I was fortunate to spend a few days in New York City for work last week. New York City in springtime has to be one of my favorite places: wow.
Things I loved about Sri Lanka
- Seeing elephants bath in the river whilst having lunch
- Delicious food
- Fantastic tea selection (to buy)
- Widespread wifi (albeit a bit unreliable)
- Red bananas
Things I didn’t like about Sri Lanka
- Tea served
- Roads and traffic (averaging 20 km/h)
- Being seen as nothing but money – pressured to buy gems/herbs/tea etc
“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”
I’ve been thinking about travel a lot lately. In the past I have made a big mistake of returning to places overseas I’ve already been to, and inevitably they were never as good as the first time. So, I’m proposing some new rules for travel:
- I will never return to an overseas destination that I’ve already been to before. It will never be the same so I should go somewhere else!
- I will never travel to an overseas destination to relax on a beach. We have some of the best, and cleanest, beaches in the world on the east coast of Australia and it feels kinda criminal to fly across the world when we can drive 50 minutes in the car to experience the same thing.
- I will never travel to an overseas destination to do ‘cheap’ shopping: that’s what the Internet is for.
- I will seek an experience overseas that I won’t forget and can’t replicate at home: I don’t really want to just surf the net or watch movies in a hotel room on the other side of the world.
- I will do it for the experience rather than the memories. I once read an article about how we’d all be better off it we treated a holiday as if our memory of it would be erased when it was over. That way we’d actually experience it, rather than just try to accumulate memories of it for later.
- I will turn off the work email on my phone: and not check twitter either.
- I will eat local: no food like you get at home, or fast food like McDonalds either.
- I will focus on enjoying the travel rather than taking photos of it.
“Didn’t have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
Today I finally overcame trying to fit the world inside a picture frame
Maybe you should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
It brought me back to life”
~ John Mayer: ’3×5′
Update: 8 October 2012
I probably should clarify: traveling domestically to the same place, eg. Byron Bay, to relax is good, and preferable. Traveling overseas for adventures should be to different places and traveling overseas for relaxation is not on.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco, I saw these ‘wall trophies’ on sale at Kitty’s favourite store: Anthropologie. They’re quite large, so we could only bring one back to Australia, and we chose the gazelle. Each trophy is hand made in Haiti from recycled materials including old literature written in French. The gazelle looks great on our living room wall.
I’ve spent a number of weeks in Sydney for work, and I’ve grown to love the place. I’ve been working in North Sydney, and staying in a serviced apartment in Miller’s Point (near Darling Habour). On occasions, I walk home admiring the spectacular harbour view the whole way.
Because of daylight savings (something we don’t have in Brisbane) I’ve walked to Bondi Beach from Miller’s Point after work (about 10km), and ate fish and chips on the beach.
The view from my office isn’t bad either.
I also managed to find some street art around the city, but it was part of an exhibition, which kinda isn’t the same.
1. Luxembourg: ever since I read Bill Bryson’s: ‘A Walk in the Woods’ where he briefly describes walking through the small European country of Luxembourg, I have wanted to do just that.
Bryson makes it quite clear that Europe sets the standard that he admires, noting, for example, that in Luxembourg, footpaths lead us into a cultural landscape of fields, wood lots, farms and villages, an encounter with “the whole of Luxembourg, not just its trees,”
2. Mexico: ever since I watched Nacho Libre, I have wanted to visit Mexico, and become a great fighter. Just kidding, but there is something about what I have seen about Mexico that makes it so appealing. Sanitation issues aside, I might one day visit there, but not when junior pixels is small and vulnerable.
3. Singapore: I’ve never visited Singapore, and the reason I want to visit one day is to try to see if it’s actually as bland as people say it is, because I reckon you could find something exciting about it if you really tried.
We’re all in KL at the moment. I’ve never seen a monkey outside a zoo, so this morning I caught an very overpriced cab to the most humid place I’ve ever been, in anticipation of seeing one. I am finding the Lonely Planet Kuala Lumpur guide generally inaccurate, I wonder if it’s because the author hasn’t actually been here. It said the Batu Caves were amazing, which they weren’t. The only thing the guide did get correct is that the caves are full of monkeys. So seeing these little guys on arrival at the stinking caves made it all worth it.
This month marks the tenth year anniversary of my very first trip overseas. In 1998 I finished school and had just turned seventeen, so I decided to take a year off before starting Uni. I ended up working in Australia in a cafe for about nine months, then spending just under three months backpacking overseas. I went with Kitty, who I started dating in year ten in high school. We went to the UK, Ireland, Paris and Thailand.
Some of the things I remember from the trip were:
- Wondering what the fuck we were doing after being grilled by British Immigration after a 30 hour journey over;
- Being well and truly sick of seeing castles after navigating our way completely around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales;
- Thinking the Avebury stones were better than Stonehenge because you could actually touch them;
- Freezing our buts off, everywhere we went; and never being able to manage a hot, or at least warm, shower in any hostel we stayed (says something about our budget);
- Visiting my first ever Starbucks;
- Thinking Glasgow was cool, even though people told us not to stay there;
- Being admitted to hospital in Cork, Ireland for the first time in my life, with the worse case of food poisoning I will ever endure;
- Deciding at the last minute to travel to Paris from London for our last day in Europe. We slept in the bus overnight on the way over and arrived at 3 am. We then left the same day at midnight and slept in the bus on the way back. The bus drove onto a ferry on the way over, and drove into a train (channel tunnel) on the way back;
- Ireland using a different currency called a Punt, which no longer exists with the Euro;
- Everything being so darn expensive, considering one dollar bought less than 40 pence and I just saved all my money working as a 17 year old in a cafe for $8 an hour;
- Getting to Thailand at the end and actually having money left.