Either the well was very deep..

…or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next.

There’s a strange place where nearly everything can kill you, but you don’t seem to mind. Where the trees flower incredible colors and exotic birds are common. Where going means leaving. And being lost is becoming aware of what you’re missing. I found my Wonderland but, unlike Alice, I wish I had never left.

I suppose I should start at the beginning. The fall was an incredibly long one. Flying from Dallas to Sydney takes about 17 hours and, while it’s a nice plane with personal TVs and free alcohol, there is nothing that can make it feel like time is passing quickly. I left on a Monday night and arrived Wednesday morning. I collected my well traveled duffle bag and wandered out into the throngs of people awaiting their international arrivals. Would I even recognize the White Rabbit when I saw him? As it turns out, he’s quite unmistakable. And besides, the sign reading “Miss Awesome McAwesome Pants” could not have been meant for anyone other than me.

So the adventure began, with a little difficulty. Every time we got in the car together we ended up completely lost. Not even the GPS could save us from it. I’ve never been happier to be lost. But eventually we ended up 10991222_10152649024711050_2782942553229086099_nwhere we were aiming to be and I had the rest of the afternoon to myself. Kind of. I went for a walk in the Eucalyptus forrest and then took my first ride on a motorcycle (don’t worry I wasn’t the one driving) to the viewpoint at West Head. My adventures in Sydney ended up being some of my favorite. We had sushi, went to the beach, explored the city, and never stopped smiling. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my entire life. I’ve never felt more welcome anywhere in the world than I felt with Adam and his family. But, after a few days, I got onto another plane and flew to Melbourne.

I’m sure I did this part of the trip all wrong. I didn’t love Melbourne as much as I feel like I should have. I1613988_10152662445391050_6693265103956577540_n started every morning with a yogurt and granola breakfast and then ran next to the river or through one of the Commons. I was sick with a miserable cold most of the time I was there so, my outings were limited. But I still managed to take a trip to the zoo, visit the Fitzroy gardens, see some of the remarkable graffiti, and watch the fireworks on the last night of the Moomba festival. Probably most importantly, Melbourne is where I did my McDonalds experiment. And one day I will write a post about all the McDonalds I’ve seen.

After several days, I got onto another plane and took the short trip to Hobart, Tasmania. I had my shortest stay there. 10341424_10152648812501050_293729210391041499_nBut, with the cold mostly gone, I managed to do quite a few things. I went to the top of Mount Wellington, visited the Cascade Brewery (where I tried every single one of the beers), made some new drinking buddies, and ended up at a club with a bunch of people whose names I may never remember. And that was all in one day. The next day, while I nursed my well deserved hangover, I started looking at jobs and rent costs. I was a little over half way through my trip when I realized I didn’t want to go home. But I still had another stop before I needed to worry about that.

Back to Sydney I went. This is where I have to work from memory because I didn’t write down anything after the first night back. I remember things so clearly, but can’t seem to put an order to them. There were more10464007_10152658994661050_6707613276756368135_n hikes through the forrest and a couple nights in watching Disney movies. Another night we got hot chocolate and sat across the harbor from the Opera House (the view is beautiful during the day, but it’s even more so at night when the only sounds are the water hitting the rocks and the breeze playing in the trees). And, on my last day, I took a train into the Blue Mountains and explored Katoomba. If I could go back in time, I would have stayed awake all night soaking in the very essence of Australia. Or, maybe, I wouldn’t have left.

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Bonus Adventure #1: Kansas City

A couple weeks ago I took a last minute trip up to Kansas City to spend some quality time with my Dad and Grandpa. Obviously this wasn’t one of my planned trips for the year, nor is it somewhere entirely new to me, but I did get to try new things. The first night, we went for beer at the Flying Saucer. At this point, I’d worked at the Addison Saucer for over a year and never once been to another location. Not even the ones that are relatively close (read: less than a 2 hour plane ride). I got to explain the whole UFO deal to my family and be a Knurd in a place where none of the waitresses knew me. Pretty exciting. Next day, Dad and I went back downtown to Bryant’s. This is the family favorite for BBQ and it took them 23 years to take me. I understand why they love it so much. I didn’t eat for 24 hours after that because I (legitimately) wasn’t ever hungry. Also pretty exciting.

Sadly, it was a really short trip, so I was on a plane back to Dallas that night and so it was a short adventure. But never fear, only 10 days till AUSTRALIA!

5 Trips 2015

As promised on Doing the Adult Thing, I’m here to tell you about my goal to take 5 trips in 2015! I got this idea from a blog I follow, On the Luce. She is obviously much better at the whole blogging thing than I am (I mean look at all those followers!), but she is also incredibly inspiring to me. She did 12 trips in 2014 and I was unbelievably jealous. But alas, 12 is a bit too much for me right now so I’m settling for 5 (maybe 6 next year?).

My goal is to do two international trips, Australia and another undecided location (between Sweden and Argentina, if you have feedback!), and three “local” trips. For those, I am hoping to visit DC (Hey Nathan!), Atlanta (Love you Cheyenne!), and Colorado (Great American Beer Festival anyone?).

I plan to make 2015 my best year yet and I can’t wait to see what life has to throw at me. So far so good, Australia is almost “planned” and I even made plans for Miss Loki while I’m gone (thanks to my awesome roommate and bestest of best friend both of whom I love dearly). I promise to tell you all about it when i get back. =)

No wonder you’re late…

…Why, this watch is exactly two days slow. – Mad Hatter

And indeed I am late. But more like several months late. So let us go back to October and visit some of my favorite memories from Ireland!

Our adventure began with an ordeal at Hertz and, after some time, learning how to drive on the wrong side of everything. I have to say the driving had to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. The adjustment to the left side of the road made it seem new and exciting. The only part where it was absolutely awful was in Belfast. Never drive in Belfast because you can’t park in Belfast. And the buses will run over your tiny car. The other tiny cars might even try to run over your tiny car. But thats not the point. The point is, Belfast was our first city.

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A portion of the Peace Wall separating Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. Graffiti artists were paid to decorate the walls and visitors and locals alike have left their prayers for peace.

It’s fast paced and enchanting yet, sadly, divided. Going on a Black Taxi Tour gave us a look at the past and present of Belfast’s religious, and nationalist, divide. Seeing the memorials, the peace wall, and the neighborhoods gives an incredible insight into the dynamic of Northern Ireland. As part of the UK, there is constant struggle from one religious group to remain there and from the other to become a united Ireland. The on going fight can be seen in the windows of houses and businesses, like campaign posters in the USA, even though the physical violence has stopped.

After the aptly named tour, I needed something else. Still dark but a bit more lighthearted. And so we stopped by the the Crown Liquor Saloon for a pint of Guinness and some authentic Irish food. The rest of our sightseeing in the city, including a stop for Indian food, was lively, energetic, and just a bit rainy. All in all it was a wonderful “Welcome” to Ireland.

We spent the next day driving the Northern coast seeing the typical tourist things like Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the Giants Causeway, and Old Bushmills Distillery (my personal favorite). Bottle of whiskey in hand, we stopped for the night in Portrush. It’s a little seaside town with a quiet charm and a lot of fresh seafood (reminds me of Capitola, CA). Not somewhere I could see myself staying for long, but perfect for a relaxing night after a long drive. Then of course we set right off again, seeing Londonderry and spending a night in another B&B on the way to Galway.

Our hotel was located in a busy center, next to a pedestrian street packed 10338465_10152384703271050_2937299995576638860_owith unique restaurants, bars, and tourist shops. Everyone in Galway seemed cheerful, but that may have been because the sun was finally out. From there, we took one day trip out to the Aran Islands. This was my FAVORITE part of the trip. When i think of vacations, this is what I think of. We took a ferry to the island in the morning and toured the island by bicycle. After days in 10320398_10152334031566050_57409563992254887_nthe car, this was a welcomed change (except for the lovely pain I forgot cheap bicycle saddles bestow on you). We hiked to the top of the cliffs, saw a ring fort, and spent some time chatting with the locals. Then back onto the ferry and off to bed.

Days later, after seeing the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle, we found ourselves on the Southwest coast. Between Dingle Peninsula, Connemara, the Ring of Kerry, and the ruins of castles and circle forts littering the landscape, I doubt there is a more picturesque place anywhere in the world (not that I won’t try and find one anyway).

Our trip soon began to come to a close. We stopped for a couple nights in Kilkenny, where we stayed right next to the Smithwick’s brewery. If there’s an important life lesson I learned in Ireland, it’s that Smithwick’s is a wonderful beer, if you get it in Ireland. It’s the same with Guinness. I will never be able to drink either of these beer in an American bar. They just aren’t good at home. Not good at all.

Dublin was the last stop. I have to say, Dublin is my favorite city in Ireland. It’s big and 10733747_10152384701336050_781481191997365466_obusy. There are pubs lining the streets, gardens, parks, monuments, and even an impressive zoo, all easily accessed on foot or by city bus. I imagine living in almost every city I visit. Some bore me when I think of the long term, some I can see for a little while, and others I can see vividly. Dublin was one I could really see. Grabbing tea for breakfast at the Queen of Tarts, walking through Merrion Square on a nice day, roaming Temple Bar with friends on a night off, or just stopping at Porterhouse for an Oyster Stout. Dublin has it’s own way of life and it’s one I wouldn’t mind leading.

Sadly, our two short weeks came to an end and we had to return home. But I will always regard Ireland as one of the most beautiful and friendly places in the world. And, hopefully, I’ll go back one day.

No wise fish would go anywhere…

… without a porpoise. – the Mock Turtle

And as a wise fish, I think I have indeed found my porpoise. While I originally decided on going back up to the North to see old friends and make new ones, I’ve also come to the conclusion that it makes for a wonderful opportunity to see some of the things I didn’t see while I was living there. The breweries. I didn’t start really loving craft beer until last fall. I barely understood it. Now I know that there are some things you just can’t get anywhere else, and I’ll appreciate them so much more this time around!

Hoping to hit: New Glarus, Capital, Ale Asylum, Tyranena, Lakefront, Halfacre, Revolution, and MAYBE Surly (if I make it to Minneapolis for a day).

It’s no use going back to yesterday,

because I was a different person then. – Alice

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That won’t stop me from going back to somewhere I love. A lot of people thought I was crazy for choosing to leave California and move to Wisconsin. It may have been weird to some people, but it was perfect for me. Now, I can’t go back as the same person I was when I graduated a year ago, but I can go back! At the end of July I will be returning to the North with planned stops in Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. I’m INCREDIBLY exited to see my friends, SAO sisters, and favorite spots again. (Not to mention going to Culvers, eating cheese curds, and getting free bacon.)

ON WISCONSIN! 

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If you don’t know where you are going…

… any road will get you there. – Cheshire Cat

As much as I thought on what I would do when I got to Israel, I really had no idea. My number one DSCN1144goal (aside from don’t kill anyone and don’t die) was to get lost. So thats what I ended up doing. Occasionally I picked a destination to hopefully end up at… and half the time I actually made it there. Sometimes I ended up somewhere completely different. I found some of the most beautiful things on accident.

There were so many moments about this trip that will always stick with me. One day I’ll go into detail on the things I did and the famous (or not so famous) places I saw. For now (just to start and collect my thoughts) I’m going to share some of my favorite memories from cafes, hostels, and rooftops.

It turns out I could spend the rest of my life drinking cappuccinos (or DSCN1015beer), reading novels handed down from my sister (thanks Lindsey), and people-watching the afternoon away. I made a point of doing this in every city I visited. There is no better way to absorb culture (in my mind) than watching people do everyday things. In those moments, I could see myself living in Downtown Jerusalem, Haifa, or Tel Aviv. Then I’d hear people speak and, though Hebrew is beautiful, I know I’ll never understand a single word of it. Which brings me to the people I can talk to…

My favorite part of hostels is staying in the dorms. In Haifa and Tel Aviv I’d waste tons time talking to dorm mates. Learning where they’re from and what they’re doing in Israel. One new friend and I spent no less than 3 hours chatting at a cafe in Haifa’s German Colony before we went and got ourselves lost Downtown. Another I laughed with while he unpacked and repacked, and unpacked again after first arriving. These are the people I’ll stay in touch with, maybe even visit or travel with for the future. Others just gave me moments I’ll never forget.

The guy who worked at my hostel in Jerusalem loved me from the first moment. He told me there was a view from the hostel roof, so thats the first place I went. He came to find me up there and pointed out all the famous places in view. Later, after I’d been out for a while and come back, he told me he had an even better view for me as long as I was willing to do some climbing and a little trespassing. We climbed from the roof of the hostel up onto the neighbors roof, and he was right. That view was even more incredible. I’ll never forget the one sketchy foothold in the wall or the wobbly fence that needed to be overcome at the top. Another day we watched the fighter jets fly over the city in honor of Independence day. And one night we watched a lightning storm. My best memories always come rooftops (like learning to Salsa in Peru). So if ever in doubt… try the roof. Just try not to get locked out there.

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