Melbourne Living

IMG_2973

Our move from Sydney to Melbourne after the trek up Australia’s East Coast was a whirlwind. Within 5 hours of landing in Melbourne, we caught a cab from the airport to The Nunnery, our hostel, toured two studio-style apartments in St. Kilda, and made a verbal agreement on our home-to-be. The pace didn’t slow down until now – the beginning of November. I picked up a similar sales role to my experience in Sydney with a small, digital agency named Megantic, while Alex snagged a hospitality role at Newmarket Hotel, a swanky, delicious restaurant just a 5 minute walk from our studio.

Shortly after landing jobs, we got a much needed taste of home as Sherry and Jeff visited us in Melbourne after their trip to Sydney and The Great Barrier Reef. Their presence refocused our attitude towards Melbourne from a place to work hard and save money for upcoming travels to a more balanced outlook of this culturally-rich city while remaining financially in the black.

We are savoring our final 5 weeks in Melbourne as the weather warms up and the city buzz grows.

IMG_2974

Local chalk artist on the Yarra River

Local chalk artist on the Yarra River

IMG_2976 IMG_2985 IMG_3006 IMG_3038

Alex is doing some "karma work" at Body Flow, an aerial yoga studio, for membership and mentorship.

Alex is doing some “karma work” at Body Flow, an aerial yoga studio, for membership and mentorship.

IMG_3069

IMG_3043

Almond Milk latte from il Piccolo Posto, our favorite St. Kilda  cafe.

Almond Milk latte from il Piccolo Posto, our favorite St. Kilda cafe.

Milk the Cow wine and cheese tasting for Richard's  25th birthday.

Milk the Cow wine and cheese tasting for Richard’s 25th birthday.

Birthday dinner at Zhou Zhou on Chapel Street.

Birthday dinner at Zhou Zhou on Chapel Street.

IMG_3086 IMG_3113 IMG_3118 IMG_3059 2014-09-12 19.31.14 2014-09-13 12.43.02 2014-09-13 12.58.34 2014-09-13 17.33.03 2014-09-13 17.33.21 IMG_3309 IMG_3311 IMG_3312 IMG_3316 IMG_3318 IMG_3335 IMG_3024IMG_3349 IMG_3362

IMG_3032

Leikins do Oz!

Leikins do Oz! At Newmarket for dinner.

 

St. Kilda Beach

St. Kilda Beach entry way

Smorgasbord at Vegilicious on Carlisle Street.

Smorgasbord at Vegilicious on Carlisle Street.

IMG_5196 IMG_5204 IMG_5202 IMG_3132

China Town ally-way for some delicious dumplings.

China Town ally-way for some delicious dumplings.

IMG_5219 IMG_5238 IMG_5231

St. Kilda sunset.

St. Kilda sunset.

IMG_5227

16 Days & 2,007 kms Later…

Over 16 days, we tackled 2,007+ kilometers of Australian asphalt and sand. Soaking in beautiful beaches and hiking through dense rain forests, diving through canals of coral and feeding roos, jump-starting “The Clash” and getting it stuck in sand were just a few of the experiences we will always remember from living out of a van and traveling up Australia’s East Coast. We saw some incredible things and met some incredible people from all over the world, which gave us a fresh perspective on how, regardless of our destinations, we are all the same.

It is difficult to even begin describing the extraordinary experience we had while driving up the coast. Hopefully, the photos below will do it at least a little bit of justice!

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 1.22.20 PM

Our home during our travels

Our home & wheels for our travels

Tweed Heads

Tweed Heads – stop #1!

View of the Gold Coast from Tweed Heads

View of the Gold Coast from Tweed Heads

IMG_2784

Mooloolaba Beach

Mooloolaba Beach – stop #2

IMG_4719

Entering Springbrook National Park

Entering Springbrook National Park

Hiking towards Springbrook's Natural Bridge

Hiking towards Springbrook’s Natural Bridge

IMG_4669

The Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park

The Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park

IMG_2795

Kayaking in Noosa

Kayaking around the Noosa Heads

IMG_4746 IMG_4741 IMG_4736

Utilizing free public showers

Free public showers provided us a cheap way to get “clean”

Carlo Sandblow in Great Sandy National Park

Carlo Sandblow – Great Sandy National Park

View of Rainbow Beach from Carlo Sandblow

View of Rainbow Beach from Carlo Sandblow

IMG_4754

Hiking through the rainforest at Great Sandy National Park

Hiking through the rainforest to Lake Poona – Great Sandy National Park

Lake Poona in Great Sandy National Park

Lake Poona – Great Sandy National Park

Camping for 3 days at Great Sandy National Park

Camping for 3 days at Great Sandy National Park

IMG_4805 IMG_4816 IMG_4824 IMG_4823 IMG_4809

Sunset from our campsite

Sunset from our campsite

IMG_4843

4WD tour of Fraser Island (just north of Great Sandy)

4WD tour of Fraser Island (just north of Great Sandy)

IMG_4935

The SS Maheno shipwreck along Fraser coastline. The ship was used as a New Zealand hospital vessel during WWI.

IMG_4940

IMG_4933 IMG_4890 IMG_4957

Lake Mackenzie - a chilly rainwater lake on Fraser Island.

Lake Mackenzie – a chilly rainwater lake on Fraser Island.

Fraser Island is one of the only 2 locations on earth where beach plane landings are permitted.

Fraser Island is one of the only 2 locations on earth where beach plane landings/takeoffs are permitted.

Eli Creek is the largest, freshwater creek on Fraser Island with a daily flow of over 80 million litres

Eli Creek – the largest, freshwater creek on Fraser Island with a daily flow of over 80 million litres

IMG_4993

Pitstop at Frosty Mango for some homemade ice cream on the way to Airlie

Necessary pitstop at Frosty Mango for some homemade ice cream on the way to Airlie

Biking/hiking up Mount Rooper in Airlie.

Biking & hiking up Mount Rooper in Airlie.

View of the Whitsundays atop Mount Rooper.

View of the Whitsundays atop Mount Rooper.

IMG_2896 DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO

Paused to swim at Milla Milla Falls enroute to Port Douglas.

Paused to swim at Milla Milla Falls enroute to Port Douglas.

Outlook on Captain Cook Highway heading toward Port Douglas.

Outlook on Captain Cook Highway heading toward Port Douglas.

Strolling around the sleepy, enjoyable town of Port Douglas.

Strolling around the sleepy, cultured town of Port Douglas.

IMG_5169 IMG_5178

Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas

Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas

Feeding kangaroos at the beginning of our Cape Tribulation tour

Feeding kangaroos at the beginning of our Cape Tribulation tour

IMG_5048 IMG_5061

Hanging with Elvis the Black Cockatoo

Hanging with Elvis, the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Cape Tribulation Beach

Cape Tribulation Beach

IMG_2923

Designs made by Sand Bubbler Crabs

Circular designs made by Sand Bubbler Crabs

Wild Saltwater Crocodiles along the Daintree River.

Wild Saltwater Crocodiles along the Daintree River.

Scarface - a 700kg, 90 year old salty

Scarface – a 700kg, 90 year old salty

Baby croc and a Blue Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher and baby croc

IMG_5139 IMG_5141

Green Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher

Alexandra Mountain Range Lookout

Alexandra Mountain Range Lookout

The Rum Runner - our sailboat for a 2 day 1 night dive excursion to the Outer Great Barrier Reef

The Rum Runner – our sailboat for a 2 day 1 night dive excursion to the Outer Great Barrier Reef

IMG_2953

Couldn't think of a better way to end the trip.

Couldn’t think of a better way to end the trip!

New Journeys and Time Travel – Bryon Bay, Australia

IMG_4598

Visiting Byron Bay is like taking a step back in time. Some far-flung 70’s movie through a progressive lens, it offers healthy, delicious food, ultra sustainable practices, and smiles from happy strangers.

Needless to say, Byron proved to be the perfect place to begin my journey as a yoga teacher. I am so lucky to have been able to further develop such a strong practice and holistic knowledge with Byron Yoga Centre and their amazing group of passionate and truly inspired teachers. Living at the Retreat Center with my amazing cohort of teacher trainees was an experience that I feel should not, and cannot, be simplified down into words. It was a transformative experience that is only the beginning of a life-long journey.

Leaving the yoga centre and entering into the backpacker’s world was quite a transition, but the only way for us to experience Byron Bay like a true traveler should. The Arts Factory was our quirky home while spending a few days exploring the town, enjoying the local cafes and live music, walking the beaches and Cape Byron lighthouse trail – highly recommended to see some amazing breaching winter whales and playful dolphins! 

Tomorrow, we pick up our (hopefully not too profanely spray painted) Wicked camper van and start our trek up the East Coast.

Byron Yoga Centre

Byron Yoga Centre – Retreat

IMG_2674 IMG_2681

Back porch sunsets

Back porch sunsets

Fellow teacher trainees leading class

Fellow teacher trainees leading class

IMG_2692

Break from the retreat center at the Byron Sunday Markets

Break from the retreat center at the Byron Sunday Markets

Amazing people

Amazing people

Best teacher trainers ever

Best teacher trainers ever

IMG_2700

 

Our hostel in Byron

Our Byron hostel

IMG_2711

IMG_2709

Early morning light at The Arts Factory

IMG_2704

Byron Beach

Byron Beach

Tree House restaurant

Tree House cafe

IMG_4627 IMG_4610

Cape Byron, Australian mainland's most easterly point

Cape Byron, Australian mainland’s most easterly point

IMG_4621

Cape Byron Bay Light House

Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse

IMG_4629

A pod of dolphins spotted during our hike

A pod of dolphins spotted during our hike

IMG_2735IMG_4573 IMG_4566 IMG_2716

Lighthouse at sunset

Lighthouse at sunset

Temporary Locals

It’s a strange feeling leaving a place that so quickly became a home. Without even noticing, we became a part of Coogee – not a difficult thing to do in such a small beach suburb. Even Sydney as a whole has started to feel quite small as we now know our way around the city and its surrounding suburbs, encounter familiar faces at our favorite pub, Bitter Phew, and continue to build friendly connections, but Coogee itself has felt more like a home than we ever expected. Knowing local grocer and restaurant owners by name, running in to friends on the street and having a drink or two with our favorite dive instructors at Coogee Bay Hotel have become common occurrences.

And yet, as bitter as it is to leave our temporary home with all the goodness that surrounds us, it is far more sweet to know that we are headed into newer and more exciting ventures during these upcoming weeks and thereafter. Uprooting ourselves once more, we are prepared and beyond grateful for what has yet to come in our Australian adventure.

IMG_4445

Our Scottish housemate, Jimmy, and his faithful dog Mac. Sad to say goodbye to these two.

IMG_4437

IMG_4425

Flight and freighter on the Pacific

IMG_4421

…Understandable why they’re called Humpback Whales

IMG_4412

True Blue, the trusty vessel for our Merimbula Marina whale watching experiences

IMG_4410
IMG_4400 IMG_4396 IMG_4393 IMG_4392
IMG_4348 IMG_4342
IMG_4330 IMG_4328
IMG_4310 IMG_4305 IMG_2653
IMG_2641 IMG_2619 IMG_2578 IMG_2577
IMG_2575 IMG_2573 IMG_2570

IMG_2558 IMG_2552
IMG_2543 IMG_2541

Cousins in Sydney for Sasha's 21st

Cousins in Sydney for Sasha’s 21st


IMG_2503 IMG_2501 IMG_2489

View from the Coogee Cliffs never gets old

View from the Coogee Cliffs never gets old

Gordon's Bay snorkeling in the middle of winter. We'll take it.

Gordon’s Bay snorkeling in the middle of winter. We’ll take it.

IMG_2485

 

Coogee by night.

Coogee by night.

IMG_4467

In the meantime…

 

IMG_2392

My position at The Web Showroom and Alex’s nannying gig have afforded us the ability to go ahead and book flights and a Wicked Camper Van for our fast-approaching trek up Australia’s East Coast. Alex is set to depart on July 4th for Byron Bay to attend her 12-day intensive yoga certification course through the Byron Yoga Centre. I will follow on July 14th. Our trek will stretch from Byron Bay to Cairns, a 1,869km drive along the eastern coastline. Many posts to come detailing this upcoming experience.

In the meantime, we continue to explore all that Sydney has to offer:

IMG_2415 IMG_2412

Skaters pull tricks at a beachside skate park in Bondi.

Skaters pull tricks at a beachside skate park in Bondi.

IMG_2406

A Tibetan monk creating a mandala sand painting

A Tibetan monk creating a mandala sand painting

IMG_2403

IMG_4297 IMG_4263 IMG_4240 IMG_4225 IMG_4217 IMG_4212 IMG_4206 IMG_4204 IMG_4200 IMG_4197 IMG_4193 IMG_4185 IMG_4171 IMG_4165 IMG_4163 IMG_4159 IMG_4154 IMG_4274

IMG_2448

Our instructor, Tony, prepping for a dive

Our instructor, Tony, prepping for a dive

IMG_2453

Assembling gear

Assembling gear

IMG_2455 IMG_2456 IMG_2459

A fellow diver soaks up the sunset on our way home

A fellow diver soaks up the sunset on our way home

IMG_2464

 

Catching the Spurs playoff run at the Coogee Bay Hotel

Catching the Spurs playoff run at the Coogee Bay Hotel

Travel is not free…

 

IMG_2349

It is inevitable that, after settling somewhere for a while – no matter how beautiful, distant and different from home – things start to seem normal again. Totally normal to stroll to the dive shop and launch-spot in the beautiful Gordon’s Bay; to spend a free, sunny day picnicking in the Royal Botanic Gardens; to practice yoga with a view of the ocean. The beauty of our stay in Sydney, however, is that it is completely temporary – and that becomes more and more clear with every passing week, reminding us to truly soak it all in.

As the weather cools and the beach crowds slow, so has our promotions work… meaning one thing to the both of us: time to start looking for more work! Travel is not free, and our East Coast trek is on the horizon.

Richard quickly (naturally) landed a position as a Web Consultant at The Web Showroom: a cool, website design, online marketing and SEO agency in Surry Hills. I thought I’d test my luck with nannying, considering the mass amounts of children in the area, and succeeded in landing a full time gig watching a 3 year-old English girl, starting next week! We are happy and ready to start working more hours to save up for our impending travels while also continuing our promotions ride with Co Yo on the weekends.

But, until then, we try to not get ahead of ourselves and fully enjoy all that Sydney has to offer and all the excitement to come in the next few months.

IMG_4065

Beautiful day in the city!

 

IMG_4064

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney

IMG_4066

IMG_4070

“…We also invite you to hug the trees…” – well, okay!

IMG_4075

IMG_4091

Strolling through the Gardens

IMG_4097

IMG_4082 IMG_2343 IMG_4100

100 year old Dragon Blood Tree that toppled over in 2008 - click photo to read more

100 year old Dragon Blood Tree that toppled over in 2008 – click photo to read more

IMG_4113

The Succulent Garden

IMG_4118 IMG_4120

IMG_4115

Cacti and spiders

IMG_4125

IMG_4110

The Opera House was open for a show, so we gave ourselves a little tour! Will definitely be buying tickets to a show in the near future…

IMG_4107

View from our picnic spot

IMG_4126

Escaping the heat within the Art Gallery of NSW

^My not-so-good GoPro videography of Richard blowing bubble rings.

DCIM100GOPRO

Stingaree (common Aussie stingray)

Stingaree (common Aussie stingray)

Gus the Groper!! King of Gordon's Bay.

Gus the Groper!! King of Gordon’s Bay.

Bubble-rings

Bubble-rings

Rachel, our dive guide, displaying her master bubble-blowing skills.

Rachel, our dive guide, displaying her master bubble-blowing skills.

DCIM100GOPRO

We are SO excited to further our scuba experience with the Pro Dive Advanced Diver course this upcoming weekend.

Yoga on the South Coogee Cliffs

Yoga on the South Coogee Cliffs

IMG_2350

Pacific paddle boarders

I was so happy to spend my 24th birthday in beautiful Australia with Richard, but I definitely missed my friends and family back home!

IMG_1604

Enjoying a bottle of Keith Tulloch wine from The Hunter at Barzura restaurant, with a view of Coogee – great birthday night.

 

I smile at people I pass on the sidewalk, trail, path

even if they won’t smile back or don’t look up – passing by in their

real-life daydream. I smile at everyone because I like to think, 

even if they don’t see it, they will feel it.

“Routine” Lifestyle

IMG_2279

Two months in Coogee has allowed Alex and I to become quite comfortable with our surroundings and settle in to more of a weekly routine. Falling back in to a routine lifestyle, though unavoidable, was a sobering reminder for us to strive to never become totally blasé to the fortunate circumstances in which we find ourselves here or awaiting us back home.

Ensuring we make special, daily efforts to remind us of our good fortune has been an easy way to remain cognizant of the incredible surroundings Sydney has to offer. Whether it be catching an early morning sunrise, hiking the coastal trail from Coogee to Maroubra Beach, seizing a sunny day for a snorkel in Gordon’s Bay, strolling up the road to a local food festival, or riding an evening ferry back from Manly Beach (all depicted below),  it is never hard to find a stunning reminder.

IMG_2328

Panorama capturing setting moon and rising sun

IMG_4049 DCIM100GOPRO

Painter at Coogee Beach, NSW

Painter at Coogee Beach, NSW

IMG_3739 IMG_3744 IMG_3753 IMG_3757 IMG_3771

Gorgeous costal rock with evident oceanic erosion

Gorgeous costal rock with evident oceanic erosion

IMG_3781

Common Garden Skink lizard

Common Garden Skink lizard

IMG_3803 IMG_3806 IMG_3807

Searching for natural souvenirs

Searching for natural souvenirs

IMG_3823

Close-up of eroded sea rock

Close-up of eroded sea rock

IMG_2274IMG_3866

Maroubra "Baths" and Beach

Maroubra “Baths” and Beach

Maroubra Beach

Maroubra Beach

IMG_3902 IMG_3909 IMG_3932

Little locals tearing up the waves

Little locals tearing up the waves

IMG_3982

Evening silhouette of a White-faced Heron at the end of our walk back to Coogee

Evening silhouette of a White-faced Heron at the end of our walk back to Coogee

Gordon's Bay offers crystal-clear diving conditions and warm rocks to relax on

Gordon’s Bay offers crystal-clear diving conditions and warm rocks to relax on

IMG_2290DCIM100GOPRO

Blowing underwater bubble rings

Blowing underwater bubble rings

DCIM100GOPRO

Another incredible Coogee sunset to close our day of snorkeling

Another incredible Coogee sunset to close our day of snorkeling

Salt & Vinegar twisted potato

Salt & Vinegar twisted potato

"The Spot" Food Festival was a short walk up the road from Coogee

“The Spot” Food Festival was a short walk up the road from Coogee

IMG_2306

Manly Beach in Northern Sydney rivals in popularity to Bondi

Manly Beach in Northern Sydney rivals in popularity to Bondi

Sunset ferry ride back from Manly Beach to downtown Sydney

Sunset ferry ride back from Manly Beach to downtown Sydney

IMG_1544 IMG_1558