20 September 2012

Off to the unknown once more

Wow, so that was quite the rollercoaster these last few weeks here at the Bed and Breakfast. It started off well with an awesome 1 day road trip with some fellow helpers, but then kind of got a little bumpy as the Universe decided I had had enough fun and good times thus threw all sorts of crap at me!

Why did the Macbook have to die!

Although in saying that, it has really opened my eyes and blown this trip wide open now that I basically have next to no possessions with me anymore. I actually went and... like... did stuff! Actually come to think of it this last week has been great, we got 3 absolutely awesome helpers, Jason (Greece) and Harriet (Greece), and Gunnar from Iceland. Iceland! I have never met anyone from Iceland before.

I have been at this Bed and Breakfast a crazy 2 and a half months now. Wow. So suffice to say that seeing as the entire premise of this trip was to see and spend time in New York City, I should probably start getting a move on once more.

Sigh, I kind of don't want to move to be honest. Traveling around is tough! I am so comfortable here; I have my own room, provided food and accommodation, meet awesome people from all over the world, am learning countless new skills... where as traveling around involves noisy hostels, carrying bags, planning stuff... not to mention the terrifying fact that the future is so terribly unknown!
Some of my favourite moments of my final few weeks here:

Me and fellow helper Julia climbed onto the roof of the Bed and Breakfast and spent the afternoon drawing and painting, the sun shining, completely hidden away from the guests, it was awesome. That colourful piece is my water colour attempt at art.
Random picture from the tower, the ocean out below
One of the guests' dogs, she was beatiful
I lost my prescription glasses so my parents mailed me my spare pair from home, with some Vegemite included! Thanks parents!
I finished off my painting from that afternoon spent on the roof. I am a terrible artist but I was pretty proud of the end result.
Then I got even more creative!
 Then I wanted to show, via photos, a day in the life here at the Bed and Breakfast:

My room
The view from outside my door (I live at the top of a tower)
Down the tower we go
Have to check on our chickens! We have 8 hens and 7 chicks, so cool.
The famous Vivien (innkeeper of the Bed and Breakfast)
The chickens escaped, got to round them up haha
It really was a great place with just so much diversity, variations and surprises. Sure it was tough, and at times just plain dreadful to be honest, but I guess that's what this trip is all about; the experiences. I had planned to leave on the Sunday, with Gunnar (the Icelandish guy) accompanying me back down to San Francisco so I can move on from there. That Saturday however we were hosting a wedding reception here at the Bed and Breakfast, thus we were very busy preparing the house, it was insane.

Thankfully those tables and chairs aren't ours and were setup by a catering company
Then once the party begun the helpers and I were free from any responsibility as the wedding was all catered, so we just hung out, keeping our heads out of the way.

Jason found some funny glasses, funny!
That night the live music began and all the guests were in the ballroom dancing away, having a blast of a time. Jason, Harriet, Gunnar and I went to have a peak, which somehow lead to us chatting to a few of the guests... who loved the fact that we were from all different parts of the world.

"Come have some wine and dance with us!" the guests requested.

The next four hours were an absolute blast! Free wine and beer, becoming awesome friends with absolutely everyone, and just dancing like pure idiots... so sweet!

The helpers and I dancing away with the guests, the best fun!
Wow that was such an awesome ending to my time here, it was some of the best fun I've had in a while.

Being here was... ridiculous, amazing, dreadful, awesome, eye-opening, stressful. I managed so much that I never knew I was capable of like becoming assistant manager, I learned so many new skills, there was so much peace and stability, whilst simultaneously being an environment of pure chaos, which I welcomed I guess. Back in July when I first arrived I had no idea that I would end up staying here for so long, and despite staying here for so long I have no regrets, this really was a great way to spend a good chunk of my trip. I will honestly miss it, I could have easily spent another month here at least, I still felt there was so much I had left to achieve...

But alas, time to move on I guess.

So where to now? Well a lot of people of late have been asking me when do I plan on returning home to Australia. While I do have a rough date in mind, I don't want to divulge that information just yet, but I do know that I am coming up to the tail end of my time here which means I better get a move on if I want to see and do everything on my list before my return.

And... perhaps this trip has made me cynical due to my plans never seeming to work out, or just a string of terrible luck, so I actually don't want to mention where I plan on traveling to in the coming weeks until I am actually there (thus proving it actually worked out and didn't go astray ha...). Already things are going astray as I was meant to be in San Francisco already, but my ride bailed at the very last minute for absolutely no reason. So I will now be taking buses tomorrow instead... why!

This trip has definitely taught me that life is completely unpredictable. At every turn I try and plan my next move, or conjure an image in my mind on how things might turn out, yet time and time again it is always thrown completely upside down and I am always wrong.

Thus, like my time just before arriving to the Bed and Breakfast where I simply let what will come to be, just come to be, I will again just hope for the best and see what happens.

Wish me luck!

14 September 2012


Today marks roughly the 5-and-a-half month mark of my backpacking trip around America. I have been blogging about it the entire time (obviously) and if you've read some you will see that while the majority of the recaps are smiles and laughs, there has definitely been some gloom from time to time too.

These last few weeks, this gloom has increased substantially... but at the very least I hope you readers can get a chuckle out my misfortune.

So... first up, I lost my prescription glasses. That's $150 wasted right there. And I forgot to pack my spare pair. Sigh. Luckily I had my spare pair back at home and my parents could mail them to me... so I guess that kind of works out.

During the same time period however my bottom lip all of a sudden got a bad infection. Sigh... none of this ever happens while I am back home in Australia, why does it happen while in a foreign country? And not just any foreign country... I'm in America... one of the most expensive and confusing countries to get medical treatment in. A $75 doctor visit and a $11 anti-biotics course later and it still hadn't gone, meaning I had to go back for another doctor visit ($35 the second time round).

It is pretty much sorted now, although not completely and technically I should probably return but I seriously can't be bothered dealing with them all again so I am going to ignore it and hope it goes away.

Now despite those two events, where I admit at times I got pretty angry and down about my terrible luck, I pushed through and got myself into a happy mood again. I would wake up with a smile and look forward to the challenges of the day, simply being thankful for the fact that I have this opportunity to be in a different country and explore the world.

Especially considering things have gone so well so far and it really could be a lot worst!

Or so I thought at the time...

This renewed positive optimism was challenged as I awoke a few days later. It was an average morning, I proceeded to go to the laundry room to collect my laundry (which is a room separate from the main house)... only to find that my big travellers backpack that was sitting in the laundry room had been stolen during the night...

A $300 backpack, gone. Plus all the clothes that were inside.


Worst. Month. Ever.

All combined I am now over $500 in debt, despite the fact I working at a Bed and Breakfast where my room and food is provided for me thus I should in fact be saving money not losing it!

And I am just so angry because I saw my backpack sitting in the room and I was too lazy to take it back to my room with me once my laundry was finished. If only I had taken it inside with me.

But see, this is where my strange luck becomes even more strange, because luckily I just so happened to have emptied my backpack of all my valuable stuff (passports, flight tickets, photo-album, Visa papers) before doing laundry because I didn't want them to get damaged from the wet clothes, so none of those were lost (the relief at that realization was immense).

But still... it was such a great bag, and I am now down to 1 pair of jeans, 2 shorts and 3 shirts ha...


Who knows what else is in store.

Update:  Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse... two days after the above all happened... tonight (while a little drunk I admit) I managed to spill wine on my Macbook Pro... and it died.

Goodbye $1200...


Why was I drinking it? I DON'T EVEN LIKE WINE!


So that was a fun time.

Oh, and just a heads up for people reading: trying to take a serious situation seriously whilst drunk is really hard haha! I honestly think I could have saved the Macbook if I had reacted appropriately... but having downed some wine before spilling it, thus being a little tipsy, did not help in the slightest.

I think when it happened I had a bit of a 'Mr Bean' style moment where I kind of jumped out of my chair, not really sure which way to run or what to do first, arms flailing over my head while shouting "Oh! Oh! Umm... wine! On Macbook! Umm... turn it off, TURN IT OFF!" I held the power button to turn it off, but the stupid Mac operating system simply brought up a screen asking "Do you want to turn off the Macbook?" I tried to use the touchpad to select the 'Shut Down' option, but there was too much wine on the touchpad so the cursor wasn't moving! Eventually I got it turned off, but I had fears it had been on too long already. I ran into the house, grabbed a towel, and came back to wipe it down. I picked it up and did a bit of a primitive cave man shake up and down of the Macbook with it held over my head to get all the wine to drain out of it. Then I ran inside and chucked it in a big bag of rice, shut the bag, and then sat down on the floor as I tried to get my hazy mind to realize the gravity of the situation.

A few hours later I took it out of the rice, tried to turn it on, and didn't get any response.

Why. Is. All. This. Happening!?

The culprit...

07 September 2012

Good food, wineries and exploration!

After the crazy week a few days ago where I was literally running the Bed and Breakfast for a week, which then resulted in me becoming Assistant Manager, it was time to take it easy for a few days.

First stop was a walk by the beach! The coastline is absolutely amazing here.


Then the following day Camille, Sebastian, Zac (America) and I had definitely earned a day off so we rented a car and decided to hit the wineries and explore the area!

I was super excited about the day. Firstly because of how insane last week was, but more importantly was that this is now my third winery tour and this time I straight up said that I am refusing to be a driver no matter what (unlike the last two times...) thus I could completely relax for the day!

Great views along the way

Winery number one was awesome!

Perfect blue skies really enhanced the day

Camille, Sebastian, Zac and me enjoying some free wine at the first winery
I don't even like wine... but when it is free, I love wine! But mostly I just really enjoy the sunny days and great company, cruising around the amazing countryside for an entire day. It's a tough life!

Winery number two.

It was such a nice day
Enjoying the free wine!
Our third and final winery was awesome... but we forgot to take photos, but I think you've seen enough.

After some amazing lunch we hit the road again, we had the car for the entire day so we mapped out a long circle route that included both the rolling hills inland, as well as the awesome coastline too. It was really great to be out of the Bed and Breakfast for a day, just cruising through the hills and open roads, the windows down with perfect sunny skies.

 Although these sunny skies dissapeared once we hit the coast, but we didn't mind in the slightest.

How cool is that
Not really sure what I was doing here

And then we found a huge beach! The sand stretched for as far as you could see and the ocean was as wild as I have seen in a long time. The whole area inspired power.

It was crazy and very cold here!
Zac and I contemplating if we are brave enough to jump in the water ha!
On the way home we found a lot of really cool places, you could spend weeks around here and never see it all I think.

But wow... a day full of wine, sun, beach, mountains, driving and laughs is exhuasting!

It was a long day of awesomeness...
Back at home we cooked up a BBQ!

Me with Vivien's mother, Birgit... she is 94 years old!
Some burgers over the fire... a great way to end the day
And that sadly was just about the end of my time with Zac, Camille and Sebastian, as all three of them were heading off a few short days after. They were great helpers and even better company, just really casual and fantastic workers, and I feel so thankful that they were around during the hectic week when Vivien was away and I was in charge. I know I couldn't have done so well without them.

After a final meal together it was time for them to leave, but I will hopefully see Camille and Sebastian in France someday, and I seriously hope to see Zac some day as he was a really cool guy who had a lot of knowledge that helped me grow a lot as a person. But alas travel is forever changing.

Vivien, Margaret (America), me, Zac, Camille and Sebastian having an awesome brunch as a final meal together