A Month in 1400 Words or Less

“I will write today,” I said. And have said. Nearly every day that I have had an afternoon off or a couple of hours between work. For the last month. And yet here we are. As I am sure is not news to any of you, time flies, and this blog has become a victim. The general life time eaters come into play here: work, commute, yoga, work, etc. To be fair, my work does tend to eat up more hours in an average week than it should, but still. Somehow, more importantly, I’ve been so thoroughly and wholeheartedly enjoying myself that it has seemed somewhat fruitless to write about it. Why bother jotting words when I could be properly experiencing what I want? This underlying notion is perhaps why I have always had a bit of a disregard for travel writing and find it very difficult to actually come across pieces in this genre that I enjoy. Regardless, I do love to write, and this is something that I have enjoyed doing, looking back on, and getting feedback from. I want this to grow. Consistent and habitual are generally not words I would be described with, so it makes sense that the consistency of this project will waver, but I do hope to get it back on track.

So, with the rambling excuses of why I have not, now I write. I have set aside the things that need to be done for today and made this – and a cup of tea and a piece of leftover birthday cheesecake – a priority, for the first time in far too long.

I had to look back on the last post to see where I had left off, and I’m pleased that it was right before New Zealand. The moral of this story is go to New Zealand. While unmistakably neighbours – banks and shops and other companies tend overlap frequently – New Zealand is also unmistakably not Australia. I didn’t realize how much I was craving a change until we left, and even a few days in another country reignited my desire to travel. The weekend involved flying out of Sydney on Friday night and landing in Auckland, driving straight* north for about four hours to a small coastal town called Taupo Bay, spending the weekend with family and friends (Kiwi’s, not mine), driving back to Auckland and spending the night at Kiwi’s parents’ house before catching an early morning flight back to Sydney on Tuesday and heading back to work.

* Straight is not a term that road construction teams were aware of when they built NZ.

New Zealand is beautiful. Though I only saw a snippet of it, I am eagerly anticipating my next visit. It feels markedly different from Australia, from the landscape to the people. Taupo Bay was, as promised, filled with boating and diving and fun. I got back in the water after a long absence from diving and, after some fighting with my uncooperative ears, managed a reasonable dive and actually caught a crayfish. Crays are essentially lobsters without the pincers (bonus for me!) and catching them involves spotting them in dark cracks underwater, grabbing onto their backs, and wrestling the little buggers from their hold on the rocks. Those things can hang on pretty well, considering the size of them. Still not a shellfish eater, I sampled a couple bits of freshly caught and barbecued cray, and then let the rest of the crowd happily devour our haul. I was treated to some amazing fresh sashimi, which I certainly ate more than my share of. No sushi restaurant will ever have that sea-to-plate turnaround. For the sake of decreased word count. Look.

Taupo BayTaupo Bay 2

That’s all on NZ (for now). Meeting the crew went well all around, and the only hiccough at the trip came at the very end. We set double alarms and yet somehow managed to wake up two hours late for our flight in the morning, meaning we arrived at the airport at approximately the same time as when our plane’s wheels left the tarmac and started heading west. I have never missed a flight before. I have, on occasion, mocked those that have. I now eat my words. It can happen, just as anything can. And it sucks, but luckily planes fly frequently between these two lovely countries, and the rest of the day (once we arrived back in Sydney an hour or two late) went as planned.

Next stop we have another long weekend excursion (I swear, I work hard), this time north up the east coast of Australia to a place called Seal Rocks. They went to surf, and the rest of us went. A group of 10 of us rented a house (and it’s convenient backyard, where we tented, as the house technically slept 6) a few minutes from the beach. The days were spent surfing (in my case, failing at attempting to surf), lounging on the beach, playing games, and building the greatest rock tower ever known to man kind. We were a few rocks away from pyramid-esque greatness before our ambition grew more than our engineering skills, and several hundred pounds of rock came crashing down around us, narrowly avoided crushing a couple of us, saved only by my high-pitched scream. The nights were filled with the general debauchery that accompanies a group of people away for a long weekend, particularly when at least half of the consumables we brought along were alcoholic beverages. I had it in my head awhile ago that people grow up after university and parties became much less entertaining, but I have since discovered that is completely not the case, and a group of late 20-somethings will likely get more out of hand than a group of 19 year olds. But somehow in a much more mature way.

Rock Tower

Seal Rocks

Seal Rocks Sunset

Onward with the speed catch-up. The following weekend brought me into the realm of the – as my friend Amanda would say – mid twenties. My twenty-fourth birthday was celebrated with my nearest and dearest Down Under and was a perfect weekend-long combination of too many drinks, cake, and an entire day of me being absolutely spoiled. The day of spoilage included brunch, spa, drinks above the Sydney Harbour, and a chef’s menu at an amazing Japanese restaurant. I will be taking donations to fund equal extravagance for Kiwi’s birthday. But we’ll probably be in Mexico, so my budget will be much more reasonable.

And here we are! It’s Monday, and I’m talking about this past weekend, like a good blogger should. This weekend was a belated birthday celebration for me and an early celebration for Alex, our housemate. We combined forces for what turned into a rather excessive onesie party. If onesies haven’t hit the level of popularity in your current world corner and demographic as they have here, bear with me. Yes, it is the same (essentially) as a baby’s onepiece jammy thing. The most popular and readily accessible onesies come in animal form, including tails and hoods with appropriate ears. We had about 30-odd onesie-clad partygoers stuffed into our small flat in Bondi, and it was well worth the vomit that Alex bravely abseiled out of his bedroom window to clean up the following day. The neighbours may not agree. There will be no photos of this.

Bam. Now for next. The talks have continued and we (Yes, I’m part of a “we” now), have been planning. It looks as though I’ll be trotting around with my parents for about a month, first in Austalia and then in New Zealand, starting in early October. After that, a good friend of mine is most likely going to be in NZ, so we’ll be doing something for some period of time. That puts us close enough away (a month-ish) from Christmas, that the draw for family and stockings is pretty strong, so it might be another Southern Hemisphere Christmas for me, with Kiwi and company in Auckland, preceded by more adventuring in New Zealand, this time with a proper local. Following that, the goal is to jet off to Mexico by December 31st to bring in the New Year in style. And then south. Northern Hemisphere, see you soon (for a little while).

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