November 2009


Also, today is the official start day for my Bachelor of Arts so I’m also crossing off:

4. Start a Bachelor of Arts

For those of you who are following along with the progress of the 101/1001 list I have also added a few more to the tally on the following items – although I’m not ready to cross them off entirely yet, it’s still progress!

9. Take 101 hour long walks (5/101)

14. Cook 101 meals (45/101)

21. Write 101 posts/articles for other blogs/websites & see if they get published (2/101)

27. Write 101 hand written letters to friends (19/101)

32. Master 5 fabulous recipes (4/5)

33. Backup my laptop every month (7/33)

58. Do a BTAT for the equivalent of a whole year (Best thing about today) (180/365)

84. Create a http://www.postcrossing.com/ account and send at least 20 postcards (10/20)

96. Take myself out on 5 photo safaris (4/5)

99. Eat 101 meals outside (12/101)

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I’m very excited today, I am IN FLOW, totally focussed on researching and planning my upcoming trip to India. My very wonderful friend Phi has once again astounded us with his generosity and, as an early 30th birthday present for the two of us, has funded (with his frequent flyer points) a very fabulous trip to India in April of next year. I think everyone needs a friend like Phi.. and not just because he’ll fly you to India for your 30th birthday!

I’m very very super excited about it, especially since I have had an imaginary India itinerary in my head since 2005 when our backpacking trip came to shuttering halt in Vietnam when we realised that we had run out of money and had to come home (I am way too much of a sucker to have ever learned how to successfully barter, and I kept giving all our money away to grubby children and poverty stricken schools!).

I am also excited because it means I will be able to cross two very big things off my list:

#29. Visit at least one new country
and
#65. Celebrate my 30th birthday by doing something fabulous

Technically my birthday is at the end of March, and we aren’t flying out until April 7th, but I’m still going to count it because it IS a birthday present, and we would have been in India for my actual birthday, except Luke has to work over the Easter long weekend.

So, now I am in the zone planning and researching and getting all excited about all the things we will see. I think I actually enjoy the planning of our holidays as much as I enjoy the actual holidays, I’m strange like that I guess. I’m very excited to be dusting off our backpacks and money wallets and heading back out into the big bad world. I only wish it could be longer than 3 weeks!

So, who among my beloved readers has been to India? Any?
If so, tell me all about it! Where should I go? What should I avoid? What did you love? Tell me everything!

 

PHOTO CREDITS TO LONELY PLANET

Earlier this week, Luke and I decided to take a little road trip down to Invercargill, one of the great things about living in such a beautiful country is the joy of the road trip. When we lived in Sydney a road trip would be an entirely different experience, first of all we would spend the first hour struggling through freeways and fighting the traffic before we even got to see a single beautiful thing, these days we are already inundated with beauty before we leave the driveway.

Invercargill itself was kind of boring, aside from being one of the southern-most cities in the world it was really just like any other country town. We had coffee at (the worlds most southern) Starbucks – after unsuccessfully attempting to get soy lattes in a few other cafes and failing miserably – and then spent about 2 hours trying to find a cafe that would serve us vegan food, and then I dragged Luke to the cinema to watch New Moon (for the 2nd time). After the movie ended I tried to get him to watch it with me again before we drove home but he remained adamant that watching New Moon 3 times in the space of a week was NOT part of our marriage contract, and threatened to divorce me if I made him sit through it again, so I reluctantly got into the car and we drove home.

Luckily I am a big believer in that ‘the journey is as important as the destination’ proverb because I really had a great time even though Invercargill itself wasn’t anything to write home about. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get more photos especially of the stranger animals that we saw. In one and a half hours from our house we saw the following animals:

Sheep
Cows
Deer
Elk
Moose
Turkey
Goats
Eagles
Hedgehogs
Possums
An Ostrich!
and various other birds

Pretty amazing huh?? Anyway here are some photos of the day:

I have been furiously struggling with this, and my other WordPress blog, for the past two days, trying to update, but some reason – in spite of all my grumbling and empty threats – I kept getting an incoherent computer speak error. So, unable to post, I was feeling very cut off from the world but then, in the space of a few hours last night I discovered my guest star post over at the Chronicles of Sharnia AND I found out that Sarah over at Yes and Yes, has used one of my photographs in her beautiful 2010 calendar! So now I’m feeling much better about my place in the blog-o-sphere..

..and best of all I’m now able to post again! What did people do before there was internet? Especially the ones that lived in tiny towns in the middle of nowhere??

A couple of weeks ago, as part of my ‘say yes to more social situations’ resolution and after the amazingly wonderful success of our visit with some internet friends who came to stay with us, I signed up for a couch surfer account.

What the hell is a couch surfer account? I hear you say.. well! Funny you should ask because I have a whole lot of information right here ready for you:

What is CouchSurfing?

CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world. Since 2004, members have been using our system to come together for cultural exchange, friendship, and learning experiences. Today, over a million people who might otherwise never meet are able to share hospitality and cultural understanding.

Our mission as an organization is to create inspiring experiences: cross-cultural encounters that are fun, engaging, and illuminating. These experiences take many forms. CouchSurfing’s initial focus was on hosting and ‘surfing’ (staying with a local as a guest in their home). Alongside these core experiences, we now also facilitate a growing array of activities and events.

We have a vision of a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter. Each CouchSurfing experience shared by our members brings us closer to that vision.

How does CouchSurfing work?

CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. These exchanges are a uniquely rich form of cultural interaction. Hosts have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without leaving home. ‘Surfers,’ or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. We also give more people the chance to become travelers, because ‘surfing’ lowers the financial cost of exploration.

The CouchSurfing community continues to expand its horizons. Members are always finding more ways to connect and learn about each other. Every day, people across the world share coffee, camping trips, meetings, language exchanges, discussions and all sorts of other experiences.

So, basically their are two sets of people on couch surfer, people with houses (spare room/couch/hammock, whatever) and people who are travelling and need somewhere to sleep. Signing up for something like this is a pretty big deal for me, I’m pretty shy, and kind of weird about sharing my space. Anyway, today I got an email from a 26 year old French guy named Joel who is currently travelling around New Zealand on his bicycle and he wanted to know if he could stay with us for a night or two in a couple of weeks.

I have to say, I kind of panicked when I first got the email. My (self diagnosed) Avoidant Personality Disorder means that EVERY single time someone asks me to do something social, my first instinct is to say no. There are no exceptions to this, my mother, my best friend, my boss, it doesn’t matter, I always have to really work myself up to saying yes to things which require me to interact with other people. It’s really stupid and kind of strange, especially since I really LOVE the times that I do get out and interact with other people, especially my dear darling friends who I never see. Anyway, so I got this email through and my first instinct was to say no, to lie and say we would be out of town or make up some phony story, but instead of doing that I walked away from my desk for a couple of minutes and let the feeling pass and then I sat down at my computer and sent off an email telling him he could come and stay. Yay me! It’s progress, a breakthrough! Without having to see a therapist or leave the house!

I’m looking forward to it, but as the day looms closer and closer, I’m sure that I will start to dread it more and more until he arrives, at which point I’ll be really happy I said yes. Will you all remind me of that as the day is approaching and I am freaking out about how I can’t possibly do it? Thanks bloggers!

The strangest thing happened to me the last 18 hours or so.. last night, a little after midnight I realised that my internet connection wasn’t working anymore. I did all the things I usually do: restart my wireless router, restart my computer, check Luke’s computer etc etc and nothing worked, I figured it was an outage and went to bed not really thinking any more about it. When I woke up this morning our broadband was still down, fair enough, I figured it was good motivation to get some more of my NaNoWriMo story done. BUT, here is the weird part, literally THE SECOND that I hit 50,000 words I hear my “You’ve Got Mail” ding and suddenly my internet is working again!! How amazingly bizarre is that??

Anyway!! Happy dance for me!! I’m off to validate my wordcount and become an official ‘Wrimo winner 😀

ETA: Oh phooey, I just realised I can’t officially become a ‘Wrimo winner until Nov 25 *stamps foot*
Oh well, I’m still going to cross it off my 101/1001 list today!

48. Successfully complete NaNoWriMo

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