Monday, 20 February 2017

Giveaway!

I am hosting a little giveaway on my blog to express my gratitude for all those who read and have supported my blog over the years, even if you don't comment (although I love it when I do receive comments).



  1. Haigh's Chocolate Frog (milk chocolate) - Haigh's is a South Australian chocolate company and the chocolate frogs were first introduced in 1930s!
  2. Lush 'Happy Hippy' Shower gel - fresh citrus and grapefruit scent
  3. The Little Book of Hygge, The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That's down to one thing: hygge.

'Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight...'

Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules
+ Open internationally
+ 1 entry if you comment below telling me what you are looking forward to (or honestly if you comment about anything)
+ 1 additional entry if you follow my Instagram!
+ Giveaway closes in two weeks [5th March 2017]

And that's it! Really quite simple.
Friday, 17 February 2017

My Experiences: Car Camping

A bit of a disclaimer: this post is to talk about my experiences and some questions that people have asked me. I am not an expert and this is not something that I do for extended periods of time. Hopefully this post will be interesting / useful to someone on the internet!

New England Roadtrip

What is Car Camping?

Simply the act of "camping" in your vehicle as opposed to a tent! Alternatively, sleeping in your car / vehicle. I believe it is also referred to as urban camping.

When and Why Did I start Car Camping?

I first slept in my vehicle in June 2015 on my Flinders Ranges trip in South Australia purely to save money. There were two options I was presented with: (1) Pay for accommodation for $250 p/n; (2) Pay for an unpowered camping site for $13 p/n. Naturally Option 2 was more attractive.

These days, I car camp on all my roadtrips for a few reasons:
  1. Save money on accommodation where motels are easily $100+ p/n. I am - and have always been - quite a frugal traveller and really want to stretch my dollar as far as I can.
  2. Sense of freedom and being able to wake up and leave at the crack of dawn and generally not being as restricted
  3. Being able to see the stars when I am lying down before I fall asleep
I have now car camped for 5 separate instances with the longest being 4 nights.

New England Roadtrip

How do I Car Camp?

I don't own a car so all the cars I have slept in have been rentals. I rent the Toyota Corolla hatchback or equivalent on all occasions (due to cost) and always hope that I get a free upgrade. Of course if I had my own vehicle, things would be a lot simpler as I could make the space infinitely more comfortable over time. However every car model is different and subsequently some experiences are more comfortable than others. Nonetheless I have made do!

New England Roadtrip

I am 5'1" or 1.55m and therefore not the tallest individual. I fold back the two seats flat, lay out my sleeping bag and when I lie slightly diagonal, I can stretch out completely. Although it is not the most spacious vehicle (obviously) it doesn't bother me too much since I am a side sleeper in a feotal-esque position meaning that I take up less room anyway. The downside to this position is that my hip digs into the floor and at some point, I will invest in a sleeping pad. I was at a campsite once where there were four girls simply sleeping in their seats upright / slightly reclined in their compact SUV. If that is how you can sleep - I cannot fall asleep in any position apart from being horizontal- then that would be infinitely better!

New England Roadtrip
My latest addition has been a solar powered string of fairy lights. Although it is very Instagram-y, it is quite practical especially when I am staying somewhere with no / minimal lighting. My torch is often too bright / harsh and the lights from the fairy lights effectively means I am not sitting there in complete darkness at campgrounds.

New England Roadtrip

I use the passenger seat as the equivalent of my "living room"; this is where I will lounge in the car when I am not ready to sleep. I'd usually be in that seat reading my Kindle or eating.

Where do I park the vehicle?

I originally stayed at low cost campgrounds and have slowly transitioned to free campgrounds. I have stayed at the outskirts of suburbia once and also at free camping spots / assumed camping spots. I recently downloaded the app WikiCamps which lists all campgrounds in Australia with reviews which has been super helpful. I have also used CaravanCaravan in the past.

As I am staying in an everyday vehicle and not a campervan or refurbed van (you know the ones I am talking about), I have the factor of stealth and I could definitely stay in the suburbs. In the future, I would see business parks / industrial areas / streets close to parks as possible overnight locations.

New England RoadtripAdmittedly, it can be a slightly messy affair. I had already picked up for this photo - haha. Here you can see where I sleep, where I put my luggage. Usually I keep my food on the floor of the passenger seat when I am driving.

But is it safe?

At paying campgrounds, yes probably. At free campgrounds, yes probably. At another location, possibly. It is definitely very reassuring to see other people (usually in their campervans) at the campsite although arguably that may also be a sense of false security. I must admit, it can feel a little daunting being the only person there (happened to me twice), but it all boils down to common sense / gut feelings. If it doesn't feel right or you experience the heebie-jeebies, simply move onto the next location.

But what about toilets / showers / facilities?

This isn't an issue at campgrounds as there are often facilities such as toilets / showers / BBQs. However, these are generally only available at paid campgrounds; depending on the location, prices range from $5-$30 for unpowered sites. Prior to Mongolia, I had stayed once at a campground without showers for one night and survived. After Mongolia, I realised that I can mentally go by without showers for a lot longer than one day. I have read that you can pay a small fee to use showers at paid caravan parks / hostels and there may be showers at petrol stations (used by truckies). Toilets are everywhere! Shopping centres, parks, public toilets in suburbs / towns; there are more toilets than you realise and there is also a directory which I find slightly amusing.
I am still refining my approach but if you have any questions, please leave them below!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Tatsuo Miyajima - Connect with Everything

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

I am generally not a fan of art galleries or anything of that sort; truth be told, I have a very short attention span and find myself bored quite easily. I have been to my fair share of galleries and exhibitions, predominately during my travels in Europe, but have slowly steered clear due to lack of interest and appreciation for the works. However when I heard about Tatsuo Miyajima's exhibition at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), I thought it might be something I would be interested in. Tatsuo Miyajima is a Japanese contemporary artist who works with light installations and digital counters. It has been in Sydney for a while now and is on its last month at MCA.

'Tatsuo Miyajima embraces the materials and substance of life in order to explore the nature of being. Numbers and counting sequences are central to this process, revealing time’s relentless, cyclical nature. They also serve to remind us that whilst our time on this planet is brief, our lives have beauty and purpose, for we are one with the cosmos that exists within and outside us.’
Source

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

For Miyajima, the numbers 9-1 reflect a human scale, showing life on a singular level as well as a wider, communal one. The gap between counting cycles – the zero – represents a pause or breath, the “space of death” before life begins once more. Within this cycle, death is simply a state like life: “it is just a question of if it is visible or not.”
Source

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Arrow of Time (Unfinished Life)
Arrow of Time, refers to the astronomical concept of time’s irreversibility – that it cannot rewind itself and ‘come back’ again. For Miyajima, this is reflective of life itself and the fact that a particular moment in time cannot be re-made.

‘In everyday life, we tend to forget this reality so I would like to communicate that we live in moments that cannot be recovered.’ Creating a situation where ‘those moments are raining from the universe’, he chose red LEDs to express caution and urgency in relation to our brief but significant moment on this planet.
Source

This was my favourite installation. There were some mats that you could lie down on and look up to see the ticking counters. It was both a little uncomfortable (due to the count down) but largely quite soothing with the red light and the methodical change of numbers.

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Mega Death
Wrapping around three walls, it is a vast, glittering enclosure of blue counter gadgets that periodically switch off in unison, plunging viewers into temporary darkness before the counting cycle begins again. It is impossible to predict when, or for exactly how many seconds, the counter gadgets will switch off. This element of unpredictability is central to the artist’s work and serves as a metaphor for life itself.

Mega Death represents a memorial to death on an industrial scale over the past century, recalling the Second World War, Hiroshima and Auschwitz. It is also a powerful statement about humanity’s capacity to heal and begin again.
Source
This was intentionally quite an uncomfortable installation due to a sensory overload with the bright / jarring blue lights and the walls filled with little counters.

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA
Time Train to the Holocaust and Counter Coal.

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

I think this is a worthwhile exhibition and an apt reminder of the cyclical - and inevitable- nature of life. Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything is at the MCA until March 5, 2017.