Sunday, 30 June 2013


Dear Diary,

Yesterday I took the subway downtown to explore the Financial District - Trinity Church, Wall Street, 9/11 Memorial and every food truck lined street in between. I love to walk around - it's a backpacker budget friendly way to see wherever you are - and I love walking around New York City. Each neighbourhood is different and it amazes me every time I wander from one to another - I feel like I'm in a completely different place.

The 9/11 Memorial was a bit chaotic - lines, more lines, and lots of people who don't like waiting in lines, - but was worth the wait. It's a big, open, green space, and the reflection pools create a sense of calm in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a big city. Halfway around the world in Australia, in a city as small as Adelaide, I found it hard to imagine the impact the attacks had on the city, but seeing the memorial - the reflection pools in the footprint of where the twin towers once stood, the freedom tower casting a shadow on the surrounding buildings, and the amount of construction that it still happening on the World Trade Centre site - opened my eyes.

I had no plans for the rest of the afternoon and decided to walk uptown, rather than catch the subway. I walked through the colourful and busy neighbourhood of Tribeca, realised I was in China Town after a while, passed through the quirky artist hub Soho, found myself on the NYU campus in Greenwich Village, and walked the tree lined streets of Chelsea, before I had to hop onto the subway home.

I've been crossing things off my list-of-things-I-want-to-do-in-NYC list, but I've also added a few more things too. There is always something to do, see, or eat in NYC, and I hope that I can experience as much as I can before I leave.


Wednesday, 26 June 2013


Dear Diary,

I blame Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for the kilo I've put on since I got here. And Milk Duds. And Ben and Jerry's Icecream. And Twizzlers. And Dorritos


Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Dear Diary,

There's nothing better for homesickness than getting lost in New York City, and I've been doing a lot of that recently. I took the subway downtown, window shopped on Bleeker Street, and got a little lost in West Village, but when you're in a vibrant, bustling, colourful part of the city, who cares. After a little aimless wandering I found Bedford Street and, ta-da, the building that was used in FRIENDS. I squealed with excitement when I saw it, and I still can't believe that I was there.

I wandered through West Village into the Meatpacking District to the Gransevoort Street entrance to The High Line. The High Line is a public park built on an old rail line elevated above the streets on the West Side. It is an incredible public space in a concrete jungle and on a beautiful summers day there were people out, enjoying the sun, the popsicles, and the amazing scenery. It was an incredible lush green space, decorated with native plants and colourful flowers in the middle of the stark, industrial, concrete jungle. It runs from Gransevoort Street to West 30th, and even if you can't stop for a popsicle, it's still a quick way to get around midtown.

And then I went up all eighty-six floors of the Empire State Building to look out over New York City, as the sun went down and the city lit up. It was a perfect end to a great day exploring the city.

I haven't written as much as I'd like and I'm not sure why but I just haven't felt like writing. I'm scared that if I don't write a journal that I won't remember all of the amazing things I'm doing, seeing, and experiencing.


Friday, 21 June 2013


For the next three months I'm calling New York City home and myself a New Yorker. The past week has been a blur of subway maps, starbucks, and sunshine as I've started to adapt to life in the city that never sleeps. Here's a quick summary of my first week

The sidewalk is for walking and walking only. If you stop to take a photograph, look for something in your bag, or because you realise you're walking in the wrong direction, you'll attract a fierce glare and a very audible sigh. Jaywalking is not only acceptable, but encouraged, and when you're rushing to the subway you'll do it too. It's daunting at first, especially when you're still getting used to the idea that traffic is on the other side of the road. My tip is to stick close to someone who looks like they know what they're doing until you get used to the traffic.

When it hasn't rained in a few days it means that that puddle is not rainwater - do anything you can to avoid stepping in it. 

It's a good idea to know what you want before you get on line - oh! and in the USA you wait on line, not in line - at Starbucks. The line may look long enough for you to have a good look at the menu, but it'll move very quickly and you'll be left um-ing at the counter - not a good look. And if you want milk in your coffee you'll need to ask for it - otherwise you'll get a surprised when you take a sip!

When someone asks you 'How are you?' they don't actually care how you are - It's just another way to say hello. New Yorkers don't like small talk, especially in elevators. When you make eye contact with someone in the street, don't smile, it's considered weird.

The food trucks are twice (or more!) as expensive around the tourist attractions. If you walk a block away in any direction they'll be a dollar. 

 A cantaloupe is a rockmelon. A yam is a sweet potato. A biscuit is a bread roll. A pie is a pizza. A hero is a type of sandwich. And most importantly, they're called flip flops.

And it's Grand Central Terminal, not Grand Central Station.


Sunday, 16 June 2013


Dear Diary,

I'd call myself a foodie. A food-truck-cheap-and-local-street-stall foodie. But as much as I love to hit food trucks and street stalls, I love to cook. I also really enjoy a trip to the supermarket, and was as excited to hit the grocery store as I was to try my first hotdog. Apart from struggling to navigate the narrow aisles, bumping almost everyone who walked past me in the store, and not getting confused about pounds and kilos, I managed to find everything I needed for my favourite comfort pasta. 

Well, almost everything. The fresh food section was a little underwhelming - there was no rocket, the carrots weren't as appetising as they are at home, apples were a similar price, but strawberries are in season and I got the biggest punnet ever for three dollars. The butchers section was fantastic - meat is much cheaper here than it is at home, and the selection was incredible. I was craving feta cheese, but when I finally found it - there were two cheese sections, I don't know why - I found it wasn't very budget friendly. I'm so used to milk being a dollar a litre and always scoff when it's not - even at home - so of course I thought the milk was expensive at 2.99 a half gallon, which is a little under two litres.

And then I saw poptarts, which are a bargain compared to home. Into the basket they went. 

I know it's kinda weird that I'm writing about going to the grocery store and how much things cost, but I really enjoying doing everyday things when I travel, and I want to remember as much as possible about my trip. As homesick as I currently am, I know this trip is going to be incredible and I want to remember each and every thing I did, saw, and felt.

Friday, 14 June 2013


Dear Diary,

Today I braved the weather and headed into the city. The weather was a bit gloomy so I decided to check out the Met. I hopped on the subway here in the Bronx, and hopped of on the West side. I walked up the subway steps to the street and I stood there in awe for a minute. I still can't believe that I'm in New York. I walked from 79th street station to the Met, taking the shortcut through Central Park. It was drizzling and there was no-one around - I felt like I had the whole park to myself. I wandered through the park under my umbrella not giving a second thought to the rain, to anything really. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and ended up doing both. This has been my dream for as long as I can remember - and I'm overwhelmed that it's coming true. At the same time I'm not sure I'm feeling this way because I thought this was my dream, and it's not. In the last couple of years I've graduated, I've lived independently, I've learnt that I love running, and that my perfect weekend involves a movie marathon and good coffee, and I've backpacked around India, a place I knew nothing about and never would have imagined travelling to - lots of things have changed, and I think that my dreams did too. I know I'm going to have an amazing summer in NYC, but I know that it's not the place I want to be forever.

The MET was incredible. I wandered around aimlessly - the way I think all museums should be explored - for two hours, snapping pictures and wondering if I really understood modern art. It wasn't raining when I left so I headed for the nearest hotdog cart, grabbed a hotdog with the lot, and plonked myself on the steps of the MET to eat it. Of course, I spilled cheese on myself. I wouldn't have made it as a minion.

I then headed to back to the subway via Park Avenue, admiring the incredible buildings, and doing a oh-my-gosh out loud when I walked past Vera Wang. I like walking around the city, people watching, and I hope I get the chance to walk down every street in the city. I wouldn't even mind being lost, not when there's Starbucks on every corner and a hotdog cart on every street.


Thursday, 13 June 2013


Now that's a cheeseburger! Today, after another day of fighting jet lag, wandering the hood, and trying not to make a huge mess by turning the taps on instead of off, I hit the diner. After a quick look at the menu - it was huge and you can order almost anything you want - I decided on a cheeseburger. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The burger was huge, melted cheese was oozing all over the meat, which was dripping in oil, and on the side was a pickle. Nothing else needs to be said. I devoured it.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013


After three flights, seventeen thousand and ninety-nine kilometres, six hours waiting, and a little over six hours sleep - I'm here! The jet lag delirium is starting to kick in - it's lunch time at home but midnight here - and I can feel myself getting closer and closer to a jet lag crash.

Two days of passports, boarding passes, security, and uncomfortable days and sleepless nights has left me feeling emotional and irrational. I dropped my jumper between the terminal and the car and I cried. I logged on to my social media accounts to see messages from friends and family and I cried. I looked out of the window at the view and I cried. I'm feeling confused and overwhelmed, happy and sad, a mix of emotions and my jet lagged body doesn't know what else to do but curl up under a blanket and cry. I know that it'll take a few days for me to find my feet, that it's okay to feel overwhelmed, and that I will be okay after a nap, and a few good nights sleep. Right now I feel so far away from home. I'm not just a quick drive away, I'm halfway around the world. 


Thursday, 6 June 2013


Dear Diary,

I can't wait to pick up my backpack, sling it over my shoulder, and wander the world. But first I need to pack. And packing is not my forte. Once I know what I'm taking, it's a chich - I'm a serious clothes roller and can tetris anything into a backpack - but I tend to err on the side of over packing. And packing for a big trip is a nightmare in itself. 

I've packed my favorite basics - leggings, paperbag shorts, a jearsy mini, geenie pants, and baggy tees - that I can mix and match, and dress up by adding my chelsea boots and a chunky necklace, and have picked three statement pieces - a breezy maxi dress, a fun and flirty mini dress, and a monochrome tunic dress - that add a bit of extra oomph to my traveling wardrobe. These three pieces should get me through a couple of years worth of warm summer's nights, movie and sushi dates, and casual hangs. I'm also taking my biker jacket and a lightweight knit jumper - and yes, I know backpacking with knits is a bit of a no-no! I'm currently addicted to a black and white check scarf so into the backpack it goes - it adds a bit of detail to any basic outfit and doubles as a pillow in transit so it's a win-win.

Choosing which shoes to take was easy as I tend to stick to a couple pairs of shoes. A pair of super comfortable military boots for everyday wear all year round, a pair of chelsea boots for when I need something dressier, a pair of favourite-worn-to-death sandals for those hot days, a pair of havianas (typical Australian backpacker!) and a pair of good sturdy traveling shoes. 

My toiletries bag is looking a tad on the large size, but since I'm not moving around too much in the first couple of months of my trip and don't have to lug my backpack around too much, I've opted to pack the skincare products that I'm currently using, even though they're bulky. I'm going to use up these products within a month or so, and once I have I can ditch the bulky tubs. 

Oh and the most important thing - a moleskin notebook and a pen! And in true over packing style I've packed TWO bikinis.


Tuesday, 4 June 2013


Dear Diary,

There's less than a week until I fly halfway around the world. I've started packing the things I'm leaving behind into boxes, my housemates have agreed to adopt my fish, and my backpack is laying open on the floor of my bedroom, waiting to be filled. But I don't feel ready to go. I'm stuck in that not-quite-close-enough-to-pack phase.


Monday, 3 June 2013


I thought I'd share my favourite photographs from my three month backpacking adventure in India.