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The Travel Life

February 2, 2015

I recently came across this article and loved it. [You should go read it] There’s just something about traveling/living abroad that no one else can relate to, unless they have done it too. There is something so wonderful and magical and inspiring and life-changing about traveling this gorgeous globe that makes me want everyone to get to experience it. And so I am tempted to gush about all the awe-inspiring places I’ve been to to anyone who will listen. The only problem is that sometimes people just think you are bragging about all you’ve seen or done. I don’t think they will really understand until they do it for themselves. We didn’t create this amazing planet. So there’s nothing to brag about, except how amazing our God is, and that is worth bragging about, for sure. And I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to get to experience it all.

I say all that to say, I am ridiculously excited about the next two months. I have to force myself not to talk about it much because I don’t want everyone to start avoiding me when they see me, ha, but I have seriously been counting the days for the past few weeks. I am excited, partly,  because this job has been a lot of work and I am happy that it will be over soon. It’s been a blessing being here, and it’s taught me a lot, and it’s afforded me a great opportunity to see what is probably the prettiest state in Australia, but it’s also been a challenge and I am ready for something new! I am also excited because I get to see my parents again for a few weeks! [it will be much too short but I am thankful for the time I get]. Also, I am really looking forward to getting lots of cheap massages and spa treatments in Thailand and Bali, ha. And also for the chance to travel some more, to see some new countries, to be challenged again for missions around the world, to spend time with some of my home church family, and to meet up with some friends [in New Zealand].

I don’t take for granted this amazing life God has given me. It’s honestly overwhelming all that He has given me and let me do these past few years. When I stop and think about it, it really is slightly unbelievable. It’s the life I always marveled at [when I saw other people living it], and always dreamed of living, but I never really imagined I would be doing it!

I wish more people would take the time to get out of their own area and see more of the world around them. It really is much more doable than people think. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and you really can find the money for it if you want to. I cringe when I hear of people taking their kids on vacation to Disney World.* If you can afford a Disney World vacation, you can certainly afford to take your kids to Costa Rica to climb some volcanoes and feed some wild monkeys and exotic birds. You can afford to take them whitewater rafting and to the Caribbean Sea. You can afford at least that if nothing else! [I haven’t been to Costa Rica but it’s on my list and flights there are as cheap as to Florida, so no excuses!] You could also fly to Puerto Rico for cheap. Or the Virgin Islands. Disney World? I don’t plan on having kids (I know, never say never, so whatever happens is cool but…) but you can bet if I ever did, we would not be spending all our vacation time on paved concrete eating popcorn and buying plastic swords. [I know, there’s a place for everything, but some people do this year after year!] My kids would know how to find Brazil on a map and how to locate China and Russia and Australia. ;)* They might even be able to tell you hello in five different languages.

Ok, maybe I do need to have kids after all [wink]. Or maybe that’s what nieces and nephews are for.

Because, when you live someplace where you get visitors like these in your backyard [daily], it’s hard to not want others to get to experience it, too!

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Can you find all six rainbow lorikeets in this picture?

 

 

*This is prompted, in part, by a recent babysitting job I had. The 3 year old boy had a world map taped to his playroom floor and could point out several countries when I asked him about them! Kudos, parents! And it was written and scheduled to post before any of you posted about Disney World on facebook, just for the record. =) Nothing against amusement parks, especially if you live local to them. I just think there are better ways to spend thousands of dollars when planning a vacation and I wish more people were more aware of the huge, incredible world around them.

 

Great Ocean Road pt 3

January 26, 2015

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On our last day of the trip we decided to drive a little farther west past the Great Ocean Road and visit Tower Hill and Port Fairy before heading back to Melbourne on the inland [and faster] route. That was a great decision because we got to see some new wildlife we hadn’t seen in the wild before at the Tower Hill reserve (a huge park-like area where you can hike up some volcanoes and get some great views of the area) and got to eat THE best fish and chips at a place in Port Fairy. We sorta stumbled on the fish and chips place, but apparently it’s well-known to locals and not-so-locals (the people we stayed with in Melbourne told us about it after we got back and were so excited to find out we had actually eaten there!)

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THE best fish and chips ever. Seriously! I would give almost anything to be able to get this whenever I wanted it. =)

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Walking all the way out to the lighthouse

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Gates to nothing =)

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First echidna I’ve seen here!

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First wallaby I’ve gotten close enough to to photograph!

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I love lavender =)

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BEST. TRIP. EVER. [I know, I say that every time. I guess they are all the best. Almost.]

 

Great Ocean Road pt 2

January 15, 2015

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Day two of our Great Ocean Road trip saw us saying goodbye to our lovely Torquay hostel and leaving early in the morning to drive all the way to Warrnambool. We stopped a lot along the way, got stuck in some rainstorms, tromped through the forest looking for (and finding) koalas high up in the trees and  stopped at almost every single lookout along the way (prompting someone to finally say “no more lookouts, please” and causing it to become a joke among us), stopped at the famous 12 Apostles, along with some other great stops (The Arch, The London Bridge, The Grotto). The rain did cause us to think the day had been somewhat ruined, but it ended up turning out ok. It mostly rained when we were driving, so that was good.

The Great Ocean Road is fabulous. Definitely a must if you are in Victoria, and certainly something you should attempt to do if you visit Australia at all.

*Warning* – there are a LOT of pictures in this post. But it was all just too beautiful I couldn’t decide which not to post.

 

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The official start of the Great Ocean Road!

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Views out the window as we went speeding past

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All of us. The American. The Dutch. And the Germans. =)

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Lots of sea foam blowing up from below

 

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Great Ocean Road – Torquay and Bells Beach

January 12, 2015

 

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Bells Beach

 

After one last stop at Brighton beach to see the beach houses again, we set off early in the morning for our first night’s stop in Torquay. I had been expecting the drive to be somewhat harrowing, according to everyone’s stories of driving it. However, it turned out to be not too bad at all. If you can drive PCH in California, the Great Ocean Road is a breeze. [Once you are used to driving on the “other” side of the road, that is]. We stopped a lot along the way, and still made it to Torquay in great time.

We checked in to our fabulous hostel (Bells Beach Backpackers) which I highly recommend, and then headed down to check out the area. After spending a few hours in Torquay, the girls decided we needed to drive to Bells Beach to watch the sunset. Definitely a good place to spend some time around sunset if you are in the area. You can’t watch the sun completely set, as the cliffside is in the way, but the way the sun rays filter over the mountainside is beautiful.

After watching the sun for as long as we could see it, we headed back towards our hostel, stopping along the way to check out the huge herd [?] of kangaroos we’d seen on the drive down. They were all still in the field and we got as close as we could. We contemplated climbing the fence, but none of us were quite brave enough to do so. [And how did she die, ma’am? A whole slew of kangaroos trampled her to death.]

We did see two kangaroos get into a fight, however. And yes, it really does look just like you see on youtube videos. They really do box and kick each other. It was so funny to watch. I don’t have my zoom lens with me here in Australia [traveling light, ugh], so I wasn’t able to get a very good picture. But you can kind of tell by looking at the two kangaroos who are standing facing each other. We spent a while watching them before finally leaving. We needed to get home somewhat early since we had an early start in the morning.

Overall thoughts on the Torquay area: Stay at Bells Beach Backpackers. Stop by Bells Beach. Torquay is nice but you don’t need a lot of time there. It is, however, a great launching off point for the Great Ocean Road.

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Blue Monarchs

January 9, 2015

Ok, I know I promised Great Ocean Road pictures next. And they are coming! But these little cuties stormed the place today and I just have to post some pictures of them. I think they are blue monarchs, or something like that. Any butterfly experts out there? Anyway, they are very pretty flitting around the yard. There are HEAPS of them (as the Australians would say). They seem to like this flowering tree best, although they do also land on the bottlebrush trees from time to time as well. They are much more vivid in person; some of them look bright teal when flying by. They hardly seem to stay still for longer than a few seconds, so they were somewhat hard to capture.

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Ramblings and the Great Ocean Road part one [the part that doesn’t actually cover the GOR at all. Ha.]

January 7, 2015

Do you ever sit down to write, but there is just too much to write about so you end up writing nothing at all because you don’t know where to start? That seems to be the current story of my life when it comes to this blog. I am literally overwhelmed when I even start thinking about where to begin. I’ve gotten so far behind that it almost seems pointless sometimes to try and catch up. And yet, I know I NEED to make myself document this adventure as much as possible so that I remember everything for later. And so you all can peek in from time to time as well. This place is AMAZING, and my one regret throughout this whole thing is that most of my family and friends will never get to experience it for themselves. =( If I was rich I’d send everyone on a trip to visit Australia. Seriously, I love it here. Recently I was thinking back to the day before the day I left for Australia. Or, really, the night before that. Ha. Anyway, I was remembering getting all teary-eyed whenever I thought about my upcoming flight to Sydney. It was the night of my brother’s wedding rehearsal and I couldn’t believe I had to say goodbye to everyone again so soon. 7 weeks at home seemed to have flown by. I couldn’t even think  about planes or Australia or goodbyes without crying. It was awful. I knew I would have a great time here, I just had to get through all the goodbyes and then I would be ok. And now that I am here, I just smile when I remember back to that night. And I can’t imagine not having come here. Besides Russia it’s been THE best adventure. It’s hard to believe I’ve only been here about 3.5 months. I’ve seen and done and experienced so much already!

See? I get on here to post an update about Melbourne/GOR and I end up rambling. There is so much that rushes through my brain anytime I think about blogging.

[Side note: One day I will post a list of all my interesting animal/insect experiences here. I have been jotting them down in my journal. Today I spotted a lizard upstairs in the kitchen (never seen one upstairs before) as he darted out of somewhere to catch and eat a fly that had just landed on the floor. Then he disappeared under a shelf. It happened so fast, I was glad I happened to be looking at that spot on the floor when he appeared, ha. Random things like that seem to happen all the time.]

Ok, back to my latest trip. I am pretty sure I have other trips I need to post here but for now we’ll just try to catch up on this latest one.

Summary: A Dutch friend from Brisbane and I flew down to Melbourne and met up with 3 German au pairs we’d never met before. Melanie and I rented the car (I think that’s my first time renting a car in another country? Pretty sure….) and then drove to the first night’s hostel and met up with the other girls. The girls were nice. The hostel? Let’s just say that hostels like that remind me that I am getting old and hostels aren’t my thing. I might have said “never again” once or twice while staying there. Thankfully the other hostels were much better. One was even adorable. Now my brain is undecided on hostels again.

Anyway, we met up and then went into the CBD to see some sights before setting out for St. Kilda to watch the fairy penguins come in from sea. We had originally planned to go out to Phillip Island to see the penguin parade, but I am so glad we switched plans. We still got to see penguins but we saved a lot of money and time this way! You weren’t allowed to use flash photography near the penguins, so it was hard to get any decent pictures [seeing as they come in about 30 minutes after sunset]. But see? Aren’t they so adorable and small?
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We had so much fun watching the penguins swim in from sea and climb onto all the rocks along the pier. They were so cute and sometimes so loud! Some of them walked very close to us as they wandered around. Definitely a fun experience.

St. Kilda marina with Melbourne in the background

St. Kilda marina with Melbourne in the background

We also stopped by Brighton Beach before setting out on the Great Ocean Road. The little beach houses there are so adorable and fun! [the second time we stopped by, some of them were open and people were using them. I saw things like surfboards and boogie boards stored inside]

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The sand was like little pebbles and felt interesting to walk on =)

 

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The bird flying overhead made me smile =)

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My best attempt to get this peach and blue house without people in it =/

After our second stop at Brighton Beach, we headed out for the GOR! =) It was AWESOME. Will write about it next time. =)

 

Travels

January 6, 2015

I have a million and one pictures from my most recent trip {ok, actually just about 1500} and I hope to post some soon. Maybe tomorrow. Other than that, my new news is that I found a new position in….PERTH! I like to call it the California of Australia since it’s on the west coast. Practically all by itself, too. I have 6 weeks of work left here in Brisbane before I fly to the Philippines in Feb to meet up with my parents and some of my church fam to do a missions trip around the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. I am super super excited! {Mostly about seeing my parents!} Then I’ll spend two more weeks in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore with my sister-in-law’s sister, before coming back to Brisbane for a few days. Then 4 days later I fly to NZ for 2 weeks. Then it’s straight to Perth in April to start my new adventure. When I look at all these upcoming trips, it feels like the year is almost half over, ha. It’s Jan 6 here and I feel like the year is flying by already. Actually, I am pretty sure it WILL fly by faster than any previous year, due to all these travels. Not sure how I feel about that..

Right now I plan to be in Perth till my visa expires in September. Then…not sure what is next. =) Suggestions? =)

I’m pretty excited about Perth because I will have a week on/week off position like I had hoped, which will give me plenty of time to travel! Or to pick up some extra work to make more money (the week off is paid so everything else is a bonus).

So, anyone want to come see me? Considering I will have 2 weeks off a month, I should have plenty of free time!

I’ll try to post pics tomorrow. But till then, here are some pics of a koala we found on the Great Ocean Road. =)

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Isn’t he SO cute?

 

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He’s being shy

 

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