Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in a nutshell. What a fricken AWESOME year. How is 2011 to top it?

Snowboarded my first Double Black

Drove the West coast of America

Stuck my head in a giant LEGAL garbage bag of weed

Hit my first ever three day festival Coachella in Los Angeles

Sandboarded outside of an oasis

Flew in my first single engine plane

Hiked 50km to Maachu Piichu

Mountain Biked (yes me on a bike) the most dangerous road in the world, Bolivia

Swam with sea lions in the Galapogas

Held a Caiman, Caught a Pirahna, Went swimming, in the Amazon

Drove my Jeep in Mexico where I camped on a beach and drank lots of margeritas.

Drove to Colorado from Mexico partying it up with tons of wicked people along the way.

Came home to my friends and family.

Started hosting and suddenly my house was filled with some of the most amazing people in the world that it makes me smile thinking of all the awesome times we had.

Crazy Camping trips, Snake catching, Nights out Dancing & Drinking, Outdoor Raving.

Thanks to everyone I met in 2010. You guys made this year for me :) Happy new year!!!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I miss snowboarding so much.

3 More Months until Utah :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Love me some newbie surfers

Once upon a time, hard to believe I know. I was a newbie. A kind couple Cynthia & Randy from Dawson Creek BC were awesome enough to take me & my ex in under their wing without any references! I’d pre-pared little gifts for my hosts with chocolates and things from Australia. They were probably two of the most generous people I have ever met, well except when I moved on to the next host haha.

Anyway you need to start somewhere and like I said I love newbies, I like to think I’m pretty experienced and will give advice. Plus my house seems perfect for first timers. Firstly we don’t do everything for my surfers. Its my opinion that a surfer should be self-sufficient. And not only that the surfer should help out the host. The host is giving you a FREE place to sleep, something as simple as cleaning up the dishes is great but I my all time favourite is the ones who cook. You are saving $25 a night for accommodation , use that money to cook a nice meal for your host! Or if you can’t cook buy a 6-pack or something. Everyone in my house is super friendly and if your new and not sure about integrating into someone’s life then its good to be made welcome. I know some hosts can make a person feel very awkward. Its always best if your new to surf with a host with lots of experience.

Every newbie I’ve taken in has often surpassed some of my most experienced surfers. Hell I had one surfer and she turned on the air-conditioner whilst I was away and left it on all day with the windows open! And didn’t even ask me, air-con is expensive!! And she had a lot of surfing experience.

Thomas , Flavia, Greg, Jack, Jeremy, Mark & Mel, Holly & Wayne, Jessica, Silke – some of my newbies who went above and beyond.

If a newbie fills out the profile, puts up some pictures and gives me a good message about why I should host them then they deserve a chance because honestly.. we were all there once.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wet vs Dry

Taking a ride on the best couch in Darwin (yes I’m talking about mine) can be a completely different experience depending what time of the year you come. I’ve noticed the difference in the length of time people stay as well. In The dry it got out of control and I had massive overload of surfers because they never wanted to leave. And why would you, beautiful weather while the rest of Australia was miserable, lots of work, big nightlife, beach swimming, night markets. In the wet you have heat, heat, rain, heat.

Snake catching is a speciality of mine that right now is only available in the dry. It could possibly change when I learn the migration of the sneaky bastards. I love to see the little European faces light up when they experience holding their first “wild” snake. And for the animal activists out there, no harm is done the snakes are released after capture. I even had a couple of surfers catch their own with gentle coaxing. Greg from France was the first protégé and its great to watch people moving out of their comfort zones and experiencing true Australia.

Another great dry season event is the camping. & the 4WD camping is the best. In the rainy season the roads to the best locations close up most of Kakadu is only available for a few precious months a year. In the dry the nights are cool and you don’t have to worry about being rained on. Camping is one of the reasons I love Darwin and really getting down those 4WD tracks to places untouched by tourism makes it all worth it.

So lets not forget Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. A premium attraction in the northern Territory and a great place to eat, drink and watch a beautiful Sunset. Once again, does not function in the wet season – rain is imminent.

In the Wet so far my hosting has been pretty relaxed. It usually involves sitting around a table drinking beer and sharing good food. Occasionally we hit the town especially as there seems to be a lot more electronic events on which I love. There is always a BBQ going at my house, another favourite pastime of mine. One of the best things about the wet is that if you do get out to one of our national parks the waterfalls are pouring down, there is so many less tourists. Litchfield is amazing and can still mostly be done by 2WD.

And the storms. Watching the lightning crackle across the sky, the wind blowing the palm trees around its one of the most beautiful things in the world. Darwin in the wet is so wild, full of life & not for the weak.

Monday, December 6, 2010

its a way of life.

When I got back from my 2.5 years around the America's I entered back into real life. It was like this total drain on personality. I went from every day being something new and exciting with someone different to talk to to being back in Darwin and seeing all the same things I left behind.

Seeing all my friends & family was definitely a bonus and I love them to bits but my restlessness was hard to ignore and within the first week I was hosting with reckless abandoment. I began to live vicariously through my surfers. I started to do things around town that were new even to me and night after night was filled with some kind of adventure. My personality is chaotic and I thrive off change which funnily enough 3 years ago was exactly the opposite.

3 years ago I was in a committed relationship, moving forward with my life. Now I have nothing but the next day in my mind. You sometimes need to wonder what makes you happy. For me the little things make me smile and I just feel so positive about everything. This I can contribute to Couchsurfing. Its brought me in contact with some of the best people in the world who I never would have had the chance to meet otherwise.

Monday, November 29, 2010

getting hosted?

Back when I joined Couchsurfing there was less then a million people now its about 5 million and growing rapidly. So since its becoming so popular you know there are lot of people joining for the wrong reasons.

- There are people in it for the free couch, usually pretty easy to spot they fail at updating their profiles, don't usually bother with pictures and write really sloppy request messages. They very rarely use the CS request. And they never read your profile they probably spam every host in the city.

- Guys (or girls) looking for love. I am so wary of guys who say "female only" on their surfer preferance. Or vice versa (though a lot less common I've noticed). How can I stress COUCHSURFING IS NOT A DATING WEBSITE. And living in Darwin where there are so many guys compared to females I end up with a lot of the overflow blokes who have a hard time finding a couch because they lack the nessacary appendage.

-Scammers. Gee there is tons of those out there nowadays. Their profile basically empty with a fake picture saying they are from england and then their last login is Nigeria and their english is horrible!

-Penfriends! People who message you online to chat and be friends and they live about 10,00000 miles away. Generally from India and often have never surfer or hosted before just see the website as a way of stalking people. This is definitely not what couch-surfing is about. Myself personally I only add people I know.

I have not had a bad experiance like many of the other hosts I know. I have had a few neutral experiances but nothing bad. One girl who just sat and watched TV for the whole two days and never engaged in conversation and two girls who seemed to be more interested in the comfort and people waiting on them then my kind of couch. Both seemed to be in surfing for the wrong reasons however their profiles and messages to me didn't betray that. Still they never stole or wasted anything of mine so it definitely wasn't negative.

So how do I pick people?

Everyone always asks me and I don't really have a set way to pick people but there is a few things that will make me pick you over someone else.

-pictures. At least one where I can see your face clearly. A lot of the time I have picked people because they had an awesome artsy photo as their profile picture. Lots of interesting travel shots (with you in them) are a drawing point as well.
-personalised message. Saying my name is a starting point some people don't even do that! But reading my profile a little and commenting on some things you would be interested in is great. Mentioning snakes, awesome, cooking pretty much gets you instantly :) One couple started off with "name loves a good clean!" sure they could have been lying but commenting about cleaning is right at the bottom of my profile and means they must have read most of it!
-timing. Sometimes I have just picked people because they message me at the right time. Very rarely I have room for last minute requests especially since I have a whole family to check with. But one guy messaged me the day before a camping trip and I had one seat left so I accepted him. He turned out to be awesome and stayed with me for two weeks!
-knowing my other surfers. If one of my other surfers you met across the world and they reccomended you contact me, let me know. I have taken many "friends of friends" and always been happy. I had a french couple stay with me who were lovely and they saw me going through my surfers and I was about to deny one guy and they looked at him and realised he was someone they knew from Broome. They informed me he was really nice and that I should host him. So I didnt have the room but said yes and he ended up becoming like my brother and moving in staying for three months!
-having hosted before. No explanation nessacary.
-come to one of the CS meetings/parties I host. I had to decline this one german guy and his friends as I had no room but met him again at a party a whole lot of surfers went to. Discovered he was camping behind macdonalds and as I had the room again later offered him to come back. He and his friends returned and we had an awesome 2 months together!
-FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE Im looking for people passionate about sharing who they are with me. If you have two lines sying "i like walks on the beach" that tells me nothing and I'm less inclined to want to meet you. I don't want to host boring people I want to host passionate, different people from all over the world.
-Be from some obscure country. I've had so many french and germans (all great though) that I really want some variety. Hungary, turkey seriously message me if your from somewhere I've never hosted!!

That being said you could be all of the above and I just dont have the room. I get so many requests a day I can't host you all although I wish I could :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I had a new surfer arrive Saturday morning so I picked him up from the airport around 6:15am. His name is Simon from the UK. He had arrived at 3am but I don't usually pick people up at that time as I do like my sleep.

Anyway it was my work christmas party and he decided to come and be my date since it was free bar tab and a nice boat cruise around the harbour.

Simon enjoying a beer as we cruise away from the harbour

The sunset was spectacular

So after the cruise we had a 21st to get to and a Housewarming. by now I had been drinking since 3pm so was quite wasted. My mum picked us up and took us to the housewarming which was convieniantly behind my house so all I had to do was take the ladder over. The atmosphere was great and full of good people and then I got to drunk and passed out and never made it to the 21st....

Sunday morning mum picked up Nick my belgium surfer from the airport. He had been up for two days so passed out on the balcony. I woke him up about 10am as we were picking up baby freshwater crocodiles for my dad to see if he wanted to come. He decided to join us and the little baby crocs were so cute :) My dad utilized the boys to help move a massive fishtank.

I ended up with about a million mosquito bites from somewhere..

That was my weekend :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Couchsurfing is not a dating site

Yea but I’m single, you’re single. We are like-minded people and become instant friends. Couchsurfers are generally such open giving people you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with each surfer who passes by. Despite this philosophy I did stand by my untarnished record of never getting involved with my hosts or surfers. I never intend to become romantically interested but more often than not I found myself wishing something would happen and then right at the last second changing my mind because I knew they would leave me or I would leave them and losing a friend is hard enough.

Random piece of information here but whoever believes that there is only one person out there for you has never been a couchsurfer.

Now I should admit I did break my record one weekend and it was not premeditated it just happened. First we were out having a few drinks, dancing, enjoying life next thing you know I’m making out in the back of my sisters car! Two days later he was gone and I was back to my old self. I’m not exactly sure what made this guy different from the rest, I was taking a long time to get over my ex boyfriend and had just enough drinks in me to lower my inhibitions but not passing out somewhere which seems to be a bit of a common occurrence with me. Not a one night stand kind of girl this fling had just enough emotion it was like hooking up with an old friend. I still talk to him and feel no animosity towards him or myself like a couple of my other flings have caused. I am happy, it stopped me thinking about my ex as much and made me realise I am still open to feeling something for another person. I hope we will remain friends forever because he really was someone special to me. Sure you wonder sometimes what would happen if you were both in the same country but for now I am just happy to have met and shared that time with him.
Speaking of hooking up with surfers my little sister did the same thing but theirs was a lot more serious. I’m pretty sure they are planning to go away to another country and work & live together he even flew back to Darwin to see her before he went home to Germany. Now if I do hook up with someone from another country and fall madly in love (although with my track record that’s unlikely) I need to pick a country where I will appreciate dual-citizenship. Europe? Africa? China?

On a different note, I took three of my surfers out to a party at my friends place. By the time they arrived I was 12 coopers, 3 cocktails and a shot of absinthe in. Its pretty blurry but Dan, my Kiwi surfer at some point rescued me from drowning in the swimming pool. I still stand by the fact I was fine and wouldn’t have drowned ;) Still, I appreciate it. The rescue left me a couple of bruises on my ribs heh. They seemed to enjoy themselves even though I was passed out by 9pm. I did wake back up at 1am and party till 4 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Might need to scrub myself clean

So I left my first "neutral" couchsurfing referance and it does feel a little unclean. I don't like to leave bad referances but sometimes it has to be done. A girl asked to stay with me saying she was arriving on the 9th. She never called or showed up and then contacted me on the 11th to say she had stayed with Richard instead. She then told me she had no internet access to let me know.

This bugs me, people think I am stupid or something because I'm pretty much the master at working people and things out - I think in my past life I was Sherlock Holmes (we will ignore the fact he is fictional like we ignore the fact Elvis is still alive!)

Anyway she obviously knew she was staying with Richard while she had internet access as she would have had to get his details and she could have let me know then. I also noticed she stayed with Richard two days before contacting me I know Richard offers internet access to his guests. I just found it disrespectful and I had turned down several surfers to host her. I think the neutral referance will let her know its not on. I find there is a huge problem with surfers nowadays not realising that hosts give up thier homes & time for you and you should respect that. I don't think she is a bad person and I hope that she will learn from this and not do it again.

In other news after scraping around for the last four months borrowing cars I am finally the owner of a 2009 Mazda 3 Neo Sport. Its got just under 9,000km and basically awesome condition. It will be so weird to be mobile again and such a sense of freedom. I will really be able to look after my surfers! So I am just waiting on the loan to be finalized and then I can get the keys in my hot little hands.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bluewater Fishing

I'm already sick of writing about this and that in great detail and I want to get this journal back on the track of my travels, which we all know I'm not traveling right now but I am couchsurfing, or hosting as it is which is another form of traveling I seem to have a constant stream of Europeans through the door.

Anyway we have a bunch of random nights & days with a bunch of colourful characters that I might as well write about that.

Glenn is actually a local host in Darwin and he contacted me last week to see if I wanted to join in on a fishing trip. Hell yea I thought I'm not a very good fisherman but I do enjoy hanging out on boats, drinking beer and pretending to fish. I had a small task of getting out of work Saturday but the show was canceled anyway, fate I guess.

The weekend started with Friday night driving out to his friends island just off Dundee Beach. It was about an hour and half on the boat and the drinks were flowing. We stopped to wait for his mate and they threw some lures in the water pulling up one little golden snapper. There was a beautiful sunset on our way there.

The island was awesome they used to run charters off it so it had little dorm rooms all set up. I was pretty drunk & stoned and passed out quite early around 11pm. I woke up two hours later and couldnt find the door to the room which was literally right next to my bed and stumbled around looking for the toilet.. Needless to say I found my torch and eventually escaped!

Day 2 was an early 6am start and a lot of fishing. I managed to catch some good fish including the biggest coral trout! I also caught the only dewey of the whole weekend. Of course at the end I really wanted to gut my trout and the boys let me, they tried to give me gloves but I was certain that I was going to do it like they did.. silly me because I cut all my hands up with all the spikes. And I did three fish to their 30...

That night I was drunk (surprise) and went to the toilet but got lost on the way out which is virtually impossible.. I ended up walking around barefooted on the island in the middle of the night and ended up on the airstrip about a km away...
Lucky I didn't step on any brown snakes or anything!!

Next day wasn't the greatest day for me but they all caught some huge snapper and we got in around 5pm for weighing. All in all it was a really good weekend. Glenn was super nice & patient with my lack of fishing skill. His friends were nice however I wasn't to sure what to talk about since I am an uber geek obsessed with traveling and snowboarding and they had never even left Darwin, were 10 years older then me and to be honest im not really sure what they did but I found I was lacking in conversation because anything I wanted to talk about, my interests and stuff sounded like bragging... yet I couldn't seem to get their interests out of them!! Glenn I didn't really get much one on one with so I will have to have a drink with him another time and actually talk about things I felt uncomfortable about talking about in front of his friends.. travel, couchsurfing etc.

Anyway just another day in the territory!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Recap: Oh look its Amanda! She's back!

You know what I have been single for nearly two years now and I just can't fathom getting trapped in a relationship again. I lost who I was, why do anything when my boyfriend was always doing it for me?

And then when I dropped him off at the airport as we departed for the last time and he flew back to Australia I had to drive in a Blizzard, on the right side of the road through a major city and fuck me.. that was hard.


I drove across USA by myself including some of the most difficult freeways coming from outback Australia TERRIFYING. I fixed any minor things on the car by myself. I drove in New York City in the middle of rush hour & survived. I pushed myself to be a better snowboarder finally taking on a double black something I thought I would never be able to do!

I fine tuned my 4WD skills and snake catching ability.

I opened up and suddenly made friends all over the world. I drink beer now. I eat every kind of seafood under the sun. I drank snake liquor.

I went camping in the middle of bear country, ALONE because I wasn't going to rely on anyone. (granted I slept in the back of my jeep because I was scared of the bears and very stoned & paranoid.)

I crossed the mexican border and drove through mexico to a campsite full of people Id never met before on a beach where I met some of the most amazing people.

I caught my own fish, baited my hooks, unhooked them and then gutted them WITHOUT GLOVES. Every painful cut and graze reminds me of this accomplishment.

I lived.

How could I even go back to the life I had? I've rediscovered myself. I'm so scared if I end up back in a relationship once again I will fade away. I like the freedom of knowing one day I can pack up my stuff and just leave.

My Beliefs

Once upon a time I used to think I was an athiest. I hated the idea of organised religion and the people who seemed to follow it blindly. Perhaps now my vision has changed and I am merely agnostic.

I honestly couldn't care less if there was a higher being. People say that there has to be a higher power because how else would earth exist somebody had to create it. Seriously though if someone created earth who created that someone? The idea of needing a reason for existence always seemed a little pointless to me but hey why can't we just exist?

Anyway that aside I'm a big fan on faith. Whatever makes you happy as a person and keeps you loving life and being a good person then how can it be bad? Its when you force your beliefs on myself or others that it begins to bug me.

In the end, I do believe in Karma. I think the idea that you surround yourself with good people and do good things then good things will happen to you. I try to be positive and help out where I can.

And my overall belief? Life. Believe in Life. If your not happy it doesn't matter what your religion is you need to change to something that makes you happy. As long as your not hurting anyone then everything is fine.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A moment, in great detail

It was 12:30pm and I was driving back to Darwin after a successful camping trip to Kakadu National Park. My boyfriend sits beside me and I grasp the wheel of my Toyota Corolla. Detour the sign says and I took it. Its a bit of a sketchy road with tarmac & dirt patches. There is plenty of traffic. I am doing about 90km/h

The Moment

I go over a small hill and hit a dirt patch and suddenly lose control of the vehicle Brendan yells "what are you doing" and the corolla swerves dangerously around the road. I panic scared that I will roll my car and try to control the slide whilst slowly pumping the brake. My car turns and I move into opposing traffic doing 360s in my car till I end up falling into a shallow ditch on the wrong side of the road.

The dust settles and Im still sitting there fear in my eyes as the cars speed by. Im surrounded by trees and traffic and yet somehow even though I did at least two consecutive 360s across opposing traffic into the bush Im alive. I didnt hit anything but a soft mound of dirt. Nobody is hurt, not even a scratch on the car.

"Im driving" Says Brendan.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What I ate today

This seems really silly thing to write about but since its only morning I think I will write about what I ate yesterday. Firstly I have been horribly sick since about Monday last week my appetite is pretty plain.

Anyway for breakfast I had a Beef Chili Puff & Fruit Shake from the Rapid Creek Markets. Darwin's oldest markets!
Lunch was beef spring rolls also from the same markets, saved and reheated for later awesome enjoyment.
One Paul's Iced Coffee for Afternoon.
Dinner was Sweet Potatoe and Leek soup.
Lots of water.

And now do you think you have insight into my brain? Because what I ate tells a lot about me!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A movie of Coachella

I made this movie of my AWESOME coachella weekend :D

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Its hard to write about this weekend without incriminating myself. Please note as this is public all extra curricular activities have been cut. Well except for weed.

If you don't know what Coachella is then you probably don't understand it like I didn't. Its a huge music festival with some amazing indie & big named bands however its main pull seems to be the crowd, the drugs and the spirit. The way I ended up at this festival has been spoken about before, whilst working in Ontario I met a couple of guys in a parking lot at an underworld concert. One thing led to another and my sister and I drove down the entire west coast of the USA for a five day epic party weekend. I still was unaware of what I was getting into.

We arrived around 9pm Thursday April 14th night after driving straight from Las Vegas to find we were one of the only few people there. I saw my parking lot mates Cam & Chad and was so happy to see them. Quality people. The drinking had already begun but a shower was most on my mind since the drive from Las Vegas had been long and sticky, and we had been distracted by some outlet malls on the way. The house we were staying in was amazing it was a huge mansion in this gated community in Palm Springs. Heather and I were given our own room with private en-suite and queen bed. Quite a step up from some of the places we had been sleeping the last few weeks. There was a beautiful swimming pool with hot tub outside and a great deck area. The Kitchen was huge and fully stocked with beer, liquor, food everything you could need for an amazing weekend. There was also a cinema room in the back and an extra little guest house promptly dubbed the casino room. So the partying begun people slowly trickled in and I began to meet the Coachella family. Heather and I took it pretty easy, we had partied till 6am in Vegas and only had about 2 hours sleep each. I was sticking to the beer. There was music and lights in every room it was hard to choose where to set up ship. So around 2am in the master king bedroom Cam and Chad were having a little downtime chatting and I joined them for a few moments only to promptly pass out on the bed. I woke up at 9am the first day of the festival to find Chad stretched out asleep beside me and wondering how I managed to fall asleep in all the chaos.

Tiffany & Cam were still awake having not slept all night. Also I believe the two Andrews were also still up though they crashed shortly after. So to set the mood I whipped up a batch of my amazing pancakes and then scrambled eggs & bacon. The day began slowly, Big Matt & Maegan another two partiers showed up with a small dog. A few beers and Heather got stuck into the Crown Royal and cokes and we ended up hitting the festival about 4pm I think. The line was insane, Andrew Brown hadn't bought a ticket and Coachella was completely sold out there were scalpers everywhere selling tickets for 1500 and people with need a ticket written all over them. Matt(Phil) walked around with him for an hour trying to help him find a ticket. In the end he lucked out by getting a scalped one for $450 how he pulled that who knows. We were in the line sweating like mad for about an hour. A girl actually fainted in front of us as well. When Heather and I got into the festival she made a beeline for the toilets since she had been drinking all day. Straight away we lost everyone and I took her over to watch the first band I wanted to see She & Him (Zooey Deschanels band) We chilled out for a bit next to the speakers. A strange kid started talking to me but I was yet to feel the Coachella spirit and couldn't think of much response.

Heather went off to try and get into the Beer garden and ran into Phil whilst I walked aimlessly around trying to find anyone. Finally I message Phil and we ended up together watching Passion Pit which was one of my favourite bands of the weekend. Their performance and energy really surprised me! After Passion Pit we headed over to Them Crooked Vultures and found Rob jamming along in the crowd so he joined us. Them Crooked Vultures were also amazing a bunch of legends right there. We shared a joint and danced hard. Phil & Rob left us halfway Heather and I listened to most of it before walking over to the other stage for Vampire Weekend. Heather was meeting a friend and I was freezing my jacket being with Chad who I couldn't find. So I pushed myself into the vampire crowd to warm up and that's when I lost Heather. Apparently she found her friend and they danced to Jay Z together. After Vampire Weekend I went to Heathers and Mine meeting spot but couldn't find her through all the people so I went to the Sahara where Benny Benassi was finished up then on came Deadmau5 found a spot up the back near a speaker and danced. Phil & Rob discovered me there and joined for a bit before Rob found the others who were basically passed out on the grass. Not enough sleep and over partying. I was still completely sober at this point. I danced hard for the end of the night with Phil and Cam joined in a bit. Heading home however I had to find Heather and was getting tired and cranky. Phil stuck with me but I was not the most pleasant person to be around. We found Heather and then couldn't find the car. It took us an hour to find the car and when we got there Cam and Andrew B who had the keys couldn't find the car either so we hung around till 2am when the festival finished at 1am.

Getting back at 2:30 everyone was tired from no sleep and one by one everyone passed out. Cam hung out with me on the couch and we talked, Chad brought out this amazing party toy which made you look like the universe was above your head complete with constellations and shooting stars moving around. I just lay back and talked Cam fell asleep on one end and then Chad passed out by my head and eventually I fell asleep myself.

Saturday people seemed in better spirits because they had actually got some sleep this time. The line-up for this day wasn't as interesting to me and I don't think we got into the venue till about 6pm. Basically not as interesting but I spent most the day in the Sahara Tent. Bassnecter and Kaskade. Heather then wanted to head to MGMT and was supposed to meet her friend but we left a little late and there were to many people we couldn't get through the crowd. So Heather was in a bit of a bad mood and we went back to the tent to see David Guetta (who was killing it) and find everyone but they had gone to MGMT. I messaged Chad and managed to find them with the help of Big Matt and his glow sticks Hard to miss that guy in the crowd. We hung out with everyone for MGMT and then Muse who were also awesome. The happy vibe was hitting me a bit more. After Muse everyone met up for Tiesto and we danced hard for the end of the night. Once again we lost the car and didn't get out until 2am again. When we got back everyone partied a bit more I had a lot of alcohol. We sat around talking. Heather and I watched the sunrise over the golf course. Then I went to bed and slept for about four hours.


I went shopping with Big Matt & Maegan and they took us to Kosmos which is this huge store where everything is HUGE. Crazy we bought like 20 rolls of toilet paper because that was the smallest you could get.

Sunday was a big music day for me and it got kind of destroyed by a few things. Funniest moment however I was riding in Stephanie & Caroline's mustang convertible following Chad and the others in the big black van. Was feeling good. The top was down and the Californian sun was shining. Chad however had managed to leave the boot opened. So I'm yelling at them Heather is in the front seat on no sleep grinning away and I'm like THE BOOT IS OPEN apparently she heard me and she was saying hey guys Amanda is saying something I think the boot was open. But no one was listening to her and being all Canadians & Americans didn't even know what a boot was. So Chad takes our yelling as a sign of a drag race and screams off from the lights and we see a backpack go flying out the back. So we figure we have to turn around and grab it and then we see Chad stop up the road and Cam jump out to shut the boot. We tell them about the backpack and all over us turn around to see a guy stopped and picked it up about to put it in his car and we yell at him Cam runs over and grabs it and then off to the venue.

So I had found a phone in the Sahara the day before and it was in my pocket meaning I left my own phone in the car by accident. I was pretty annoyed as I was supposed to meet a friend I went searching for the car for an hour and couldn't find it. I missed spoon because of it. Giving up I came back to listen to Pavement who I wasn't that impressed with it could have been because I was annoyed I couldn't find my phone though... I found everyone during orbital and they were awesome which is weird because I've heard their music and found it a little to trancy and repetitive but I really enjoyed the live set. After orbital we danced to Plastikman a bit the guys were right into him, some old school Canadian DJ He was ok but not really my style. The closing act of the night was Gorillaz. We all headed over to Gorillaz who were so fucking good live except their last closing song was the worst song ever and it was the end of Coachella.. Heather had passed out on the ground with Andrew B cuddling her since they had had no sleep. Big Matt led us back to the car waving his glow sticks and we found it so quick perhaps the quickest yet and were home by 1am. A few people passed out and I tried to keep partying but fell asleep on the couch at 5am.. didn't even see the sunrise.

Monday, the last day. Well I was up then I was passed out again on the couch for a few hours I spent most my day making a video of the weekend on my computer. It was finished about 11 and I set it up on DVD to play in the cinema room everyone came round to check it out and it warranted a huge round of applause which made me happy. Andrew B had gotten some DVDs and I burnt everyone a copy. My tyre on my car was flat and I tried to change it but turns out I have a wheel lock which I don't have a key for.. and we had to get up at 8am to drive to LA to get our yellow fever shots. Cam and Phil were awesome and helped me pump it up with a bike pump which seemed to work. I packed most my stuff at 4am then passed out about 5am. Only to wake up 2 hours late I had to get Heather out of bed. And that was the end of Coachella.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

San Fran & San Jose

So San Jose was the next stop with a side trip to San Francisco. I was following my GPS and unfortunately there were road works.. so making a detour I got lost and ended up down this really bad road which added about 2 hours and a lot of annoyance to my trip. We got to San Fran in the afternoon and stopped by the pier tourist trap. We took a boat cruise around the harbour to check out Alcatraz and the Golden Gate bridge. After lunch and a little bit of souvenir shopping we took a drive up to Lombard road which was the worlds most crooked road and took some videos & pictures. Then I had to stop by the house from the TV show Full House. (if you haven't heard of it then don't bother) We found out sometime around now that both my brake lights weren't working... We were staying in San Jose at my friend Karen's place who I had known since I was pretty young in Darwin she had married an American and moved to California. They cooked us dinner and we chatted about random stuff before crashing out around 11pm.

The next day we got up early had Weetbix for breakfast and then headed out to Karen's workplace her Zoo. She showed us around a bit introducing us to a few of the animals and then we said our goodbyes. We stopped by the Australia store and picked up a ton of Tim-Tams and some burger rings for the road. I am seriously craving Australian food more then ever. We went to the Google head office just because. Actually it was around Google I was pulled over and a cop asked me if I was aware my brake lights were out. Of course I lied and said no and asked is there somewhere nearby I can get this fixed. He asked us how we were funding our road trip HAHA well you could smell a whole lot of weed coming out of our car which didn't help... He let us go anyway with a warning and we got on the road to Las Vegas. We made it to Las Vegas pretty late and I had a hard time making it to our hotel the directions were really unclear. We were staying at Circus Circus. I accidently went up the wrong way on a road and had to turn around only to hit a curb. Poor Jeepy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eureka, California

Heather came and picked me up in the morning the car was all packed which was a nice surprise. We were driving the Oregon coastline and stopping for the night in Eureka, CA. We misinterpreted the time however the coast was gorgeous but the drive took us over 10 hours and we didn’t arrive to Eureka till 11pm.

So we were couch surfing again. The guy was at a party one of his friends birthdays. It seems kind of weird that we would be crashing it but everyone seemed pretty laid back and there was so much weed floating around – welcome to California! Since we had been driving all day we ended up passing out on the couches before our host finally took us home around 3am. The next day we woke up bright and early (11am haha) and I made pancakes for everyone. There was another couchsurfer Rand from Washington there and he put maple syrup and peanut butter on his... I had a taste and was pretty unimpressed. Around 1pm we decided to actually do something and headed up to Fern Valley about a 40 minute drive in Redwoods National park. It was a bit of a miserable day constantly drizzling rain. We started the hike and missed the Fern Valley turn off so ended up walking along the coast and found this cool waterfall which I recognised from being on another hike about 1km off track. There was another hiking coming down from where we were heading and he said it was all flooded and pointless to keep going so we turned around. We found the Fern Canyon sign apparently we had somehow walked right around it..there was no real track but you just walk through a canyon and we were climbing over trees and crossing rivers. Turned out Heathers shoes weren't waterproof Rand gave her a few piggyback rides.

By the time we finished the hike we were soaking wet and it was getting late. We headed out of park and made it to the coast just in time to watch the sunset which turned out to be pretty amazing. I think we got back to the house about 9pm and Rand cooked us Poutine.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Portland, Oregon

Life on the road again...

There was something really different about leaving Banff this time, the friendships I made seemed stronger, the place seemed a lot more like home. It really struck me how being single and out there opened up my eyes to a whole new world in Banff. I noticed that in my travels since the break-up life just seemed different and in a good way.

So we drove out from Banff about 8am and basically just went straight to Portland, Oregon. Our border crossing was smooth, I have it down pat. Someone told me when they are trained really well to spotting signs of distress, suspicious behaviour and whenever I cross the border im always super nervous. So this time I played it cool and just got pushed through the line. The only real issue was that I mentioned about giving my car to Bianca and the customs guy said it had to be imported then I said ok Ill get my mate to pick it up and he was like .. how can I trust you? Do you have an honest face? Maybe if he knew me...
Portland the city I didn’t really see much of since I was out snowboarding both days. The snowboarding was amazing though. Day 1 Thursday the 8th was over 10inches and snowing all day. I honestly would ski a fresh line and then it would fill in on my way back up so I could ski it again! I went to Mt Hood Meadows which was pretty quiet but visibility was poor and the wind really strong. Still I had an epic day and met a really cool guy from Hawaii who showed me around the mountain a little.
That night we went out for drinks to meet up with a bunch of csers. I was in bed early however, fighting the powder and anticipation of fighting more powder the next day weighed heavily on me.

So Friday I got up and picked up Mike who was from around the area, he was into computer animation and had just got back from a round the world trip. He took me to Timberline another ski resort right on top of Mt Hood. The lodge was heritage listed and had been used in the movie adaptation of the Shining. We had a great day but was quickly exhausted because of my day before and we went through the trees a little only to lose my balance in waist deep powder. Man that was a fucking workout. After boarding I had a nap then he took me out to Fire and Mountain for the best wings in Portland before we got drunk again and danced till 2am and I passed out on his couch.

Friday, February 19, 2010

One point Five

Months that is!

Booked my tickets from LA to Lima, Peru a couple of days ago. Wow its really happening I am going to South America! Even if I just sit in the airport im going to fucking Peru! (and bolivia & ecuador)

Totally burnt myself out the last few days. Dropped by a mates after work on Tuesday to chat and ended up not going to sleep till about 5am and then waking up at 8am to get ready for snowboarding. Had a wicked day on the hill but was so exhausted by the end. So I get home for like an hour and then we are off to calgary to see Flying Lotus a californian dj kind of trippy music. Not totally my scene but was excited to get out and see someone and hang with some good people. I was pretty impressed with his live show though. He is playing at Coachella as well but I think I'll give it a miss since I've already seen him now and there are so many bands I would like to see!

Turned into a bit of a crazy night and we didnt go to sleep till about 5am, I was then up at 6am and needed to get out of there and go home. So I woke everyone up much to their disdain at 8am and drove the 1 hour back to Banff. I managed to sneak in about 2 hours of solid sleep before work. Seriously though I could have used another five hours. I was fading pretty badly at work and ended up in this kind of zone. But I guess I was in a good mood because I made a few customers happy. So I did my job alright.

I have a really bad habit of not sleeping enough and when I do get a chance to sleep I just end up going snowboarding! Ah well like I said 1.5 months left then SOUTH AMERICA!! Oh and then HOME in June. Wow ... back in Darwin for 3 WHOLE MONTHS!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Just got back from a weekend away to Panorama, BC. Caught up with my good mate Chad from Ontario (underworld carpark) I am trying to hit 15 different ski hills this season. A little obsessed? Anyway so far I have done..(in order)

Breckenridge, CO
Snowbird, UT
Sunshine Village, AB
Lake Louise, AB
Kicking Horse, BC
Revelstoke, BC
Panorama, BC

Just under half.. pretty sure its not going to happen. I have Fernie, Kimberly, Nakiska in the works. (got comp tickets for Nakiska which is really the only reason I'm going) Marmot Basin in Jasper is another possibility. Also want to hit up some resorts in Lake Tahoe on my way to Coachella.

Anyway speaking of Panorama. It all started out great we were up bright and early for first tracks and to beat all the people since it was Family Day weekend and a Saturday. So we decide to all do this cruisy green run to give Heather a little bit of a start. I flew to the bottom and ended up taking the chair lift back up to do another run. But as we are heading up I get this message saying she had hurt herself really badly and couldn't move. So Chad and I went back down to get her and she is still in the same spot. We take her board, gloves & helmet and she walks down. I leave her stuff at the bottom then Chad and I head back up the hill whilst Jemma & Sally take her to the infirmary. Once again I'm on the chair-lift and get a message "she has to go to hospital and get an x-ray" to which I respond "O geez tell her to have a beer I'll be down in an hour"

Anyway I go down and she is all slung up and we just tell her to sit at the bar and we will be back. Plus Heather also says she doesn't want to wreck our day! Chad and I seperated from Jemma & Sally and we went all over the place exploring trees, black, blue and some really dodgy runs. We get back to the Bar for lunch and Heather is nicely drunk so we get some food and get drunk with her. After lunch Chad and I run off again and do some more boarding. I think we finish up about 4/430 and we meet Heather, Jemma & Sally back in the pub. We end up getting super drunk. I think we left at like 9 or something.. not entirely sure. Went home I fell asleep on the floor for a bit. Everyone else went to bed and I ended up lying on the couch talking to Chad till about midnight where I fell asleep on the couch.

Sunday morning we took Heather to hospital then went back to the hill. Chad & I ditched the others again but I was really sketchy and hungover and accidentally for the first run of the day went down this super steep black mogully run. I think it took like an hour to get down.. Then I fell over and hit my elbow pretty hard so tired, hung-over & now hurting my confidence was shot! I lost chad for an hour and when I found him again (or he found me) went down and had a beer o'clock and a shot. Heather sent me a text she had broken her wrist haha. Cast for six weeks :) She will really fit into Banff now!! After the beer I felt much better and we went right up the top again and relaxed at the cabin right on top of the mountain just drinking beer and sitting back in the deck chairs.

Heather, Sally & Jemma left that night and Chad and I just got drunk and watched black books/extras till we passed out about Midnight. I got back into town about 2pm Monday.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Revelstoke is a town/mountain resort about a 3 hour drive from Banff, Alberta. Its supposed to have the highest vertical drop in Canada and some of the best snow. I've always wanted to visit it and my friend Sam who I had met randomly in the streets one drunken night was living there. He wanted to come back to Banff and I wanted to visit Revvy so I decided to drive down there for the weekend, crash at his house and then drive back. The drive was decant I managed to stick on 2wd the whole way, the only problem was it was super dirty and I ran out of washer fluid. Its pretty hard to drive when you can't see...

Revelstoke is a bit of a dead town but it does have quite a large young Kiwi population, for someone who never really hangs out with Kiwis and then suddenly your the token aussie surrounded by them its daunting. Plus Kiwis in their natural environment are really hard to understand..

Sam cooked me dinner and we had drinks before heading out onto the town. We went to some bar and it was taking ages to get a drink then this old guy brought us a round for no reason. So we just sat and chatted on the couch before heading home and crashing out around midnight.

Sunday we went up the mountain. I think my game was completely off.. It was rough terrain, mogully, super bad visibility but I had great company. Sam stuck with me all day even though I was being a massive wimp and taking my time. I think he had a relaxing day! Took me through a few trees runs which was pretty cool Im not very good at controlling my board in tight conditions tend to freak out a bit to much. I did get stuck in a tree well at one point. I fell over a ton one of my most impressive stacks was flying down a blue run and I see this dip, I thought yea I can jump it then freaked out tried to stop hit the jump to hard and went flying... bounced a couple of times and just lay there. Sam was laughing at me and I'm lying there in so much pain. Another great stack I stood up and just fell over and whacked my head, wasn't even moving. Good times.

So my opinion of revelstoke was positive. I enjoyed the tree runs but the visibility was a little frustrating at times. Sam was great.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dude, where's my car?

Talk about an Australia day to remember.

It began with some early morning snowboarding and drinking at Sunshine. I had another couple of friends in town from Utah and they came over for red & blue pancakes. The hill was absolutely beautiful. Sky was clear, blue with amazing scenery. There were tons of people dressed up in aussie gear and a few crazy people in singlets and boardies.

After Sunshine we headed back to town where we hit up the Legion for Australia day celebrations and drinks.

Then off to the Magpie for some food and more drinks. 8pm and I was absolutely wasted so I cut back on my drinks for a while. Onto Brunos which was packed and then finally The Devils Gap where I hung out for the rest of the night. Everyone ditched me they were all completely wasted. I ended up finding my mate Brett and just chatted to him all night. We went back to the magpie and then onto Bretts mates place where we chilled out talking till about 6am. I ended up back at Bretts and just passed out.

So 10am comes round and I am stumbling home completely scattered and my car is gone. So I head upstairs turn on my phone which had run out of battery the night before and there is like 10 missed calls from Heather and then these messages that she had driven my car round the corner and it had died on her then she couldnt restart it or get the key out. Fair enough she was completely scattered as well but she left my car round the corner with the key in the ignition and the doors unlocked. So I walk over and find my car and its in drive which explains why she couldnt restart it or get the key out but I asked her why she left the door unlocked with all my ski gear in it. (it was sitting on this street for about 3 hours) and her response was that she couldn't lock it because the central locking switch wouldn't work which happens when my car is to cold which leads me to believe it died on her because she didn't warm the engine up first. Anyway so I was pretty mad on little sleep now and mentioned that the car also has manual locks on the door. Her response "oh" So for three hours my car is sitting there unlocked with the key in the ignition all my ski gear in the back. Oh and its funny because nothing got stolen.

Anyway I went snowboarding, still a little buzzed but completely exhausted. Got a free intermediate lesson. Learnt the right way to lean and the instructor asked me if I felt any pain... ah no I said. But yea today I feel so sore...

Worked till 11pm then finally got some sleep. ZZZzzzz

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Proving to the world I'm not an alcoholic

After my effort Monday where I had to be carried home by Dave & Claire I have given up alcohol, until Australia day. Harder said then done which makes me wonder if there is a little alcoholism in me? Or is it just because I choose to reside in banff... And it hasn't actually been a week yet and I want to go out with my mates and have a beer!

No. *insert awesome willpower here*

Been planning my future journey, laying the seeds as well. Trying to make as many contacts in Utah & Colorado as possible so I can work there next season. I feel a little guilty since my family sort of expects me to be home for christmas this year but chances are I will instead be ripping up Utah powder. I will be home end of June for at least three months earn some real money then head off again.

Well life is short right :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

La La Land.

Working a 50 hour week, snowboarding and then adding a bunch of partying in the mix wore me out. I am pretty much done, so what do I do on my day off? Uh one of the most epic powder snowboarding days of the season.

Anyway backtracking on Wednesday I worked till 11pm and then took Claire and Rob to the hippy house. It was a pretty epic night, I ended up on the couch talking to this guy Alex most the night but Claire and Rob danced around. We partied till about 6am. We were up and out the door at 10am for some snowboarding at Sunshine. Both Claire and I were pretty fucked and spent a lot of time just relaxing by the fire talking shit. Still I had to show rob the hill so I took him up Wawa to the Shaken not Stirred cabin and promptly passed out in the hammock.

Work that night was not fun and I ended up leaving early at 9pm. I think I had one of the best sleeps of my life and didn't even wake up to Heather's alarm I was so dead to the world. Hanging out with Rob and Claire was awesome, I really felt like I'd known them forever and we just got along so well. Saturday I swapped a shift with a girl at work and went out to spend the last night with Claire and Rob which involved more drinking then a 3am bedtime to wake up once again at 8am and drive Rob to the airport. Its kind of quiet with him gone... Claire was saying you have love affairs with the people you travel with and its kind of true so many people I've met along the way that I wish I could know and hang out with forever but its like a week long affair and then I may never see them again!

Sunday night I worked till 11:30pm and then sorted my stuff out for Kicking Horse the next day. I think I maybe got two whole hours of sleep...I was excited about the Horse and worried about not waking up. So my day off I am up at 6am and just boarded all day drinking at 10am. Kicking horse was so bloody amazing first time ive ever been there and just foot high powder I took on some black mogul runs and landed on my ass a lot but had the time of my life. I was boarding with a workmate Wardy and his mates most the arvo. On the bus back I met a nice irish fellow mike.

So getting home and chilling out for an hour I went over to the Magpie to meet Wardy and his mates but lo and behold who should I run into but Alex from the Hippy House. I sat down at the bar and chatted to him for ages till he called it a night at 830pm. Then I sat talking to Brett another Aussie who had pretty much set up shop in Banff. He had some awesome travel stories and gave me a few connections in the US. I really want to work the winter in US next year for my last season. Anyway the bartenders started buying me Jager shots and before I knew it I was passing out and really drunk. Lucky Claire and It Dave had shown up so Dave took me home not after I threw up in the gutter a couple of times. Randomly one of Wardys mates showed back up and was wearing this one piece pajamas asking me to check out his willy because it looked so big. I was way to drunk and confused at this point.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Come out and Play

Popular? A friend of mine and fellow couchsurfer Rob from Utah (no not a Mormon) was visiting Banff. Considering how much has been given to me by gracious hosts I definately wanted to return the favour. I have such a passion for making sure people get the best of thier holidays. Because of couchsurfing my experiances everywhere were so positive. It didn't matter that I was all by myself because everywhere I went there was someone there happy to see me, even though they hadn't met me yet!

Anyway I picked Rob and his friend Claire (scottish) up from Calgary on Sunday. I didn't really have much time to spend with them because I had to work at 3. Monday was my day off bright and early I woke them up for a pancake breakfast before getting them on the road to Lake Louise Ski Resort. The snow was not the best, no new snow in a week and we are in the middle of a chinook. Yesterday was +7 in Banff! Anyway we wanted to make the most of it. Heather was doing a lesson there as well. I was feeling pretty lazy and with the snow a little rocky didn't push it to hard but relaxed most the day. It was a pretty epic day beautiful conditions

lake louise just visible in the distance

For the last run we managed to get Heather up the gondola and she was pretty happy with herself but for a beginner snowboarder its a long run and ends up taking about 45 minutes. She was hurting by the end. She has her heel slide pretty much down now just needs to switch it up to the toe. Definately one of the things I found hardest.

Heather relaxing just before a steep bit

At the end of the day we went out to Dinner at the Keg and then over to the Hidden Ridge for drinks & Hottub. It was pretty awesome, I got super drunk and passed out about 2am. I was then up at 7:30am cooked bacon and eggs for everyone. Had to go to work that night and just about passed out in exhaustion.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Years Eve, 2009

Its really hard to describe how amazing my new years was. And to think I was just about ready to pack it all in, I was working till 11pm and pissed off because I found out my ex (Brendan) was in a new relationship via facebook. You think after nearly four years you deserved to be told face to face. So yea I was bitter, didn't know what was going on. Figured I'd watch the fireworks and then have an early night.

So 11pm comes round I race home and drink in quick succession two Rev Vodkas and then get changed and walk to someones house where my friends and little sister were horribly drunk. We ended up climbing on the roof and watching the fireworks. After that we left the party and found some of my other mates and went to the Legion which was full of old people we danced there for like 2 hours. 2am comes round and everyone is like "Hippy House!" which I had no fucking idea what they were on about but followed anyway since I was now happily drunk and having a good time. The Hippy house turned out to be this crazy house full of people, drugs and music. The basement was decked out to be an underground rave a dj playing some awesome music.

Heather and I chilling in between dancing

Heather and I danced and talked till about 430am when we finally left. We ended up at Ciarans house and chilled out on the couch with him and Katie watching fire...going to bed around 630am

Ciaran and I passed out about 6am

Honestly it was a wicked night and it felt great, there was no dramas. It was like the good old days back when people just had fun instead of all the stress of life. Living in Banff is stress free.. life is to easy here.

Broke in the new year with two straight days of snowboarding after a nice 35cm snowfall in four days. Honestly these are some of the best days of my life!!