Thursday, May 31, 2012


so this is my video submission for arrival magazine NZ's #DREAMJOB competition!
please click right HERE and 'like' my i can win and give you posts from NEW ZEALAND!!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

karakoram hwy

the karakoram highway.
have you ever heard of it? don't worry, i hadn't either.
not before i started becoming obsessed with reading travel blogs and watching travel documentaries.
not before i spent my weekends in the public library reading lonely planet guides and sitting in open jaw awe tracing my fingers over red lined major highways on maps.
i was reading a friends self-published book of his experience doing the mongol-rally and he spoke about how traveling through the 'stan' countries was the highlight of his trip. he had never thought of traveling through there, and didn't really know what to expect. but after having his breath taken away by the scenic views, he now tells everyone to go there for sure!

the KKH is the highest paved international road in the world.
it connects china and pakistan through the khunjerab pass.
the route of the KKH traces one of the many routes of the ancient silk highway.
when i started to think about traveling to western china. and i actually got out a map, i saw how many countries it boarders. and i thought 'well maybe if i just head west...'. and i am still thinking that. i will get to beijing, and maybe just head west.

it just seems so legendary that i really want to go. not sure if this is a place i want to go to by myself, or if this is somewhere where i would want to travel with a friend, particularly a male friend. they say women can travel anywhere men can, which is true. but it usually comes with a lot of restrictions and necessary adjustments to your way of travel. issues which rarely impact men to the same extent. whatever does come up, whether it is this year or in fifty years, i plan on traveling the karakoram highway. someday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

dental issues

if i have to go to one more dentist and hear them say "someone's gums are bleeding" i think i am going to lose it.
what do they expect to happen when you poke around each tooth with a tiny little machete.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the contest

so this contest that i entered with arrival mag NZ is consuming my every thought!
and last night they updated the applicants with one new piece of information.
you have to submit a 1-3 minute video saying why you should get the job.
so i have been freaking out since i heard the news. going over different ways to get my point across.
i am hoping to film my video and get it up on youtube by the end of the week.
i am nervous on some levels because i don't nearly have as many 'likes' or 'shares' on my photo as some of the other applicants.
but if how many minutes of my day are consumed with the thought of winning this contest counted towards it at all, i would be the winner hands down.
so if you haven't already, please tell your friends and family and LIKE THIS PHOTO!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

PICK ME...please

arrival magazine is having a contest.
win your DREAM JOB.
and holy frackity frack i want it!
they launched a worldwide search for someone who can front its new sales pitch promoting NZ to the world!
the winner(hopefully me) will be provided with a sweet smart phone to capture updates and videos from the trip...and a campervan!!!
arrival mag NZ decided that the best way for people to learn about nz was to see experiences through a fellow traveller. and they couldn't be more spot on!
this dream job is a two month, all-expense paid position who will get to experience nz's food, wine, adventure and nature!
"...looking for someone with guts and a sense of adventure who is willing to show off their experiences to the world"
STOP LOOKING! that person is me :)
i feel terribly ashamed that the quote attached to my application photo is riddled with inappropriately placed upper and lowercase letters. as anyone can tell, i rarely use uppercase letters, or assign the correct punctuation - if any. along with that, the only other thing that is making me doubt myself is the fact that my photo submission is extremely subpar compared to all the other contestants who have pictures of them swimming with sharks, mid skydive, or walking the great wall naked.
but i still believe.
i applied and now i will wait. i will wait while probably developing an ulcer i am so excited/nervous/anxious.
this job is ME!
it combines my love of adventure, spontaneity, travel, writing, and my DEGREE!!!! (recreation management!!!!)
it would be a outlet of monstrous proportions for my awesomeness to exude.
wow that sounds cocky. but hey...its true.
those are all things i love and i am good at.
so why not me.
whenever i think of something i want, i try not to tell people about it.
i dont want to jinx it. i dont want others to know that im let down when i dont win/get the job/get the boy.
but i cant do that here. i have to shout it from everywhere.
I WANT THIS JOB. put your faith and support in me.
the only contest i can ever remember winning is a fathers day ballot draw for a left handed golf club.
i spent an entire trip to the grocery store with mom filling out those ballots.
i won it.
and on fathers day that year, while dad was cooking up some steaks for dinner, i was having a go with his new club on the front a series of unfortunate events, i whacked the ball, it flew directly towards dad and the bbq and smoked his hand. he refused to go to the doctor until after we had eaten dinner. seeing as it was fathers day we didn't argue.
we sat through that entire meal while dads hands swelled up all around his knuckles with the indentation of golf ball dimples getting more profound.
and that was it.
that is my only memory of winning a contest. it is also my only time golfing.
now i stick to miniputts. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

nullarbor plain

the other day i made a list of my travel goals. it got long real quick.
over the next couple weeks i will share them with you.
today i will tell you about my urge to cycle across the nullarbor plain in southern australia.
nullarbor derives from the latin words nullus, meaning no, and arbor, meaning trees.
at its widest the nullarbor plain is 1,100km!
in 1896 arthur charles jeston richardson became the first cyclist to cross the nullarbor plain, from coolgardie to adelaide. carrying only a small kit and a water-bag. he followed the telegraph line as he crossed the plain. arthur described the heat as "1,000 degrees in the shade"
i know this makes it sound unappealing to some. but i crave it somedays. just being out there, cycling. in a vast open nothingness.
i first heard about it in october 2010. that's when the idea was planted. i had arrived in the northern territory of australia and was couchsurfing in darwin. i was trying to find a ride out of the city and my only guideline was that i had a month and a half to get to sydney. so i was meeting people who had placed ads on backpacker boards.

1. 'SEEKING ROAD TRIP BUDDY(must know how to drive stick)'
2. We are Cara, Sven and Janno! We are going splitsies on a old school VW van and are looking for a fourth to join us?!

i ended up going with kai, a guy from northern ireland who had already bought a beast of a toyota land cruiser. we ended up doing the east coast. so no nullarbor that time.
and then when i was reading lilwall's book he talked about cycling across it. how the road stretches on forever. how somedays all you will see is kangaroos, camels and road trains*. reading and hearing stories about the nullarbor make it seem like a magical place. i want to be one of the few that has travelled across it.
ultimately i think i would like to cycle across it too. i think the average time to cross it is two-three weeks. but seeing as how my biking skill are severally lacking, i doubt that will be happening any time soon. right now i just try to avoid the CA-CHUNK CA-CHUNK sound my bike makes when shifting gears. actually today i just picked up my bike from MEC, where it got a spring tune-up. so perhaps ill get started on conquering my CA-CHUNK fears. one step at a time.

*a road train is like an 18 wheeler. except instead of just having one container on the back of the cab, they have like three. common throughout australia. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

piece by piece

this week i have basically been making MEC (mountain equipment co-op) my second home. i go in on my days off and listen in on tutorials being given about the pack i already own, or ask to try on just about every backpacking boot they carry in my size. i am slowly acquiring all of the pieces needed for my trip.
over the past two weeks i have purchased a sleeping bag, tent, compression bag, 3L camelbak, and backpacking boots! about $600 worth of gear! AHHH
on the night i bought my tent, i set it up in my room, and slept in it. two days later when i bought the sleeping bag, i slept in it. and today when i bought my hiking boots, i skyped my parents to show them. and i have been wearing them around my room ever since.
i also made a pit stop at the library today to return some books and to pick up some others. okay, well...a lot of others.
i left with an audio book of 'super freakonomics', 2 learn to speak mandarin audio cds, 1 learn to speak russian audio cd, a documentary on year long backpacking trips called a map of saturday , a first time asia guide book, a lonely planet guide to china (to add to the frommers and nat geo one's i already have), and paul theroux's ghost train to the eastern star.
as i am typing i am loading the audio cds onto my ipod so i can listen to them while walking to work, or more likely for when i am waiting in airports and meandering around beijing. i also watched the documentary a map of saturday and loved it. i related to everything they talked about. i laughed at things i forgot about backpacking. about how sick you get of the first five questions people ask you.
1. where are you from?
2. where are you going?
3. how long are you traveling for?
4. how long are you staying here for?
5. how old are you/what is your name?
i forgot how annoying those questions become. you answer them each time you meet someone new. which usually happens several times a day. but the film also reminded me that one of those questions isn't  'what do you do?'. people don't want to know where you spend your days working at your job. they want to know where you are from and where you are going. i guess when i look at it like that, i am okay with the redundancy of the five questions.