Travelogue: Auckland

After a short hop from Melbourne (and a lot of trouble getting my bag cleared to fly as carry-on), I arrived in Auckland, just in time for an entire week’s worth of rain to rolled in.  Seriously, it rained every day I was here.
Auckland - Portrait

There’s no use tiptoeing around it – Auckland is quite boring.  It calls itself the “city of sails”, and I’m sure at the right time the bay is full of sails for the yearly competitions, but when I was visiting, the bays were basically empty. And the city of sails without sails is basically a pretty mediocre city – the mentality behind a lot of the tourist attractions seemed to be “Sydney has one, we should have one too!”

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Travelogue: Melbourne

If one day I get the urge to move to Australia, it will without a doubt be to Melbourne.

After spending five days on the ship (and losing at least five pounds), we finally reached Melbourne!  Those three ‘clouds’ are actually smudges (?) from my camera – presumably some dust on the lenses.
Melbourne - appraching by sea

The thing about Melbourne is that it has this rivalry going on with Sydney -Sydney is the larger and older of the two cities, but Melbourne claims to have more culture.  Though, it’s mostly folks from Melbourne who insist on this rivalry – folks from Sydney tend to smile condescendingly at the notion that Melbourne could be a rival.

I do agree though, that Melbourne has “character” – it’s as if there were a law saying that if you want to build anything in Melbourne, it has to be unique.  While this character infusion makes it more interesting to walk around the city, sometimes it’s pretty apparent that the city is trying too hard.

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Reflection: Learning to Relax

It’s counter-intuitive, the idea of learning to relax, but the stereotype seems to hold true, on how Americans are so work-centric, that they can’t go on vacation without feeling guilty.  In contrast, it seems like Australians basically invented the holiday.

Even after being in Australia for a month, I’ve had a hard time really relaxing.  On the back of my mind, I keep thinking that I should get back to the US, back to work.  I keep thinking that I should be productive, working on my website, studying internet marketing, making some money.

And so, even when I’m in a position where I should be relaxed, I’m constantly active.  On beaches, I can’t just sit and relax, but I’ve got to take pictures (I blame my Asian DNA). hike along the beach. do something.  Somehow, it’s really hard to just ‘zen out’ and be at peace in the world.

Even though I’ve forced myself to disconnect by not bringing a GSM-compatible smartphone, I’m constantly making notes of interesting things I notice, to write about, reflect on, and possibly profit off of.

But as Jesse commented when I mentioned this to him, I’ve only been here for barely a month, and it really takes a while to transition out of a mindset I’ve spent my entire life in.

I wonder, it’s easy to make fun of the stereotypical American businessman, relaxing on the beach but still tethered to his blackberry, but as a whole, are we all so used to being concerned with work, that we need to take lessons on learning to relax?

If so, is that depressing?

Travelogue: Sydney!

After ten days on the road, I arrived in Sydney!
Sydney - portrait in Sydney

After being dropped off by my travel companions, I hit up a library, looked up some cheap hostels, and ended up in King’s Cross – the center of nightlife and (unbeknownst to me) the red light district. There, I ended up staying at Sydney’s worst hostel for a couple of nights, before finding a couch surfing host to stay with for a couple of days.

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The Backpacking Industry

From my travels in Australia, I’ve noticed that there’s an entire industry here that doesn’t exist in the USA – the backpacking industry.

Going around any big centers of activity – tourist hot spots, city centers, nightlife areas – and you see all sorts of businesses absent in America – hostels, backpacker flights centers, backpacker ‘hubs’ offering free (really crappy) wifi while selling you on travel experience packages (and invariably full of people checking facebook).

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