explore. dream. discover.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." This site will take over from my previous blog: http://dayumnicebridge.tumblr.com

Category: Uncategorized

Postcard from Padua

The best thing I ever did was eat gelato in Padua. Pistachio and Bachi in a seemingly infinite waffle cone, to prevent the creamy goodness escaping down the sides.

Padua, the town in which Shakespeare set “The Taming of the Shrew”, is a quaint Italian town void of too many tourists. About an hours drive from the outskirts of Venice (where the cruise company set us up for the night), Padua’s main square is surrounded by sorbet coloured terrace houses adorned with intricate metal balconies and pots of red flowers. In one corner is the bascillica of Saint Giustina which rivals St Peter’s bascillica in Rome. Flanking the central pillar of the church are the tombs of several saints, and above each tomb is a painting depicting how each saint died.

Outside the temperature soars to almost 40 degrees celcius, made worse by the almost white concrete of the square. We turn down a side street, past a couple of vendors selling tourist wares, and come across the glorious basicllica of Saint Anthony. Inside is the tomb of the famous saint, beautifully decorated with sculptures of gold and white marble.

On the opposite side of the church is a priest in long white robes. A small group of us gathers around him and he prays with us and offers a blessing before sprinkling us with holy water.

Once back at the hotel a few of us return to the same family restaurant where we had lunch. This time we feast on the tastiest woodfire pizza I’ve ever experienced – even better than Grimaldi’s in New York. With full bellies and satisfied taste buds we head back to the hotel for a good night of sleep. Tomorrow we board the cruise ship in Venice to sail off into the Adriatic.

Until next time,
Jess x

IMG_2312

The Countdown

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a while since I posted anything on here, mostly because I haven’t been anywhere in quite some time, however, the excitement is mounting as I prepare to take my next adventure, to Europe. Nowadays, so many Australians travel to Europe it’s become a cliched holiday destination which is a real shame. I’ll admit that I have visited my fair share of times, alone and with family, but every time is different due to the large offering of cultures.

This time I am going for a giant family reunion. Normally I am unable to attend due to study, work or lack of funds, but this time I have my leave approved and my pennies saved for what I’m sure will be one of the richest experiences of my life. We have the itinerary mapped out, the dresses bought, the meals dreamed of and planned and the excitement is mounting. Having my entire extended family together in one place, on one cruise ship, is going to be an adventure…a very loud adventure. Mum and I have been dieting and exercising like mad to be bikini ready in time!

At the moment, all I want is a life filled with adventures. The places I have traveled don’t stack up against all the places I still wish to see, taste and feel. There are cities I want to live in and people I can’t even imagine, that I want to meet. For now, on this grey day in Sydney, I’ll save my pennies, plan my escape and bury my nose in the only adventure currently available to me…a book.

Until next time friends.

Jess

 

 

Find your happy place.

What do you think of when someone says “find your happy place”?

Personally, I am instantly transported back to America. The obvious choice would be New York because it is, without a doubt, my favourite place on earth, however, sometimes I find myself picturing other places just for fun. There is Aspen, another obvious choice I suppose, with the snow capping the mountains and the fairy lights twinkling, making everything look heavenly. In Aspen, like in many other ski resorts, there is an air of luxury that blankets the area much like the snow. It goes hand in hand, or glove in glove, depending on the temperature.

I don’t think that a “happy place” has to be a particular place in the world, it could just be a simple memory of a place that is easy enough to be transported back to. For instance, there was one day in November 2011, in Michigan (believe it or not) where most of the campus was deserted. I took my book to the common room which had these floor to ceiling windows. I remember, sitting alone on the giant blue couch, reading, when it suddenly started to snow. I think I ended up staring out that window for an hour because it was so effortlessly beautiful. It is one of my happiest memories to date.

Until next time,

Jess x

Image

Image

A trip to Melbourne – Be cool Mum.

The trip all started with a 5:30am wake up call, an exhausting boot camp session and a train ride with half of the year 7s in Sydney to the airport. We arrive at terminal three, check in, drop mum’s bag off and make our way to the Qantas Club for breakfast, coffee and a quick scan over the morning papers. Inside the lounge, morning heaven ensues. There are newspapers hanging around for everyone to read, a station where you can get a free coffee made and a little breakfast buffet with all the classy basics (no tubs of scrambled eggs here!). Mum and I find a comfortable seat and sit, reading and relaxing, waiting for our flight to be called. Ten minutes before departure time, flight 421 to Melbourne is finally called and we make out way down to gate 5. We arrive to what, on first glance, looks like a police hold up of the flight, but, on closer inspection, it seems we are flying to melbourne with about 30 firefighters. What a pleasant way to start a Thursday.

I give them my best “I’ll be in 31J” smile and join Mum at the front of the queue. We take our seats in the very empty middle section of the aircraft and I settle in just in time to have a front row view of the firefighters boarding the plane. I turn to Mum and quickly remind her to “be cool, it’s just another flight” to which she responds “where is the wee-hole?”. Mum! It’s called a toilet and thank you for giving me a taste of what dying of embarrassment could actually feel like!!! Luckily none of the hunky firemen heard her and I managed to scope out the babes from a safe distance, weighing up whether or not it would be a good idea to set the seat in front of me on fire.

To be continued…

Forster.

The weekend began, two girls driving off into the sunset towards the “paradise” that is Forster. We crawled up the highway towards the freeway entrance and when we got there, we flew.

Our classic road trip stop was at the gourmet F3 cafe stop where we destroyed some quality maccas cuisine and counted how many people we could see in footy shorts… Too many… But then again, we were on the F3.

Our drive took us well into the evening and upon the last turn into Forster we were confronted by what appeared to be a beaches whale trying to get a ride back to the beach… I’m kidding of course, it was just a slightly chubby hitchhiker. Turning the corner before she realised we didn’t have automatically locking doors, we drove on into the estate and settled at becs place.

I have to say a couple of bottle of wine and a quality chick flick between friends is a recipe for a great evening. Thanks to our new mates Alec and Meryl we laughed drunkenly through an evening of wine and ice cream. It was like a perfect first date, except I was with bec.

The weekend was spent at the beach where we debated why children are so fat and by the pool where I fell asleep and woke up being eaten alive by ants. Apart from now missing a toe it was a pretty enjoyable nap. That was sarcasm I still have all my toes.

Forster is a great place to watch people. The whole town has about one set of teeth between them and a serious lack of full length pants. We did have a nice chat with an elderly man after we did our food shop and I had a wander by the real estate office to have a look at future investments… Not actually…not after seeing my future neighbours.

Over all the weekend was relaxing and I needed it like nothing else. I’ve got a sweet tan and am completely revitalised. How ideal.

Where is my snow?

Image

 

It appears that almost everyone I am friends with on Facebook has decided to head off to the snow. In theory, this sounds pretty ok to me since I don’t see any of them that often anyways. The real problem started when they started posting pictures of the snow-capped mountains, outdoor spas and ski gear all over Instagram.

I was sitting at my desk, looking at these phenomenal pictures thinking “well you may be in (aspen, france, japan) but I have a pretty tasty-looking turkey and lettuce sandwich on my desk…so take that”

how. freaking. depressing.

It has come to my attention now that I would like to go on a skiing holiday. It’s been a good two years since I was shredding the powder on Aspen mountain and it feels a lot like a great injustice. I felt bad for myself for a few minutes until I realised that yes, all these friends of mine are falling on their asses into metres of snow, but I on the other hand, have my turkey sandwich and nothing can beat that…except that the turkey sandwich ended up being bad so I had to buy some sushi which was equally as terrible.

Luckily my parents bought us a snowcone maker a few christmases ago. I hope they won’t get mad if I turn the house into an indoor ski field. visitors welcome, bring your own hand warmers.

Until next time,

Jess x

 

Image

Photoshop

Everyone needs to get over the fact that magazines use photoshop. The latest mag to cop the heat has been Vogue for their (amazing) Lena Dunham shoot and cover. The photos are seriously incredible shot by the undoubtedly talented Annie Liebovitz, and all most people are talking about it whether or not they’re photoshopped.

Are you kidding me?? Of course they are! They always have been and probably always will be. People need to get it through their thick heads, magazines are photoshopped, so are movies and most of the ads you see everywhere. I’m not saying Lena is not beautiful without it, I’m just saying it’s expected and if you’re silly enough to think what you see in magazines is real, that’s your bad luck. Have some common sense people.

To be honest, I do think people are beautiful just as they are, but the more attention we give the photoshopping the more it affects us. Just accept that images are made to look like an unrealistic ideal and get over it, I’m sure you’ll all be a lot happier.

Well, that’s my rant finished.

Until next time,
Jess x

Outsiders: The view from the minivan

In Lang Co for every luxury resort, there are at least four or five derelict houses and shacks made from sheet metal. On the few journeys where we left the hotel to go to Hoi An or Hue, we would have a clean, private, air-conditioned bus. Between the resort and the cities themselves we would pass locals scattered along the roadside for the entire hour long drives. 

One morning, as we were being driven to Hue “the old capital”, we noticed that money littered the streets as if it were invaluable. We asked our tour guide why, when people were so poor, did they leave the money there. She told us that people threw money to bring them good luck and if you pick it up off the ground it is believed to give you bad luck.

All the while I’m sitting in the car thinking…”but it’s money???”

From the outside looking in, I knew these people were a lot poorer than me, living in the make-do houses along the main road. It was fascinating, like I was staring through a keyhole into another universe. I would have loved to have spent a day with some of them, in their ordinary lives, knowing what it is that makes them tick and seeing how they go about everyday life.

Until next time,

Jess x

 

http://wordpress.com/read/post/id/489937/66413/

A random collection of my travels in photos.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Image

Hoi An, Vietnam

Image

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Image

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Image

New York City, USA

ImageHue, Vietnam

Image

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Image

Riva Del Guarda, Italy

Image

Paris, France

Image

London, England

Image

New York City, USA

Image

New York City, USA

Image

The Vatican City

Image

The backseat roller coaster.

I’m currently sitting at the back of the shuttle bus on the way home from the ancient city of Hoi An. I chose this seat for the single reason of enjoying more leg room for the 2 hour drive. Whilst I have more leg room, and am completely satisfied, I feel as though I should have worn a sports bra today. The amount of involuntary bouncing around that I’m doing back here is kind of ridiculous. I feel worse for Dad though as he’s sitting next to me with his arms crossed – probably to minimise the bouncing around of his own boobs without having to admit he actually has…well you know.

Hoi An is an ancient city 2 hours from our resort in Langco. Filled with markets and little women offering $2 pedicures…or was it foot fungus? I can’t remember. There are a few art galleries scattered around with some stunning paintings that I was coveting until I saw them in the form of bookmarks in about 15 other places. Everyone wants to know where you’re from and if you’ll come to look at their shop. I can’t help but feel guilty as I’m usually the type of shopper who wears earphones to avoid sales people, so I smile awkwardly at them and hope they’ll ask someone else. It’s a bit like when guys hit on you in a bar so you just tell them you have a boyfriend except unfortunately I don’t think these women would care about my dating life…or lack there of.

Foodwise Hoi An has a lot to offer. We choose Miss Lys and her wontons for lunch, because I have a soft spot for wontons and the people who enjoy them. What I expect is not actually what we receive though the result is quite delicious and let’s face it, I probably wouldn’t turn down free food unless it had an unnatural amount of legs. So I was brave and tasted the strange wontons and I was rewarded for my troubles with a tasty meal. Asia is full of goodies so if you come here be prepared to eat… a lot… Don’t worry about gaining weight though, the food is very healthy and with some luck you’ll get gastro and it’ll come straight out anyway (too much information?)

Before I leave you I must tell you about Randy’s book shop. As most of you know I adore reading and often prefer the company of a book rather than a person. Randy’s is owned by an American man who sounds alarmingly like Philip Seymour Hoffman. In fact he spoke to us from his office before he appeared and I was convinced Philip was about to come out to greet us. Unfortunately it wasn’t him, but Randy was quite pleasant anyway and I enjoyed his American accent as I mostly enjoy them all. His bookstore is filled with second hand books in all different languages, I could have spent an entire day and a lot of money in there but the parentals pulled me out…after buying me a lovely book. I chose “On the road” by Jack Kerouac.

Alright kids, I’m going to continue to enjoy my roller coaster bus ride now, the entire 90 minutes that I have left. Enjoy your evening, morning, night or afternoon! Oh and Happy New Year!

Until next time,
Jess x

20140102-184404.jpg

20140102-184420.jpg

20140102-184441.jpg