80% Australian

Approaching this Australia Day, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Australianness. Or lack thereof. It’s not that I’m experiencing epic reverse culture shock now that I’m back in Australia (just a little …), but certainly the relationship between my personal identity and my country has undergone significant transformation. As a child I felt more foreign than I should have. Probably because I went to a really … Continue reading 80% Australian

Almost-no-longer-twentysomething

“You’re not 25 anymore, y’know,” my sister says. She’s being gracious. After another year abroad, I re-enter my bedroom where the posters, postcards and photos plastered against the back wall are peeling off, the Blu-Tack tired of supporting them. This is interior decoration befitting a 16-year-old, and I am now (sigh) an almost-no-longer-twentysomething. But what does the bedroom of an almost-no-longer-twentysomething look like? Probably a … Continue reading Almost-no-longer-twentysomething

Torotoro: Dinosaurs and rocks that rock

Hello! Here’s a quick post to give you the low-down on visiting Torotoro National Park, Bolivia. We did a 3-day tour over the 6 de agosto public holiday, and what I’ll say is this: never before have rocks looked so fabulous. Day 1: Cascada de Golondrinas Day 2: Umajalanta Day 2: Ciudad de Itas Day 3: Cerro Waylas Day 3: El Vergel General advice for visiting Torotoro … Continue reading Torotoro: Dinosaurs and rocks that rock

Travel delusions

Note: I was pleased and privileged to have this post published on A Life Overseas. In that process, I was able to flesh out my original post, which I now consider a draft. This “draft” appears below but to be honest, I am much happier with the slightly amplified version and I encourage you to read it here: http://www.alifeoverseas.com/travel-delusions/ * It cost me USD436 to renew my passport. … Continue reading Travel delusions

All About Altitude (Charquini and Chacaltaya)

I thought we were going to the jungle. Turns out we went to a glacier. On the road Emerging from La Paz, we drove a couple of hours through the desolate, windswept Bolivian altiplano. Our first stop was a miners’ graveyard – popular with tourists, judging by the busloads that had arrived before us. I don’t blame them. The quaint tombs (like mini cottages … or kennels) … Continue reading All About Altitude (Charquini and Chacaltaya)

Backside Beach, Dili, Timor-Leste

Turning points in Timor-Leste

January 2011 was the month I spent as an intern in Dili. It was an amazing experience: I got to write a super interesting report for an NGO (the Judicial System Monitoring Programme). I got some fascinating insight into the life of an expat community, specifically the expat development community. I met a bunch of cool people. I got to practice my Indonesian and Tetum. I … Continue reading Turning points in Timor-Leste

Easter in the Amazon

As we emerge sleepy-eyed from our mosquito net tents, Lauren murmurs to me, “Happy Easter …” For a few split seconds, I’m a little befuddled, head lost in a haze of drizzling rain and a chorus of birds and insects. Today is … Sunday. Easter Sunday. Oh, right. It was probably one of the least Eastery Easters I’ve had so far. We were a good couple of hours up … Continue reading Easter in the Amazon

Is that MY voice?

So there is this hilarious line from The Emperor’s New Groove we always quote. The villainous Yzma turns into a cat and suddenly her voice goes into chipmunk mode. “Is THAT my voice?” she exclaims, confused. “Is that MY voice?” I am increasingly feeling like this little feline. What’s with that accent? Sometimes I hear myself and am surprised by my own speech. Now this is normal when, for example, … Continue reading Is that MY voice?

Carnaval Act II: Oruro-Tarija-La Paz

After Oruro, the roadtrip. Oruro to Potosí (Saturday) Making it from Oruro to Tarija in the one evening was wishful thinking. We get halfway, pulling into Potosi, a little before midnight. It’s Saturday night, but there’s no party and we can’t even get a local beer – so it’s a can of Paceña, then to bed. Potosí to … Tupiza? (Sunday) A beautiful, sunny day. … Continue reading Carnaval Act II: Oruro-Tarija-La Paz

Carnaval Act I: Oruro

4.30am. Get up after 5 hours of sleep. For some reason, it’s easier than dragging myself out of bed at 7am. 5.15am. Our tour bus leaves La Paz for Oruro. I get some sleep. 9am. We take our seats at the stands on Avenida 6 de agosto (aka Avenida Folclórica). Parade’s already begun, other stands are gradually filling up, sun is out. Partly what you’d expect … Continue reading Carnaval Act I: Oruro