In amongst America
I’ve been, essentially, living in America now for almost 2 months now- and I do feel like a different person from when I departed. I have friends. I know, unthinkable right?
But that’s not what I mean. I mean it in the sense that it’s so strange to have entered a country alone, knowing absolutely no one- and to be two months onward with a group of friends that is 30 or more strong from different parts of America. I have two weeks of summer camp work left before the real adventure begins- and I haven’t regretted it for a second. Even on the days where I’m stuck with 20 something children of which i’m responsible- asking silly questions and constantly injuring themselves in the strangest and often imagined ways; I still have a strong sense of “this is where I want to be”. It’s going to be strange when camp finishes, as I’ve set up a little life, family and routine here. This week however, I worked for a sister camp, “Natarswi”, under this giant and beautiful mountain called “Katahdin”, maine’s largest. What an amazing experience it has been. I feel like I have matured, and had an opportunity to really reflect on my life back home and my country, Australia, which I have come to adore and appreciate more than I ever thought possible. America is supposed to be the land of dreams, and while it’s a blast, the economy and things here really put the rare luxury that we are granted to live in Australia in full perspective. I also miss Australians more than ever- the general laid back, “it’ll be ‘right” attitude that is encouraged ought to be infected upon the rest of the world. I feel slack for not writing more about my journey at camp- but it will be easier to reflect back on it when it’s over and I begin travelling. My next step after the two weeks of camp is Boston followed by Montreal, and I’ll try my utmost to keep this updated- but if by some chance that doesn’t occur- it’s because I’m living it up in North America ;) peace.
Anonymous asked: Why did you leave me?????!!!! I miss you already!!!!
I miss you too, anonymous , facelesss person!
I’m in New York. And I’m half dead and can’t think of a witty and extensive post to write…so how about a recap! Got on plane, packed with a shitload of other people off to camps…me and my new friend Jackson from Adelaide, formerly Jackson from Helensburgh, got a seat between us free and were living the life of economy luxury. This fantasy was further fulfilled when a friend of a friend are hostess presented me with a care package he had so greatly nicked from first class- I now own qantas PJ’s, slippers and bed socks now- bitches!!! The second leg of the journey from LA to NYC left me feeling a little sick, and we lost Jackson somewhere but made friends with a New Zealander! So I eventually arrived, me and NZ got our shuttle through New York to the hostel- on the upper west side and packed to the brim again with other camp staff to be! I’m currently about to sleep, and will throw up some pretty pictures from tomorrow’s city adventure. And it’s warm here- have a nice winter Australia! Xo
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray- Right through the very heart of it - new york, new york…
“Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it - new york, new york
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it - new york, new york
I wanna wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill - top of the heap
These little town blues, are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it - in old new york
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you - new york, new york”
Ahhh Frank Sinatra- you sum it up perfectly! That’s right folks- tomorrow I am America bound, bound for the big Apple on a 22 hour flight, long haul, no stopover! Now, I know I haven’t posted in a little while- but this is the big one! Let me re-cap the prep i’ve put into the last few days!
Firstly- I. Finished. Work! I finished work!!!! What a divine feeling last friday, when I walked out of that greasy corridor, and into the sunlight, far away from the artificial glare of the golden arches…that is, until I arrive in the birthplace o the golden arches (yet this time, as a customer and nothing more!). Here is a photo of my final minute on shift- mm, that uniform, work it girl…
So what did I do with all that I have earnt? traded it in for some lovely Green paper, as pictured, of course!
Next was my farewells, I had 3- One for my school friends, one for my rover friends, and one for my family- each was equally as lovely, but going a little overboard on cider and witnessing an intense pub brawl turned small town street riot at my rover farewell was, by far, the best send-off, especially because one of the brawlers dropped 20 cents, CLAIMED, in true povo-nomad-to-be style.
And then came the hardest bit- packing and organising all the little things I needed! Thank goodness for my mother and her ability to use the internet, I left charge of her to harness all the little obscurities I needed (locks, electricity adaptors, earplugs, matching pink luggage accessories she assumed i’d like…as you can imagine…) But I finally managed to do it all, and you know what? My rucksack, the faithful ‘Russell’ as he has been dubbed, only weighs an amazing 10 kilogram. Considering my limit is 23 kilograms, and I can bring double that home, i’m planning a lot a lot a lot of shopping in New York on the way out!
I’m gonna give you an absolutely enthralling run down of my packing list!
- 5 Shirts
- 1 dress
- 1 pair of sandals, thongs, sand shoes, and canvas lace-ups
- 2 pairs of work shorts, 2 pairs of denim shorts, 2 pairs of cotton shorts
- a jumper (hoodie/jacket for you non-aussies), a sweater, a ‘flanno’ (I know, how terribly stereotypical Australian bogan of me, once again, non- Aussies, google this essential term) some thermals
- undies, bras, socks, rah rah rah
- and of course, swimmers, a towel etc etc
and that’s…basically it! So i’m going to have to utilize washing machines! A lot!
Now, I wouldn’t be a true Australian backpacker tourist if I didn’t bring some of these bad boys!
As you can see- token Australian clip on Koalas/kangaroos, Vegemite Sachets wish I acquired … for free …. and am planning to feed to my Summer Camp kids (Thank-youuuu Mcdonald’s corporation of Australia!), TUBE OF VEGEMITE, some charming little pins in the shape of Australia and it’s corresponding wildlife, and some lovely postcards from where I live to show the Americans, in proof I do not live in the middle of the desert. Also, as you can see by the picture, I have a notepad which depicts all the different Australian money notes, as I am not rich enough to acquire each of these notes to show to Americans, although last time I was there they were absolutely intrigued by the fact that we (oh so bloody intelligently!!!) make our money out of durable plastic. Goes through the washing machine? NO WORRIES. Spill alcohol on it? NO WORRIES. Jump into a pool fully clothed? NO WORRIES. I’m on a tangent, i’m sorry, progressing….
So today, i’ve finally done it. I’m all packed. My room, as you can see, has been stripped bare and white like a hospital, and i’m currently deciding which colour to paint my nails for arrival. decisions decisions.
And I’m not really sure what to say…except that well…the next time I post i’ll either be a) in the Australian Airport, or, b) in the city of New York!
So I suppose this is my final leaving post. There’s a few things I want to say- i’m a gettin’ a little teary. I’m going to miss my lovely friends, especially my best friends, especially the lovely matt, and my creepy-equal Lena, and ye olde Helena and her amazing going away present (flask flask flask!). Also, goodbye to those of you at home who read this blog over your bowl of east mac, and cry into your easy mac, and then cry into your laptop, and then cry yourself to sleep because you are immensely jealous…………..and goodbye to my family, and a big farewell to
Nah, i’m over this sentimental shit, i’ll leave you with my parting words
SEE YOU LATER, BITCHESSS.
“Leaving home”- significance, parallels?
About 35 years ago, my young, 19-something year old aunty Anne became the traveller of her family- packing up, and to the shock of her parents, moved to Europe for 2 years to work in a university and as a tour guide. From what my mother tells me, she was a small, young looking girl- and he desire to travel and see the world was something unprecedented for females of her age, who usually settled down and married young. Nowadays, things have obviously changed for young woman, and it is quite common for them to go travelling, get university degrees, and settle down when they hit their late 20’s and they feel they order make a choice between a man or a lifetime of cats. But this is a serious post. Today, after seeing my Grandparents, they presented me with a card and a cheque which was a gift for my travels- which consequently overwhelmed me as acquiring money has been so hard and i’m not used to it being gifted to me, unlike those frustrating friends who abuse the tax system to buy concert tickets, clothes, and one particular male I met at a camp America orientation who, after I questioned him if he’s been saving really hard (like me!) for his trip, casually replied:
“Nah, I just never spend any of my centrelink (welfare) money”
All the while cheating the tax system and getting paid at his casual job in cash.
But this is all beside the point, and I am in danger of going on a rant about the flaws of the Australian tax system and the way people abuse it, consequently taking away from those who actually need it.
The card my Grandparents presented me with was a watercolour picture entitled “Leaving home” painted in the 19th century by artist Arthur Verey. As pictured above, it shows a young, fair skinned, blonde haired girl with her travel cases and a flower garland upon her head- leaving her home and walking away from her Mother, Father, and siblings- a young brother and a sister. For those of you who don’t know me personally- for starters I am blonde, fair skinned, don a flower garland whenever the opportunity does (or does not) present itself, and am in possession of both a mother, father, younger brother, and a sister. You will also notice some ducks in the picture- i’d like to draw a parallel here with the numerous birds my household owns (parrots, chickens, etc). But perhaps the most significant part of this card, as my Grandmother explained, was that it was bought at an art gallery 35 years ago by my aunty Anne (who passed away in a car crash not long after her travels), and was left blank. When my grandmother saw it this many years later, after sifting through her possesions, she saw the picture and thought of me, saw that the caption was “leaving home”, and saw that it was a “best wishes” card left blank, and immediately knew its purpose. It’s strange to think that 35 years ago, Anne bought this card, and little did she or ever would know that it would end up in the hands of her niece, following her footsteps and leaving home to travel. I believe that everything happens for a reason- and I think this card will always be sentimental to me. I cried upon receiving it and the cheque, and plan on carrying it with me while I travel.
My tech-savvy, super genius grandfather (he made an external hard drive once back in the day for himself before they were actually invented, and probably knows more about the internet than me and he’s approaching 80) has insisted I skype them both, and I plan to do so. I think seeing them today would have reminded them of the first time they sent off their own children- one who would never come back and the other who is 50 something and still travelling the world like a nomad. I think it reminded me that family is precious, and why travel is amazing- your stories and adventures should always be shared with not only your friends and (dedicated ;) ) blog followers, but your family as well, no matter how young or old they are.
Leaving high school and the year ahead…
I think the greatest discovery I’ve made after leaving high school is the fact that I have endless opportunities now to make friends- as now your social activity for five days a week is not constricted to a bunch of 120 people, where you must sift through to find those you get along with best. Now don’t get me wrong- my school friends are amazing and I will miss them and currently do, but there is a special something about the new social groups you begin to find yourself in after leaving high school- it’s where the realisation hits that you
Reaching a new low- telling customers your life story in Drive-thru.
With only 20 days to go until I leave for New York, I find that it’s the only thing I ever think, talk and dream about. I get a subtle feeling that my friends and family are sick of hearing me rave-
“hey guys guys, guess what- 20 days 3 hours and five minutes til I leave”
and I think today, my co-workers hit their ‘tolerance-of-bree’s-gap-year-raving’ threshold.
“Guys, guys, hey guys, 80 working hours left til I leave!”
“Guys guys, hey…hey guys…!” “Bree seriously, can you just shutup and put some hasbrowns down?”
So in my despair and desperation, I did the almost unthinkable,
Instead of being at work and having to stare at this-
In a few weeks i’ll be at work, but instead will be staring at this…