Cover image via Scott Ruzzene Photo www.scottruzzene.com
As you may have noticed, I’ve decided to change things up a bit this year with regard to the content I’m creating for my blog. I’m starting to naturally levitate towards more lifestyle content in addition to travel stories. Why? Well, for starters, I like to write. I like to write about travel, but also about food, fitness, health and everything in between. I don’t want to pigeon hole myself in terms of content and exclusively write about travel, so here we are.
In the spirit of moving forward and writing more, I thought I’d share a few things about myself that you may not know…
I HAVE TWO UNIVERSITY DEGREES
As a high school student, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up (I still don’t, to be honest). When I was in Year 12, I did Business Studies and found that I really enjoying studying marketing. So, after my gap year, I started university and majored in Marketing & Advertising. Going to uni was the best decision I ever made in my life, and I can’t believe I ever contemplated not going.
When I finished, I had another gap year because I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Afterwards, I decided to go back to uni and complete a Master of Strategic Marketing. These days, I work as a marketing manager so I’m definitely putting them to use – even though I am no closer to paying off my HECS debt!
I WAS IN A MAGAZINE AT 12 YEARS OLD
When I was twelve years old, I won a nationwide competition with Barbie Magazine. For those of you who don’t remember, Barbie Mag was a pretty popular publication back when I was a kid, so this was a massive deal. The prize was a trip to Sydney to go to a fancy hotel to meet and interview Vanessa Amorosi – who, at the time, was riding on her fame wave from performing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Does anyone remember her? She had a few bangers (does Absolutely Everybody ring a bell?) but fell off the radar pretty quickly.
Of course, I was a super awkward kid with super awkward interviewing skills; like holding the little recording device so close to her face that it was almost touching her or deciding that wearing a Hawaiian shirt to interview a pop star was a good idea – LOL! It was so much fun though, and I even got to take my best mate Sam and my brother along for the ride. Plus, they gave me an entire duffel bag full of lollies – winning!
I’M AN AVID READER
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been obsessed with reading. I love losing myself in a great book, and I am always mesmerised by the pictures I conjure up in my head when I read – it’s like watching a movie in your own imagination. I often wonder what other people see in their heads when reading the same book; do we picture the characters in the same way based on the descriptions we are given? It is really fascinating when you think about it.
My favourite genres are crime thrillers and books about magical schools (well, just one magical school if we’re being specific). I also love reading true crime stories and autobiographies, and it not unusual for me to be reading two or three books at once! I’m always looking for new reads so if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments.
I’M SCARED OF FLYING
Yep – the travel fanatic is scared of flying. Admittedly, I’ve gotten a lot better over the past few years but when I first started to travel, flying made me nervous to the point of nausea. I almost cried with fear every time a plane took off, and again with relief when it landed. Getting on dozens and dozens of flights has obviously helped me overcome my nerves, but I still get a little paranoid every time I’m in the air.
Bonus fact: despite my fear of flying, I absolutely LOVE airplane food. Yep, I’m one of those guys.
I’M BLIND AS A BAT
Have you ever heard of myopia? It’s also known as short-sightedness, and it has been a part of my life since I was about ten years old. When I was a kid, my teacher contacted my parents because he noticed I’d been making a lot of trips to the garbage bin near the chalkboard at the front of the classroom. My desk was located towards the back, and I’d go up and sharpen my pencil at the bin, so I could read the questions on the board since I was too far away to see it properly. I went to see the optometrist and was swiftly given my first pair of glasses.
Over time, the myopia progressed and caused my eyesight to deteriorate over time before becoming somewhat consistent in my early twenties. These days I wear contact lenses and very rarely wear my glasses (mainly because they are super thick). If you know anything about eyesight, my contact lens prescription is -5.5 in one eye and -6.5 in the other… which pretty much means I am SUPER blind.
I GOT LOCKED IN A TOY STORE WHEN I WAS A KID
Oh, this is a fun story. When I was growing up, my dad lived in a unit close to the main street. Often, after school, he’d give my brother and I a few bucks to go buy a lolly or a magazine. The toy store was right near his place, and we’d have to walk past on the way to the main street so naturally we’d always wander in for a look. One afternoon I was on my own, and decided to go and see what new Barbie dolls had come in. It must have been close to 5pm, because after about ten minutes the lights all turned off.
Confused, I wandered back towards the front of the shop and realised I’d been locked in. Hey, it’s every kid’s dream, right? Not mine – I started crying and ran up to the door. The shop owner hadn’t left yet and saw me trapped inside, so they came and let me out. After that day, I always made my presence known when I walked into the store!
I HAVE TWO TATTOOS
This one might not be much of a surprise considering I’ve posted photos which show them, but I have two tattoos. What you may not know, however, is that I only like one of them. I got my first tattoo when I was freshly 18 and still in high school. I thought it would be cool to get a tramp stamp of Japanese characters *facepalm*. Although I loved it for the first few years, I don’t like it at all anymore. That being said, I’m too lazy and too scared of the pain to get it removed so I still have it. I’m too embarrassed to admit what it means (think of the lamest ‘motivational’ saying you can think of) but if you can figure it out for yourself, I’ll be happy to confirm it – hah!
My second tattoo is not only an ode to my love of Harry Potter, but also a matching tattoo with one of my best mates. We decided to get the same Deathly Hallows symbol on our ribs as a symbol of our love for Harry and each other. It’s awesome.
I’M A CRAZY CAT LADY
I may be obsessed with my beautiful doggo, but deep down I am a crazy cat lady at heart. Growing up, cats were always a part of my life. I’ve had so many cats over the years I don’t even know if I’d be able to remember all their names. People who say cats are ‘shit’ pets have obviously never had a cat in their life. Cats are curious, loving, sweet, playful and cheeky all at the same time. No, they’re not as loyal as dogs, and prefer to do things their own way, but they are so easy to look after and when a cat does choose to show you affection, you feel like the most important and special human in the world!
When I was in high school, I had a beautiful orange cat named Cuz, and a gorgeous black and white cat named Coco. Cuz was the best pet I’ve ever had – so loving, and affectionate almost to the point of annoyance, which is pretty unusual for a cat. Coco, on the other hand, was sweet until she got herself knocked up before we could get her desexed and ended up having three kittens – Snap, Crackle and Pop. We gave Crackle away to our best friend’s family but couldn’t get rid of the others, so we did what any crazy cat family would do – we kept them!
So, we now had four cats in the house. Then, before she was allowed to get desexed after giving birth, Coco escaped the confines of the house and got herself knocked up AGAIN. This time she gave birth to six kittens. Six! Surprisingly, we had no trouble getting rid of the kittens this time and managed to find loving homes for all of them when they got to eight weeks of age. Until then, we had a total of ten cats ruling our house. It was amazing.
So yeah, I’m a crazy cat lady, and I’m proud of it. Cuz unfortunately passed away in 2013, and Coco went missing in November last year, so we aren’t too sure if we will ever see her again (which I am devastated about). Snappy and Poppy still live with Mum, and I love going to visit them. At home, I am the proud mother of my son Oscar, who is a very handsome light ginger boy who is a little psycho but has his cute moments too! I’m always really stoked when he chooses to sit on my lap instead of Scott’s.
I’M A KARAOKE TRAGIC
In another life, I think I must have been some kind of performer. I absolutely LOVE singing, but unfortunately, I was not gifted with a talented voice. At all. In fact, quite the opposite. Luckily though, this makes karaoke my favourite thing ever! Unlike most people, I don’t even need to be drunk to get on stage and perform, but it definitely helps.
One of my most memorable and favourite travel experiences involved singing karaoke in the heart of Tokyo. I’ve also sung countless hours of karaoke at a local dive bar in Boulder, CO while I was on exchange (much to my delight, they had $1 wells and karaoke every Wednesday night). I used to be a bit of a regular at the good old Harp Hotel in Wollongong on a Friday or Saturday, and I’d always try to bribe the guy who ran karaoke to let me sing next. I wonder if he misses me?
I STOLE MY BEST FRIEND’S WATCH WHEN WE WERE KIDS
This is actually one of my weirdest and favourite stories. I can’t even remember how old I was, I’m thinking maybe 9 or 10, but when I was growing up I lived in a small neighbourhood in a small town on the Far South Coast of NSW. My three best friends also lived in the same street (bonus fun fact: we are ALL still best mates after all these years), and Carlee, the aforementioned HP tattoo buddy, lived across the road and a few doors up from my house. We used to play all the time after school.
One day, I saw that she had this new cool watch, and I have absolutely no reasoning for why I did this, but I decided to steal it. I put it in my shoe, and when I left that afternoon to go home for dinner, I threw it on our front lawn and pretended to ‘find’ it the next day (I know – what was wrong with me?). I showed up to school that morning with my brand-new watch, telling everyone that my aunty gave it to me (such a lie). Carlee thought it beared an uncanny resemblance to her new watch, which had gone missing, but I insisted that it was mine.
Fast forward to a few days later when I get off the school bus and see my dad’s car parked in the driveway. Now, anyone who has divorced parents will know that if one of your parent’s cars is in the driveway and you’re not scheduled to go to their place that day, you know you’re in trouble. I walked in, and my parents confronted me about the watch.
I confessed, and they marched me up the street to Carlee’s place to apologise and return the watch, which I did through a barrage of tears. I don’t remember much else, but Carlee obviously forgave me since we are still best friends twenty years later and now have matching tattoos. I still have no idea what possessed me to steal the watch and actually think I could get away with it, but I was a pretty weird kid so who knows what was running through my mind at the time – hah!