An Eating Guide for UNSW (COFA) Students

 

I won’t even start on why there has been silence on here for three months. Too much and not enough space to regale you with details – let’s leave it at that.

I have just completed my first year at UNSW and am a little bit wiser and lot happier now that summer vacation (yes, summer, we’re the land down under, remember?) has begun. Let me tell you though, I still don’t know exactly how to feel about a Christmas in shorts. More on that later. So what follows is a modified version of a draft I made three months (!!) ago and did not finish.

Without further ado, my picks for The Top 10 Meals Under $10 for fellow UNSW A&D peeps.

  1. Indian Home Diner, Oxford St – Though the food here is far from authentic, and not Indian in my book, it is cheap as! Special offer for COFA (previous name for UNSW A&D) students gets you a naan wrap that’s mildly satisfying taste wise, but calms an aggressively growling stomach for $5. (I’d stay away from the overly bright gravies though, they look radioactive to me.)
  2. Art House Kitchen, Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd– For mild hunger, try the $4 banana bread which comes with salted butter, for a delicious mingling of sweet and salty flavours in your mouth. Sandwiches and panini options abound too. Also, awesome and huge plate of fries for $6 and a plate of crispy potato wedges for $8 – these are huge enough to be meals, people.
  3. Origami Cafe, Flinders St. – a hole in the wall cafe that I walked past several times without noticing! Well, it was my loss because the food here is delicious, portions BIG and the prices perfectly suited for a student budget. It’s small but I have never had an issue finding a seat or a tummy pleaser.
  4. North Indian Cuisine, Oxford St – Yes, the name is uninspired but the food is authentic. This is comfort food, North Indian style. My favourites are the Channa Dal, Goat Curry and Palak Paneer which you can choose to devour with naan or very flavourful and rich rice.
  5. Don Don, Oxford St – On the opposite side of the road to the above, one block down Oxford Street is another Japanese hole in the wall. Good food, large servings again and pretty popular for lunch and dinner.
  6. About Life, Crown St – For your organic fix at an affordable price is About Place’s salad bar. Fear not, it isn’t just greens and beans, there’s substantial goodness too – both the vegetarian and meat variety. Pretty good selection too, with a variety of hot and cold drinks.
  7. Coco Cubano, Taylor Square – They’ve undergone a paint job and gone from black paint to cheery white and yellow but the food and drink remain as delicious as ever. The chicken burger wins every time! If you have morning class, go here for an early (or late) lunch and people watch from this great vantage point.
  8. South Dowling Sandwiches, South Dowling St – Not a place I can honestly say I’ve frequented but I did eat here once. Why it makes it on the list is because of all the people who rave about it, and the queues I have witnessed every time I’ve passed the place. Apparently the Chilli Chicken is the crowd pleaser here.
  9. Satang Thai, Quay St – Going a bit further afield, there’s this establishment in Haymarket. The lunch menu is considerable cheaper than the dinner and comes in pleasingly large servings. Pretty busy during lunch but they do have a lot of seating and you can never go wrong with the Pad Thai.
  10. Podomoro, Ultimo Rd – I am a firm believer of sharing so here is a place I had to dig around to find as most people are intently fixed on the opposite side of the road, namely, Market City. I go here for the Ayam Bakar and sambal as I have to stay away from coconut but the menu looks delectable.

I definitely need to put this out there that none of these places are the definition of luxury. Some are literally just a place to eat and leave, at others you can lounge about over your food. But there are two things that are universal – good food and student friendly prices. Go forth and enjoy, fellow students. 🙂

Eat It All – A Culinary Viewpoint

 

As the primal way of living starts to seem more appealing to increasing numbers, it begs the question, why not be conscious of something beyond the way we eat? Let’s look at what we miss out on eating. Our ancestors did it right, they generated very little waste, and this little was biodegradable as well.

The amount of food thrown away now, before it even gets cooked, is atrocious, not to mention what happens to leftovers.

With chefs bringing back the nose to tail approach when it comes to meat, the food revolution has been brewing for a while. This too, isn’t something new, as humans have been doing it for years before things like prime cuts and the coveted hanger steak became ways to mint money. With just a possible maximum of 1.5 lbs of hanger steak per steer possible, it makes no sense to base entire menus on it. The same is true when it comes to many fruits and vegetables; the possibilities of utilising the scraps that end up in the landfill nearest you are like the landfills themselves – endless!

If the idea of eating waste seems unappealing, let’s start with taking that word off the table. Much of what we throw away is, in fact, not waste at all. All it takes is a bit of awareness, an open mind and passion in the kitchen. Even things not classified as food can be delectable if treated right, take dandelions for example, every part of this plant is edible – root to flowers, raw or cooked. From making wine, salads, and frying the entire flowers, this weed is legal. And delicious. With a slightly bitter flavour reminiscent of radicchio or endive, it is low in calories and so good for you. Most likely, a delicious addition to your cooking repertoire lurks in your garden right now!

There is probably already a world of possibility in your refrigerator, especially if you shop at the farmer’s market where they retain the leaves, stalks and roots of the produce. Go have a look in your fridge, have broccoli in there? Next time, save what you usually throw,  peel the outer layer of the stalk, slice it up and take a bite. What you’ll find is a nutritious crunchy snack without the need for a dip even. Alternately you can add the sliced stalk, along with the leaves to your stir fry. The leaves can be treated the same way as kale, crisp them up in the oven, and you have a snack from what would have ended up of no use to anyone.

Most root vegetables, such as carrots, beets and radishes have green tops beckoning you from their roost at the market, yet they’re promptly snapped off and thrown into the compost heap once you get home. These greens are delicious additions to salads and pastas, and can even be used to make pesto. The thing to keep in mind is flavour, for example, turnip greens are probably best cooked, while you can munch on raw beet greens in a salad as you do some deep thinking.

IMG_20160705_194707

Quinoa, fish and greens.

With so many cooks and chefs embracing vegetables and fruits in their entirety, inspiration is just a click away. Onion skins can be used for colour and flavour in stocks. Speaking of stock, it is the best way to get the maximum out of your meat and veggies in one go. Bung in the bones collected from a few sunday roasts (they can be frozen until you have enough), add in peels from vegetables, add roots of herbs, basically almost everything you’d have swept off the kitchen counter. Then just add water, as they say. What you have is a massive punch of flavour, any day of the week. A top tip is to freeze stock in ice cube trays to allow a meal for one to be as easy and accessible as it should be. Cook your quinoa in it, add a cube to a quick stir fry, be creative.

IMG_20160707_201136

Chicken soup in a jiffy.

There are even options which may seem outrageous at the outset, such as egg shells. With a good scrub, crushed and baked in the oven, they can be your next source of calcium. Don’t worry though if it sounds unpalatable at this point, as with everything, it’s best to start somewhere. Try the broccoli stalks. The choices are astoundingly vast, all it takes is a healthy bit of research and you could be well on the way to eating much better for half the price!

 

A Gem in the Middle of Sydney City

I came across this most magical of places by accident, as I seem to do with the majority of the things I love in life. What can I say, except to lift Paulo Coelho’s romantic idea from The Alchemist: “Maktub”.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship!

IMG_20160729_140359-01

Map of the Chinese Garden of Friendship

I set off one afternoon, stopping by at Emperor’s Puffs for a snack on my way. I thought it was apt – a Chinese snack before a Chinese garden. What are Emperor’s puffs you ask?


IMG_20160607_194954

Well, only the most iconic little bonbon you can get in Sydney’s China Town. It’s an institution and the lines snaking around the narrow street are testament to the cream puff’s goodness. Served from 12pm to 9pm, be clever and pick a time when people are likely to be at work or school. Oh and don’t pop them in your mouth whole and chomp down – they’re frickin’ HOT!! My burned tongue has so many horror stories to tell.


So three cream puffs (and a couple of barbecue pork buns) down, I made my way to Darling Quarter where this little haven of a garden is situated. Right next to the bustling Darling Harbour and with new construction happening all around, it really is a bit of peace and quiet amidst the chaos.

IMG_20160719_160800-01

Don’t tell me this doesn’t make you want to go in!

I find Far Eastern aesthetics fascinating, their attention to detail, the intricacy with which every element is gathered, joined, juxtaposed and displayed. It inspires me! This was what Bali did to me as well, if you remember. I was mesmerised there, as I was here. My mother back home, who has been saying she’ll visit someday suddenly declared that she wants to come here ASAP and go to this garden when I sent her some photos.

<<Warning>>: If you have ornithophibia, stay away. There are ibis everywhere, they have their nests in the trees all around. However, they are also harmless, only interested if you have any food. BUT there are small, over-protective birds that swoop down on your heads if it’s egg-hatching season. I kid you not, I nearly lost the hair off the top of my head.

While wandering around, rather quickly as it was nearly closing time, I snapped over a hundred photos. I surprised myself too, except every little thing here is photo worthy. And I have vowed to go back better prepared, with more time to spare, so I can soak in some culture, slowly…, sipping on some Chinese tea in the Teahouse.

The really magical thing is that once you have crossed the threshold, it is very difficult to remember that you are in the middle of a very busy city. Time slows; the steel, glass and concrete monsters a few metres beyond the walls melt away. It’s just the beautiful trees, buildings, flowing streams, bubbling waterfalls and birds. Oh, and a few people, but you won’t really notice them either.

I shall leave my words here and let my pictures do the rest of the talking. If you’re in Sydney and haven’t been here yet, shame on you! And for those planning a visit soon, you MUST add this to your bucket list.

IMG_20160721_161841

I was lucky it was a sunny winter evening – just look at the colours.

IMG_20160719_163154

Symmetry, beauty, natural and manmade.

IMG_20160719_161258

More beautiful colours and the Dragon Rock.

IMG_20160719_161110

Red and black – quintessentially Chinese.

IMG_20160719_161936

Poser pauses fishing to smile for me.

IMG_20160719_162707

Another model.

IMG_20160719_161351

“Do you think they’ll notice if we sneak in late to the meeting?” “Shhhh…”

IMG_20160719_163338

Adjacent to the Teahouse.

IMG_20160719_163302

As you can see, I can’t get enough of these trees and their drooping branches.

IMG_20160719_163825

Hall of Clear Shade. I just fell in love with this gnarled grey tree with fuschia flowers!

 

10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Sydney

Preface: I really don’t know where the time flies in this country. And I am not even busy fighting off kangaroos for my burger or rescuing people from getting eaten by sharks. I genuinely have no reason or excuse for why it has been 21 days since my last post.

– Sincerely Shamefaced.

13615040_10153767130542358_7948166965183870203_n

So I’ve been here in Australia for close to five months, almost half a year. Where does time fly when you’re having fun, eh? My Master of Design education is wonderful and stimulating, and hopefully continues to be challenging in the coming semesters. I have made some wonderful friends, watched my little sister bloom into a confident and beautiful young woman in a supportive environment, and pinched myself more times than I can count, at all the beautiful things I’m surrounded by.

While it’s easy to wax lyrical about all the great things about the city I’m calling home for some time, there are many that I wish I’d known before I moved here. Not because I woudn’t have still chosen to live and study here, only so that I could have been better prepared as an international student.

  1. The popular stance is that the winter here is unworthy of being considered winter. Cue *eyeroll* and a lot of *shivering*. Pack your thermals if you have them, bring your coats and throw in those extra socks and gloves too. If not, don’t worry, H&M is bound to have sales before you freeze to death.
  2. Crows in Australia, I’m forced to believe, didn’t get the memo on what noise they’re supposed to make. They sound like dying cats or someone retching violently after an alcohol fuelled night. Why do I wish I’d known this? So I could have slept through my jet lag the first few nights without feeling like I was an unwitting participant in a horror movie.
  3. The price of bread here is pretty ridiculous, that is if you want to eat anything other than the ubiquitous and nutrition deficient soft white variety. 5 dollars for multigrain bread. Really!?
  4. You can’t really watch the sunset from the famous beaches in Sydney – no, Siree, not from Bondi or Coogee or Maroubra. Because it’s the east coast. So if you’re like me and have no hope of ever catching a sunrise, you’re going to have to kick the ‘watching our big happy star go to bed in the sea’ habit.
  5. While I have not experienced peak summer here, let me tell you, the Tasman Sea is a chilly, chilly woman! I cannot, with complete confidence, say I will ever go swimming here if the water doesn’t heat up beyond 25 degree Celsius! Which isn’t likely either from what I can glean from the wise ol’ Internet.
  6. If you wear anything below AU size 6 shoes, your hopes for finding inexpensive shoes or even cute thongs (flip flops, for the uninitiated) are very narrow, my friend. Read: Bring all your shoes!
  7. Be prepared to get lost, quite literally. The road system here is tricky at best, as baffling as the Mad Hatter’s riddles at worst. If I had a dollar for every time I got lost in Sydney, I’d be cozying up to a glass of expensive bubbly as I relaxed in my very own hot tub.
  8. Which segues nicely into the activity of walking. If you no like, no come here. Seriously. I’m not saying there aren’t buses and trains to everywhere but you’ll still have to put your pins to good use. Upside though – great legs, come bikini weather!
  9. You will want to eat out very often. Even if you’re an avid cook like me, the temptations at literally every corner are sometimes too much to ignore. Heavily leaning towards, though not limited to, all things Far Eastern, the aromas are irresistible. This can also be interpreted as ‘work on your willpower, because your pockets may sometimes be threadbare’.
  10. And lastly, clothes shopping isn’t expensive enough to be prohibitory. Unless they’re that great, avoid stuffing your bags with excess clothes and instead bring all your teeny tiny shoes!

Thanks accepted in the form of cash or presents. Please contact me for address and bank details! :p 

Until next time! Which I can’t promise will be less than 21 days. 

I am back!

Who is back, you ask? Ah, I don’t blame you if it’s hard to remember. I have been away rather a long time.  And that would also answer the question of whether I have learned to manage time better. But I remain optimistic as always, and hope to be a way better keeper-upper with this blog that means so much to me.

Life has been filled with the usual and so many not so usual moments. If I feel a frown coming on, I think to myself, “You’re in Australia! Where you’ve dreamed of being since ’09!” That sure turns my smile back on. This country is not without its flaws, to imagine it as perfect would be a lie. But it is awesome in my eyes!

I will keep this one short, give you time to get used to me being back. I promise, however, to be back super soon with a post that I’ve wanted to write for months – What No-one Tells You About Sydney. So watch out for that one, my lovelies! Until then, look at all the gorgeousness I have captured in this beautiful city and let me know if you like!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Time Flies And I Can Hardly Keep Up

It has been so long since I last even opened up WordPress that I think I just saw a tumbleweed blow by! Where has the time gone?? This is clearly proof that I need to:
a) Learn to manage time better.
b) Prioritise my activities.
c) Get back into super-student mode that I had down pat back when I was a student last. *cue crickets*

I don’t know how successful I’m going to be with those goals, but I’m sure going to try. I think I need to break up with social media or at least take a break for a while. And even though I hate the getting-lazier-by-the-day-generation that needs to abbreviate everything, FOMO is real. Yuck. Can’t believe I wrote that. Forgive me. Let’s pretend I didn’t, and get to the point. I’m just afraid that I’ll log back in after a considerable break and find that 10 more of my friends have had babies, or gotten engaged, or married, or heaven forbid, have had something bad happen to them and I won’t know. Not a particular risk I want to take.

Seriously though, I’ve lost my juvenile mastery over mindfulness. My ‘living in the now’ philosophy has gone hiking, and didn’t invite me. I didn’t even know it had left me, that’s how mind-less I’ve been. Hopefully, being aware of it will be the first step in trying to win it back.

So, while I know you’ve all probably lost interest in anything I have to say anymore, I’ll try to win you back too.

What’s taking up my time? University, mostly. I haven’t been a student for a while, and getting back into it without losing all track of time and reason is taking some extra time. Assignments, research, reading, while super fun (ok, not all the time) and inspiring, are depriving me of a social life. And those with social lives in the neighbourhood are depriving me of sleep. See? Lose-lose.

Let me leave you with some nice photos to make up for my lengthy absence. See you soon(-ish).

Warning: The photos are fresh out of my phone; haven’t even had time to edit or watermark. Kindly, do not steal. Thanks!

image image image image image image image

It Feels Like Love!

I cannot believe how long it’s been since I last wrote here! Apologies, to myself, and to the few people who look forward to my posts. I bet I’ve lost your interest too by now. Sorry!

So, for those who don’t follow me on Instagram, guess where I am?! Answer: AUSTRALIA!

image

That’s right, after almost 9 years of dreaming about it, I’m finally here!! Sometimes I don’t believe it myself, and have to give myself a hard pinch. *ouch*

So, firstly, how is it going? Glad you asked! I love it here! Once I got over the jet lag (and even during), I was just so grateful to be here. Yes, the weather is unpredictable and mostly hot, but I’ve never loved the feel of the sun on my skin more. Secondly, what am I doing here? I’m also pursuing the Master’s program I’ve wanted to since ’09, at last. I’m so excited that I sometimes just spontaneously want to break into dance!

It’s orientation week at my university this week, so I’m usually on my feet, walking around all day. (Oh, and that’s one thing about Sydney I didn’t know before I got here. Sydneysiders love to walk everywhere, and you kind of tend to just do the same once you’re here.)

image

Next week, I start classes and then, hopefully I’ll be able to be a bit more organised. Ha! Wish me luck y’all! And until then, enjoy some of my pictures of Sydney!

image image
image

The beautiful Central Mall building

image image

My Penny’s Worth: Photography

Firstly, I know I have been terribly delayed with my posts. I have been unable to keep up with my schedule, and that is due to a variety of reasons. The Australian Open being just one of them. The meaty details will be let out in a matter of a couple of weeks, and then you, my dear readers, will completely understand.


Now, as someone who enjoys taking, and sharing, photos, there are a few things that I believe make a good photograph. Almost everyone today has access to a camera, be it in the form of their phone, a digital ‘point and shoot’ or a DSLR. For this mere mortal, fiddling about with buttons and settings, a degree here and then another there has never been anything to write home about. For the few months that I did have a DSLR, I  admit that I thoroughly enjoyed its power, but it is also true that I did not dedicate too much time to learning many settings.

If you are new to photography and want to up your game, I’d say, join Instagram. You will find tonnes of inspiration, and will be able to observe how the pros do it, and pick up tips. Read on if you want my penny’s worth of advice on what I believe are the golden rules to good pictures. But since they come from me, they might just be silver. I’ll let you decide.

What I’m about to share with you all is in no way an exhaustive guide, nor are they rules; do what makes you happy.


1. Lines: If the object/subject you are clicking has lines on/behind/under them, either vertical or horizontal, frame it in such a way that those lines are straight. Or at least fix the skew before you post it somewhere public. I find that it gives a more finished look to the photo, like you actually cared to spend more than a second to p&s.

IMG_20160122_182314-01.jpeg

Lines, lines, they need to be parallel, and perpendicular, unless you’re deliberately trying to piss people off.


2. The Horizon: When shooting a landscape, sunset and such, if you take the time to ensure that you frame it in such a manner that the horizon line is, well, horizontal, it will make a world of difference. It is one of my pet peeves to have a skewed horizon line in photos.

IMG_20151205_161433-01

While this may still look skewed due to the colours, I assure you, that horizon is as straight as a ruler!


3. Editing: It is absolutely okay to touch up your photos a bit. Sometimes you just don’t have time to spend ages perfecting a shot, or what you’re clicking might be time sensitive. The above points can be achieved with a tiny bit of tweaking. However, bear in mind that you might lose the periphery of the image as the tilt is adjusted into a rectangle or square.

IMG_20151203_130240-01-01

A tricky demo, this one, as I was standing on a ramp. See, my flip-flop clad feet were visible in the original. Then I had to adjust the image so that it’s straight, and lost out on the feet. Terrible business.


4. Focus: No matter what kind of hurry you’re in, taking a couple of seconds to check that the subject, say, a bunch of sunbathing turtles is what is in focus. And not, say, the abundance of foliage in the foreground, as can be seen below.

FB_IMG_1451492492933-01


5. Over editing: Ugh, seriously, I hate this. When was the last time you saw cobalt blue trees or buildings that had halos around them? Some people just don’t know when to stop. However, having said that, if you mean to go for that effect, it can be stunning. But I’d still suggest you use that super power sparingly.

IMG_20151205_155640-01

What’s not to like about purple clouds and ombré waves, I ask! Surreal? Yes. Just remember, the watchword is ‘sparingly’.


These are just the bare essentials, and I would like to share more of what I believe helps to make a great photo. So keep a look-out for that one. Also, comment below with your personal tips and tricks for great photos; let’s compare notes! 🙂

 

 

 

A Promise, a Dream and a Plan

 

This year, while still very young, has me feeling old. I know no-one likes a Debbie Downer so I’ll keep the downing to a minimum. Essentially the hit my immunity took a couple of months ago has left my body a wreck, prone to falling ill again and also making the recovery very slow. Not one to pop pills, my new best friends are ginger, lemon, honey and hot water. Oh, let’s not forget good old black pepper. That leaves me thus: a blocked-nosed, pallid-faced, lackluster little dreamer.

IMG_20151205_161433-01.jpeg

Dreaming got me here, after all!

Oh no, the dreaming must not stop. Though I read something profound on a traveller’s page the other day, about not thinking of something as a dream, but as a plan. Inspiring. That’s what it was. Why do we relegate the things we want with every atom of our being into those wispy puffs of fantasy that disappear faster than the sleep we rub from our eyes each morning? Why must it be a dream? Why not a goal, a plan? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful thing to dream, I’d be lost without it. However, for a dream to have substance, there must be some work to propel it forward from the ether.

As you can see, in all the time that I try to force myself to nap (and fail over and over again) in a bid to regain some energy, I do some thinking. And I thought, in relation to the promise I made myself this last birthday, why was that trip so monumental? I mean, it wasn’t like I went on an ayahuasca (which I didn’t know existed until a few months ago) self-revelatory trip to some obscure town in South America. No, I did something most people would probably find tame, I went on a trip, albeit alone, spent a week there and thoroughly enjoying myself, came back a happy kitty.

IMG_20151208_121620-01

So, what changed? It was the promise. It was this: before, I’d always waited around for things to happen. Waited for someone to make me feel special on my birthday and ended up disappointed. But in all fairness I had said I didn’t want a fuss (when an over-the-top fuss was what I did want). Something about the way I was brought up to refuse offers of gifts, help or food. Don’t ask, I’m as stumped as you are! And let me tell you, refusing food when your tummy is growling like an angry Bengal tiger isn’t very convincing.

What changed was that I decided I’m not going to wait around any longer. My happiness, my responsibility. Did I have to travel to another country to figure this out? Not really. But you know what, having all those beautiful, endless views of the sea, the gorgeous food, and first-time experiences didn’t hurt! Not one bit.


How is your 2016 going so far? Any new life philosophies picked up along the journey of the last one? Also, any advice on how to shake a pesky cold & cough?

 

Oh Fernweh’s Year In Review

IMG_20151209_073036

Finally caught a sunrise this year. Somewhere between Malaysia and India.

Oh Fernweh was optimistically begun in March of this year, only 9 months old and in that time much has happened. Firstly, I declared that my love for travel was no passing affair, and that I wanted to pursue it as a prominent part of my life. And I did that as best as I could.  I created a bucket list and ticked off a destination that was one it, and went to another that never featured there. As for my ambition of going to three new places this year, I’m going to cheat and allow myself some breathing room for visiting Kochi thrice and landing at Kuala Lumpur where I expected a relaxed layover that turned into a sprint with my little strolley. Thanks Air Asia! :p


Let’s take a look at where my fernweh took me, and what I did there.

  • First international trip in 15 years. Yes, 15.
  • First solo trip – and that, to the beautiful Bali. Still hungover from the beauty and a marvellous je ne sais quoi that suited me perfectly.

  • I snorkeled, again first time! And saw a bit of the amazing underwater world. Having no photographic evidence to show for it has made me determined to get an action camera for the next time. Saving up as we speak.
  • I had a variety of animal encounters. I touched a baby white tiger, an elephant (which I had actually done before), held a giant fruit bat, a rare sea turtle, an eagle, a hornbill, held a baby siamang gibbon, and had some pretty colourful birds perch on me.

IMG_20151203_130240-02

BeautyPlus_20151203195157_save-01

IMG_20151203_134147-01

  • I swam in the sea for the first time. Sure, I’ve spent many, many days by the sea in my life and played in the waves, but swimming, na.
  • I got paid for my art and my writing, separately – ecstatic about this! I include this because it was all a result of my travelling.
  • I embraced Kozma Petrovich Prutkov’s wise words: “If you want to be happy, be so.”
  • I went on my first familiarisation trip, to Chhattisgarh.
  • I took my mum and sister on a holiday to Goa. Yep, wrote all about it back in April.
  • I travelled quite a bit within my own state.
  • I made friends with people not of my own age; an author and a chef! And others of my age, all passionate about travel. Double goodness!
  • I got to test the theory that I’d love to travel alone and happily proved myself right.
  • I had some excellent meals!
IMG_20151205_202645~2-01

Best meal of the year! Ayam Bakar at Man Dollow’s Café in Nusa Dua, Bali. (Sorry that the photo is blurry, it’s one of my greatest regrets!)

This year has, as evidenced by all the great things above, been wonderful. I lost my way and found it again. I learned to persist in my dreams, to not let someone else’s (whoever they are) idea of success and a life worth living make mine feel any less worthy. The amazing experiences this year have shown me that no dream is too big or unreachable. I learned a little bit more of who I am, found that I enjoy my own company, and that it’s okay that I might never be at an all night rave.

You'd most likely find me like this, chilling all day with good food and drinks. And having an early night where I snuggle in bed reading. No shame in it at all!

You’d most likely find me like this, chilling all day with good food and drinks. And having an early night where I snuggle in bed reading. No shame in it at all!

Above all, I learned that life goes on and that when we’re given those rare second chances, we should recognise it. Never settle for anything less than you deserve BUT continue living in the meantime. There is no excuse for wasting time, none of us has a backup supply. Get the dress, book the tickets, invest in your life and savour every experience – that, my friends, is what it is about. Nothing more.


How was your year? Did you achieve all that you set out to? Are you looking forward to 2016 as much as I am?