Lost for words

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Not long after I left behind a brilliant holiday in England, life started happening fast…

It was a bit like running down the street while blind folded during an earthquake — though I  was grateful there were directions to move in even if I was about to hit something somewhat unforgiving at full speed.

What am I on about, you ask? Well, I returned to Australia in February 2015 with a weighty decision to make – where to next?

I faced the three classic options:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Do something, haphazardly.
  3. Conquer the world.

In reality, these options looked more like this:

  1. Continue studying in Oz and keep soaking up the sun.
  2. Get certified to teach English and move to Asia.
  3. Find a better quality of life in New Zealand — find a home.

On May 24, 2015, I landed in Auckland.

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Auckland skyline

The outcome: a topsy turvy mindset and many unsteady steps into the unknown.

Quick Stop: Stonehenge

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I like old stuff.

Wait … let me qualify that statement: I am fascinated with the ruins left behind by people from another time in our relatively short human history.

Why am I telling you this? Because while I was in England I needed to visit Stonehenge. I do mean NEED. Going to Stonehenge was only second to breathing oxygen.

And every time I mentioned my desire to explore this mysterious place, it impressed me how many people tried to explain why visiting the site would not be worthwhile.

“It’s far from the city,” they said.

“It’s not that exciting,” they said.

“Your money is better spent elsewhere,” they said.

“It will be really cold out there in winter,” they said.

And my personal favourite: “There’s a fence around it,” they said.

Let me just take a moment to deal with this last comment. (Never mind that all of the aforementioned are silly things to tell a person whose heart beats with one singular passion.)

Yes, it is true there is a fence around Stonehenge; however, the rope “fence” is maybe a half metre tall. So, it’s not ruining anyone’s view or photographs. Sure, the fence might prevent me from sauntering into the centre of the stone formation, but I understand we can’t have nice things unless we take care of them. Plus, old stuff sometimes falls apart.

Now I’m off to pencil in a rough date with the Easter Island statues. Please don’t try to tell me why I shouldn’t go.

For more information about touring Stonehenge, particularly if the place sings to your soul, visit: www.thestonehengetour.info.

Welcome to London!

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All my life, I have been waiting ….

Big Ben

Big Ben!

After 24 hours of flying and a day-and-a-half of bear-like hibernation in my hotel room with the thermostat set to “Ecuador,” visiting the world-famous Big Ben serves as my official “welcome to London!”

Warning: involuntary regurgitation of factual information featured below this point. Turn back now if you are only in it for the pictures!

The story of Big Ben begins after a fire destroys the Palace of Westminster in 1834. The following year the reconstruction of the building is commissioned and a design competition is held. Ninety architects submit 400 designs and the winning edifice is chosen by committee.

The construction of the building, its towers and the clock prove problematic. There are several significant delays — one of these lasting seven years due to stringent requirements for the accuracy of the time piece — but success is eventually achieved nearly 25 years later. By May of 1859, the clock’s tower is finished and the “Great Clock” is installed and functional. The “Great Bell” finally strikes the hour for the first time on July 11, 1859.

The nickname, Big Ben, initially refers to only the Great Bell (13. 7 tons) that marks each passing hour. Where this moniker comes from is uncertain though it is thought to reference Ben Caunt, a champion heavyweight fighter of the 1850s, or Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner for Works 1855 -1858.

The Great Clock has stopped on several occasions in its 156 years due to breakages, weather, workmen or …. birds. (Birds ruin everything!) The most severe breakdown occurred in 1976, and the clock was stopped for repairs for 26 days over nine months.

Now consider this: being responsible for resetting the most famous clock in the world on time-change weekends!

Please Wake For Food

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Please wake for food.

Brilliant because it’s always true ….

ALWAYS.

Even if I was just vomiting for 16 hours due to a horrific stomach bug, still wake for food … or face my wrath.

Oh, the small joys of traveling! All I need do is sleep and eat my way through 24 hours of flying with Emirates via Dubai to London. And I’ve possibly found my next tattoo … or maybe not.

Upcoming: a jaunt around the world

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The UK in February!

I still can’t quite accept the fact that I am leaving sunny Australia for a few weeks to experience winter in the northern hemisphere for the first time in three years ….

Yet, it will be worth bundling up and braving the cold as I am venturing to the other side of the world to visit my family. I cannot wait to see my Mom and sister, and catch up over a pint! (Well, in my little sister’s case, a tall glass of Coca-Cola will have to suffice. She’s the only one in the family that I know of who can pass a pub without going in.)

Ohana

Ohana: all of us crammed into the tourist trap that is a New York City pedicab.

I’ll see you soon!