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.

Accessories

  • Sleeping bag - I think this is crucial! Your tour operator will supply you with sleeping bags most likely, however, they will have been used by countless people before who went days without showering. And who knows when the sleeping bags were last washed properly. Even between your tour members, you will inadvertently end up rotating your sleeping bag as they all get bundled up and randomly distributed at the ger. A little bit gross. If you don't have a sleeping bag, I would strongly to see if any family or friends have one. My sleeping bag ended up being my "home" and it was comforting to know it was only mine as everything ended up being shared on the trip. Even my lip balm! Luckily I brought an extra lip balm as some people were using mine. In the end it grossed me out too much and I just gave that one away for communal use.
  • Bandanna - offroading = dust / dirt / sand. I used it extensively when I was in the van as they had open windows. When I washed it halfway through the trip, the water was brown. Yuck, I would have breathed that in.
  • Hat - coming from Australia, I always advocate for people to wear hats.
  • Sunglasses
  • Car charger - the van may be able to charge your electronics via the cigarette lighter outlet, however do not rely on this. The first van's outlet didn't work.
  • Mosquito net (if you are scared of bugs) - if I could go back in time, I would have definitely purchased a mosquito net to place over my bed. I am terrified of bugs and there were quite a few nights where bugs and spiders were all over the ger walls. Brrrrrrrrrrrr. I ended up getting my tour mates to kill them for me, but I knew there were still many more around. There was one night where there were so many spiders and I literally curled up in my sleeping bag all night and too scared to turn over and face the ger wall. At one point in the middle of the night, it was so warm and I needed to take off my jumper and pants however I was too worried to unzip my sleeping bag and ended up stripping in my zipped up bag. It was very difficult.
  • Wet wipes - they were the best alternative when showers were not an option
  • Tissues / toilet paper - always useful and best to carry it with you at all times!
  • Own utensils / mug - this is probably the grossest part of the experience. I am not the biggest clean freak, but knowing that plates / cutlery were not cleaned properly (except with some water and wiped down with a tea towel that probably never got cleaned) was slightly ... uncomfortable to accept. I think I would have had greater piece of mind if I had brought my own cutlery, mug and plate. That being said I did not get food poisoning at all!


Food

I'll be honest, the food in Mongolia is not great. It largely comes down to the fact that supermarkets have limited supplies, it will need to be quickly cooked by the tour guide and transported in the van without refrigeration. If you are not a fussy person then probably ignore this section. But below is what I did and what I would do differently if I had the chance.
  • Buy fruit at the supermarket - firstly it's healthy, especially since the rest of your diet won't be. Secondly, it won't melt in the van.
  • Don't buy too much chocolate - although chocolate feels like a treat, it isn't very glamorous when you end up licking it off from the wrapper as it has melted in the van.
  • Instant oatmeal / porridge (pre purchased in Ulanbaatar) - breakfast usually consisted of bread and jam / butter / nutella. If anything was left over, you would eat it the next morning ergo a lot of dry / stale bread. In hindsight, I should have brought instant porridge and made it with the hot water.
  • Museli bars
  • Hot sauce / condiment - food wasn't always great and having a condiment like hot sauce a) makes bland food taste better and b) it masks the taste of any food that doesn't taste good

Technology

  • Don't bring a laptop, chances are you won't use it and the chances of it breaking are quite high - I brought it and although I used it back in Ulanbaatar to edit photos, I really could have done without it. I ended up stressing a little about my laptop breaking as luggage was constantly jostled, thrown on the ground, etc
  • Bring spare camera batteries- you will not have a chance to charge your electronics. And, on the odd chance that there are powerpoints they will all be occupied
  • Powerbank - life saver! I used it to charge my camera
  • Camera of course!
  • Don't bother bringing a power adaptor, all places have a wonderful multiplug powerboard which is great! That being said, if you are a little worried you will be caught out then bring one just in case.

Luggage

  • Do not bring a suitcase unless you are happy to roll your suitcase over dirt / sand / grass.
  • Pack light, the vehicle does not necessarily have a lot of space and luggage will be packed in snuggly along with the food and other supplies.

Entertainment

  • MP3 Player / Ipod - Chances are that you will be in a vehicle for an extended period of time and it does get a little boring
  • Books / Audiobooks - I brought my Kindle which was a lifesaver! I read probably 5 novels over my 12 day trip during the downtime. I also had one audiobook loaded onto my phone for the car rides. I can't read on a moving vehicle (trains are the exception) as I get motion sickness. In hindsight, I should have loaded more audiobooks!

And most importantly, you definitely need to go with an open mind! Go with the flow because things won't go to plan and that is okay! You will most likely get to know people very intimately, moreso than the average person. You will be living and breathing the same air in a smallish enclosure for an extended period of time!

By the way, that camel from the photo is from camel hair handmade by a family in rural Mongolia. So cute!

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email at dignifiable[at]gmail.com.
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?