2 Months Until America

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Today is the 1st of March, which means the start of autumn for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. Not that you’d know it here in Perth, with temperatures reaching a sweltering 38 degrees today. I am feeling absolutely drained, and the air is still very hot and sticky at 7.30pm. Ugh. Looks like I’ll be holding off from pulling out my jumpers and making hearty soups for a while yet.

The thing I’m most excited about which is coming up this autumn, though, is my six week trip to America. In exactly two months from now, I’ll be on a plane, flying to San Francisco. (Well, actually, first I’ll be flying to Singapore. And then, Hong Kong. And THEN, San Francisco.) There are many things I’m looking forward to on my first ever visit to the mainland States, but, without a doubt, the one experience I absolutely can’t wait for is my storm chasing tour, on which I will also celebrate my 30th birthday.

When I tell people about my reason for going to America and how I’ve chosen to spend my 30th, many people look at me with incredulity, wondering what on earth is the appeal of such a tour. Isn’t chasing tornadoes akin to a death wish and risking the prospect of living to see another birthday? It’s true that I’ve signed a waiver that I accept I could die- but, in truth, is this not the very nature of life itself? Certainly, there is no waiver we can sign to guarantee that, when we wake up in the morning, we will live to see out the day.

All we can do is hope that there is still plenty of sand in our hourglass, and make the most of the time that is given to us.

The Wanderlust Wishlist for 2017

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Once my Nepal trek ended in October 2016, there were no more adventures left to look forward to for the year. It didn’t take me long to start feeling restless. That’s why I’m thrilled the new year is finally here, so I can start fulfilling some more travel dreams. And even though I told myself not to make to-do lists this year, I’ve made an exception for my 2017 travel plans.

Sri Lanka: At the end of the month, I fly out to Sri Lanka and will spend the first half of February exploring the south of the country. I will spend one week on a group tour and another week on my own, where I aim to do some hiking in the hill regions and visit an elephant sanctuary.

Kangaroo Island: In April, I am hoping to walk the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, which opened in October 2016. Kangaroo Island is located off the mainland of South Australia. The trail is 61km long and takes five days to complete.

USA: This year, I’m turning 30 and to celebrate, I’ll be fulfilling a dream which I’ve had since I was eight years old- chasing tornadoes! I am so, so excited for this one! I booked the week long tour on my birthday last year and will be somewhere in Tornado Alley when my birthday rolls around in May. As I’ve never been to mainland America before, I’ll have six weeks all up in the States. I’m planning to do another tour, which will take in the national parks and canyon country of the grand south-west, as well as having solo time in Miami, New Orleans, New York and California, before returning home in mid-June.

Cape to Cape: I loved my 1000km winter hike on the Bibbulmun Track last year so in July, I’m thinking of undertaking the Cape to Cape. It’s a 135km long track which runs between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in the south-west of Western Australia.

Jordan: The first place I ever put on my ‘places to go one day’ list was Jordan, back when I was seven years old and had been absolutely captivated by a book on Petra. The plan is to visit in October. Now, I just have to find that book!

Nepal: I loved my trekking experience in the Himalayas last year and want to go back and trek through the Annapurna region this year. The plan is to visit after Jordan, in a trip I’ve already nicknamed ‘from the deserts to the mountains’.

Northern India: Depending on finances and energy levels, I may extend my time in Asia after trekking in Nepal. I’ve wanted to visit India ever since I read the novel ‘Shantaram’. If this trip does go ahead, it will happen in November.

Vietnam: Another country on the maybe list for now, I’d love to spend a couple of weeks here, eating as much fresh Vietnamese cuisine as possible. Visiting in December is the plan.

So there they are, my worldly ambitions for 2017. As I found out last year though, plans are subject to change. In fact, several of the countries on my list for 2017 are places I wanted to visit in 2016, before I realised a year is not nearly as long a time period as one might think when it comes to travelling the world. Whatever adventures the year may have in store for me, I say bring it on!!!

 

My Top 10 Travel Memories of 2016: #1

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Number 1: Walking the Bibbulmun Track

The Bibbulmun Track is a long distance hiking trail in my home state of Western Australia. It starts in the Perth Hills and winds its way through the diverse landscapes and ecosystems that form the beautiful South-West region of W.A, finishing in the historic port city of Albany.

In mid-July, smack bang in the middle of the coldest and wettest winter W.A. had experienced in many years, I embarked on what would become the most epic adventure of my life so far. Over 53 days, I walked the entire 1,002km that make up the Bib.

The experiences and the challenges I encountered are too vast to even attempt describing here. But if there’s one thing this adventure imparted on me, it’s a greater sense of gratitude for what is truly important in life. I am so lucky and blessed.

On that note, thank you, 2016, for all the incredible opportunities you bestowed on me this year. It has truly been one of the best years of my life. I’ve met awesome new people, visited incredible places, wandered through stunning landscapes and been inspired with creative energy. I know that being able to pursue my travel dreams and go on amazing adventures has contributed hugely to the happiness I feel in my soul and for that, I will be forever grateful.