Part of me thought maybe I could just casually start posting again and not mention my SECOND hiatus since covid, but I figured that was the easy way out.
Realistically, I don’t even really know why I stopped writing last year. Life was busy for sure, but it was more that when I jumped back in that I spent so much time sharing my writing and trying to get it seen by as many people as possible that I started to resent it. The writing was the part I enjoyed most but it was the part I got to do the least of.
So, I’m back. I am writing again but this time the focus is solely on writing and sharing with my already established and much loved readers, rather than burn myself out trying to get new ones.
So what have I been up to since the last time I posted?
RED CENTRE ROAD TRIP
In April of last year, Dad and I scored some cheap flights into Alice Springs and decided to do a father daughter trip around the red centre. We hot air ballooned over Uluru, swam in amazing gorges and waterholes, hiked Kings Canyon and nearly incurred what would have been the world’s most expensive tow!
TOP END GETAWAY
In June of 2022, Ella and I took a few weeks to get away from Adelaide winter. We first flew up to my old home in Darwin and did a little weeklong road trip in the Top End. We released baby turtles, went on a chopper to a private swimming hole and went bird watching in Kakadu National Park before heading to our next destination – Bali.
Our 6 nights in Bali were the definition of a holiday. We did a teeny tiny bit of exploring but we spent most of our time eating in restaurants, getting massages and swimming in our private villas. This was my first overseas trip since Covid-19 and it was good to head somewhere familiar while navigating all the rules and regulations that were implemented in relation to covid.
A few months later, covid restrictions were easing all around the world and many countries were no longer requiring pre departure testing. I decided to embark on a trip to a country that I’d wanted to go to for many years and the only way to get there was by going via Lebanon. I must admit, I had always pictured Lebanon as a nice place to visit but I was completely taken aback by just how beautiful it is. We spent three glorious transit days based in Beirut and my only regret was that we didn’t stay longer.
Syria was my intended destination after our time in Beirut. I had initially intended this to be a solo trip, but my dad decided very last minute that we wanted to come along and luckily we were able to sort a visa for him in time. Syria is obviously not a common tourist destination, but it is somewhere that I had always wanted to visit. I had met so many people over the years who had been fortunate enough to travel to Syria before the war and they only ever had incredible things to say about the country.
Tourism has been slowly reopening in Syria since around 2019 (although covid definitely impacted it) and it was a place that I was finally able to visit. Our week there was a trip like no other and I have a full blog post coming about our trip – as well as a discussion on the ethics of travelling to countries experiencing conflict.
After leaving Syria I travelled to Uzbekistan to spend ten days catching the trains across the country. I had picked up a water-borne illness in Syria and continued to be quite unwell, which meant my energy for exploring was pretty limited, so I spent my days rising before the sun, wandering around the cities in the quiet of the morning light and napping in the afternoons.
GOT A PUPPY
Ella and I had talked for ages about getting a dog, but it took us quite a while to decide on the most suitable breed for our household. Given that we have bunnies who live in the house (and whom are our first babies) finding a dog that wouldn’t want to attack them and wouldn’t hurt them accidentally was paramount. I also only really like big dogs, so that limited our options significantly. We ended up narrowing our options down to a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Newfoundland or a Great Pyrenees. In the end, a pyr seemed like the best option for our house and within about a year, we had found a puppy. Unlike in the USA, breeders of pyrs are far and few between in Australia – there are only three active breeders and all of them only breed every few years.
The day we got our Wally was such a happy one. Watching him grow from a terror of a puppy to the calm, gentle and protective boy he is now has been incredible. He is an incredibly well behaved dog and considering the fact that we are subpar dog trainers at best, it says a lot about the breed and about him.
GOT ACCEPTED INTO A MASTERS PROGRAM
I ended up feeling quite twitchy in regards to my work life outside of travelling and decided that I needed to do some sort of study and expand my knowledge or skill set in some way. I ended up deciding to undertake a Masters in Public Health with a tropical medicine focus.
WENT DIVING IN RAJA AMPAT
Ah, this trip was years in the making. I remember booking this week-long diving trip in mid 2018 for November 2020! Even then, a two year wait list was not unheard of. Of course, 2020 happened and I wasn’t able to travel to Raja and thus our booking was pushed to November 2022. Over four years I had been waiting for this trip!
Now that that trip has been and gone, I can safely say, it was bloody worth the wait.
I travelled to Raja with my friend Chelsea and it was an utterly perfect holiday.
We would rise with the sun, have a coffee and a light breakfast, go for a dive, come back and eat a more hearty breakfast, go for another dive, come back and eat an incredible lunch, have an afternoon snorkel or kayak or laze about reading a book, then have G+Ts on the deck of our overwater villa before indulging in a big dinner and an early night.
Then we just repeated this for six days! It was paradise and I truly can’t wait to go back one day.
Probably the biggest thing that has happened since my blogging absence has been that I got maaaaaarried!
Ella and I tied the knot on April 15th of this year in the pouring rain whilst surrounded by the stunning surrounds of Burbrook Forest, a private reserve in the Kuitpo region of South Australia.
Despite the rain (and the stressful week beforehand making wet weather plans) our day was perfect. I know most people probably feel this way about their weddings, but there isn’t a single thing I’d change. Ella and I promised to love each other for the rest of our days surrounded by all the people we love most and it was utter perfection.
Gosh, after an incredible decade spent navigating my twenties, it was time earlier this year to enter a new decade. As much as I held a bit of trepidation about this (the fact that I’ll be too old to stay in some hostels in a few years is insane to me) we threw a very laid back lunch followed by kick ons at our place. It was a great night surrounded by my favourite friends and we finally made a dent in all the leftover alcohol from our wedding!
DID MY FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIP
Ever since I learned to dive, doing a diving focused liveaboard has been a dream of mine. I had booked a week off work and flights to Bali and originally planned to spend a week in Laos, but once again the flight schedules just didn’t work out to be an effective use of one week off. Instead, I looked into going diving in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park.
I spent four glorious days aboard the ‘Bajak’ and did some of the best diving of my live. We saw mantas, sharks, turtles and oh so much more. It was affordable, fun and such an easy trip to do – I can’t wait to write a full blog on the trip.
WENT BACK TO TONGA
Will there ever be a time where I’m not planning a return trip to Tonga?
The whalies pull me back in just about every year and each trip is nothing short of incredible. It’s the only trip I do over and over again without making any changes, and given how many trips I’ve been on, that’s saying something. I captured some incredible video footage of the whalies on this trip that I cannot wait to share.
So whats next?
In a few short weeks Ella and I will be off on our much awaited honeymoon, we will be heading to Iceland and Greenland (northern lights come at us) before heading to Thailand and Indonesia to defrost. I also have plans to do a freediving course with Chelsea, a trip to South Korea with Ella and a big trip with Dad to Madagascar and Norway (odd combination but you’ll find out why).
This will be the first year in a long time where I’ll be back to travelling for 3-4 months in the year and I am so bloody excited for all that is to come.
Once again, I am deeply sorry for my absence but I can’t wait to get back to what I love, blogging about my adventures around the globe.
Stay tuned! xx