got saved and I am posting this entry on it RIGHT NOW!! My faith has once again been restored with Mac products because of the amazing Genius Bar team. They never cease to amaze me.

Thank you all for your good vibes! They made it all the way to Oz and have severely improved my mood. I'm off to shower and get the sand off me and then get dinner and drinks with some new friends. I miss you all more than you know!

Please Don't Get Used to a Post a Day But For Now...

I'm starting to try to wrap my head around being in Australia so I thought I'd share my possible plans with yout (I love the comments btw thanks!) So after talking to a few people- one of them being my mother- I think instead of jumping straight into trying to have a life here (eg. getting a job and an apartment) I'm going to do something completely different. That was the point of coming here in the first place, wasn't it? So here's my plan (because even though I'm trying to be spontaneous I still need a plan, DUH!):

I think I'm going to take a month off from life and do some traveling. The Work and Holiday place will store you bags for free for up to a month so that's where I got my time limit from, but aside from that, I don't want to run out of money that fast. I already have my hostel booked for the rest of the week but I think after that I want to try to go to Byron Bay. It's a beachy, artsy, hippie town that just sounds more like the pace I want to be at right now. It's a 9 hour drive (I think 2 hour plane ride) from Sydney but it sounds like a cool place to go relax and get my head on straight about what I want to be doing here. After that, there's a cool town close by called Nimbin I very much want to check out. I'll let you do your own research on this highly interesting little town and draw your own conclusions on why I would like so much to visit. After that, depending on how I feel, I might try to travel more to some vinyards near Sydney and make my way back, go check out the Great Barrier Reef, or do something COMPLETELY different called wwoofing.

Wwoofing stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. I know, most of you probably just re-read that sentence a few times because if anyone was trying to go work on an organic farm I bet I was dead last on that list. Hear me out though- it's basically like a home-stay situation, a family takes you in, feeds you and houses you, and you help out doing work on their farm. You don't make any money, but you also don't have any expenses. They say you become a part of their family, and right now when I'm still trying to get my bearings that sounds like a very comforting thing. It's something I NEVER in a million years thought I would want to do but something about it sounds appealing to me so maybe I should step out of my comfort zone and just do it.

Well that's my plan for now. Who would have ever thought this city girl would need a break from the city and decide to bum it around the country? I'll let you all know what my plans are (obvi) so keep an eye out. I had a lot of fun last night with some more Brits and Canadians (all new people this time) and can't wait to see what's in store for me in the future...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Australia is Awesome, Everything Else However Not So Much...

Hello again! I'm going to start with the bad so I can end this post on a good note because I honestly am having am amazing time here so far, but there are many little things that are making me just slightly miserable and are unavoidable.

First, I miss everyone in ways none of you even know. There is one person in particular that unfortunately has been on my mind because I hate how we left things. I know in time this will get eaiser to deal with, and I hoped coming here would take my mind off it but it seems to only make me feel worse.

Now as for my laptop. I just got back from the apple store and it looks like it will be OK but not for lack of sucking hardcore first. So all of my information is still there somehow, but I have managed to go through my THIRD harddrive. The woman said I just have really bad luck, but I'm starting to think that aple just fucking sucks cock. Excuse my language, but my one link back to home has been gone and making me very sad when I should be having a good time and not worrying about stupid things like getting to skype my parents. I had to buy an external HD because WHY would I pack mine from home? I have to go pick it up tomorrow and see what damage was done. There is a 1% chance I'll lose everything, so say a prayer with me to the apple gods that this won't happen. I'd rather not waste any extra emotion I have on a stupid computer.

That being said, Sydney is fantastic! As I mentioned before I met this kid Tchad from Canada who's pretty young and very much without a clue. He decided to come here spur of the moment and hasn't saved any money or made any sort of plan. It also doesn't seem like he's made an effort to find friends other than myself, which is fine, except we're not exactly on the same page when it comes to many things due to our age difference and his lack of research and planning on coming here. Last night though, I went to a BBQ held at my hostel and met some wicked cool Brits. They're my age and we get along great. It's hilarious for both of us as we make fun of our own clutural differences and bond over the new ones we share in Australia. One of the girls who is more outspoken than the rest has quite a mouth and throws out words that would be pretty innapropriate in the States, but luckily, as many of you know, I'm pretty hard to offend. I might hang out with them tonight if I can get a hold of them and I think we're going to try to go to Bondi beach tomorrow and then hit the bars in Kings Cross.

Today was the first day I got to do touristy things and I wish I had a data plan for my phone to post the pics I took, but hopefully that will remedy itself soon. (Just to clear things up, the sim card I got through my program only allows me to text and call other verizon phones and will not let me connect to the internet or have any data. When I get a chance I'm going to look into a Vodafone plan, but more updates on that to come). I went to the aquarium and Sydney wildlife center today. They were next to eachother and the wildlife place was basically like the aquarium but with animals. Without the pictures, it's not really worth going into great detail, but I saw a lot of cool stuff including sharks and kangaroos and lots of other stuff (detailed, I know, but I'm feeling lazy haha). After looking at all the animals I had lunch and walked back where I succesfully managed to turn my sholders and cheeks pink. I wouldn't call it a burn, but I'm sure if I end up at the beach tomorrow it will turn bright red.

On thursday I'm taking a RAS (responsible alcohol service) course so I can try to find a waitresing job. I booked the rest of the week at my hostel, but I need to do some research for a cheeper place to stay for the time being because I'd rather not pay the $40 a night I am now. When I stop to think about getting a job and a place to live I become extremely overhwlemed, but I need to keep thinking positive. Send me any positive vibes you can because it's times like that when I feel very alone :(

OK, I didn't want to end on a sad note. Opps... I'm off to facebook some more and then figure out a dinner plan. I miss you all more than you know!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm here!

Greetings from Sydney! I don't even want to go into my flights here because it was honeslty one of the worst flying experiences I have ever had for many reasons including overweight baggage, people throwing up (not me, but the girl in front of me) and my laptop dying just to name some of the highlights. I forgot to mention this in my first post, but if you want to reach me, your best bet is to either facebook me or email me (ldrummond23@gmail.com). You can text me but I don't remember what my new Aussie number is and I'm too lazy to look it up now. If you want it message me and it's all yours. We can skype too (sukr4acoustik) but seeing as how my laptop is currently dead, I don't always have a reliable computer.

On to the more exciting things! My hostel is pretty cool. There's a pool on the roof, a decent resturant, tv, and a bar next door. I haven't checked out the bar yet because it's only Monday and I am beyond exhausted, but it is definitely on my list of things to do...

My first day was spent checking into the hostel, finding lunch and then taking a 3 hour nap. After waking up slightly refreshed I walked down to the harbor with my new Canadian friend Tchad (pronounced Chad) where we had a mediocore but expensive dinner and checked out the view of the Opera House and bridge. It's about a 30 minute walk from my hostel which isn't too bad. Along the way I also found an Apple store and have made an appointment with the Genius Bar to hopefully bring my laptop back to life.

I just finished going through my orientation with the Work and Holiday people here in Sydney and I have learned a lot. I haven't even begun my job search or apartment search and I'm already exhausted just hearing about how the whole process works. It's pretty similar to the US except for a few things. Your resume is MUCH more detailed and everyone needs one, even waitresses. That means no walking into a resturant and getting hired on the spot like back home. Finding an aprartment shouldn't be too hard but it is expensive. They pay by the week, not month, and it sounds like it adds up fast. Of course, the minimum wage here is twice what it is in the US so it all evens out eventually.

Not much exciting has happened yet, but I just wanted to send out an update for those who are interested. I'm off to try and figure out why my phone won't send texts and then probably take another nap before dinner..

Friday, January 28, 2011

Peace out America- Australia, Here I Come!


Welcome to my very first blog! I figured this would be the easiest way to stay in touch with everyone while I’m in Australia and tell you about all my adventures. Before that, however, I thought I’d let you all know why I decided to up and leave in the first place.

Before I even got accepted into college I didn’t know if it was for me. Don’t get me wrong, I know you need a degree to get a job, but at the time I felt like I didn’t know enough about where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, so maybe something else would have been good as a transition. This was immediately shot down by my parents. Though my years at Clark were a blast and I wouldn’t trade the friends I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had, anyone who ever met me knows I never felt like I fit in there.

I was one of the lucky few who managed to secure a job after graduation, so two days exactly after receiving my diploma I started my paid internship at the Ad Club. I love event planning and have always had an interest in advertising so this seemed like the perfect job. I meet a lot of great people while working there, but again, I felt like it wasn’t exactly the right fit. Once my time there ended I was even more confused on what I wanted to be doing with my life.

Due to an ABUNDANCE of free time, I really got to think about what I wanted to do and not just do what my parents/society thought was best or what my degree suggested I was qualified for. I have always loved to travel and wanted to do something different, so while I have no responsibilities or anything holding me down I figured now would be the best time to pick up and leave.

For the first time ever what I’m doing feels right for me (I know- wicked cheesy, but it is what it is). I have always wanted to go to Australia and as I have no desire to teach English, as many kids choose to do after graduation, it seemed like a great fit. The program I’m going with (BUNAC.org, check it out if you want) helps you with job placement, getting a visa, figuring out your taxes and a whole lot of other useful things.

I’ll be starting off in Sydney but I don’t want to try to plan anything out ahead of time. My plan is to just go and see what happens. My visa is good for up to a year and I have no idea how long I plan to stay so far. So there it is. I hope you are fortunate enough to get the chance to do your own version of this, or that you’re already doing something that you love. I cannot wait to go and I cannot wait to share this adventure with you and the rest of the interwebs.