Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blogging shame!

So the one thing I didn't count on while traveling in Australia and New Zealand was how painfully expensive and difficult it would be to get reliable internet access.  I thought that by traveling with my iPad, I'd be able to access wifi anywhere and everywhere, but regretfully, no.  Today,  January 1 (happy new year, btw) is the first day I've had reliable, free and useable internet access.  But unfortunately, I can't post photos yet, those will have to wait until I get home, but if you want me to email you some highlights directly, just comment or shoot me an email. 

Highlights so far however:

Getting very lost in Brisbane
Seeing wallabies engage in tons of afternoon delight (when is that *not* funny?)
Having the best fish and chips of my life in Havelock, NZ
Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
Discovering that my favorite place on the planet is a small island off the central east coast of Australia called Fraser Island.
Finding much more common ground with my younger sister than ever before.
Seeing my mom face some of her demons and get into very deep water for the first time in her life!
Touching the opera house in Sydney
Wine tasting in the Marlborough region of New Zealand.

The best thing about getting away from everything this long (and I could definitely be gone for another 3-4 weeks if work/time/money allowed) is that I am absolutely certain of what I do/don't want in my life when I return to it in a few days and I have a pretty clear path on how to get there. 

Happy new year! Light and love to all of you and see you in 2012.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Search for Flight of the Conchords

In New Zealand for three days now, and no sign of Bret or Jemaine. Will report back when they emerge. (there were however, 13 commercials for the Rhys Darby comedy DVD.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Koalas are furry and mean.

Really. Not amused by them. They look so cute and cuddly, then try to claw your face off.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Going down under...

So it's officially one day until my trip to Australia and New Zealand! So exciting.  Yes, I've been to a few parks since starting this blog but grad school applications (and acceptances!) and work and planning for The Biggest Trip of My Life has gotten in the way of actually blogging and having more than the occasional adventure.  However, you can have a sneak peek into where I'm going!


Port Douglas -- where we'll set off to the Great Barrier Reef!

The Marlborough Sounds where we'll deliver the mail! 

Sydney of course, where we'll be climbing the bridge and doing lots of walking!

Fraser Island -- where we'll be swimming in that gorgeous lake.  Yes, it really looks like that. 

Abel Tasman National Park, where we'll do some of the most spectacular kayaking in the world.

Nelson, where we'll try our hand at some sailing!

Renwick, where we'll be biking through New Zealand's amazing Marlborough wine country!

And Melbourne, where the trip ends! 

Of course, most of this is out of order, but I plan to blog every couple of days not only to keep you informed, but to keep this as a journal and record of my trip.  See you on the other side of the world!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Some random bits.

Gentle readers, apologies for my lengthy absence! I have been out in the world actually seeing things and adventuring (I even made it to two National Parks!)... much to the chagrin of this blog (since I haven't been paying attention to it). So many adventures have taken place! Here is a smattering of some recent, and not-so-recent photos of aforementioned adventuring. Here we go!

One of my favorite photos from the Solvang trip from a few months back. Even though the place is a gigantic tourist trap, there were still lots of little shops, a boat trip on the lake and oh-so-much-wine to be had. I don't know what I love more about the Los Olivos/Santa Ynez region -- all of the wineries the valley's landscape or the actual scenery itself. Either way, I'm so glad to live as close as I do to such breathtaking beauty.

So the above photo is obviously, totally, not any of that landscape, but the underside of a really neat structure off the beaten path in Solvang that I took to. It was beautiful! Below are some photos of the good stuff...

I mean, it doesn't get much better than this, right?

From our lake adventure...

Some local flora... (couldn't quite get my focus right on this one)

And now for something completely different, Pacific Park! I walk along Palisades Park to Pacific Park every Sunday with my mom, it's kind of our "church" these days. Having grown up Catholic, the ritual of doing something familial every Sunday morning is deeply entrenched in my bones and in the way my family interacts. So instead of being sedentary and going to boring church, my mom, sister, and I have decided that we'd rather be outside, in the beautiful city of Santa Monica, and do something for our health! So below is another smattering of photos, from a recent trip to Pacific Park. (What?! It DOES have Park in the name, right?)

Another image of the gorgeously photogenic ferris wheel.

And an image of the sign. This is not as centered as I would like, but you get the gist, right?

So many more adventures to come, National Parks, Julian, I'm going on a Mission trip this weekend... stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

finally! salton sea/julian!

Welcome to another post that doesn't include a National Park! The point of these posts is to help me I hope that this blog will serve as more than a photo dumping ground, but I have a lot of photos to post and loads of raconteuring to do. So here we go!

A few weeks ago the lovely Jess was in San Diego and we decided that not only did we want to spend some significant time together, but that we wanted to do so in the form of a roadtrip. So to Julian and the Salton Sea we went. I'm not going to bore you with my version of historical facts, but safe to say, each place was pretty spectacular in its own way.

Here are some (slightly) interesting photos.

So welcome to the Salton Sea.


I honestly didn't know what to expect. I had been obsessed with it for quite some time and am still intrigued by it, especially because of all of the dilapidated buildings that exist there, not to mention the eerie and quite sullen history.

Here's another sign...


What surprised me the most was just how gross the stench was. Imagine hot, humid, the smell of fish, dilapidation and literally the bones of millions (possibly billions) of dead fish. Here you go, images of dead fish and dilapidation:




I mean really, what happened to this stuff?


Why would you leave your treasured trailer there?

And oh yeah, the dead stuff:

(Sorry about the lopped off top.)


See the beach? Yeah, Eric pointed out to us that it was all bones of dead fish that we were walking on.



And one last shot of the Salton Sea, pretty fitting, I think.


So lessons learned:

  • The Salton Sea absolutely, unequivocally reeks.
  • Never go there again on a 100+ degree day like we did.
  • Yes the stuff that you're stepping on really is made of dead fish.
  • It's an absolute must-see if you're ever in Southern California.
Up next, Julian!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Things To Look Forward To

The above image is one of my favorites I've ever taken. Last year I went on a road trip (my very first solo road trip! Probably the first of many to come.) to Carmel and on the way up there, right off the 101, you could see Mission San Miguel -- this is just one of many images from that glorious mission. The purpose of this, gentle readers, is that I just wanted to give you proof that I am not always a crappy photographer! Yes, I am learning the rule of thirds, I am reading my fair share of Understanding Exposure and am devouring my email from Light Stalking.

1) My post about Pacific Park (yes the little amusement park in Santa Monica).
2) Another post about the amazing Mission San Miguel (perhaps this is another project -- I'd like to follow in Huell Howser's footsteps and see all of the missions, too!)
3) My trip to Kings Canyon and Sequoia with my (not such a baby anymore) sister!
4) My trip to Channel Islands soon to be determined!
5) My post about the Salton Sea and Anza Borrego Park.

This blog is already one of the best things I've ever done since it is really making me get out of my comfort zone and really see what this gorgeous country has to offer. Thanks for reading! :)