I really enjoyed compiling this list, it took a long time, but it was actually much easier than I was expecting, in fact, before I knew it I had written a list of 131 places to see before I die and I had to go back and cull a bunch of things to get it back down to 101. I only wish that this was a list of 101 places I had already been.. Oh how I would love to have travelled to all of these places! But then again, that wouldn’t give me much to look forward to would it?

I wanted to put a photo of every single thing on the list – just because they are all so beautiful – but I figured that would be picture overload, so instead I’ve just put a pictures for every 5th thing on the list.

Anyway that’s one more thing I can cross off my 101/100 list:

#41. Write a list of 101 places to see before you die.

  1. The Leshan Giant Buddha – China
  2. Sunset at Uluru – Australia
  3. Machu Picchu – Peru
  4. The Great Wall of China
  5. The Plitvice Lakes – Croatia
  6. The Great Pyramid of Giza – Egypt
  7. The Nile – Egypt
  8. Ponte dei Sospiri – Venice Italy
  9. Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe
  10. Taj Mahal – India
  11. Chichen Itza – Mexico
  12. Antarctica
  13. Colluseum – Italy
  14. The Ganges – India
  15. Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
  16. A cherry blossom viewing in Japan
  17. The Ring Road – Iceland
  18. French Quarter, New Orleans – USA
  19. Emam Mosque – Iran
  20. Hohenzollern Castle & The Black Forest – Germany
  21. Stonehenge – England
  22. The Himalayas – Nepal
  23. Isle of Skye – Scotland
  24. Cueva del Fantasma (Cave of the Ghost) – Venezuela
  25. Hagia Sophia – Turkey
  26. Pompeii – Italy
  27. Niagara Falls – USA
  28. The Laguna Colorada (Red Lagoon) – Bolivia
  29. Marquesas Islands – French Polynesia
  30. Doubtful Sound – New Zealand
  31. Dingle Peninsula – Ireland
  32. The Louvre/Notre Dame/Eiffel Tower – Paris
  33. Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon road trip – USA
  34. Crac Des Chevaliers – Syria
  35. The Amalfi Coast – Italy
  36. The Monasteries of the Metéora – Greece
  37. Clingstone house – USA
  38. The Ponte Vecchio – Italy
  39. Dalmation Coast – Croatia
  40. St Michel D’Aiguilhe Chapel – France
  41. La Mezquita – Spain
  42. Forks (just seeing if you’re paying attention haha)
  43. Volterra – Italy (lol)
  44. Petra – Jordan
  45. Santorini – Greece
  46. The Amazon Rainforest – Brazil
  47. The Wuhua Hai (Five-Flower Lake) – China
  48. Petrodvorets – Russia
  49. Loch Ness – Scotland
  50. Festival of Colors – India
  51. The Garden of Cosmic Speculation – Scotland
  52. Bimini road – The Bahamas
  53. The Berlin Wall (what’s left of it anyway!) – Germany
  54. Pyramids of the Sun and Moon – Mexico
  55. Potala Palace, Lhasa – Tibet
  56. Mesa Verde – USA
  57. Knife Castle – Ukraine
  58. Crater Lake – USA
  59. The plains of the Serengeti – Tanzania
  60. Easter Island – Chile
  61. The Sogne Fjord – Norway
  62. Iguazu Falls – Argentina
  63. Zen Gardens of Kyoto – Japan
  64. Khaju Bridge – Iran
  65. Pagan – Myanmar
  66. Uffizi Gallery – Italy
  67. Carnival Festival – Brazil
  68. Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania
  69. The Hallgrímskirkja – Iceland
  70. Eleuthera – Bahamas
  71. Lake Titicaca – Peru
  72. Majlis al Jinn Cave – Oman
  73. The Parthenon – Greece
  74. The Waitomo Glowworm Cave – New Zealand
  75. Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves – Austria
  76. Ephesus – Turkey
  77. Galápagos Islands – Ecuador
  78. Lake Baikal – Russia
  79. Rome – Italy
  80. Sunrise at Mount Nemrut – Turkey
  81. The Maldives
  82. Cape Town – South Africa
  83. Sunset at Ipanema Beach – Brazil
  84. The Guggenheim – Spain
  85. Las Lajas Cathedral – Colombia
  86. St. Basil’s Cathedral – Russia
  87. Prague – Czech Republic
  88. Golden Gate Bridge San Fransisco – USA
  89. Helsingborg – Sweden
  90. The Sahara Desert – Africa
  91. Granada – Spain
  92. London – England
  93. The Boiling Lake – Dominica
  94. The Royal Chitwan National Park – Nepal
  95. Yosemite Valley – USA
  96. Cave of Crystals – Mexico
  97. Drive from Cairo to Kharga – Egypt
  98. The Dead Sea – Israel
  99. Orkhon Khurkhree – Mongolia
  100. St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican City
  101. Pamukkale – Turkey

Isn’t the world a beautiful place???

I have 31 movies left to watch as part of #40 on my 101/1001 list. So this afternoon I figured I would get organised. I’ve gone through the list and figured out which movies I’d like to watch and I’m going to try and watch at least a movie a day for the next month so that I can cross that one off my list entirely. I’m surprised by some of the movies that made the IMDB 250 list actually, it seems to me like there is a whole lot of SciFi on there! I’m also (pleasantly) surprised by how many of the movies I hadn’t already seen, especially since I consider myself to be a bit of a movie buff.

Here is the list of movies I’ll be watching over the next month or so:

  1. The Wrestler (2009)
  2. Star Wars (1977)
  3. Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  5. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
  6. Star Trek (2009)
  7. Blade Runner (1982)
  8. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  9. Annie Hall (1977)
  10. Old Boy (2003)
  11. Strangers on a Train (1951)
  12. Unforgiven (2003)
  13. It Happened One Night (1934)
  14. Rocky (1976)
  15. Harold and Maude (1971)
  16. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
  17. Glory (1989)
  18. Great Expectations (1946)
  19. Manhattan (1979)
  20. The Pianist (2002)
  21. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
  22. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  23. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  24. The Conversation (1974)
  25. Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
  26. Children of Men (2006)
  27. The Terminator (1984)
  28. The Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
  29. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  30. Schindler’s List (1993)
  31. Casablanca (1942)

Luke will be happy, he has been trying to get me to sit down and watch Star Wars with him ever since he discovered, 7 years ago, that I had never seen it, likewise for Terminator. I’m looking forward to watching To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s one of my favourite books so that will be interesting. Anyway! That’s my plan for the next 31 days.. wish me luck!

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
#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!



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

I’m supposed to be writing, I’m supposed to be dashing toward the 50K NaNoWriMo finish line, but instead I’m procrastinating. I haven’t written a thing in two days and I’m really annoyed at myself about it. Not really annoyed enough to actually sit down and write though.

Yesterday, in true responsibility-avoiding style, I slept late and then I just had to watch the 6 episodes of Mythbusters and 6 Episodes of Grey’s Anatomy that had been sitting on my hard drive for weeks, and today I cleared out and stored 15gig of old music off the laptop (which took hours!) for absolutely no good reason whatsoever. I don’t even really know why I’m being such a procrastinating fool, I’m LOVING my story and my characters, I know what’s going to happen next so it’s not like I’m struggling with writers block or anything like that – which would at least be a good reason for the lack of words.

Okay, well now that I have that whinge out of my system, I’m going to go and try to write. I would just like to get to 40K today.. that’s not so much to ask is it?

I was thinking yesterday about my 101/1001 list and how unmotivated I’ve been lately with crossing things off. Admittedly I have been working pretty hard on my NaNoWrimo – which is number 48 – and that definitely counts for something, but I thought it was about time that I took a stab at something else on the list. So, early this morning, just before 2am, which is about the time that Luke and I are starting to think about going to bed, we decided to take a drive to Dunedin and watch the sunrise at the beach.

Watching a sunrise was one of the things on the list but I also had to visit the beach one more time before I could cross number 42 (visit the ocean at least four times) so we decided we may as well cross both of them off in one go. I frantically made up some roadtrip CDs, grabbed T’s work in progress CD, a picnic blanket, some water, and my book, and off we went.

For those of you who don’t know New Zealand, I’ve attached a map so you can see just how much of the country we covered. We got home about an hour ago, so we actually covered this distance twice today:

Picture 1

The sunrise itself was pretty disappointing, after driving all through the night, chugging down Red-bulls and singing (badly) to keep ourselves awake we arrived at the beach to discover POURING rain and freezing cold gale force winds. It was so cold that my feet are STILL thawing out 10 hours later. So, we snapped some photos to prove we were there and watched the sunrise from the warmth of the car. We explored the city for a couple of hours, then had some breakfast at a local vegan cafe (Why don’t we have one of those in Queenstown?) did some op shopping, and then drove home again. We had beautiful weather on the way home which was nice after the freezing rain in the morning. It was a really great day, but now I am exhausted, so instead of telling you about it, I’m just going to post some pictures!





















This one’s for you Sharni!!


And home sweet home


So, that is two more things crossed off my 101/1001 list, even though technically we didn’t see the sun actually rise, because it was behind clouds, I’m still counting it, because we did watch the night turn into day, so I think that counts!

I’ve also crossed off number 13 on the list, which was to have 101 vegan meals, because as of three days ago I’m officially 100% vegan. I’ve been vegetarian for a few years now, but I have been eating vegan 95% of the time, it got to the point last week where I realised that I was hanging onto cheese and chocolate as a bit of a crutch, so I’ve eliminated them from my diet completely (except dark vegan chocolate!) and from here on in I won’t be eating any animal products whatsoever. It’s quite a feat! You never really realise how many things have animal products in them, today on the way home I picked up a packet of Salt and Vinegar chips only to realise they had milk in them! I looked through every single chip flavour in the place, and in the end the only one that was vegan was the plain salt.. very strange!

Anyway, that’s news from me. I haven’t slept in 30 hours so I’m going to bed!!

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