World Citizen, aka Mél


World Citizen, aka Mél

Current location: the Illawarra coast of NSW

After finishing a degree and a diploma, I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. All I knew was that I wanted to crumple up the "before-30 checklist" that one is expected to complete. So I extended my travels and ran away to the land down under...Early along in the post-university travels, I met my hammock buddy.

The last year was devoted to studying some more (to be a teacher), resulting in minimal travel. As I look back on my path thus far, and to the future, I wonder how to balance my longing to be that carefree traveler with minimal possessions against the greater-than-ever expectations to complete "the checklist".

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Orange December 20th 2013

After returning from our big trip earlier this year, I found myself unemployed and not particularly liking the job prospects in the Central West of NSW. It was the middle of winter, and there were few job ads to search through. Businesses were nervous about the upcoming election and what that meant for future taxes and costs. And well, there aren't just that many jobs in the field of science in most country towns, despite the nearby gold mine. So I set about trying to re-taste Orange. I hadn't had the chance to have a strong connection to the town, as my previous job saw me leaving town before shops opened, and getting home after most closed. Traditionally everything closed early on Saturday and nothing opened on Sunday. I didn't know very many people in the ... read more
They don't grow oranges in Orange!
Central Western Sunrise
Fresh Hazelnuts

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Orange July 16th 2013

This was my last big trip before I turned the big 3-0. And today, as I have crossed over into another decade of life, I celebrate by reflecting on the last three months. The following are some of my musings from this trip. Enjoy! One never plays tourist in their own city! Before I departed Australia on this trip, I had signed up for a photography course through the New York Institute of Photography. It was part of my attempt to get out of my rut. In Yosemite National Park I finally ventured into putting my camera onto manual under the guidance of the photo walk leader. In each national park after that, I tried my best to keep an eye ... read more

On the day we left New York City to head "upstate", it was hot. Brutally hot. While the mercury may not have been quite as high as Death Valley, any New Yorker knows the humidity and pollution make hot weather in NYC unbearable. We had decided to walk with our luggage (by this point it had expanded to 3 full-size bags plus our two "carry-on" backpacks) to Grand Central to save a few bucks. By the time we got to Grand Central, our aching backs and arms and the beads of sweat pouring off our faces let us know how silly of a decision that was. We collapsed into a heap at a table in the dining concourse of Grand Central. I went upstairs to purchase tickets for Poughkeepsie and then waited patiently in line for ... read more
Hudson Valley Sunset
Winding Hills Park
Cafes in Beacon

Our first stop in our national park adventure was not actually a park, but the town of Pleasanton, CA. We needed to meet up with a friend of mine who was coming to Yosemite with us, so we picked this town off the map since it sounded pleasant. And it was! It had a lovely main street lined with big trees, fun cafes and funky shops. I hadn't seen Sarah since the wedding, so we were looking forward to going camping in such an iconic place together. Once we had our supplies and had checked our route on the maps, we set off towards the mountains. We drove through some of the driest areas I had ever seen, even drier than where we live in Australia. There were rolling hills of brown dirt, dust and long-dead ... read more
Along the drive to Yosemite
First Glimpse
Upper Falls & Apple Trees

I must start this trip's travel blog by apologising for taking so long to get these stories posted. Traveling with a partner is quite different to solo travel - I was surprised at how little time I had to sit and write journal entries on this trip. I had more free time when I joined tours of 20 people than when I travel with my partner! So, appologies about the delay. And now the journal begins: After packing up our house, putting all our belongings in storage, forwarding our mail to a friend, and saying our goodbyes, we left the country town of Orange and drove towards the coast. After another few days of last minute errands (e.g. doing tax returns) while staying with the in-laws in Jamberoo, it was finally time for our adventure. We ... read more
The Golden Gate at Sunset
Downtown San Francisco
Science Fun

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Orange April 12th 2013

Gee time flies! In the blink of an eye, six months passes by. And here we are, less than one week before our next big trip. Our house is being packed up, our bags will be ready for another adventure, and before we know it, we will be boarding the plane to San Francisco. This summer was a great summer - much better than the year earlier. We actually had nice warm weather instead of rain and floods. The season flew by as we participated in many activities such as Space Racing and the Summer Series of Orienteering. I also attended yoga workshops and went to some free photography workshops with the ABC Open project. We had a flourishing tomato garden, which had grown to epic proportions over Christmas and completely took over the garden. Next ... read more
Dragon Boating Carnival
Flix in the Stix
Brass Reflections

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Orange October 18th 2012

It's currently 6:30pm and I am happy. Why? Because the sun is still up and it's deliciously warm. I don't have to wear a coat. I can let my little toes be free in sandles. Spring is here and I've never been more glad. In the northern hemisphere, seasonal affective disorder, SAD, is common enough to be common knowledge. But a northern hemisphere inhabitant would assume that inhabitants in "sunny" Australia would not suffer from such seasonal mood swings. I figured that too. The first few times I experienced Aussie winters, I was shocked at the lack of proper heating and insulation, and thus shocked at the single digit temperatures (Celcius, below 50F) that it would commonly reach inside buildings. Aren't buildings meant to protect you from the elements? One of which being extreme temperatures? But ... read more
Cherry Blossoms
More spring blossoms
Apple Blossoms

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 13th 2012

I've stopped counting the number of times I've been to Paris. But as we dragged our luggage from the Gare de Lyon towards our hotel, I remembered that Paris wasn't one of my favourite cities. Especially after spending so much time in lovely clean Swiss cities, Paris was noisy, dirty, and NOT rolling suitcase friendly! After getting lost searching for our hotel due to a misunderstanding of the hotel's address (oh, RUE Richard Lenoir, not Boulevard Richard Lenoir....), we finally checked in. We were tired, grumpy, and not at all excited about Paris. It was grey, only 18 degrees, and we were exhausted from carrying all our luggage a few too many kilometers for over 2 hours while we searched for the hotel. We went around the corner to have dinner at a typical Parisienne bistro. ... read more
La pyramide
Coffee Heaven

Europe » Switzerland » North-West » Porrentruy July 8th 2012

After one last family gathering in Switzerland, we were off to the train station, carrying our suitcases, the pottery purchased in France, an extra umbrella and the art we were now carrying (I had inherited some art, so Dave and my uncle devised a handy carrying case of cardboard, duct tape and string to carry it). We were heading to a tiny medieval town in the Jura region called Saint-Ursanne, where my cousin had booked us a hotel room. The idea was to drop off our many belongings at the hotel, then to hop back on the train to Porrentruy, where the 8th stage of the Tour de France would be finishing that day. But as we exited the train at Saint-Ursanne, we noticed a lot of other people getting off too. As we approached the ... read more
Lovely Saint-Ursanne
Caravane vehicles
Tour de France riders in Saint-Ursanne

Asia » Singapore June 16th 2012

Finally, we were off on another adventure! A trip to Switzerland and France, in their summer, to escape at least part of another Aussie winter in Orange, NSW. We packed the bags and our itchy feet were excited to get traveling again. First, we had a stop-over in tropical Singapore. We had both been to Singapore together, last in 2007, so we were looking forward to our one-night stopover. We planned to explore a bit of our old-hangouts as well as maybe see something new. We boarded our flight in Sydney with Singapore Airlines, and immediately realised why people pay more to fly Singapore Airlines. It was travel as it used to be - including the little hot towelettes prior to your meal. We were also lucky enough to be upstairs in the roomy premier economy ... read more
View of Little India
Mural at Fort Canning
Little India night scene

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