Category Archives: Travel

Lessons in Public Transport

cc license, das21

What I’ve learned in seven months of not having my car…

1. I really miss driving. I miss both the convenience of having a car and the actual act of driving around. I find it relaxing. I keep thinking about getting a car so I can have my freedom back.

2. Despite my whining, public transport is actually wonderful some days. I like when the bus flies down the bus lane, past stopped traffic in the mornings, or when you want to go out and have a few drinks and don’t need to worry about driving home. The ferry ride from Manly to the city is beautiful. I ultimately save money and never have to look for parking. These are all times that I’m happy being car-less.

3. Sydney buses don’t follow the time schedule. They not only come late (which I would expect) they often leave early or just never show up. I can’t stand when my morning bus the E50 leaves early because it’s mostly commuters who show up the same time every day. It irks me.

4. Technology does assist in making public transport better. There is an iPhone app called TripView that quickly helps you to plan trips in Sydney on trains, buses or ferries. It’s been a huge time saver and great tool since I found out about it. Free Wi-Fi on the ferry ride is another little modern day bonus that makes me smile (when it’s working).

5. Relying on public transport has helped me achieve my goal of daily self-reflection. Last year, Artie Isaac put the idea of taking 30 minutes each day for silent reflection. Thanks to my commute to work I practically have no choice now. I get about two hours each day, if I want it (assuming I’m awake for the morning bus ride). I spent a lot of time in silent thought.

Moral of the story is that I miss driving but it’s not the end of the world and I’ve gotten more and more used to it. I’ll probably move closer to the city (by the trains) at some point and feel even less inclined to make a vehicle purchase. Until then, I’ll see you at Manly Wharf kids.

What lessons have you learned from taking public transport or are you car dependent, like me?

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Sipping on some Coffee Culture: Australian Edition

cc license, adactio

“Make your coffee at home to save money.”

That’s one thing my mom kept reminding me before I moved abroad. Be smart and save money in little ways. A cup of coffee might seem like a small cost but when you add it up over weeks and months it adds up. A good idea but I’m running into one small problem…

I’m buying coffee every day. I’m living in a country that loves their cafes and coffee.  Not only do I buy coffees out, I’m actually buying more coffees out than I ever have before.

There is a rather lovely culture around coffee (and tea) in Australia. Almost all of my coworkers either go on coffee shop runs daily. There are so many local cafes to choose from and they all take their coffee very seriously. It’s made properly and never rushed. My first week here I stood impatiently waiting for my coffee to be ready. I’ve learned quickly that is the wrong approach to take when it comes to ordering your coffee here. I have to remind myself to pause, wait, and relax.

I also like when going for a coffee becomes an event. At home I would make coffee in the morning as part of a caffeine habit. I never thought about it or enjoyed it. It was a mindless, early morning act. In Australia I like to sit and enjoy a coffee, ask a friend or coworker to come along or meet someone for coffee because it’s an occasion.

What is the coffee culture where you’re from?

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Two Months In: An Update for Home

Two months have flown by. I realize I’ve been slacking with updates home and it’s tough to keep up with answering emails to people I care about. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m geographically distant, there is a 14 hour time difference or if it’s just the fact I’m still finding my day to day schedule. It feel likes freshman year of college. I have lots of free time when I don’t need it and no free time when I really could use it.

It sounds cheesy, but living here still feels like a gift every day. Despite my fear of actually being in the ocean, I’m learning to love it. I listen to the sounds of the waves at night from my bed as I fall asleep. In the morning I bring extra shoes for work just so I can walk across the sand in my flip flops on my way to the bus stop. The ocean looks different every morning too. Maybe it will be less impressive once I’ve been here awhile but I still find myself mesmerized watching the waves.

I’m meeting a lot of new people. It’s fun but can be exhausting. Making new friends feels a bit like dating. You worry what the other person thinks about you. You try to be yourself but don’t really feel like yourself when you’re hanging out with people who don’t know you.

I love going exploring around the city and finding excuses to go new places. I live on the northern beaches and everyone jokes about it being far away (it’s not that far). I guess there is a stereotype of people who live in Manly never having a reason to leave Manly. I’m still enthusiastic about going to the city for events and meeting up with people. There is so much in the city I want to see and areas in Manly I haven’t even seen yet.

I just wanted my family and friends at home to know that I think of them often, even if they haven’t heard from me lately.

What’s new with you?

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A New Adventure

recognize that building?

Yesterday I moved to Australia to start a new part of my life.  I’ve accepted an exciting role at a digital agency in Sydney and look forward to making this a new home.  I feel incredibly lucky and moving back to Australia has been on my mind for awhile now.

I’ve spent my first couple days mostly exploring and getting settled. I want to learn the busses and trains quickly since I won’t be driving at all (very different from home where I drive every day). Today it took me almost two hours just to find the bus to the mall. I went to a couple incorrect stops before finding the right one. I’ll be pro in no time, give me a month.

Studying abroad definitely helped prepare me for life here in terms of any culture shock or just acceptance of change in general. Little things don’t seem so weird or different, although I still can’t figure out how to order my coffee. Yesterday I got an iced coffee and the guy working thought that was funny. He told me I was the first one all day to order that (because it’s winter). Trust me though…it’s not that cold here. I was prepared for much worse.

view from my porch this morning

My apartment is in a really nice area called Manly which is just north of Sydney on the coast. It has a little community feel but it’s big enough that there is a lot to do and see. The beach is beautiful but it’s not warm enough to be hanging out there yet. Only the surfers are in the water right now.

I can take the ferry (30 minutes) right into downtown Sydney from the Manly wharf.  It’s a fun ride and they have free WiFi on the ferry so of course I love that.

I’m having lunch with my new coworkers on Friday. I also made plans with a friend for this weekend. I’m trying very hard to be outgoing and social from the start. I want to meet lots of new people and I know that I have to push myself.

I wonder if this is where my blog takes a new direction (not that it had any clear direction before).  I’d like to think that this is still my “everything” space. Where I can write on any topic that strikes me, but this move and transition will probably be dominating the conversation for awhile. I hope to write often and keep everyone updated.

Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions and say ‘hi’ below. All of my family and friends have been super supportive on Twitter and Facebook. I’m trying to keep up with getting back to everyone. I love hearing from you guys.

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Filed under Lifestyle, Travel

Moving to Australia

I believe in the importance of setting goals, always looking at the big picture and trying new things on a regular basis. I think it’s a combination of these values that is driving me to move to Australia after I graduate this year.

I had the opportunity to study abroad in Australia for a semester and returning there has been on mind ever since. I loved the culture, people and lifestyle. I know that I really only got a small taste of that during my four months there.

When I was younger I refused to leave my mother’s side and now here I am ready to graduate, pack up and move thousands and miles away from home. My time at college has been part of a transformation and amazing journey, but the best part is I know I’m only getting started. I have many more jobs and careers ahead of me, communities to join, and networks to build.

A wise professor taught me that people often say “life is short” and seem to adopt a seize the day attitude when in reality, life is quite long. We have time to complete or attempt the tasks we set out to accomplish. My international move has less to do with being spontaneous and more to do with looking at the bigger picture of my life. A few years of my life living in another country might seem like a big deal, but really it’s not long at all. I may end up living many places in my life.

I never want to stop learning and experiencing new things. I think that curiosity keeps us sharp, and empowers us. Mahatma Gandhi said “Learn as if you were going to live forever, live as if you were going to die tomorrow.” I can’t think of a more appropriate quote to reflect on as my senior year comes to an end.

I look forward to having more updates to share with you soon.

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Austin Food Trailer Crawl

The Mighty Cone

I was lucky to recently spend some time in sunny Austin, Texas for SXSW interactive festival. It was my first trip to the city and I definitely enjoyed it. When I asked people for travel tips before leaving many recommendations seemed to focus on food. Austin has tons of great restaurants and bars as well as a very interesting “food cart” or food trailer culture. These carts serve everything from tacos and wraps to crepes and cake balls. They are scattered throughout the city and while some are stationary, others move locations. The question is how you navigate these local spots and what trailers are worth the visit?

I went on an un-official food trailer crawl with my friend and travel writer Andy Hayes and Beth Krauss from the Austin CVB. We set out to try some unique and delicious foods and see how many carts we could visit before calling it quits.

hot and crunchy chicken cone

First stop was The Mighty Cone in South Congress. I tried the hot and crunchy chicken cone. Which is served wrapped in a tortilla and served in a paper snow cone. Overall it was very good, although I had to remind myself not to get carried away. We still had several spots to see.

Next we headed over to the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery. It’s a location with several carts and outdoor seating. We wanted to try Torchy’s Tacos which has a reputation for having both delicious food and unique taco combinations. One that we tried was the “The Democrat,” which had shredded beef barbacoa and onions topped off with fresh avocado, queso fresco, cilantro and a lime wedge served on a corn tortilla with green salsa. After tacos we went next door to Holy Cacao for dessert. This trailer describes itself as a “gourmet dessert trailer offering unusual items such as Cake Balls, S‘mores and Frozen Hot Chocolate at affordable prices.” We went for the cake balls, and they were amazing and not what you would expect to be served from that tiny trailer.

waiting @ Torchy's Tacos

Our final and third trailer location was Gourdough’s for doughnuts. Like Tourchy’s this food cart has some unique combinations on their menu. We shared the Mother Clucker. Check out this short video to see this crazy doughnut and for quick reviews from Andy and Beth.

Overall I think our mission was a success. The food carts are a fun and unique part of the Austin food scene. Sitting outside on a sunny day eating at a picnic table was a plus to the experience. Somehow I don’t think food carts of this nature would do well with the Ohio weather.  I look forward to my next visit to Austin. After all, there are still several more food carts I must try.

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