Saturday, January 25, 2014

Looking forward to stuff

Philippines write-up still coming…slowly.

Got my first Airbnb guest tomorrow. When Sandra moved out mum wanted to rent the room out but I told her we should give Airbnb a try since my mother is super fussy and difficult to live with. At least with Airbnb guests if you don’t like them then they are gone after a week or so. Also you make a little more money so you don’t need to constantly rent out the room. My friend Brooke has had mixed successes with it but I thought I would try it out myself for a year and see how we go. The first guest is an Australian woman who worked as an ESL teacher on Manus & Christmas Island. What a strange coincidence am I right? Of course I can’t wait to get a first person opinion of what goes on behind the scenes of some of the most controversial places in Australian politics. She is also learning Persian! And since I know a little Persian myself I am looking forward to practicing. Watch this space for a couchsurfing turned Airbnb experience review!

In other outsidedarwin news I am heading outside Darwin. The accounts chick at my work said “Man you are queen of holidays!” Well… I certainly don’t live to work that’s for sure. I’m off to NZ to watch two amazing friends tie the knot in Wanaka and then spend two weeks exploring what I am told is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Let’s be honest every country has beauty you just need to be open to seeing it.

It looks like it will be a combination of hiking, diving and seeing old friends. After the wedding I’ve booked in for a two night three day hike across the Routeburn track. Then I head back to Queenstown for a few days before flying to Wellington. I then head up to Taupo to catch up with Hamish who used to stay with us in 2013 hopefully talking him into driving north and doing some scuba diving with me. After that fingers crossed I can swing a night in Auckland to party with Matt an old school gaming friend of mine from as far back as 2007. I can’t remember if we ever played StarCraft together. Then finally back to Wellington to hang out with Sam a kiwi Heather & I met drunk on the streets of Banff, Canada who then came by my house at 7am in the morning for pancakes before a day of snowboarding. 

So yea life is kind of interesting right now. Got a lot to look forward too.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why Travelling Alone is Awesome

My friend Brooke posted this on her travel blog and as an advocate of solo travel I had to reblog. I travelled across North America on my own for several years and had some of the most unforgettable experiences, met the most unforgettable people. The first year I was traveling with my boyfriend at the time but after we parted ways my entire experience exploded. It's a time of my life that I will never regret and helped to shape the person I am today

1. You will meet amazing people

Traveling as a couple you are less inclined to exit your comfort zone and just meet people. Don't get me wrong I met tons of awesome people with Brendan though that tended to be when we were stationary in one place but it wasn't till I was forced out on my own that I started to open up more to strangers. If I was with Brendan I never would have approached Cameron & Chad in the parking lot after Underworld, or hitched a ride in the back of a pick-up truck in Mexico. By being on my own I either had to meet people or be resigned to solitary confinement and for a self confessed extrovert that's not exactly an option.

2. The overwhelming sense of absolute freedom.

Yes. Yes. Yes! When I first left Banff to drive to Toronto I had two travelers with me. It was one of the most painful trips of my life. They were rude, obnoxious and I found myself having to constantly compromise to keep them happy. I was uncomfortable and eventually ditched them in Omaha, Nebraska. After losing them I proceeded to have the best time of my life. I did what I wanted to do, I went to parties and met awesome people and I moved on MY schedule. Sometimes traveling with people can be great but if you don't get along and your stuck with them it can ruin an entire trip. At least if your by yourself you can limit trips to a couple of days and part ways whenever you want.

3. Traveling alone challenges your fears and insecurities

Oh god yes. Can you believe I went from this meek mild mannered girl to this adventurous spirit? Trust me I was completely different five years ago. Heck I didn't even drive for the first year in Canada I made Brendan drive EVERYWHERE. But when I dropped him off at the airport I cried all the way home from Calgary to Banff because there was a fucking snowstorm and I was driving on the right side of the road and I was scared and stressed out. (and sad that my boyfriend of four years had left) But I survived and next thing you know I'm driving in NYC in the middle of rush hour traffic I'm taking on the LA freeways without even blinking. I over came my fear and became a pretty awesome big city driver.   

4. Fall in Love

Well I can't really relate to this as it was the opposite for me. Maybe I fell in love with myself all over again.

5. You can take time to nurture yourself

Not a lot I need to say to this but yes. Traveling solo is about you. When I was working in Ontario I had two days off. All everyone wanted to do was drink and do drugs. I wanted to go camping so you know what, I went camping. I did sleep in the back of my car because I was scared of bears but I camped. And I had an awesome time hiking and camping by myself and I'm glad I didn't let the fact I was alone hamper me.

6. You'll have a chance to recreate yourself and who you want to be

This is important to me but I don't know if its limited to solo travel. Long term Traveling in general recreated me. Yes I came more out of my shell after my separation but the overall journey I took from living in another country, taking on new challenges and just experiencing something so different from what I was used to definitely shaped the older wiser me. Without that experience I don't know where I would be today.

7. You can finally take time to leave everything else behind.

Some of my favourite times was when I was driving the long stretches of road in the USA window down, music pumping. Just thinking. I would stop where ever I felt like stopping and I experienced life. I certainly miss those days of freedom. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Years Resolutions.

As I managed to complete last years new years resolutions which was, pay off my loans and stop having sugar in my coffee I've decided to be a little more ambitious this year. #4 might be a little difficult but I'm up to the challenge.

#1 Run 5km without stopping or walking at all.

#2 Stop being so damn competitive and mean especially in Beach Volleyball. count to 10 seconds every time I feel like getting angry at my teammates.

#3 Save $25,000 extra.

#4 Make Martina a baking extroidaniare.

#5 Complete my Uni.

#6 Make smarter life choices, choices that point more to my future and not to distracting myself. Such as drinking less, spending more time with the important people in my life & being a better person all round.

2014 is going to be my year.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

a wild dragon appears

My ex Couchsurfer Mike from USA was a mad reptile/bug enthusiast. Like me only more. He could spend hours watching and waiting for the perfect spotting of whatever the jungle would provide. When he stayed at my house there was a particular Lophognathus temporalis, a Northern Water Dragon that used to run the exact same loop at the exact same time for every morning. Mike pointed him out to me and sometimes we would just sit there watching the lizard on its route. He was so predictable. When Mike left me I saw the little fella sporadically. He was becoming part of the furniture now so I didn’t sit there and watch him like I used to. And the times were inconvenient to my schedule. But when I caught him occasionally just chillin on his favourite palm tree I smiled always remembering my past surfer and the shared moments on the balcony. The little dragon was growing bigger and bigger.

The tree got cut down a month ago. I didn’t really think about it. My life has grown so chaotic that I kind of forgot about that little dragon and the times when we used to just sit there and watch the life in my garden move around us. I forgot about the entire ecosystem that exists under my feet. The unseen. For the first time in ages I was awake on a Sunday morning at 6:30am. Not only was I awake I was active and productive. I was walking around downstairs when I saw him. He was sitting on the trunk of the sawn off tree just waiting. He is huge now. Fully grown and despite his favourite palm tree being cut down he found it and still he sits there as he makes his predictable loop through my garden.

And life goes on around me. It never stopped, I just stopped watching. Sometimes you need to slow down and breathe the air, smell the flowers, listen to the birds and open your eyes. It’s a pretty incredible world out there don’t miss out on it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

dreaming of the ocean

I’m a technician both in career and life, I look at my work in a factual step by step logical way to resolve issues complex or not. And I look at life the same way. I analyse, I pick apart, I find the truth between the lines and I approach with a level head.

When I dive, when I slip the regulator into my mouth and lower my head below water I am transported to a place where logic and reason stop. I slow down and breathe at a regular pace. A parrot fish taunts me with its vivid colours as it flits about the ocean floor, a star fish lays silently and motionless, not motionless just not moving at the pace the naked eye can see. A small reef shark pops out from rocks it was hiding its grey flawless body glides beneath my fins oblivious to my motionless perfectly buoyant body. A different world is beneath, beside, above me and I am a just an observer. 

Some of my best thoughts come to me 30 metres deep below the surface. Life above the ocean is busy. When all the chaos is removed your mind becomes empty you can stop and think. Logic and reason floats away with the seaweed and I immerse myself into the new reality. I love to dive there is not many things in this world which bring me as much peace and pleasure as diving. Its hard to explain sometimes to people who have never experienced it just how life changing it is. Under the water is when I am at my most spiritual. You can’t help but question when your world is not your own.

Who could have predicted how life changing that trip to Vietnam would turn out to be. And now a week from Today I will be once again heading for the ocean. Travelling with my good friend Diane we are off to Coron, Palawan, Philippines for a week. I can’t wait.

All I can think about is and I quote myself from an entry I wrote one year agoBeing underwater actually gives an immense sense of freedom that cannot be found above the surface.”