Packing, the second time around.

You think it would be easier to pack the second time around, but you know the saying, what you don’t know can’t hurt you? Well, now I know what I would like to bring and that I don’t have room for it all. Notice I said “what I would like to bring”. If I only packed what I needed, I’d be squared away.

You see, similar to last time, I know I need more cold weather clothes. I also know, especially in Europe, that I need smarter looking clothes. I’d prefer not to tour nice museums and wander the streets amongst well-dressed Italians in my dirty tennis shoes, ripped jeans, and baggy t-shirt. So, here is what I concluded.

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Halfway Point.

I can’t believe I’m going home tomorrow (temporarily)… While I’ve only been traveling for 2 months it feels more like 6 months (in a good way). Sharing rooms, talking to strangers, getting lost, leaving my comfort zone, seeing new things, having little routine, etc. has become my norm.

I took the bullet train back to Tokyo and I felt good knowing already where my hostel was because I chose to stay in the same one. I was beyond happy to see my large bag was still there! I checked in and someone managed to fit all of my things into either my big bag, backpack or carry on shopping bag. I had signed up last week for a futsal tournament that was for 6pm today. It was 45 minutes away by transit and I was feeling a bit lazy but I told myself I had to go. When else was I going to play soccer in Japan? Also, it was only 5pm and it was too early for bed.  So, I went.

It was beautiful out and the games would be played outside! I wore my soccer shorts, which I had brought as pajamas and my T-shirt that I got after bungee jumping in New Zealand, also used as pajamas. I only had tennis shoes, but luckily it was short carpet turf so I wouldn’t slide around too much. The field consisted of boards put over a swimming pool and covered in sheets of blanket turf. Not the best or safest, but I was just eager to play! There were about 18 of us there, 3 teams of 6. I was the only girl. I haven’t played a game in 5 months, and I haven’t been working out much either so I was a little nervous. I could tell they were kind of judging me too, hoping I wouldn’t suck and screw up their game. I was asking a few about themselves as we warmed up and they were giving me short answers. Sorry fellas, I can actually play and talk at the same time 😉


The game started and it didn’t take long for them to realize I was here to play. I was in my element, playing well and having a blast. My fitness level was actually okay too! I had a couple goals, many assists, a few nutmegs and fake-outs. I even had a few impressive defensive stops. I was proud when I heard one of them call me a warrior. Once, while taking my rotation as goalie one of them took a shot and it hit me hard square on the leg. He apologized multiple times, but I just told him if he would have shot the ball even harder he might have actually scored 😉

After 2 hours of play, we ended and said our goodbyes. I went to head back to my train station when I realized that my 2G of data I had bought must have ran out. Perfect! I had never been to this area before! I did get on the wrong train, but eventually managed to get on the right one and 25 minutes later that it should have taken, I made it back. I showered and then went to bed, or least attempted, I can never sleep before a big flight!

Halfway point.. there are several things that I’ve realized.

Did I get bored? Never! There are too many things to experience out in this world to feel bored.

Did I feel tired? At times, yes, but no more than I would at home. I’ve done a good job of taking time to rest and not feeling guilty about it. I also move around enough and a new city refuels my energy.

Did I miss home? Of course, but not enough to call it quits. I would love see some friends or family but the amount of new people I’m meeting here kind of fills that void in an obviously different way.

Have I spent more money than planned? Only in New Zealand, but that was a conscious choice to experience specific thrills. And then maybe some of the shopping in Japan 😉

Did I pack the right things? For the most part yes. I could have used more winter clothes in Japan. I didn’t need to bring laundry detergent. Of course, I could have used a few more clothes, but I really didn’t have room.

Best part? Meeting new people and experiencing new things with them. The people I met were in the same mindset as me and that was perfect. Everyone was open, appreciative and excited. I loved seeing all of the beauty, culture and landmarks that each city had to offer, but just as beautiful were the connections I made along the way.

Worst part? Nothing. Little things went wrong along the way but that is life and that made it interesting. Perhaps I just had the right attitude, but that’s okay too.



Royal National Park (New South Wales)

Royal National Park (New South Wales)

I had seen pictures on Instagram of the figure 8 pools in Royal National Park (the 2nd oldest National Park to Yellow Stone). I decided to book a visit on Friday with a tour my Hostel recommended. I was very much looking forward to it and was telling those I was out with on Thursday. One of the gals said she had never heard of it and so she googled it to see a picture. Of course, one of the first few things to pop up is an incident that occurred there where several folks had to be helicopter lifted to a hospital. Great.

On Friday I woke up very early and met the van at 6:45am. Of course, I asked about the incident and the guide/driver assured us this would be safe as they don’t allow people down there during high tide anymore. Great–let’s do this. A van of 15 of us headed out. It wasn’t too long of a drive, about an hour and we stopped once along the way to fill up our water bottles. We arrived and stepped out and it was the most beautiful sight! The rule was that upon each “lookout point” you couldn’t pull out your phone or camera for 30 seconds, you had to look with your eyes, not your lens. I think I’m going to use that rule moving forward (with the exception of animals because they will be gone before you know it).

We hiked a moderate but steep trail through a jungle and down to a beach. From there, we carefully stepped our way over rock piles and around a cliff to reach the pools. The waves crashing against the rocks was incredibly humbling because of their power and freedom. Looking into the pools you saw all sorts of creatures. Oysters, seaweed, crabs, fish, anemones and some unfamiliar. Fortunately, we didn’t see any of the ones we were warned about, the ones that can cause immense pain and possible death. Yes, we were told of 5 different species where this would be the theme. I picked a pool that looked reasonably deep and not filled with too many creatures to dive into. There was something amazing about floating in this miniature little eco-system. I was careful to not bump up too hard on anything, because as sharp as some of them could be, they are still fragile.

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Does anyone know the etiquette on co-ed rooms? Do I knock first…? Should I wear a bra to bed…? When the first guy walked in, I admit I was a little thrown off. By day two though, it’s actually not that bad with the exception of I have to walk all the way to the bathroom to change. He happens to be very respectful and also a lot of fun. An Irishman eh. We ended up even going the zoo together. I actually prefer him to my female roomie. She introduced herself and then handed me ear plugs because she snores. That was a first. The good news? I didn’t need them because the sound of the waves outside my window drowned her out. The better news? She only stayed one night.

Pro Tip: It’s acceptable to hang your towel the long way on your bunk to dry while simultaneously giving yourself a privacy curtain.

Another etiquette to take note of is surfing. I think that intimidates me more than co-ed rooms. There are rules.. such as who has the right-of-way on the wave. The last thing I want to do is steal someone else’s wave, and then not even catch it. In soccer I can jump in and school even the boys. I hope to reach that competence in surfing one day. It’s always better to go out there with a buddy. I met two girls (London and Canada) who are similar experience as me. I invited them to Bondi Beach hoping to catch some waves or in the very least, it’s always better to embarrass yourself with someone you know watching. It’s true. Have you ever tripped and no one saw? It’s awkward because you want to talk about it and acknowledge the embarrassment. You almost want someone to laugh at you. Anyways, we surfed and managed not to hit anyone or annoy anyone. We also managed to catch 0 waves. I promise this is a fluke. Word around the beach was that the waves were flat, so I’m going with that. Regardless, my surfboard was hella cute!

Pro Tip: Get a hostel like Bondi Backpackers that rents free surf boards!

Flight to Australia: Losing a day of my life

It’s weird to think I lost a day of my life. What if something good was going to happen that day??? Do I get that same day back when I fly home or is it considered a new day? These are the sorts of things you start to think about when you’ve been sitting in an airplane for 14.5 hours.

14.5 hours from LAX to Sydney. I guess I didn’t realize how long this flight actually was. The time zones confused my understanding. I left LAX at midnight my time, so all I wanted to do was sleep. I learned where the term ‘you snooze you loose’ comes from. It stems from if you sleep at the beginning of the flight, you lose your opportunity for dinner.  Luckily they had some things left over so I was able to have a little something when I woke. Nothing like beef tenderloin at 6am 🙂

I woke up thinking I must have slept 10 hours, probably only 4 to go. Nope, 7 hours to go….Before I left I did an intense cardio and strength workout, which has helped with the consecutive sitting. Despite that, it’s inevitable to not get a sore derrière and stiff neck. That said, I managed to keep myself entertained.

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How many clothes equals 60L?

How many clothes equals 60L?

How many clothes is 60L? I bought a 60L backpack. Soooo how many outfits translates to 60L? I don’t own anything liquid 😉

I picked it because I thought 40 was too small and 80 was too big. I also love that it has rollers because that’s actually what I plan to use most of the time. I’ve been paying a lot of attention lately to certain pieces of clothing I own that always fit well, don’t get stretched out, wash easily and can serve multiple purposes. I have this pair of Madewell jeans that I’m obsessed with because I can wear them on the plane, hiking, or out for a night and they always look and feel appropriate. I think they may be the pants from the Sisterhood of the Traveling pants..but I’m not sure.

My first leg is Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, & Japan. It will be mostly hot with the exception of Japan. I also plan to do a lot of surfing so that impacted what I bring.

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