This started as a blog about living in Russia, and has since become some sort of sprawling travel-based monstrosity. I love and live to travel, however am incapable of doing so in a sane, sensible or reasonable fashion. And this blog is the result. Just don’t be surprised about the sheer number of flights, buses and trains I miss; bones I break doing innocuous things; strangers who end up knitting me jumpers, and so on. Enjoy 🙂
A little history:
- 2004 (age 18)—I left school at the end of 2003, moved to Cradle Mountain National Park and worked there for a few months, mainly in food and beverage. I then headed up the East Coast of Australia, stopping by Melbourne and Canberra, staying in Sydney for a couple of months and working as a charity advocate, then heading to Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast. I found myself in Mooloolaba, and from there helped on a yacht delivery up to Airlie Beach, where I stayed for a couple of weeks before heading back to Tasmania. There I mooched about and went out a lot, before…
- 2005 (age 19)—In January I moved back to Sydney, and spent the year working full-time at a hotel (reception) and then going to TAFE (vocational college) in my 2 days off every week. I finished an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management in 1 year rather than 4, won zillions of prizes, and realised I definitely had no intention of staying in hospitality. I went on a little holiday up toward Byron Bay, discovering that North Stradbroke Island has to be one of the most heavenly places on earth.
- 2006 (age 20)—In 2006 my ongoing back problems were becoming too much (3 years of sciatica), so I had an operation and became a bionic woman. Take that, Wolverine! I then moved to Hobart and lived with my Nan for around 5 months while recovering, and started a degree in politics and international relations. At the end of the year, moved to the UK. This was the first time I ever want overseas. I headed to Manchester and lived in a house with 11 psychology students—one of which I’d met in a car park in Cradle Mountain in 2004, which was the connection.
- 2007 (age 21)—Soon enough I realised that Manchester was pretty lame, and after I went down to Weymouth one weekend to visit a friend I’d met when doing some sailing world championships when I was 17, realised I had to get back on the water. I found a sailing instructor traineeship and moved to Devon, where I lived on an old ferry and sailed my little heart out. At the end of the year I planned to go and work at Lake Louise in Canada for the winter, but plans fell through less than a week before I was due to fly out (never use CCUSA), and I wound up back in Sydney. I got a job pretty quickly as a travel agent specialising in Australian travel for backpackers and picked up some part-time sailing work in Newport (aka heaven).
- 2008 (age 22)—I started the year living in a hostel as my flatmate’s kids were over from Spain, and had some fairly wild times. I quit my job at the travel agency in December, and from January was working full-time as a sailing coach once more (huzzah!!). I stayed there until the end of the Australian summer, did my uni exams for the year, then headed back to the UK for another sailing summer. At the end of the season there, I went on my first trip to Scotland and then my first trip to Europe, mainly visiting friends in the Netherlands, popping by Paris (where I was heinously ill), and then going to Egypt for a month. At the end of it all I headed back to Australia for another summer of sailing, and found myself also racing on a WICKED boat an evening or so a week.
- 2009 (age 23)—As my British working holiday visa had expired, I actually had to experience winter (whoa). So I headed to Jindabyne and did a season at the Australian ski fields, learning to snowboard in the process. Sailing work had dried up in Sydney thanks to the Global Financial Crisis, so what else to do but head to the tropical Whitsundays and work on a 5 star island resort for the summer? I worked as a ‘beach attendant’ (actual job title), doing lots of multi-hire as a marine hostess and watersports co-ordinator, and happily also worked for Australia’s award-winning top events team. Boo yah.
- 2010 (age 24)—After another bout of uni exams, I headed back to the snow, to one of the most insanely hedonistic 16 weeks of my life. Whoa. I wasn’t able to drink alcohol for over a year afterward, so you know it was serious! I’d now finished my degree and was getting angry with the low-brain jobs, so decided to move to Canberra (aka the Hellmouth). It was a place I’d never liked, but I figured it was close to the ski fields (though somewhat ironically I ended up riding more in NZ than in Aus the next season), and that it would be character building. I quickly found myself working for a law firm.
- 2011 (age 25)—Still at the law firm, I went on a quick trip to Europe near the start of the year, attending my graduation ceremony in London then heading off to Switzerland for some snowboarding. I worked for a national campaigns team before I was disqualified by my age, went on a couple of trips to New Zealand (Queenstown, Wanaka, and the surrounding area—but predominantly the snow fields!), and started learning Russian. Mid-first or second NZ trip (I think first), I decided to follow my love of the Russian language to somewhere that actually spoke it. Epic visa dramas ensued, and nothing happened as a result. I started a Diploma of Project Management, and founded a non-governmental organisation.
- 2012 (age 26)—As I’d already bought a ticket back to Europe, assuming I’d be able to sort out a Ukrainian/Russian visa in time, I took leave without pay from the law firm and spent two months over there. I went to the UK, Netherlands, Germany for a concert, and Italy for snowboarding. Then I went to Prague to do my CELTA (Cambridge Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults), being by far the hardest academic thing I’ve ever done. Next it was off to Austria for a matter of hours, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Istanbul. (See the ‘Bloc Trip’ category of my blog). Then it was back to the firm before finally making it to Russia in September. (Obviously, see the ‘Russia’/’in ze motherland’ category of this blog!)
- 2013 (age 27)—Russia, Russia, and some more Russia. Then Greece (Crete), Istanbul, Greece (Athens), Finland, the UK, Colombia, Fiji and back to Australia. While sitting in LA airport on the commute back, I realised I just wasn’t ready to settle down in Aus, decided to do my Masters, and have been in Sydney working toward that since.
- 2014 (age 28)—Based in Sydney, I worked for the public service and generally rocked out. I did a couple of trips around Aus (Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road, Adelaide, Mungo National Park), lots of hiking, headed to NZ (North Island), and in December went back to Europe, thence to Brussels to do my Masters. Rock and roll!
- 2015 (age 29)—After fly-by trips to the UK and the French Alps, I moved to Brussels to get started on my Masters. I went on a quick trip to Switzerland, and will be spending this summer in Russia, France, Spain and Portugal. Someone’s gotta do it!
- 2016 (age 30)—I finished my Masters, publishing a new book in the midst, then headed to Switzerland for a new diploma. I taught English in the Ardennes in Belgium for a brief stint, before heading to Antwerp to work in the most evil of industries.
- 2017 (age 31)—I escaped diamonds and fled back to Australia, where I spent a few months in Melbourne. I built websites, then covered a PR firm while the director was away, then ended up having a great time marketing for a national IT firm (while house-sitting and taking care of a beautiful labrador). Then it was back to Brussels to get stuck into a PhD.