Friday, 31 July 2015

Full Time Work Blues

So keep on climbing, though the ground might shake
Just keep on reaching though the limb might break
We've come this far, don't you be scared now
'Cause you can learn to fly on the way down
An unintentionally appropriate motivational song. My favourite song at the moment.

1. I have now been at my new job for 2 weeks. I might write about my entire soul crushing job search at a later point but right now, just a personal post about where I am right now. The Graduate program that I am doing is not obviously directly related to my degree. I don't have an issue with that. I left university with a double undergraduate degree of Commerce (major in accounting) and Law. I left university not wanting to do either accounting or law but it is incredible frustrating having to explain that constantly. I am working for a company that derives it's main business from auditing clients against standards such as OHS, environmental standards and everything else under the sun (basically anything that is NOT accounting related). For the first 5 weeks I will be in 'observation mode' where I literally sit next to someone and watch how they work. I am meant to see how every cog in the business works to gain a holistic view of the company. I get it. It's actually super useful, but sitting there 9-5 and watching someone do work is dull. An understatement if any. They are flying us over to Perth and Melbourne in August to also watch people work. The bigger picture is to develop us into future leaders [a faster pathway].

2. There are 6 of us in total and three are in operations department. The other two grads are slightly difficult to get along with. One girl is relatively nice but super duper bitchy. Unbelievably. She keeps making jokes about my surname. I believe that I am quite a chill and easy going person. I am also quite self deprecating but the joke gets tiring after the 20th time.

3. The other grad eggs the person mentioned above and is relatively nice but not really my cup of tea and that is perfectly fine. I know that I do no need to like the people at work, I just need to be able to work with them. But as we are grads and the only people who are roughly the same age in the company, it almost feels like I have to get along with them beyond a professional level and the fact that I will be travelling with them for 2 weeks in total is a little scary.

4. I am sick of feeling so fake. This is natural. But because I need to sit with at least 3-4 different people every day, the same few conversations happen and it's just tiring. It's the same fatigue I had when I was having multiple conversations with people on Tinder. Obviously, I will make the extra effort to be nice, to be friendly, to be interesting. But keeping it up for 7 hours every day straight is tiring. Then I have the team manager, the department manager and my two other Operational managers constantly checking up and asking 'is everything okay?' and having to be chirpy and going 'yes! It's great' is tiring. I also don't have any friends at work. And like my old coworker told me, 'Natalie, it takes time to get to know people'. I get it. But just the fact that I am so fake and then I sit by myself at lunch is just tiring. I finish work at 5 on the dot and once I get home, I shower and stay in bed for the rest of the night because I a) am exhausted and b) I really really enjoy this downtime where I don't need to be conscious about how I am presenting myself to other people. Maybe it is true what they say about introverts and their downtime.

5. Most people I have met are nice. Some are plain weird. But nice. There is one 'interesting' guy who reminds me of the people I have mentioned on my Tinder series. He makes sexual innuendos constantly and it was quite uncomfortable having to observe him for a few hours. That upset me one of the days [the final straw of an already shit day] . I sat with a woman yesterday who basically insulted me and asked scathingly, 'so when are you going to find a degree related job?' after I told her I had to pass through 7 rounds to get this 2 year contract. Today in their team meeting, she effectively used me as a scapegoat to justify her reduced efficiency the day before because 'Natalie sat with me for 1.5hrs'. Um. I sat with other people for more time than that and no one said anything. And more importantly, aside from maybe 15 minutes, I literally sit there in silence and watch people work. I repeat, I. Watch. People. Work. So in my opinion, to say that in front of a team of 20 is just plain rude.

I guess my ultimate goal in life is to be true to myself. I don't feel like I am being the person that I want to be right now. I am so negative right now, I whinge, I bitch and every little thing ticks me off. But I may be feeling all that during work, but it's stuck behind my neutral/chipper/happy-go-lucky persona. I was talking to a 'friend' or friend via messages and I ended up crying on the bus.

I know that I just need to adjust. I know that I need to give it time. I know that this will pass. But right now, I am just not in a very good headspace at all. My biggest problem is that when I am like this, everything kind of snowballs and I am negative and I start feeling alone and bored and like no one cares blah blah blah. And it's a horrible place to be in right now; it's a struggle to actively control my thoughts and go, 'hang on Natalie. Stop. Breathe. Go meditate'. But to be positive, hey I am aware of where I am and where I want to be. Right now it's the battle between the emotional side and the rational side.

Naturally to stop me from moping, I have a full weekend! I am indoor rocking climbing with a former coworker. Honestly, we hardly talked before but I left my farewell party before he arrived and I felt awfully guilty. On Sunday, I am having lunch with the 'friend'. Status to be determined. I met him on Tinder actually way back. I don't know where we stand right now. If he wants something more or just friends. Honestly, in my current mood I wish I knew without a doubt where his head is at. Irrespective, I will figure it out by Monday if it's the last thing I do. I just don't have patience to deal with it anymore. In other news, I am also back on Tinder. I definitely do go through cycles. It seems that I go in monthly cycles. I got Tinder two months ago, used it excessively for a week and then stopped. A month later, I joined again and used it for a month and started my Tinder series and then stopped. Now it is a month after that and I am back on. What can I say, Tinder kills time. And if I can have fake conversations at work, it is surely second nature by now on this app.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Flinders Ranges (Part 1)

Hi I'm Natalie and until a month ago, I hadn't driven since I did my driving test to get my Red P's back in June 2010. 

I wanted to use this trip to challenge myself and I decided to learn how to drive again and drive from Adelaide to Flinders Ranges, a distance of 480km one way. Before I went on my trip, I drove 4 times on the streets in my area and decided that I was reasonably okay to drive the 480km by myself. Not only was I going to drive that distance, but I was also going to sleep in my car for three nights and complete a 22km hike. Ambitious. It was a little stressful in the beginning of the drive since I had never driven on a highway/motorway before and driving at 100km/h was a little scary. However, I got into the groove of it and the highways were really easy since there was no one on the road. I admit, it was a little lonely driving for super long straight stretches of road with maybe one other car on the road every 30-40 minutes. South Australia is so beautiful and it was quite cool seeing the landscape change. To keep myself entertained, I had a lot of sing-a-long sessions with my country music station on Pandora. I love Pandora.

Kangaroo Island

Untitled

Untitled

Flinders Ranges
There were lots of abandoned farmhouse ruins. It's actually incredibly amazing that a family lived in such a desolate landscape. The drive just made me reflect on the difficulties of the first explorers or farmers who lived there once upon a time. I already found it so isolating and I was driving in my car at 110km/h, let alone people on horses back in the day. 

Untitled
I drove through many country towns that looked like this. Absolutely deserted and quite eerie.

The funniest part of the very very long 7 hr drive was frantically messaging my mate about fuelling my car (since I had never done it before) #prepared.

Now the question, why did I sleep in my car? Short answer: to save some money. To stay at the resort in the national park would have cost me $250 pn. To stay in the nearest town 60km away would have cost me $100pn. Or, I could sleep in my car at the campground and only pay $15pn. I had brought with me my Black Wolf sleeping bag and thought I was reasonably prepared. I was expecting 6 degree nights, but in reality they were 0/1 degree nights. The first night, I woke at 4am (I also had no phone service and had nothing to do so I went to bed at 8pm) because I was freezing! Luckily, I learnt from my mistake and slept slightly better for the next two nights but it was still really really cold. Every night I would wake up around 4-5am and end up burrowing my face into my mummy sleeping bag so I was literally in a coccoon. I don't think I would have surived another night since I was so frustrated with sleeping in the car. Granted, aside from the temperature, it wasn't too uncomfortable. But it was a little annoying being restricted physically due to the mummy sleeping bag. It is times like that where I am grateful for being short. I had only rented a Ford Focus hatchback and folded down the back seats so I could lie down (when I picked up the car, I didn't know how to fold down the seats so I had to YouTube it in the carpark #prepared). In fact, sleeping in the car like that was more comfortable (for my body) than the times I went camping on the ground.

I was a little worried about the 22km hike at Wilpena Pound to St Mary Peak since I was hiking by myself. But it was a really nice, reasonably easy and an amazing hike!

Flinders Ranges
Part of the hike. See the blue arrow? That points to the path. The hardest part of the hike was climbing up to Tanderra Saddle. I am short and consequently my legs aren't exactly the longest. At one point I had to slowly shuffle myself up by using my legs and butt (since my legs weren't long enough to allow me to easily get up onto the rock ledge).

Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges. Absolutely breathtaking.

Flinders Ranges

Flinders Ranges

Flinders Ranges
The photo doesn't show how massive Wilpena Pound is. I guess you might see if you compare the trees to the rock formation.

Flinders Ranges

Flinders Ranges is not a massive national park by any means. The images don't really do it justice, but I felt so isolated, insignificant and also quite liberated at times too. I wanted to be immersed in nature on this trip since my new job is located in the CBD and I'm really not much of a city person (too busy for me) but I don't think I've ever felt so isolated physically in my life. A weird but very cool experience.

And now for a quick hike review! The hike for St Mary Peak can be completed in two ways: the outer or inner trail. The recommended route is the 22km which involves taking the outer route (so climbing outside Wilpena Pound) and then taking the inside route back to the campsite. The much shorter route is around 15km where you take the outside track on the ascent and descent but it is challenging as you need to climb back down Tanderra Saddle (see the rocky picture above). I was a little worried initially since quiet a lot of people said that it was challenging. A little information about me. I enjoy hiking (nothing hardcore) but I am also not the fittest and I basically don't exercise. The climb up Tanderra Saddle was definitely a little challenging (perhaps more intimidating than anything) however do-able. From Tanderra Saddle to St Mary Peak was pretty easy except for the last 10 minutes where it was a lesser version of the 'Tanderra-Saddle-rock-scramble-up'. I could have completed the walk in around 6 hours but near the end, I took longer breaks and finished the entire hike in 7ish hours. In fact the hardest part of the entire hike was the last 5km where it was completely flat and just felt never-ending.

As an aside, I read this horrifying blogpost where the girl was unprepared and completed the outer trail (the 15km) hike in 13 hours and finished at 1am and she didn't make it to the peak, so just up and down Tanderra Saddle, so in fact less than 15km. Okay, that just makes me so angry. Why would you even start the most challenging hike in the national park at 12pm (when everyone recommends 8-9am in winter months since the sun sets at 4pm). It could easily have been one of those stories on the front page about a tourist dying due to their own stupidity.

All in all, I would recommend the hike. It's not overly challenging in my opinion, but the key point is to be smart. But truth be told, that's a given and really doesn't need to be said. Like most things in life, just don't be an idiot. 
Sunday, 26 July 2015

Tinder - V's Story

Author's comment: I write posts in advance generally and usually my thoughts remain the same. However, my thoughts on V. have changed. Note the edit at the end of this entry.

The last installment of my Tinder series (for now? Forever? Not sure) is with V. My story with V is a little bittersweet. It's actually vastly different to P and C and the route our relationship went completely baffles me. I don't give my number out to people without screening them a little. But for some reason, I threw that out the window and gave him my number after he said hi. Actually, he said something along the lines of, "Hey, you are stunning!" which I ignored and then he messaged going, "Nat!" and for some reason I felt guilty that I didn't reply before. I gave him my number as he was driving home from the hospital (intern, finished med degree last year) and our first conversation was via phone call with a very dodgy phone reception. The call was very playful but my impression was that he thought he was a super smooth talker and had a lot of charm. I've worked in the food industry for 4 years and retail for over 4.5 years, so I can spot bullshit from a mile away. We agreed to meet up/ in his own words, "I'm going to steal you for a date".

We had a few (maybe 3?) Whatsapp conversations and the notable hmmm messages are included below. Also why is he named 1 rather than V (or his full name) on my contacts. Well when we had the phone call, it kept breaking up and I needed to save his number quickly to return the call. Rather than typing his name, it was just easier for me to put in 1 and then I never bothered to change it. Ha.



Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is Australia's third largest island and is known for its untouched beauty and the abundance of wildlife (the island doesn't have foxes or rabbits although feral cats are a big problem on the island). I had originally wanted to self drive however logistically it was very difficult and also very expensive ($600 for three days seems a little absurd to me). In the end, I settled on Kangaroo Island Adventure Tours and I am very glad that I did settle on this route. I have never been on a multi-day tour (aside from the dodgy Chinese ones as a kid) and was a little worried however everyone was super nice (I was the only solo traveller) and I had an amazing time! The funniest people were definitely this Danish family who had three adorable and well behaved kids. The father was absolutely hilarious and just funnily inappropriate. For example, the amazing tour guide had mentioned that penguins when ready to mate make this weird noise and the father goes, "sounds just like my wife". Haha, absolute gold.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

The tour took us around the island and I fell in love with the place. It is simply breathtaking and definitely worth the effort to get there. I saw amazing coves, beaches, seal lions and NZ fur seals.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island
Little Sahara.

Kangaroo Island

I also saw the most incredible sunrise! It was overcast and so I didn't have very high expectations but there was a lot of mist and when the sun hit the mist, it turned this incredible golden hue.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

I was the only Australian person in the tour (aside from the guide) but I still get excited about seeing koalas and kangaroos. I actually saw a wild koala up close as it changed trees!

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island
Breathtaking.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

I also got to hold a koala! #tourist. I did pay $15 for it (which is actually very cheap compared to places like Australia Zoo in Queensland where I think it costs $30+) but there are only two states in Australia where you are allowed to hold them. I am in love with koalas now. They are so soft and compact and are a close tie to wombats (I love wombats).



Kangaroo Island isn't the usual place to visit for tourists (most people focus on the east coast) but I would highly recommend! This tour also made me more confident about multiday tours (since that was one of the reasons deterring me from going to Kakadu/ Top end in Northern Territory).
Sunday, 12 July 2015

Adelaide

A week ago, I came back from my trip to South Australia! I start a new job on Wednesday (and I am quite nervous actually) so this trip was my last hurrah before full time work. I originally had three weeks of potential holiday time and instantly, I thought about going overseas. However, I thought it was about time that I spent more time exploring Australia and South Australia has been on my radar for quite a while now. In the end, I settled on visiting Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and Flinders Ranges for 8 days in total.

Adelaide is the prettiest and cutest capital city that I have visited in Australia thus far! I usually am not a big fan of the grid system, but Adelaide just makes it work. It's a planned city and it is organised in such an efficient and lovely manner. The roads are so wide (unlike Sydney) and I honestly love the city!

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled
This was such a lovely morning in Adelaide! My waffle set was quite nice, a country music playlist was being played and I was having a wonderful FB conversation with a friend.

I also headed out to Hahndorf in Adelaide Hills. Hahndorf is Australia's oldest surviving German settlement and it was so weird to see the German influence in the architecture of the buildings. What was also weird was seeing the typical German souvenirs being sold.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Friday, 3 July 2015

Tinder - C's Story

If you don't know, I use Tinder and I plan to write posts about the people that I have met on Tinder that have interested me. Read my first post here. This will be C's story and the second installment in my Tinder series (I can't believe that is happening on my blog).

Here is C's Story
C is the complete opposite of P. Oh my. Whilst I talked to P because we bonded, I kept a conversation with C because he made me laugh. For all the wrong reasons. He is the most* cockiest, arrogant and self entitled person that I have met. Ever. Both virtually and in the real world. His full first name is hidden for obvious reasons but here are some snippets of our messages that honestly make me laugh so hard.

* I wrote this a while back and I have since met someone else who makes C look humble.





The thing is, we actually have a mutual friend on Facebook so I knew his surname and had already stalked his page and his online presence. All of it combined just reaffirmed his douchey-ness. Although I have to say that his photos are stunning but knowing his online personality (which probably translates to his actual personality) it just ruins the photos. I can't link the photos because of a) copyright issues and b) I do want protect his identity. But he was shortlisted for the Australian Photography + Digital 'Travel' competition recently.


I never met up with C and had no intention whatsoever. I didn't even feel comfortable giving him my mobile number. Although I did add him on Facebook and after he realised that I had nothing on the page to stalk, he removed me as a friend (he actually told me that too). Wait what?! How did we stop talking? Maybe he realised that he wasn't going to get lucky with me or he deleted Tinder. Similar to P, I feel a little sad. Not for the same reasons but the fact that my source of entertainment has now disappeared.

In short, C was hilarious and I can't believe that people like him exist. There are are serious creepers on Tinder, but C just took it to another level entirely. In some ways, I feel that he was simply a "talker". As the saying goes, empty vessel makes the most noise. Here is a guy whose sole purpose on Tinder is to find a friends with benefit or a hook up. He hooked up with one girl last year, went on exchange/travelling for 8 months and came back to Sydney early this year and has been on Tinder since the start of the year. Six months of Tinder-ing and still no success. Hmm.

I am not sure who is next on my series. I haven't met anyone who is super interesting. There may be one, but I need to see how it will pan out. (I feel like I am using Tinder for reasons vastly different to everyone else. Whoops).

Update: I have "met" someone who has this crazy God complex. I have also deleted Tinder now so this series was very short lived.