Today marks the one year anniversary since flying out of Brisbane (my home town), and I’m celebrating with a glass of Australian red wine, hockey on TV and a date with my laptop. How sad. Rohan and I initially thought we’d only be gone for a year, which means we should be home by now… but we’re not. We’re still living in Vancouver, Canada. We’re still dreaming of new places to travel. And we’re not ready to come home at all.
You see there’s this problem – the more we see, the even MORE we want to travel. Our list is growing at a rapid rate. It’s scary. I’m not sure if this is some sort of premature mid-life crisis, but I like it. Since April 12th 2011 we’re been all over the Americas. Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, USA and Canada. We’ve rideshared and couch surfed and hosted and hosteled and bused and driven around and have now worked out how cheaply we can travel. It’s a whole new world compared to past trips and hotel rooms. If you haven’t heard about couch surfing i highly recommend you check it out – depending on your situation of course. For us it’s about combining free accommodation with meeting locals, but mostly it’s about making fantastic new friends. It’s a WIN/WIN situation. Officially I’d like to thank Mo & Rebecca, Elysia, Matt & Ruth, Matt & Lindsey, and Matt & Lauren – all whom we have met through couchsurfing.org. These people are wonderful! They’ve opened us up to this new world of meeting and trusting complete strangers, sleeping on floors/couches and having instant friends when we’ve arrived in new cities. Hopefully we’ll see them one day when they come to Australia and we can repay the favour. Unofficially we need to thank all the bands we stayed with on our East Coast Road Trip through the States. Too many to list – Rohan and I can’t imagine that trip being as great as it was without them all letting us stop by. And finally… Patricia and Conrad (with huge hugs and thank you’s) for ALL those nights on their couch. There have been many many MANY nights in Whistler and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have one of my best friends in the whole world, coincidently live in Canada at the same time as I’ve been over here. I’m going to miss you Pattie, come back soon!
There has been a lot of time to think over things this past year. I have reevaluated old ways and contemplated new ones. I’ve discovered there is more to life than working long and hard days in an office for 48 weeks a year and I’ve also worked out that I can survive on a less than desirable wage. I’ve worked 7 out of the past 12 months, and i’m surviving just fine. I’m getting used to minimal living, and it’s been surprisingly easy to adjust to not having all my ‘things’ at my disposal. I think before I buy, and most of the time it doesn’t get bought. I guess knowing eventually – one day – I’m going to have to throw it out or ship it back to Australia. On another note… thanks to my new lab job my photography interests are changing and I’m shooting film again. It’s a fine art/commercial lab and we have a lot of film come through so was bound to be influenced at some point. I’m also trying out some new techniques and shooting more landscapes at the moment which is fun.
I’ve made a few lists of things that come to mind about living away from home, some obvious of course.
Firstly, NEW THINGS I LIKE: Coffee. Shooting Film. Crochet. Blogging. Couchsurfing. Almond milk. Vego meals. Snowboarding. Watching Hockey. Ride-share.
THINGS THAT SUCK: Imported fruit and vege. Rain. Low wages. Grocery shopping without a car. Layering up to go out for 5 minutes. Rain. Long winters. Taxes and tipping. Laundromats. Homeless people (their situation, not them personally). Pasty white skin. My Spanish.
THINGS I AM LOVING: Scenery. Seasons. Photo opportunities. Leafless trees and new spring blossoms. Hikes. Snow. Bike riding. East Van restaurants. Main street shops and food. Oreos. Bus rides to Whister. New job at ABC Photo. Public transport & walking everywhere. Skype. Minimal living. Banana chips. Driving to the States on a long weekends. Travelling in an RV.
THINGS I MISS FROM HOME: Sunshine. Family. Friends. Custard. My iMac (editing on a laptop sucks). BBQing. Strawberry Breaka. Beach. Mum’s cooking. My car. Meat pies. Cheese. My brother for some strange reason. Hangs with my girlfriends. My friends kids growing up.
With all of these changes, challenges and new experiences, i’ve been going through a lot of self reflection about how to live a happy and more simple life. I’m thinking a lot more than I used to, and I’m facing a few more challenges than I’m used to, but that’s OK. I’m still me, just with a slightly new outlook that I hope doesn’t dissipate once I get home to my familiar environment. Life is as normal for now but I’m sure there will be more adventures soon. Stay tuned.