May 7th, 2012 §
If you’ve been in my company recently, you know I’ve suffered a few hardships, as of late. Those that would bring you to tears. It’s contributed greatly to the dull confused sensation that I’ve been carrying with me for months now. I have, in fact, not had my shit together.
But, that’s not what this is about. This is about getting smacked in the face and making an experience out of the after burn.
So, I’ve been slapped. Like, back handed with large college rings on each finger, sort of slap. I took some time to think about why this happened. I realized that there wasn’t one. Things just happen.
My situation has brought me back to Motherland, Canada. It was against my very grain to return at this time, but life didn’t really give me a choice. It was hardly the exciting trip back home I was hoping for. I was traveling towards tragedy.
A lot of beer was consumed on the flight over
From the moment I landed, I felt like I was trapped in a feverish state with a Boney M record playing in reverse. It just wasn’t right.
You can go two ways when faced with despair: Sit in it. Or, move on.
I chose both.
I sat in my unfortunate circumstance. Letting it sink in. Generally feeling sorry for myself. However, in retrospect, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Then, I decided to take advantage of being back home and see some people. People I love. People that love me. People that I wished I could put in my pocket and take with me everywhere I go.
It’s been an challenging 4 months and I couldn’t have lived through a single minute of it without all the wonderful people I am so lucky to have in my life. Every one has stepped up [from around the world] and showed their true colours. I am thankful.
I have heaps of photos to go through before I write a proper post about Canada and the States, but here are a few shots from the past four months with some of my favourite people.
Our amazing host in San Francisco
Easter – Vancouver Island
Easter – Vancouver Island
Easter – Vancouver Island
Easter – Vancouver Island
The Cambie – Vancouver
Bon’s – Vancouver
Granville Island – Vancouver
Vancouver in the 60s
New West Pier
The Cambie – Vancouver
Helicopter to Victoria
Kentucky Derby Party! – Vancouver
Thank you to everyone for the past few months [and years]! I couldn’t do this without you. I hope it’s okay that I put your photo on the internets.
I miss you dad.
November 3rd, 2011 §
I’ve officialy been in Buenos Aires for two weeks now. It’s an awfully long time to stay here. I guess one could argue with that, but I would have been happy leaving here after one week.
My situation has been a little different than most travellers. I’ve been trying to sort out a visa issue. I was under the assumption that a certain type of visa was the most appropriate for my situation. However, once I started down the track of applying for this particular visa, all sorts of new options surfaced as soon as I began my inquires outside Australia. I’m more than slightly irritated with the Australian Immigration Offiers that I spoke to on multiple occations the months leading to my departure. I could probably write a novel based on my experience ‘A really, really dull guide to getting fucked over’. I’m enthralled by the title already. But, let’s not dwell on the past, shall we?
So like I said, I would have been satisfied with a week. None the less, I have had an excellent time here. Minus a few slower days of hours upon hours staring at my computer figuring out where in the world to place myself. I hit the jack pot with meeting people here. Seriously. I don’t know what stars were aligned to make all the most friendly, fun people to check into America del Sur from Oct 18th – Nov 3rd, but I thank thee.
So, as I sit on the roof top terrace [of my new hostel around the corner - book ahead or America del Sur fills up] watching a strange little turtle pace around the cool tiled floor, I’m reflecting upon my time in Buenos Aires so far. It’s been quite fun, amongst the chaos of solving a few major life dilemmas.
The first day was a bit clunky. I was jet lagged and took off from the hostel with little to no direction. I had an over-sized map that the hostel gave me [ask for the smaller one] and headed towards an area on the map with a cluster of museums and random sites to see. I didnt even look them up. I figured I’d wing it. I wasn’t sure how many hours I’d remain conscious anyways. How much could I really take in? I didn’t even bring my camera. It the first day officially travelling on my own and I wanted to suss out the safetly situation before I started wipping out my slr. Plastic kit lens or not, I didn’t want to attract attention.
I stumbled upon Plaza de Mayo and Florida Steet. Must sees when visiting Buenos Aires.
Success! I walked. I found. I saw.
Still, the immediate sensation that something was missing could not go unnoticed. I wished someone was here with me. All the funny shit I saw was simply not as funny without someone to shoot a quick glance at to see if they saw the same ridiculous thing. All the beautiful architecture, exotic smells and oddities of discovering a new place was almost lost. I missed my fiance.
Later that day, back at the hostel, a friendly girl came and sat at the table with me. She started blabbling away about something fantastic I’m sure. Low and behold she was a fellow Canuck. Ah Candians! They’ll talk you’re ear off if it was possible. I liked her immediately.
Day two started with a free walking tour from the hostel. It began in San Telmo [where the hostel is]
Narrowest Building in Buenos Aires
…and continued over to La Boca.
La Boca is famous for local artists transforming the run down neighborhood into a colourful tourist attaction. It was packed with tourists and heaving with open air restuarants sporting live tango dancers, stomping loudly inches from eager diners. I don’t even think I was hungry until aromatic wafts of Argentinian grilled meat encouraged my appetite immediately. We sat down without a thought of which restaurant was better. They all looked about the same. It was a bit overpriced, but well worth it for the spectacle.
It was pretty much the beginning of me meeting, what turned out to be, my family at the hostel. I dare you to try and not to have fun with the Irish, American, Canadian, Swedish, Dutch and British crew I was with.
Everyday started a bit slow. Mine sometimes hours earlier than others with multiple trips to the Australain Embassy. Let me know if you need to go there. I know the subway like the back of my hand.
Most of the time we fumbled out the door around 2pm in search of cheap eats and my new addition, cafe con leche. I’m surprised we even got out that early considering the time most night life starts in BA. The first time, we made the mistake of going to the club at 1:30am. Hardly a person in the joint and the bar was just setting up.
If you’re planning on hitting the clubs here, take a siesta that day. Maybe I’m getting old, but I’m yawning at about 2am if I’m not already shaking it on the dance floor.
However, not every night was dedicated to over priced drinks [AR 30] and repetitive house music. After a few trys I lost momentum and found the party at the hostel more exciting; never a line-up and our own music selction at out finger tips.
Blurry cheap beer
Granted it would be a waste if you missed some of the other bits of night life BA has to offer. I hit up Notorious jazz club one night…
…an all day frenzy going to a Boca Juniors futbol game…
and danced to La Bomba De Tiempo, professional hippy drummers by trade.
So much more to come just on those nights. Photos! Photos! Photos!
My timing in Buenos Aires was perfect to catch a taste of local political enthusiasm. The first weekend was the national presidential election. An endless crowd formed at Plaza de Mayo along with a few novelty gringos [that's us]. I was apprehensive to bring my camera. The energy in the air was boarder line apocalyptic. Marchers, pounding drums and chanting came at us from all ends. It was fantastic to witness, but not a place for a skinny white girl to be snapping away. My memory is going to have to suffice.
This afternoon I head out to Iguazu Falls. Nothing like a quick 20 hour bus ride with a few friends.
I’ve sorted my visa situation enough to feel comfortable to escape the city for a short while. It’s just a waiting game now with plans to reunite with my fiance. Cross your fingers for me.
October 28th, 2011 §
Beer makes everything better
My back hurts. My back hurts because last night I slept about 13 hours recovering from the 17 hour flight from Sydney to Buenos Aires. [This was last week, but who's counting]
Nothing is glamorous about traveling more than 9 hours at once. Seats get smaller, the air gets thicker and food loses flavour. But, not all at once. It’s a slow creep into your subconscious that first goes unnoticed. Something happens hour 10 that just pushes all the excitement out the door and the world turns beige. It could be the fat man open mouth snoring next to you, the snotty kid kicking the back of your seat or the bitchy flight attendant that refuses to top up your half filled glass of sugar juice. It’s different for everyone, but it’ll happen. Your journey pauses for a moment and you’re trapped in travel purgatory, with only the knowledge that at some point, it will end. This will not be your final resting place.
In all honesty, it would have been a lot more comfortable if I planned ahead, even slightly. Then I would have had my ipod and laptop charged and chosen a novel to bring that weighed less than 5 kg. But, I didn’t. Because, I left Sydney hungover. Or more accurate, physically and mentally exhausted.
You see, I’ve been busy. Hence the absence of posting on this lovely little blog. And, it was down for a bit. But, that’s neither here nor there.
I guess to tell the story right I should start at the beginning.
I was on my way out of Australia forever. And, I couldn’t leave without seeing the east coast. So, I booked some time with a few of my favourite people in Melbourne and Sydney.
Janey and I
Vodka, Borscht and Tears
We had fun
[More about Melbourne and Sydney later]
My friends sent me off the only way good friends should, battered and bruised from too much vodka, beautiful wine and non-stop fun. But, this was all planned before I knew of the adventure that was about to occur before I left Perth.
June 16th, 2011 §
…that’s what most people say when you ask them what they’ve been up to; ‘nothin’. Wow. Exciting.
Then I somehow turned into that person for a while. Not because I had nothing going on, but because I had almost too much going on, I didn’t know where to start. Once I lived here for a little bit and people had the general idea of how I randomly ended up in Perth, I was out of chit chat. I mean if you were genuinely interested in finding out about me, I could talk your ear off. Otherwise, ‘Nothin’. I hated saying it, but it’s all I could come up with. Mostly to acquaintances or people I didn’t catch up with all that often, but that’s generally the type of people you interact with everyday, right? Unless you were one of the 6 people that I updated regularly, I was at a loss for small talk about myself. It seemed like such an effort to bring people up to speed. How completely lazy of me.
Then, nothing DID start to happen. The whole time I’ve been in Perth I’ve been working full time. That was the plan. Because in London, I spent almost $5,000 just setting myself up. London is bloody expensive, by the way. And, after the London thing and then the Vietnam thing, I was broke. Dead broke. So, I’ve been a busy little bee working hard and saving cash for my next adventure. Except, the last little while I forgot I was on the other side of the world. I’d get up early Monday through Friday, pack my lunch, take transit to work, be responsible at my big girl job and then just plumb forgot to add fun into the mix.
That lasted about 6 weeks before I noticed.
So, then when people asked me ‘What’s new?’ I kept saying ‘Nothin’, but I really meant it this time. Shit. It just dawned on me one day. What happened?! How did I forget I was in Australia? Ugh. I bore myself.
That’s when Jean, Amy, Kat and I decided to go skydiving. We just needed to wake up a bit. Shake off the cool weather sleepiness.
And, holy shit did we ever. A full day of nervousness mixed with fear, nausea and raw adrenaline.
The first time I went skydiving was for my 16th Birthday. Most Mothers would never allow such a thing. They would tie their kid to a chair and wait until they forgot about the idea. My mother wasn’t one of those Mothers. She paid for the whole thing, hung around while I did the 9 hour course and took pictures as I plummeted to the Earth. I still can’t believe how young I was. What was my Mother thinking? What was I thinking?
Then it came to me. While I was sitting in the plane strapped to some random dude [who I made an instant please-don't-let-me-die connection with], almost completely frozen with fear looking at one of my bestest friend’s Jean, I remembered. Because she wanted me to really live. Not just exist and fumble through each day. I needed to be afraid, excited and experience nearly every emotion there is, in a single moment.
When that door opened at 8,000 ft in the air and I shuffled on my bottom towards the door, I didn’t even take one last look in the plane. I looked straight at the Earth, tucked myself in as small as I could and embraced my fate with everything inside of me.
I freefalled for 25 seconds. That’s a long time. Count it. Now picture yourself falling straight to the Earth like a rock for that long.
Once that parachute opened, it was pure bliss. We ended up jumping at sunset. Incredible. There are few things I’ve experienced more breathtaking than that moment.
Unfortunately, it’s next to impossible to capture the experience of skydiving, but we took pictures none the less. Thanks to Amy for taking the photos of Jean and I.
Kat and Amy
Jean and I
If you feel like you’ve been asleep at the wheel lately, jump out of a fucking plane. You’ll thank me.
April 26th, 2011 §
Life has carried on in the most wonderful way. It naturally progressed into something beautiful.
I just signed a 6 month contract as Marketing Manager for a non profit arts organization and soaking up as much Aussie sun as I can. I’m loving where I live and consuming all the seductive wine, heavenly food and good times as I can.
Since I was preoccupied for several months beaching, boating, eating, road tripping, birthdaying, wining, pooling etc I haven’t got around to posting any photos. So, here’s some!!
Jean and I’s Birthday Boat Party!
Margaret River Road Trip!
Road Trip to the Pinnacles!
We actually make it to the Pinnacles, just not on Flickr yet. So many more photos to come…
April 5th, 2011 §
I’ve found that even with the evolution of what makes us happy, people are still choosing to be miserable. They almost seek it out. And, once found, a suffocating mental grip slowly develops. Amnesia takes over. Any memory of what life was like without this white knuckled clasp, vanishes.
Letting go, moving past, waking up or simply stopping whatever miserable vice is being clasped to, is no longer a viable option. But, holding on, so resistant to change, is.
This, fortunately enough, has never really been a problem for me. I have always been quite an independent person, sometimes to a fault and I seem to accept and create change with unusual ease. I realized this trait in myself at a very early age.
I moved several times as a child and then in adolescence; a new school every elementary school year and the predictable transfer from middle school to high school. This naturally equaled new ‘friends’, teachers, bus rides to and from home. My surroundings were constantly changing and I never seemed too bothered by it. I actually grew to like it.
When I made the big move out of my Mother’s house, to a place of my own, it wasn’t to an apartment a nice comfortable distance in the neighboring suburb. I moved to another city in another province, 1,161 km away. I thought, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it with a bang. I wanted an adventure. Something new! Apparently, this was not common for many Edmontonians.
I applied this sort of thinking to most everything in my life. I’d thirst for the dynamic and if I was unsatisfied with an aspect in my life I would, simply, change it; job, house, relationship, friends. I would make an assessment, judge if the situation was worth my time and energy to fix, if not, I’d move on.
These actions, like I mentioned, were not entirely without fault. I’ve made some uncharacteristically harsh decisions, sometimes without notice or reasoning to myself or those around me. I’ve left my boyfriend stunned on Christmas morning when I moved out because he didn’t keep his promise to stop acting like a crazy person and I’ve handed in my office key card and fancy work mobile, simply saying ‘I’m done’ mid-week because I couldn’t fathom working all the way to Friday with my abrasive, disrespectful, harassing boss.
I just don’t see the point in sticking around on a sinking ship.
The thing that confuses me, is that most people do. Most people hang on for dear life, so engrossed by the situation around them that they don’t stop to wonder if the boat that’s ‘sinking’ might only be in 2 feet of water or maybe there’s another boat, a luxury yacht with free booze and snacks, ready to pick up new passengers right behind them. Instead, they just grip tighter and close their eyes waiting for someone to save them.
I’m not saying that I got everything figured out. Just the opposite.
But, I think what I’m saying is…I’m happy. I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made; good, bad, ugly. Because, when I reflect on my life so far, I take solace in knowing that at least I tried. I gave it a good honest go. And, when things didn’t exactly go my way, I was there trying to fix the leak, attempting to build a new boat or flagging for a new one.
I didn’t stick around to take shit from some boss or live somewhere I hated or stay friends with someone that always disappointed me. I made tough decisions at difficult times and to be honest, it would have been much easier to just cave, take the easy road, close my eyes and pretend.
But, I didn’t.
And, now I’m in Australia, surrounded by loving people [near and far], living in the most incredible house with the most inspiring job prospects in front of me. A movie is cued on the projector, my housemates are cooking dinner in the kitchen and my skin still salty from the beach. I couldn’t imagine what it would all look like if I settled for comfortable and content. I really couldn’t.
Life is pretty fantastic right now. And I’m thankful for the journey that got me to this beautiful place.
February 21st, 2011 §
Aric took all the highlights from the full length video and made this extra special video. My heart just melts watching this.
birthday girl from aric s. queen on Vimeo.
My Mother searched for photos of me to scan and send to Aric. I can’t believe all of this effort that went into this surprise. Too much for one birthday girl to handle.
February 21st, 2011 §
Just before the surprise…
It was day three of Aric and I’s road trip to Margaret River [photos still to come] and my 30th birthday. That’s right. I said it. My 30th?!! I still can’t even believe it. What happen to 16, 22, 25, 28? And, you know you’re getting old when you have to circle the next age bracket up on application forms. Scary. But, I digress.
So, there we were, in our campervan named Linus, cuddled in bed. Aric trying to make light of our second failed dinner attempt. [Note: don't try to get fancy with a campfire bbq with no grill] And, we decided to watch a movie to end an already fantastic birthday.
Aric set his computer up without me noticing and just hit play.
The ‘movie’ began with two of my favourite people, Nathan and Johann, in Vancouver. I was totally confused. It continued with them talking to the camera as if it was me and then a huge ‘Happy Birthday!’ screamed by a bunch of my friends. [I'm pretty sure the Jenny reference is an old inside joke. I blame Graeme]
I was shocked.
From that moment on, and then consistently for the next hour, it was water works [I watched it twice]. I couldn’t believe it. Aric somehow organized loads of my friends to send him birthday videos for me and he made the most amazing present I’ve ever received.
[This is where you say 'Awwww' and think Aric is the best]
I still can’t believe how many people were involved for little ol’ me. I honestly think this was the first time anyone has ever surprised me. It was worth the 30 year wait.
Thank you[!!!] to everyone that was involved in making this the best birthday. I sure do miss you and I carry a little piece of all of you where ever I go.
So, here it is. The full length surprise birthday video. I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I do.
Surprise Birthday Video! from Josie Antonina on Vimeo.
So much love for my friends and family.
January 22nd, 2011 §
Cottesloe Beach – Sunset
Things are going great. A bit too great. How can something be too great? Well, the thing is, Aric and I had a plan [originally Aric's and then 'ours']. Our plan was to go sailing on a little red boat come May. We were meant to save up some monies, set up the boat and then sail. We moved to Vietnam to save some cash in a place that we could both live and work. That didn’t go exactly to plan.
Now I’m in Australia. And, I love it. I absolutely love it. The weather is beyond fantastic [granted, I did arrive at the beginning of summer], I’m with my good friend Jean, the friends I’ve made are amazing and I even have a adult job [yes, I got it]. But, it’s painfully obvious that something is missing: Aric.
It wasn’t hard for him to see how much I love it here. I mean a quick peruse through my flickr and you’ll see. With almost no twisting of the arm, Aric offered to move over here and settle down for a while [that's a bigger ask that you might think of a professional globetrotter]. We’d postpone the sailing trip for a year and live in Perth so I could rub elbows with the big kids in the Marketing/PR world.
[This is where you say awwww and think Aric is the greatest]
However, this is not as easy as we would had hoped; visa restrictions, expensive flights, new apartments, jobs, visa restrictions [I didn't repeat myself. There are two sets of visa restrictions to sort out]. I have to pause, take a breath and look at our options. And, you know, Plan A isn’t looking so bad right now.
So, here I am. Weeks away from a long awaited birthday visit from my man and we’re at the infamous fork in the road. Do we stay or do we go?
I’m going to do everything I can to make Australia work. Aric is going to continue working on his book and planning the sailing trip. Come March, a decision needs to be made. Either way, we win!
On a much lighter note: BEACH DAY!!!!
Cottesloe Beach – Jill & I
It’s bigger than Christmas for me. And, I get to do it at least once a week. I’m such a beach bum. I get it from my Father. Living in Vancouver, he would go to the beach nearly every day. Rain or shine. He’d be out there feeding the birds eating his lunch and just watching the waves. He’d even feed the birds he didn’t like. What most people refer to as Seagulls he calls Shit Hawks. I still use that term to this day. Growing up I spent my summers on Wreck Beach without a care in the world. Just happy to be in the sun with my Dad. I sure do miss him.
Christmas 2009- A few celebratory beers in him
Since I’m working 6 days a week, my Sunday is split into two mind sets. Lazy mornings with jam packed afternoons. My plan is to eat some breakfast [James, my roommate, just made me fresh homemade apple juice], laze around and then hit the beach with my favourite girls. You should come!
Here’s quick look at Christmas, New Years and the weeks following:
Jesus was a DJ – Old School Party
Warm Summer Nights
Cottesloe Beach – View from a friend’s balcony
Loads more photos on Flickr!
December 24th, 2010 §
Listen. I understand that Christmas is celebrated all around the world, but it only seems to really make sense in a cold climate. The whole, Frosty the Snowman and flying reindeer, idea doesn’t exactly work when I’m sweating profusely wearing only a tank top and shorts, while sitting perfectly still.
So, as I sit at my besties house in Perth waiting for the drink to further sink in, I wonder what we’re all getting so excited about. It’s clearly not the decorations, presents, snow, or even the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas. We’re excited about just being together. Doing nothing. Doing everything. Together. Thinking of each other. Missing each other.
I’ve said it before. It’s hard to be away during the holidays, but it’s a whole lot easier when I’m around people I love. And, that love me back. So ‘Thank you!’. And, thank you to everyone that has been an important part of my life this year and every other one before that: the comments, emails, messages, photos, cards and even the ‘likes’ on facebook. I remember every one. And, each one makes my day.
But, I must say that no one has made me feel more special, more appreciated than Mr. Aric S. Queen. He’s dangerously close to being the sweetest guy in the world. Holiday season or not he’s always there for me. If you see him around, give him a solid pat on the back. And, if you’re up for it a big sloppy kiss from me, ’cause he deserves it.
Merry Christmas All!
As always, there are heaps of photos on my flickr!