Trip Snippet #01 | San Jose

Oh my goodness, my trip so far has been insane and jam packed. I’ve hardly had a moment of rest so it’s been really difficult to string more posts together. 

I’m in San Francisco now, but for most of last week I spent time in San Jose, which is around 1.5-2hrs away from San Francisco. For the place that I work at, we have a big user conference every year hosted in California. This year it was it was based out at San Jose Conference Centre, running across two official days.

I tried to take some video shorts here and there on my iPhone and then just smashed something together to give you a tiny peek of what my week was all about. It’s hardly an amazing video so please bear with me since I’m a video noob!

The first shot is from one of the multiple freeways around the area from when I was in an Uber, then I had to record the stack of ketchup we received when we asked for tomato sauce for a single meal (insane!), a view from inside the conference centre when we were given a tour and then lastly the conference centre at night and surrounds. 

It’s the first time I tried out using the Lumify app too which was really cool and simple to use. You can stitch videos together, add in filter effects and some music, not bad!

Alright, I’m off to grab some dinner and ice cream in San Francisco now! 

SF & Canada 2014

What a weekend - I had florist duties for my friend’s wedding so it’s been a jam packed past few days. Photos to come once I get a hold of the official ones! Meanwhile….. exciting times ahead!

In a week’s time, I’ll be in San Francisco, yay!

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Last time I was there was in October last year and it was a blast, so it’s exciting to return again to the lovely city.

The company that I work for during the day holds an annual conference for its users and customers in the US. Typically, it’s held in San Francisco but this year it’ll be in San Jose and I’ll be going for this. After the event wraps up by end of next week, I’ll be heading back to SF and settling down there for a week working from the office.

In my usual ‘try to do as much as I can’ spirit, I’ve already started to put together a list of shops and sights to tackle whilst I’m there… This year it includes places I’ve missed in the past like the Presidio, Conservatory of Flowers, Twin Peaks, In & Out (are the burgers really that good? I have to find out!) and naturally places I can’t wait to return to such as Madewell (!!!!!!), Hayes Valley shops, Bernal Heights and Crepevine (so delicious).

This year’s trip will also be a little bit more exciting as Gareth will be joining me for the second half. It will be his first time in the USA too, so I’m so excited for him, he’s going to love it! He’s also a massive baseball fan so yep - we already have tickets to the Giants/Dodgers game :)

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After SF, we’ll be taking a short break by heading to Calgary, Canada before heading home. It’s been a while since we’ve taken a proper break so we’re looking forward to this one. Calgary is also extra special as our dearest friend Alison, whom we met during our study year in Paris (which I recently dedicated a heartfelt post about), lives there!

We’ll be reuniting after 5 years, can you believe it?! It’s all very insane, exciting and a long time coming. She tells us how amazing the Canadian Rockies and surrounds are, so I’m so amped to be doing a bit of sightseeing along with her and her boy. Hopefully I’ll have some lovely photos to share with y’all!

So whilst I’ve been slowly planning for my next few weeks away, it got me thinking. What’s going to happen to the blog whilst I’m tripping about?

I have a couple of ideas but would also love to hear your opinions. This is what I’m thinking of doing:

(1) Plan a few posts in advance, since I always have a long list of things that I feel like I never have enough time to blog about, so content is never scarce!

(2) And… this one is the one that I’m not too sure about: I was thinking that I could focus on playing with video for once, since it’s something I don’t really do. It would be a fun and candid way of sharing the sights from afar. The idea is that I put together a short video using just my iPhone every few days and post them as travel snippets! Yay or nay?

Is this something you guys would be interested in seeing whilst I’m travelling? Do you have a better idea of what you’d prefer I blog about whilst I’m away?

PS. If anyone has any shops, events or things I should check out whilst I’m in Calgary or SF, I’d love to hear about it!

Image credit: Unsplash

Photo Diary: Melbourne II

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Hey guys, I really hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day over the weekend. I ended up cooking a double batch of my new favourite recipe for both Gareth’s and my parents and spending the night with family.

But tonight: a bit of wanderlust to wrap up!

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I want to share the second edition of my Melbourne trip from late last year. The first part covered the more adventurous parts, mainly the Great Ocean Road and all its beauty.. today we heard to the concrete jungle part of town, the CBD.

Originally, this trip was meant to be a surprise anniversary gift I organised for Gareth and myself.. but he promptly ruined that when he snooped around my inbox and noticed some flight details. I was not happy. But he did take me out to Maha so I’ve forgiven him ;)

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Both of us hadn’t been to Melbourne before, so I didn’t know what to expect although I definitely had hyped it up in my mind so much thanks to friends, that I came away quite disappointed. I enjoyed the trip but I think my expectations were set a bit too high. I didn’t feel it was that much different (or better) from Sydney - sorry Melbournians! The graffiti art and jam-packed laneways were clear winners so I’ll give you that Melbourne ;)

From memory, we visited the CBD, Carlton, Collingwood, Prahran and Fitzroy. I’m not sure why but I thought each of these areas would be massive suburbs and further away from the city, but in actual fact they’re quite close to each other and all form a part of the inner city. 

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This is the main Chinatown strip - it kind of reminded me of Sydney’s version but it seems a bit smaller.

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The Botanic Gardens in Melbourne were lovely! I highly rate it in terms of botanic gardens in cities that I’ve visited around the world. I think it was the luscious and amazingly warm tropical glasshouse that did it for me.

I mean seriously - check out this massive pitcher plant! Amazing. This is the first time I’ve seen one in the flesh so I was taken away by it. You can also see in the photo how humid it was right there!

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Here are some snaps of the popular Hosier Lane graffiti art. It’s really a must see and the art is all over the walls in vibrant colours. You physically cannot miss this. 

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This is one of the many laneways in the CBD. The cafes look really good and cosy but super busy.

We grabbed lunch at an organic cafe in one of these laneways on our final day. I recall that the food was quite good but absolutely shocking service… so maybe it’s a good thing I can’t remember the name of the cafe, hey?

melbourne markets

As anyone will tell you - Melbourne is all about the markets.

We visited a few around town and whilst I preferred the fresh food selection at the Prahran Market, there was a wonderful cacti and succulents seller at the Queen Victoria Market that I found irresistable. I wanted to buy EVERYTHING but alas, that would not have worked out well.

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And to close off Melbourne, here’s a shot of me taken by Gareth looking comically apprehensive. I was probably thinking: “seriously, what are you doing boy?” ha!

We don’t have any plans to go back in a hurry, but I’ve yet to see an AFL game at the MCG or watch the Aussie Open live. These are both things I really do want to do, so Melbourne, we’ll be back but maybe not for at least a few years? I’m sure you won’t change too much!

PS. Don’t forget to grab your free mini travel guide and check out part one if you haven’t already.

Photo Diary: Melbourne I

I feel like it’s been one big fat fortnight of holidays with some random work days in between. Time has gone by quite steadily but not too fast that I haven’t been able to appreciate it. I’ve spent some time with both families, shopping, crocheting and playing board games with my sisters - it’s been fun. But as the holidays draw to an end, I always go into the habit of thinking about the next ones to come! Where shall we go? Gareth and I were thinking of a road trip up north between now and the end of the year - we’ll put our thinking caps on… Terrigal? Foster? Byron? Let us know what you think!

Anyway, whilst pondering about future holidays to come, I realised that I had already finished processing my Melbourne photos from last November. That *may* seem like a while back, but hey it was only five months ago… better late than never, right? ;)

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And as usual with all of my photo diary travel posts, I like to pair it with a personalised map/guide of some sort, so here’s the one for Melbourne! Click the link or image below to grab your free download. 

Melbourne-guide

Now back to the photographic highlights!

In two parts, this first part features the best of our day trip along the famed Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles and a few little scenic strolls thanks to our excellent guide, Paul, of Escape Discovery Adventures.

Seriously, if you ever decide to go to Melbourne for this, I recommend booking a guided trip with Paul. It was a full day of adventure and education. Paul knew so much and he drove and talked to us for practically the entire trip. I’ve no idea how he does it constantly and sometimes, back to back trips in a row!

In case you’re wondering, I’m not being sponsored to say all these nice words. In all honesty, it was one of the best guided trips I’ve ever experienced to date. So make sure to check him out if you guys decide to go visit Melbourne!

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During one stop over, we had the chance to witness some great Australian wildlife including koalas, joeys and plenty of beautiful local birds. Some were not afraid of humans, like that cute parrot on my arm!

We couldn’t miss the opportunity to take a stock shot of the Great Ocean Road signage. Looks at us there, looking all touristy :)

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For morning tea, we stopped over at Anglesea, I’m pretty sure, and Paul had come all prepared with all the typical Aussie things one could think of. Anzac biscuits, tim tams, lamingtons, Vegemite… and of course Australian Breakfast tea!

We were a group of about 10 people and apart from the two of us, everyone else was from overseas travelling around Australia. You can imagine how cool and exotic this meal would have been for them!

A bit after that, we stopped over for a walk around Otway National Park which was a nice change of scenery. I love walking slowly around exploring rainforests and noticing the beauty of ferns and foliage, so this was a perfect stopover for me.

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At long last, we eventually reached the Twelve Apostles, where Paul educated us on the ongoing natural process of erosion, which is changing the landscape of the apostles.

Made of limestone, these rock formations have been formed over time from the erosion of the cliff fronts. If I recall correctly, there are now only eight of the original set left. You can see in the photo below the ruins left behind from the fall of the previous apostle:

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This above is known as the Island Archway and as you can see by the print being held up in front, it’s also changed its shape since 2009

Also nearby is another site of interest, the Lock Ard Gorge and the Shipwreck Coast. Paul told us the sad story behind the name of this gorge, the Lock Ard ship.

In reality, these slabs of limestone rock are so mammoth, I don’t know how I would have survived a shipwreck against heavy current back in the 19th century, without being deadly injured by the cliff faces!

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This day trip was without a doubt the highlight of my Melbourne trip. The Great Ocean Road - please do it soon if you haven’t already or soon more apostles will have fallen! 

Now that wraps up part I of Melbourne. Don’t forget to grab your free mini travel guide and look out for part II coming up soon! :)


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