I’m exceptionally tired at the moment after starting a new job 2 weeks ago, so my ‘post a day’ aim for 2011 has slipped. I was probably extending myself a bit too much, since I’m still a novice blogger, but my intentions were good.
That’s why I will use this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my posts and comment. It means the world to me. To be honest, it is quite overwhelming – but in a good way.
This blogging thing has really helped me to feel free – it is strange that something like this can be so liberating. If you had asked me 6 months ago what my expectations were, I never would have thought that it would have this effect on me. Very unusual indeed…
Day 1 of a new chapter in my life – it was okay. I did have an epiphany of sorts, which has left me feeling like I’m in a state of flux. I’ve realised what I want to do – or rather what I don’t want to do.
There’s something not appealing about being squished into an unnaturally cold, fluorescent environment in one spot from 8 till 5. Don’t get me wrong, at the moment I am somewhere that is a hundred times better than where I just came from, and I already feel so much more relaxed and confident in myself. It’s just that I now realise I can do so much more, I just lack guts. I’ve always been a calculated risk taker – way too calculated. Plus I’m stubbornly independent, which tends to control whatever it is I do.
I know where it comes from. It stems back to my upbringing. Immigrant, farming and mining roots. Witnessing Mum struggle – foregoing dinner to feed us kids, stranded without any transport, wearing hand-me-downs for years, having a strict father who controlled the money coming in, witnessing chronic gamblers and drug takers fritter away their and others income, supporting myself through full-time University working full-time, supporting an ex-partner who worked part-time, took drugs and didn’t drive, working hard and saving to go travelling, running out of money, getting stranded overseas and then having to work in a disturbing and violent environment. All the time hardly ever asking for help, and accepting that the only road was the hard road, and the only life was the hard life.
I now realise that life can be a whole lot easier. I also know that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. I understand that the path one takes doesn’t have to be hard, but that life will deliver highs and lows. I just need to allow myself to relax, to go with the flow, and to follow my heart – instead of listening to my head all the time.
I’ve been blessed, and cursed, with the travel bug. It will always be in my blood, and that of many of my friends. It helps that we are scattered throughout the world, which is added encouragement to get out there and explore, whilst catching up at the same time.
Some of the most amazing experiences of our lives have been had whilst exploring the many corners of the world, and here are some of them to tempt you.
Food glorious food - In Singapore
- One of my dearest friends, Charissa, is from Singapore. We met when she was studying in Australia, and I must say that the friendship we made was, and is, one of the highlights from my time at university. Even though she now lives back in Singapore, I always make it a priority to drop in on her on the way back into Australia from a big trip. I’ve fallen in love with Singapore now – the food, the shopping, the people, the pubic transport, the weather – so I don’t even need a long haul trip as an excuse to drop by anymore (along with our friendship). It is an amazing place, that even after 8 visits, I will never bore of. It has become like my second home. To think that I was too scared to eat anything but chicken on my first visit there. Now I eat almost like a local.
- Charissa, however, has fond memories of her time spent living in Australia. She reminisces that Australia is ‘Where we say we speak English but we say things like “chook (chicken)” and to “chuck a shitty (go to the toilet)”.’ I never knew this, but she recently admitted to me that she had to watch ‘Neighbours’, an Australian soap opera, to “learn the language.” Now that’s embarrassing – for us Aussies! Apart from that, she has been blessed to experience a trip to Las Vegas, where she spent her birthday on a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon to have champagne brunch. Nice!
- My friend Fran, who is originally from Singapore, now lives by the beach in Australia. We bonded in work and over our travel tales. Fran remembers each physical journey with her personal journey at that particular time in her life. She got engaged in Penang, married in Singapore, conceived her son Russell on Rottnest Island, travelled through Vietnam when she was 4 months pregnant, celebrated Russell’s first birthday in Singapore with family, and his second birthday in Bali.
- Alicia is one of my newest friends, and we share a common love for Paris. One of Alicia’s favourite moments was on her and her partner’s last trip to Europe where they took a one day cooking course with Chef Moreno in Varenna, Lake Como. They got to sit back and drink wine while watching his cooking demonstrations all day. Of course, they got to taste the food along the way and say it was ‘absolutely gorgeous food. Now I can cook delicious gnocchi any time thanks to Chef Moreno!’ Generally, Alicia loves renting apartments in places rather than staying in hotels, as it adds to the adventure and she believes that you get a better sense of the place you are visiting. I’m going to try this next time I travel!
- Lastly, we come to one of my more well-travelled friends, of which I only recently discovered HOW well-travelled she actually is. Chern had the pleasure of experiencing a free concert held at the Duomo in Milan, Italy, recalls making it to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and being blown away (mentally) when standing on top of the great wall in China. Then there was Barcelona, with its amazing gaudi greatness, or seeing Gavin Rosedale (Rock Star and Gwen Stefani’s husband) walk his dog pass their house on Primrose Hill – that is something she will never forget! She recalls walking the streets of heartland Japan in winter, watching the ducks in the “drain”, and getting lost in Venice, resulting in them stumbling upon an amazing and unforgettable shopping street. There was the yoga retreat in Bali that made her realise she could be silent for the entire day, and the memory of having a barbeque at a place called “Sun, moon lake”, Taiwan, followed by a drive into the mountains which ended up in a landslide that she describes ‘was exciting and fun’! And then there is her next trip – Cambodia and the terra-cotta soldiers in Xi-an, China.
I don’t know about you but I am already salivating over the thought of my next journey, which will be in 2 weeks. I will finally be visiting Melbourne, Australia, and can’t wait!
(I finally decided I should see more of my own country…this time round anyway).
Feel free to share your amazing experience!
Teenage Me - Digging the stockings, shorts, socks and sneakers!
I must admit I was a pretty sad teenager! I didn’t know how to dress, I had no clue about hair, I had bad skin and no confidence, I worried too much about what my friends and boys thought, I truly believed that I was fat, and I was as quiet as a mouse! I wasn’t exactly a nerd…I was a square type of bogan who always had her nose stuck in a book and dreamed of being popular and dating the high school ‘bad boy’.
If I could give myself advise, it would be (and apologies in advance to my male audience as these are largely female related):
- There’s plenty of time for boys;
- You are NOT FAT and you ARE NOT UGLY!
- Don’t believe your Year 7 career councillor who says you aren’t smart enough;
- Getting that monthly ‘woman thing’ does not mean you are dying;
- Don’t smoke and drink because your friends or the boy you likes do;
- Use a hair dryer on your fringe…it really helps!
- Listen to people when they tell you to service your car and put water in it (Oops!);
- Pursue your writing, and stop making excuses;
- Travel, travel and travel – I know you will, but you can do more (and don’t let boys get in the way);
- Be nicer to your brother and sister; and
- There’s plenty of time for boys (I know – that’s a double up – but it’s a really important point to make my teenage self!).
What advise would you give your teenage self (and I’m posing this question to the men out there too)? Just keep it clean!