Que Sera, Sera

So up until a couple of weeks ago, I had basically resigned myself to living in Richmond again.  I had friends ask me why–clearly my life is up here; obviously I didn’t want to leave; there are more opportunities up here anyway (I’ve applied to several government jobs that I’m pretty sure I’m in no way qualified for, but hey, I’ll let the hiring teams sort that out I guess).  Some of my best friends even offered to let me live in their basement if it comes down to it.

One of the jobs I interviewed for in Richmond made me take an entire personality test. One of the statements on there was something to the effect of:  How hard do you work for something you want?

So I started looking for more reasonably-priced places to live.  A college friend put me in touch with friends of hers, and it seemed like a perfect fit–the location was decent, the people were cool, the house was great.  But it’s still too much money.  So close and yet so far.  On the other end of the spectrum, I had what I thought was a somewhat promising lead from CraigsList, only to find that the house was shared by five people.  I’m not really sure what I expected, but I do have my limits; I’m trying to avoid the “dorm full of adults” experience.

I have one day off this week and it’s almost entirely accounted for (fun things, at least: Hanging out with one of my best friends and her kids, getting a massage, seeing a concert with another friend).  I’ll only have one next week if I end up moving that weekend (we’re already talking about the end of the month here–seriously, how is this happening?), and that will be spent packing because I’ve hardly done any.  My second job at a local party and costume store will probably beg me to come in since it’s Halloween weekend.  We’ll just have to see what happens, I guess.  I’m trying not to freak out because I have no idea what’s going to happen (which is exactly my usual reason for freaking out), but since there’s only so much I can do at this point, why get worked up?  Whatever will be, will be.

Until next time…

Liebster Award!

I feel a bit like this is one of those chain-letter type things you used to get in e-mails (remember those?) or see on Facebook, and since it’s been a while since I’ve done one and it’s a good opportunity for you to get to know me better, why not go for it?

I’m not sure I’d ever even heard of the Liebster Award before, but I’m glad to know about it!  Katrina from The Thrifty Gypsy’s Travels introduced me to the award in this post.  (The rules regarding the award are here.)

Liebster Award info

1. How did you catch the travel bug? I think it’s in my blood.  My uncle has been to every continent except Antarctica and really the only big place left besides that on his bucket list is Italy–he’s never been!  My grandma also had a life-long dream of seeing Norway because she envisioned it as a real-life fairy tale land; she and my grandpa went with my uncle and aunt several years ago.  My first big trip was just after I turned 1 when my family went to Hawaii.
2.  If you attended Hogwarts, in which House would the Sorting Hat place you?  Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. I’m very loyal but also kind of a know-it-all…
3.  What’s your go-to ice breaker story about yourself? I don’t have a go-to, but it would surely be self-deprecating because that’s just how I roll.
4.  I hand you a free airline ticket voucher but you have to leave within a few hours (I know, I’m so generous).  Where do you go? Maybe London or Paris? I don’t know, sounds romantic though!
5.  What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you while traveling? Fortunately, I don’t have any scary, terrible travel-related stories, but in November 2013, I was living in Sydney, and my uncle had an aortic aneurysm and had to have emergency surgery. I was terrified that I would never see him again. Fortunately, he’s okay, having survived yet another near-death experience!
6.  Mountains or Beach? I love being near big bodies of water, so probably beach. But I enjoy being at the mountains too, for short periods of time. I enjoy being near civilization and most mountain destinations are decidedly not.
7.  Are there any countries that you would not visit?  If so, why? Hmm let me think…probably most of the Middle East. Just too much general trouble over there.   Plus I think many people there wouldn’t exactly be welcoming to Americans…
8.  What’s the best travel advice you’ve ever been given?  Just go!
9.  You stumble across a time machine.  You can go to any point of time, location, change social status, etc.  What time frame do you choose and who would you be?  (Doesn’t have to be anyone famous, e.g. “a Saxon armorer during the 1050s” is an acceptable answer.)  Oh, so I get to play Doctor Who, huh?  Maybe I’d go to my future and see what’s going on there?  ’80s London/Manchester for the music scene?  Follow David Bowie around in the ’70s?  Go see ancient Egypt, China, Japan, hang out with America’s Founding Fathers…so many possibilities…
10.  Other than traveling, what’s another passion/hobby of yours?  I really love listening to music—I’m a bit of a nerd.  I buy a lot of stuff on iTunes and AmazonMP3.  I have also loved singing pretty much all my life.
11.  If I came to visit you in your current city, where would you take me?  (Shamelessly stolen from Mariah) I would take you to all the places I’ve been wanting to try in Richmond but haven’t been to yet!  There are four taco places, two pho places, and two Chinese places, in addition to all the foodie destinations like Lunch and The Pig and Pearl, so you better be hungry! Also, we’d go to Maymont and Hollywood Cemetery, and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden just because it’s been years since I’ve been there.  And we’d get classy super-swank Sunday brunch at The Jefferson or Can Can Brasserie in Carytown.  And if we’re not too bushed, I wouldn’t mind catching a concert at the new Broadberry across from the Science Museum.

11 Random Facts

  1. I foresee myself living on the West Coast, or at least in the Western part of the US. Like Utah or maybe Colorado, even though I thought Denver was weird.
  2. The only places I’ve been to on the West Coast are San Francisco and Los Angeles (where I spent a whopping 24 hours).
  3. My entire family lives in the metro Richmond area.
  4. I’m an only child, and actually the only grandchild on both sides of my family…no pressure.
  5. I’ve only been to five countries. I have my work cut out for me…
  6. I’ve watched NFL football my entire life (Go Packers!) but still don’t entirely understand it…I’m a little ashamed to admit that.
  7. Going to Italy in 2005 made me want to learn Italian. I have taken one class and have some language apps, but needless to say, I’m not proficient.
  8. I only recently started reading comic books. They’re good for people with short attention spans. 😛
  9. I love learning new things but wish that didn’t require so much time!
  10. Also I’m terrible at self-motivation. Hence #9.
  11. Running a blog can be overwhelming.  I’m currently taking a social media certification course not just for my blog, but also for hopeful future employment purposes, and there’s just so much to keep up with.  And I’m not even travelling right now!


Sarah @ Plumb Worn Out (currently on honeymoon hiatus!)

Lori @ Going of Things

The Zen Kat

Adventurous Miriam

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to answer the following questions, and then pose 11 of your own.

11 Questions

  1. What’s your favorite smell?
  2. Describe a favorite travel scene—smell, sight, what you hear, if you ate anything. Where was it?
  3. Which “teen/children’s lit” scene are you most into: Harry Potter, Divergent, Hunger Games, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, or (shudder) Twilight?
  4. What are you nerdy/geeky about? Comics? Music? TV shows? Science? Don’t be shy! 🙂
  5. Least favorite social media site? Why?
  6. Your future self travels back in time to give you a message. What does Future You say?
  7. What’s your favorite snack?
  8. Favorite exotic animal?
  9. Do you prefer a house with lots of decor, or do you like a more minimalist approach?
  10. What would your last meal consist of?
  11. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Tuesday I got back from two days in Uluru (Ayers Rock).  In my two previous trips to Australia, I hadn’t managed to get there, so third time’s a charm, right?  It is lovely in an oddly endearing way with its scrub and desolation, beautiful in a unique and very different way to a place like Sydney, whose beauty is based on its architecture, harbor and shoreline (and maybe the people).  It’s also hot, as you would expect a desert to be in summer.  But really the star of the trip–or stars, rather–were Kata-Tjuta, or the Olgas, a rock formation whose Aboriginal name means “many heads” due to its multiple domed rocks. 

I got to Ayers Rock on Sunday afternoon and spent most of that time determining what tours to take and what to try and see.  I knew that I hadn’t given myself enough time to explore the area much, but I also didn’t relish the thought of being in a hostel in the middle of a desert for too long (don’t get me started on the hostel).  There isn’t much else to see in the immediate area of Ayers Rock; the nearest city, Alice Springs, is around four hours away.  Another national park, Kings Canyon, is three hours away.  So really, Uluru-Kata-Tjuta National Park is very isolated.  There’s nothing else out that way, so you’re going there just to see a bunch of giant rocks.  I booked a couple of tours, including an astronomy tour to take place that evening–if you’re going to be out in the middle of the desert, you may as well try to see some stars, right?  Not far from my hostel dorm, there was a lookout over Uluru and I went to check it out around sunset.  I had heard that Uluru changed colors in the light, which makes sense.  But throughout sunset, I thought it looked largely the same and I was left less than impressed.  However, the sun was setting right by Kata-Tjuta, and it was glorious.  Possibly the best sunset I’ve ever seen.  The cloud cover made for a great sunset, but the astronomy tour was cancelled that evening and I was rescheduled for the next night.

My tour Monday afternoon wound its way through the national park, spending time in the Olgas and admiring Ayers Rock from afar.  The temperature outside was roughly 100F on the ground, but during our short hike in Kata-Tjuta between Mt. Olga and another rock whose name I can’t remember, our guide advised us that it would be even hotter since the rocks would radiate the heat and the sun would be bearing down on us.  (Why do they do such tours in the middle of the afternoon, anyway?)  The hike itself was decent, aside from the insects (it’s not Australia’s spiders you need to be concerned about—it’s the number of flies), but the journey was a bit more interesting than the destination.  A lot of the area is closed due to Aboriginal cultural significance, and some areas are off-limits when it’s really hot, as was the case with the Valley of the Winds (which a fellow tourist said was far better than the hike we’d done).  After our hike, we drove around to a lookout to see Uluru at sunset while drinking wine.  I was a bit too busy with the latter and making friends with a fellow solo American female traveller to take any pictures, but I can tell you that the sunset there wasn’t that spectacular.  At sunset, it really is Kata-Tjuta that you should see.

Needless to say, I was sweaty and disgusting from all the hiking that afternoon, so my new friend let me take a shower in her hotel room.  She even gave me a bag full of fruit, some milk and a bunch of tea bags before sending me on my way to the astronomy tour.  I felt this tour was more informative and interesting than the one I took at the Sydney Observatory several weeks ago, and much smaller as well.  We didn’t see nearly as many stars as I’d hoped, as the nearly-full moon was so bright it was casting shadows.

Tuesday was uneventful since my flight was in the middle of the day, but as always, I was glad to come back to Sydney.

I look forward to my next trip to the Hunter Valley (read:  wine country) the weekend after Christmas.  Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!