Saturday, 9 December 2017

Adventures in Sydney: Thornleigh Bushwalk


Another weekend, another bushwalk.

We ventured to Hornsby region - also known as the Bushland shire - for a relatively short bushwalk. One of the perks of living in Sydney is the close proximity to various bushwalks. However, admittedly, they eventually all look the same.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Summer Plans


Summer* is just around the corner and I am so bloody excited. I always have a whinge about the mandated office closure, but I am looking forward to it as I desperately need the break. I have been feeling a little off for the past few months - funnily enough, it coincided with the post about my mental health journey - and I haven't managed to shake the feeling off. There is a part of me which thinks that I am burnt out. This would be partly attributable to the project that I am stuck in and also the fact that it has been a long and tiring year.

The forced leave will effectively wipe out my entire accrued annual leave balance. Nonetheless, I will try to make the most of the time I have off despite the fact that it is peak season and also uber hot in most areas of Australia.

I originally wanted to hire a car and do another multi-day roadtrip to Liverpool Plains for sunflowers. However, as it was a dry winter/spring in NSW, the farmers were unable to plant any sunflower crops (but there might be cotton fields I can visit next April!). Therefore my "summer" will be dedicated to daytrips from Sydney in pre-2015 style. Aka before I realised I could kind of drive a car and depended on public transport to get to places.

I have a few ideas but it will depend on the weather. Here's to hoping it won't be 30+ degrees!

* Summer equates to holidays in my mind which is sadly a thing of the past as I am no longer a student.
Monday, 27 November 2017

Adventures in Sydney: Jacaranda Hunting

Jacaranda

Jacaranda

Every year, I patiently await the bloom of the jacaranda trees. And every year, I am in awe of the beauty of the purple flowers. It brings me so much joy to spot them on my commute to and from work.
Monday, 20 November 2017

Daintree Rainforest ii

After Cape Tribulation, we hopped onto the boat for the river cruise. We managed to see one adult crocodile and a tiny, tiny baby crocodile. I had taken a photo of the baby croc, however even after zooming into the photo, I couldn't find it at all haha.

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest
Monday, 13 November 2017

Daintree Rainforest i

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest

The World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest is the largest rainforest (1,200 square kilometres) in Australia. It is also the world's oldest rainforest (180 million years) and is believed to be the last remaining example of what Gondwanaland would have been like. Located next to the ocean, it is famously known as 'where the forest meets the sea'. The region is also home to a significant percentage of Australia's plant and animal species; there are species which cannot be found anywhere else.

Yes, Australia does have rainforests and does not simply consist of deserts (or the 'outback') despite common misconceptions.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef and covers approximately 350,000 square kilometres off the coast of Queensland. It was added as a World Heritage Site in 1981. There are countless operators for reef day trips, ranging from absurdly cheap (for Australian standards) to mid-range. We went with Passion of Paradise, one of the few local operators in the market. One of our key considerations was that we didn't want to visit pontoon in the ocean.
Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Top Attractions in El Paso Accessible by Public Transport


Traveling is undoubtedly a luxury, but I am a firm believer that it can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. The easiest way to cut travel costs is to catch the local public transport. It is less convenient than hailing an Uber or renting a car, but it does mean that your dollar can stretch a lot further.

This guide details some of the top attractions in El Paso, Texas, that are accessible by public transport. From my experience, the USA has some of the cheapest public transport fares I have ever seen. It is unfathomable that for $3.50 a day I could take unlimited rides around a city. Back in Sydney, the same cost would cover a 20-minute bus ride!

Located in the far western corner of Texas, El Paso is the sixth-largest Texan city. It borders New Mexico and Mexico, and the two countries are separated by a natural border, the Rio Grande. If you intend to catch public transport, it is crucial to select centrally located IHG hotel in El Paso, especially those close to bus stops. For further information about routes, consult the Sun Metro website.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Cairns

Cairns

When I was 16 years old, I travelled to North Queensland with my sisters. This was a significant trip as: it was the first time I travelled*; first time that I stayed at a hostel; and I had paid the entirety of the trip which was a big deal as I was only earning $6/hr at the time.

My recollection of the trip was sparse and that had always bothered me. Imagine visiting one of the most famous places in the world - Great Barrier Reef- and having effectively 0 memories of the entire experience.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

[Video] Wollongong, NSW | Travel Diary


A few weekends ago, I headed down to Wollongong, NSW for the day. I have visited the city a few times and rather than taking the same kind of photos again, I decided to attempt another travel diary. I really want to improve my videography skills and the best way to achieve this is through practice!


Also - thank you for all your kind words and comments in my previous post. I am quite a private person and despite sharing a lot of things online, there are many aspects of my life that I gloss over /  keep mum.
Tuesday, 10 October 2017

My Mental Health Journey Thus Far


I never thought that I would still be alive at this age. In fact, there was a point when I believed that I wouldn't see my 22nd birthday. But here I am today and it has been a long and tough journey.

My struggle with depression started during my final years of high school. It was as though a switch was flicked on; at the time the difference between 'before' and 'after' was so distinct. I never fully understood why or what had changed within. But I was changed.

It will get better once I finish high school.
It will get better once I get into university.
It will get better once I go on exchange.
It will get better once I finish university.
It will get better once I get an internship.
It will get better once I get a job.
It will get better once I .....

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Finding the Beauty in Simplicity

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It has taken me a while but I have finally learnt to appreciate and enjoy the little and, arguably, mundane things in my life. As much as I want to be adventuring on the weekends, I am now content to spend that time doing routine activities. These activities include, inter alia, grabbing a teh tarik from the food court, helping my boyfriend wash his car and even shopping for groceries to meal prep for the coming week.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Monthly Recap: September



September is synonymous with spring cleaning and I finally FINALLY got around to modifying my blog layout. This involved trawling through the CSS to fix all the little things that have irked me for months. I also attempted to tidy my labels / tags which resulted in a walk down memory lane. There were some things that I thought only happened relatively recently when in fact they occurred almost 4 years ago! An attempt was also made to consolidate all my photos across various computers onto my HDD which was an interesting experience. I stumbled upon some "artsy" selfies taken when I was 18 years old haha.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Shooting with a Russian Lens

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I am the kind of person who will want an item but sit on the decision for months if not years before I am finally ready to commit. However the exception - and my weakness - relates to film SLRs. A month ago I decided to purchase the popular Helios 44-2 58mm lens and also a lens adaptor for my Sony A6000. Legacy lens are considerably cheaper than modern lens and since I could use it on both cameras it must be a more worthwhile purchase. Right, right?

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Life Lessons from Job Hunting


For the vast majority of people, job hunting is an inevitable process to be undertaken a few times in their life. Gone are the days of staying in an organisation for many years or even decades. The national average tenure in Australia for a job is currently 3.3 years. Unless you are one of the select few - executives / senior managers / someone with connections / industry where supply < demand - job hunting sucks. I believe that this is especially the case for people who are starting off in their career and just trying to get their foot into ANY door.

I have been through the job hunting process twice and there are a few lessons I have learnt along the way. A lot of these lessons aren't confined to the job hunting process itself but are applicable to life in general.

1. Expect Nothing

When I was a fresh-out-of-uni graduate, I applied for many roles and almost always got a auto-generated rejection. However in my second experience, it was incredibly rare to get a response from anyone. I would submit my application, it would end up in the ether and I would never hear about it again. Well that is until I saw the same job get relisted a month or two later. Eventually I discovered from colleagues that this was quite common (but why, isn't it simply common courtesy?) and I was being unrealistic in my expectations.

Perhaps it is a coping mechanism, but setting the bar really low means that something as simple as having HR send a generic email exceeds expectations. On the flip side, remember that they have to sift through a dozen to a few hundred applicants. Applying for a job may mean the world to you but at the end of the day, it simply doesn't have the same level of importance for the company.
Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Adventures in Sydney: Hidden 2017

Hidden 2017

Hidden 2017

Over the past few years, I have visited a few cemeteries around the world. From Savannah, Georgia to New Orleans, Louisiana and even Glasgow, Scotland! I understand that it is quite odd to be interested in visiting cemeteries and people usually throw a few quizzical looks my way.
Friday, 1 September 2017

Monthly Recap: August

For the first time in years, I am not stressed out about the fact that the end of the year is fast approaching. In fact, I am looking forward to December and also the coming year. It has taken me a while, but I am finally super content with where I am in life.

Assyrian mixed plate - the most delicious meat hidden underneath the bread

Apart from some stress / anxiety at work, it has been a really good month. Also, I am almost up-to-date with my blog and don't have any scheduled posts. This is also a first as I have been scheduling posts for the past year now.

Went to my first AFL match, free tickets courtesy of work. It was absolutely freezing. 
Monday, 28 August 2017

An Open Letter to my Exes


It surprises me that I didn't have an aneurysm during the two months that we spent in Europe. Although I must admit that on the morning of our departure back to Sydney, I did yell in exasperation, "I am glad you didn't buy a Swiss knife otherwise I would have stabbed you". We were so incompatible. Looking back, I realise that I had someone else in my life who was stirring the pot and I cannot completely fault you for acting the way that you did. It wasn't all doom and gloom though. You taught me to not be so frugal and also suggested a visit to Turkey, a country that I had never thought I would visit but has become one of my favourites. To this day, I am surprised that you paid me back for the Europe trip. I had covered your costs (~$4k) and we broke up before payment; I had tried to accept that I might never recoup the costs actually. It was only two years later that I plucked up the courage to go through my bank statement to aggregate all the small payments made.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Adventures in Sydney: Kurnell

Kurnell

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I headed down south to Kurnell. Kurnell is where Captain Cook first landed in 1770 and thus triggered the whole process of European settlement. Despite it being such an important place, I had never visited! The general areas is a bit odd; Botany Bay houses Sydney's (very small) port and Kurnell is also home to Caltex's giant oil refinery.

Kurnell
Another weekend, another picnic.

Kurnell
Made a little friend - as always don't feed the wildlife.
Monday, 14 August 2017

[Video] Day in My Life | Work Edition

I am back with another vlog style video! I mainly use my blog to document about the interesting and adventurous things that I get up to. However my life is generally a bit mundane. I work Monday to Friday from 8.30am-5pm + commute which isn't conducive to doing interesting things during the week. And also because I am lazy.


Random thoughts from this video process:
  • Finding music is a chore.
  • It seems that I bounce a lot when I walk.
Saturday, 12 August 2017

Mongolia Packing List & Advice


A year ago I embarked on a two week trip to Mongolia. This post has been sitting in my drafts for almost 8 months now and I thought it was fitting to post it now.

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Before my trip to Mongolia, I wrote a packing list of what I was bringing. I thought it was best to write another packing list for those who are going to Mongolia and to prevent you from making the same mistakes that I did. I went in August which was the tail end of summer therefore my list and advice is only relevant to the warmer months in Mongolia. During my two week stay in Mongolia, temperatures ranged from 10 - 25 degrees C.

This is not an extensive packing list as I have not included all basic items such as shirts, shorts, socks, etc.

Clothing

  • Underwear - bring underwear for more days than your tour. There is no running water and cleaning your underwear on the trip is unlikely. That is unless you don't mind wearing your underwear for more than one day, to each their own.
  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Sports bra/s - I am not large chested, however I was told that they are a life saver for the bumpy off-roading
  • Pants / Trousers - especially if going horse riding and also for the cool mornings / evenings
  • Hiking boots / joggers - any sturdy shoes really. I don't think hiking boots are a necessity. I brought semi-casual combat boots and they were an okay choice
Monday, 7 August 2017

Warragamba Dam & Knapsack Viaduct

I always find it interesting to return to a place that I have previously visited. To reflect on how I have and my life has changed compared to my previous visit. Although I must admit it is something I am reluctant to do; the whole 'there is so much to do and so little time' mentality does kick in a fair bit.

Earlier last year, I made a visit to Warragamba Dam in the south-west of Sydney. Fast forward to almost 18 months later and I made another visit.

Warragamba Dam

Warragamba Dam

Warragamba Dam

It was a fairly chilly Saturday morning despite the supposed high of 22 degrees. We had arrived close to midday and I was surprised by the lack of families / people at the dam.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Monthly Recap: July

June 2017

July was a fairly quiet month. Apart from the bushwalk at the Royal National Park, my weekends were generally non-eventful.

  • I have been getting a little bit restless and have been wanting to travel again. More specifically, I am really wanting to go on another roadtrip by myself. There is just something about being on the open road with fields and paddocks stretching out to the horizon. Perhaps I am just feeling a little bit trapped. I just find it so much easier to slow my monkey-mind and enjoy the present moment when I am in nature / middle of nowhere. The rat race is a real thing.
  • I have almost been in my 'new' job for three months and I was informed that I passed probation. The job is a bit of a weird one; as they say, 'you can pick your friends but you can't pick your colleagues'.
  • Last month I uninstalled Instagram from my phone and I don't feel like I will reinstall for the near future. I haven't been as lost without it as I thought I would. Although I must admit I have installed it twice and removed it within an hour because I wanted to check / stalk something. I simply don't have the will power to have it installed but limit my usage! However, I have recently created another Twitter account so add me if you would like! There was a part of me that thought I had substituted one social media platform for another but my usage on it is fairly low. I also have a Snapchat (typicalovestory) account if anyone wants to add me on it.
  • A few weeks ago it was announced that Pandora would no longer work in Australia & New Zealand. I am devastated! I have been using Pandora for the past 5 years and adore it. I am now transitioning to Spotify. I didn't like Spotify originally which is why I went to Pandora, but that was 5 years ago and I am sure it has changed dramatically since then. Hopefully it serves my needs!
  • In the past two months, I've tried to re-connect with people who used to play a big part in my life. However, all this affirmed was the reason as to why we moved apart. It also made me reflect on a few different relationships and whether or not they really have a place in my life anymore.


How was your July?
Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Adventures in Sydney: Bradley's Head

I have lived in Sydney for almost my entire life and there are times when I think that I have been everywhere that is even remotely interesting. However I know that is definitely not the case and I like to actively search for things to do. And also because I get restless. I used to joke to an ex* with, 'do you even Sydney?' The context to the joke was that he lived his entire life in Sydney and yet didn't know ... well a whole lot at all. Except for trendy brunch places. I actually find that to be a common occurrence and need to clarify when I ask people for things to do that I don't mean where to eat for brunch. Major digression.

I recently visited Bradley Head to watch the sunset. To save the $8 parking fee, we walked down the road (2km one way) to the water's edge.

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On the walk down we passed Bradley's Head Fortification. There is one cannon (there are three pits) and the trenches are still accessible.

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Colour Film: Canberra

June 2017

June 2017

Canberra is the capital city of Australia and located in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The location of the capital city was decided in 1908 as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest cities. It is an entirely planned city designed by two American architects, making it one of the few entirely planned cities in the world! Workers in the ACT are among the highest paid (on average) in the entire country. Good ol' public servants.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Colour Film: Manly, Lawson & Misc

I recently developed two rolls of film shot by my brand new Pentax SP1000. I have had issues with Fuji Superia 400 previously and on my last bulk film purchase, I decided to try Fuji Superia 200. Funnily enough, Superia 200 has now been discontinued! I enjoyed the 200 a lot more than the 400. The Pentax SP1000 is my first manual camera and I definitely need to be more aware of the aperture as some of my shots were severely underexposed. Well, at least that is where I think the problem lies. There were some shots that were so dreamy, and then others that were ... not.

This post will feature my first roll and contain shots from the Lawson Waterfall Circuit (blogged here), Manly Beach and random stuff!

June 2017

June 2017
Walk to work.

June 2017
Manly Beach

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Weekend Colour Palette: Blue

I spend a lot of my life on public transport; commuting to and from work and also to meet up with my boyfriend. I suppose that sounds a little depressing however, as I don't have a car, it is the cheapest form of transportation. The blue seats on the bus are so familiar to me.



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I must admit, there are moments when I find Sydney to be quite dull; the urban sprawl and the rat race starts to feel a little claustrophobic. However, the weekend is the time when I reconnect, see and appreciate the beauty in this wonderful city.


Friday, 7 July 2017

Uloola Falls & Karloo Pools

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Last weekend I went for a bushwalk at the Royal National Park from Waterfall Station to Heathcote Station. It was 11.3km track and the main attractions were the Uloola Falls and Karloo Pools.

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Banksia
Monday, 3 July 2017

Weekend Colour Palette: Pink

Lulu from Beside the Danube recently created a photography project where she would create a set of photo each weekened centred around a selected colour. I answered her open call and decided to give it a try.* The colour for last weekend was: PINK.






Surprisingly, I found it quite hard to find pink over the weekend! Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it as it challenged me to look at my surroundings more carefully.

* The last time I've done a challenge of any sort was back during LIMS (last icon maker standing) on Livejournal. Anyone remember those?