Melbourne Travel Journal: Part 2

I know, I know, you’ve been waiting all week for this, right? The adventures continue in my ramblings below, although I have to warn you – it’s not the most poetic of entries. I had all of these whimsical and magical, inspiration-laden thoughts and ideas whilst running around that lovely city, but of course I barely took a moment to sit down, and when I did, it was usually with a hot drink in hand. Hope you enjoy!

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Monday 24th July

I had good intentions – I swear I did. I had planned to document (in detail) my entire trip so I had a proper travel diary to look back and reflect on. Hell, I even busted out a new notebook for that very purpose. In true Vivienne style, I was simply too busy. Or rather, I didn’t stop. Aside from that first morning I spent everyday up and about, only returning home to dump my shopping or get ready for the night ahead. 

This trip was one of my favourite ones ever. I spent the majority of it alone and wasn’t bothered a single bit.

Of course, I spent Friday night with Shiv and her friends who were fantastic and so accepting. We went for drinks and nibbles as Shanghai Village in Chinatown and saw freaking Catfish and the Bottlemen who went above and completely fucking beyond my expectations (they were even better than their records, which is so bloody rare!). I don’t think I’ll ever forget the atmosphere of that night. Everyone seemed so genuinely happy to be there and the crowd was completely enchanted/adoring/in love and holy shit, when they played Cocoon…that was a moment that’s gonna stay with me forever. After the gig we made the sub-zero commute to ABC, which was plenty of laughs and left me with a bastard of a hangover the next day.

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I also went to the aquarium on Friday (another outing where I was the only solo person there), which was amazing and would’ve been so peaceful if not for the throngs of children whose parents kept yelling out things ‘not to do’ repetitively.

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On Saturday I went to Michael’s, an emporium I first discovered on Thursday and tracked down on Friday to get some film developed and some much-needed advice about my ant-ridden camera. Turns out the fly spray wasn’t too great for it but it may be able to be recovered with a service (may). Anyway, the roll turned out blank, which kind of majorly fucking sucked (but hey, what can ya do?), so armed with a refund I bought a refurbished Nikon and began shooting on that.

Michael’s is probably the coolest store I’ve ever been to for a whole list of reasons, but mainly because, a) the staff are the nicest and most knowledgeable people I have EVER met, b) holy shit their film developing options – I had no idea what to ask for because my local shop doesn’t have any options that aren’t ‘print or disk’, c) they were hosting free workshops and tours all revolving around film photography and I had never seen so many people excited about film (very cute!) and d) their camera museum is STUNNING.

Again, I’d never seen anything like it. I imagine that’s what people feel when they walk into a temple or a church: pure awe. Too bad I was too bloody hungover to hang around and obsess all day. The film lab/dark room tour, however, was something I managed to do and it was amazing. I felt so out of my depth but only because I’d never imagined how much expertise and manpower/time was required to develop and print film. Such a cool day, and if I could go again next year I 100% would, sans the hangover.

 

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State Library

 

JB Hifi off Elizabeth St (the one off it, not the other three on it haha – I learnt that the hard way) also deserves a shout out for having the best selection of ‘new’ vinyls I’ve ever seen (I had a lot of ‘ever’ experiences, which just proves how fucking cool Melbourne is). I bought three records which was quite a spendy purchase for me (usually I limit myself to one at a time) and I easily could’ve bought 10 more. I got:

The Balcony – Catfish and The Bottlemen

A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out – Panic! At The Disco

That’s The Spirit – Bring Me The Horizon

which I am very excited about. Ive left feeling very inspired to play my records more, and work at growing that collection of mine.

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Saturday arvo involved a search for Starbucks, finding said Starbucks, ordering multiple drinks and a cupcake (Hangover Hot Tip: just keep eating. And drinking sugary, non-water related things) and sitting down next to the Bachelor himself, Sam Wood. I was awfully curious before I came down as to whether I’d see any celebrities or not and hey, would you look at that. Because I’ve never been obsessed/a stalker I didn’t speak to him (he was giving off allllll the vibes that he wanted to sit in low-key retreat while his girlfriend got them coffees) but he was super nice to the fan girls that wanted pics for their ‘grams with him. Seeing famous people in their everyday habitats has always fascinated me. They really are just as boring as the rest of us (but man, do they have have fantastic skin!) so it’s always funny to watch different people’s reactions when they come in contact with them.

Fast forward to Saturday night: I got majorly distracted in Princess Highway, bought THE MOST funky and fabulous jumpsuit I’ve ever laid my eyes on, and as a result had about 10 minutes for an outfit change/attempt to look alive before catching the tram back into the city. Julie-Anne (my amazingly cool godmother) and I went to this super moody ‘restaurant’ called Golden Monkey in Hardware Lane in the city and had delicious cocktails and dumplings and a well overdue catch up. We were also cheeky enough together MORE food at a Vietnamese place afterwards, and I literally passed out into a food coma when I got home.

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Cute as pie Princee Highway jumpsuit

Sunday was more city shopping, searching for all those last minute gifts (because I REFUSE to buy tacky shit) and then around 12 I met up with Tina and we hit up the Rose St Artist’s Markets in Fitzroy (amazing! I bought a candle, a ring, some thank you cards and a pair of earrings, and I NEVER find jewellery that I like so that was a huge win!), got croissants at Lune (delicious! Even if all the flavoured ones were gone) and strolled along Brunswick St, popping in and out of all of the vintage stores and record shops. I also – no surprises – did some ‘serious’ damage at Princess Highway again (I regret NOTHING, those clothes make me feel like a freakin’ goddess!). 

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Rose St Artist’s Market

We departed ways due to a potentially expired parking tickets and I got Dad & I some cute record store tees before pigging out at Spud bar. I then got a real bee in my bonnet about wanting to buy my dream pair of Vans – which are as cool and comfortable as I’d imagined – so I dragged myself into the city for those babies and left with said shoes, matching socks, a shower scrub from Lush and a couple of books from Dymocks for Soren and I. I must say, that Dymocks is AMAZING. I easily could’ve spent all day in there (and with a built in coffee shop, why wouldn’t ya?). Last night was a boring picture of me packing, eating curry from Uber Eats and watching Youtube videos. My body was definitely beginning to give up at that point, haha.

And now, here I am, up in the sky heading back to sunny/hot/humid/not Melbourne Cairns again. I always curse myself for not having any relax days on my holidays, but when it’s somewhere that is exciting and I love exploring, why would I? I had planned to do a lot of writing this trip, since Melbourne does bring out the best of my creative side, but again, I was just too busy living. Which I don’t regret one bit. I’m sure the inspiration will stick around now, and if it doesn’t I’ve got a secret recipe as to how to wake it up. 

 

 

Melbourne Travel Journal: Part 1

As with the majority of trips I take, I planned to document my lovely impromptu holiday to Melbourne last month. Hell, I was so optimistic that I was going to put together a “Pack With Me” post showing you all how I pack for holidays away (you’ll be proud to hear that I wore nearly ALL the clothes I packed, so snaps for me!), but come two days before and I was buggered. So that didn’t happen. But what did happen is this – and a lot more. Enjoy!

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Friday 21st July – Morning

Being in Melbourne makes the rest of the world seem very far away. As accessible as it is to travel around, I find myself not knowing where to start, as there is simply SO MANY OPTIONS.

People have been avoiding sitting next to me on the trams. I don’t mind one bit (hello, breathing room!) but it does make me wonder what they’re seeing. I was covered from the neck down because of how freezing it’s been, so nobody can see my tattoos, and surely it can’t be the nose ring? Every second person my age seems to have one. Maybe it’s because I’m actually taking in the scenery and the people around me, instead of furiously scrolling through my social media channels.

One one trip the tram was fairly empty, but I opted to stand at one of the big windows and look at everything! The buildings here truly are stunning. I love seeing what everyone puts out the front of their funkily-coloured flats and how different vines and climbing plants have crept up the sides of the walls. People seem to embrace it here – which I love – and the trees are all empty and lovely shades of steely grey. Every now and then you see one that has withstood the testing weather and is still lusciously green or (my favourite) orange. 

This place has been inspiring me to no end, but I am constantly torn between being in the moment and gulping it all in and taking countless snaps. The rain seems to have eased off so I plan on taking a LOT of photos over the next few days.

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I managed to do quite a lot in my 7 hours of exploring yesterday. Some of the places I went to were:

  • Savers (no luck which was disappointing. I think I am in a style funk if I’ve perfectly honest)
  • Brunswick Bound (a heavenly bookstore on Sydney Rd that is filled with the most fascinating books. I picked up ‘Milk and Honey’ [finally!] and ’12 Days of Dash and Lily’, which I didn’t even know had come out so happy days!)
  • Foxtrot Charlie (a huge cafe with the dreamiest combination of concrete walls, light hardwood floors, white accents and funky lighting. Basically if it were a house it would 100% be my dream home)
  • Bell’s Fried Chicken (I trekked up to Gertrude St in search of this gem and they did not disappoint. Super yummy food and delicious homemade lemonade. The perfect meal for such chilly weather)
  • Haigh’s (token chocolate pick up which I’ll probably have to get more of. Easily the best milk chocolate I’ve ever tasted, so it’s probably a good thing we don’t have it in Cairns)

I found that Gertrude St was awesome for independent shops (no luck shopping wise, but it sure was nice to look) same with Sydney Rd over in Brunswick. I’m yet to go record store hunting but it’s on my list, as I’d like to go back to Prahran for more of an explore, and head back to my ‘old neighbourhood’ in the centre of Fitzroy because there stores there are RAD. 

As I’ve been walking the streets I’ve noticed quite a few Victorians in Fitzroy recently sold. They look SO stunning and the perfect size (I love how crafty the residents are here with how they use their space) so I decided that I will be manifesting exactly that. In 5 years I want to own a Victorian flat in Melbourne and be living here. It’s a big step but I’ll be 27 by then and owning a house would be a DREAM.

I feel like Melbourne is my home. I can’t quite explain why, but I just adore it here, and can easily picture living here, which is exactly what I plan to do. 

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Author’s Note: This journal exert was written on the second day of my holiday. I woke early, cosied up in bed with a tea and scribbled my little heart out until I got hungry (standard). From then on, I didn’t stop. 

Stay tuned for part 2 next week (because this post would’ve been a small novel otherwise) for more of what I got up to in one of my favourite soul cities.

Till next time, 

Viv  xo

Groovin on Film – April, 2017

Another year, another Groovin over and done with. I swear I spent the last 3 months counting down the hours until we drove to Townsville, then I blinked and it was all over, with nothing but a trail of spilt glitter as evidence. 

This year had to be one of my best experiences yet. I went with two of my close gal pals and had an absolute blast. Everything went smoothly, we were all super chilled and excited to run around sculling expensive drinks so we could promptly get back to boogying to our favourite acts.

Shout outs go to The Smith Street Band (who made me melt into a giant puddle of glitter and love), The Wombats, George Maple, The Darkness and Dillion Francis. They put out such good vibes and truly made the day what it was. We also stumbled upon this rad DJ called CC: Disco during an aversion of all things Tash Sultana and boy did that lady spin a good mix! I’ve never really dabbled into disco music but we had such a fun time grooving around the locals tent, and what started out as a group of 6 ended up being an entire tent full of disco-ites. 

Being slightly tipsy upon leaving our unit, I kind of forgot my Polaroid camera. I packed all of the film in my backpack, but left the camera at home and completely forgot about it for another 3 or so hours. So it light of this drunken human error I’ve decided to showcase only the film photos we took on a random disposable from Kmart. I had another film camera dilemma right before leaving for Groovin, so we bought this guy and had NO IDEA how to use it. 

Alas, here are the results: beautiful, messy and the reminder of a great day.

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North East Party House (perhaps)

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The Smith Street Band

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The Darkness

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MMVAF 2016

Music festivals. There’s just something about them, hey. They all have some grand, magical allure that draws you in, time and time again, and before you know it you’re all starry-eyed and dutifully dusting off your old pair of dancing boots for another mission in the dirt/mud/grass.

I must say that compared to last year, this year has definitely been more quiet on the live music front. But I’m probably only saying that because it’s November and my next scheduled gig isn’t until January (sometimes, adult responsibilities suck!). I can’t complain though, because I’ve seen some amazing artists and had some even more amazinger times, and MMVAF back in September was no different.

If y’all are wondering what the heck MMVAF stands for, well it’s the Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Fest, held on a cute little golf on the Sunshine Coast. This year was only the festival’s second year, but I can already assure you that I will be making the trip down the coast again next year for another round.

I went down with my friend Tayla, who is always up for an adventure (one of the many reasons why I love her) and it was definitely one of the best weekends of the year. Before we even left the caravan park we’d made friends with our groovy neighbours from Melbs (miss ya Tina and Shiv), taken a shit tonne of Boomerangs, applied copious amounts of glitter and had high spirits for the day.

Now, you know I’m rubbish when it comes to writing about live music, so I think I’ll just let the photos do the talking. Props definitely need to be given to Allday, George Maple, Peking Duk and of course, Client Liaison, who supplied the tunes whilst we danced our last hour of the night away in freezing rain and mud. It may not sound very glamourous, but holy shit it was fun. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face, even though my white dress had turned brown and the water had weaselled its way into my previously dry socks.

So yeah, I hope you enjoy these cute little snaps, because they only show approximately 1/10 of the good times and the laughs we had that day.

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Catch ya next year, MMVAF ❤

Your new pal,

Viv  xx

A Snapshot of Our Time in NYC (Circa 2012)

Sometimes, I look at pictures of New York and forget that I ever walked along its streets. It feels like it was another lifetime ago – packing my bags for three weeks away to the U.S., dealing with all sorts of mixed emotions but always coming back to one: I was finally getting to visit my dream city. 

Now of course, we didn’t spend NEARLY enough time there to even scratch the surface, but we did have a jam-packed few days and I remember loving every single second of it (even when I was arguing with my parents about buying wifi :p). 

My biggest regret of the trip was definitely that I didn’t keep a journal along the way. I tried to take as many photos as I could, but being a 17 year old girl on holiday with her family meant one thing: I was too proud to ask any of them to take photos of me, and squirmed when my step mum made us pose in front of monuments. It was such a typical teenage act that I WISH I didn’t partake in, because when you’re in a city that big no one really gives a shit about who’s taking a photo of who or why. So yeah, if you ever go anywhere that you’ve had on your bucket list – TAKE HEAPS OF PHOTOS THERE. There’s nothing embarrassing about wanting to eternalise that moment in film (or digitally, I suppose). 

Anyway, despite it being so long ago (over 4 years now, but again, it seems like over 20), I still remembered quite a few things that we did, and thankfully still have all of the photos from said trip, so I’ve decided to FINALLY put together a little travel diary of our brief encounter with the city that never sleeps. Also, the photos are a mix of my own and some much better quality snaps taken by my step mum, Kylie (you will be able to tell the difference quite easily).

So in no particular order, here are some of the cool things we did:

 

Went to Times Square

 

 

Duh! We were lucky enough to go a few times because our hotel was so close (we stayed at the Hilton – very VERY overrated, but was in a good location). Heading there at night was definitely a lot crazier, but it was when the city came to life so of COURSE we had to go. I now understood why so many families were holding hands or clasping each others’ arms for dear life – there were literally tides of people walking in all different directions, but man it was a sight to see. 

 

Central Park + Central Park Zoo

 

 

We spent the best part of a day wandering around Central Park, and it was absolutely perfect weather to do so. We went to one of the playgrounds that you see in the movies (the one with all of the big flat rocks next to it – or maybe there’s a few of those, who knows!) as well as going on the Central Park Carousel before checking out the world-famous zoo. It felt like we had seen so much, but when I looked at a map of the park I was quickly reminded at just how big New York really is, and that it was going to be impossible to see it all in just a few days. 

 

Top of the Rock Observatory Deck

 

 

Situated at the top of the Rockefeller Centre, this place is INSANE. If you ever find yourself in NYC MAKE SURE you head up there! The lines aren’t as barbaric as they are for the Empire State Building, but you still get breathtaking 360 degree views of the city. I also felt strangely safe up there too, which was interesting considering I am quite terrified of heights. I can’t even stand on the edge of a hotel balcony for fear of the railing collapsing and me falling to my death, so being able to walk around on the platform up there and even touch the barrier was a big deal for me. The view definitely makes conquering any fears worth it.

 

Hop On, Hop Off tour (Day & Night)

 

 

 

 

These were actually the perfect way to cram as much of NYC into our day as possible. The day tour took us through the fashion district, past the back then, still-in-development Freedom Tower, and out to the docks to catch a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. Another monument that we got pictures in front of, but not actually on top of (we didn’t get to go up the Empire State Building either – we had a lot of bad tourists’ luck). Even if it as 13 degrees and windy, it was still amazing to be able to see it in person, and the photos made it seem way closer than it was – winning! After our failed attempt of seeing Lady Liberty, we jumped back on another bus and headed toward Little Italy, where we found a nice little authentic pasta shop and took refuge from the cold.
The night time tour took us through Times Square again, and out over the Brooklyn Bridge. You want a thrill? Sit on the top level of an open-top double decker bus and go over that bridge. Looking down was so incredibly scarily (I was definitely glad it was dark so I couldn’t see the full extent of the drop), but looking back on the city, full of skyscrapers and lights and life, was truly spectacular. 

 

 

We definitely did a lot more than I’ve written down (getting authentic Starbucks, buying art from street vendors, trying “the best pizza in New York” which was definitely NOT the best pizza in New York…) but like I said, it’s been a while, but I’ll never forget how I felt whilst wandering those streets. Even doing tasks such as picking up the laundry and getting some milk and cereal seemed exciting for me, and instead of the intensity scaring me away, I was drawn in even further and decided then and there that this would one day be the place I called home.

 

Of course, that hasn’t happened yet. But it still could. I’m only 21, after all. My next big travel goal is to head back to the U.S. for fall/winter. I’d like to spend a month to six weeks over there from mid November to December to see a true autumn in all its orange glory and hopefully experience a white Christmas. Of course, a road trip up to Washington and a train ride down the the Hamptons would definitely be on the agenda, and I hope that by the end of it I can navigate the subway and have found all the cutest coffee shops and vintage boutiques around. Ah, a girl can dream. And work hard to make those dreams come true.

I hope you liked this little flash back post, and the photos that came with it (please be kind, these were taken on an iPhone 4S :p) and it’s inspired you to get out there and go to your Soul City.

 

Till next time, 

Viv  xx

Soul Cities: NYC

New York, New York. Oh, what a magical place. I don’t even remember when I decided that NYC was THE PLACE to visit and live, but I’d have to say it was around the time that New York Minute (a classic Mary-Kate & Ashley film – in case you were living under a rock in the noughties) came out on DVD. Hell, it was probably earlier than that, but my sleep-muddled brain can’t come up with an exact timespot right now. 

The point is that I’ve loved New York City for as long as I can remember. It’s always been the first place I blurt out when someone asks me where I ultimately want to travel to, and it has always been a goal for me to live and work over there, in a groovy loft-style apartment in Brooklyn/Tribeca/Williamsburg. Of course now that dream has become a little trickier; with dealing with working visas and the fact that I need to have a somewhat established career to be able to snag a job in that ruthless concrete jungle, and now that Brooklyn loft vibe has become oh so trendy which = oh so expensive and hard to come by.

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Tribeca loft – image via My Fancy House
But this post is not about practicalities! It’s about NYC being one of my many Soul Cities, places that I have always felt connected to on a higher level, before ever visiting them. This series, which unintentionally kicked off with my exploration of Byron Bay in this lengthy post, surrounds these various places and their magic, and tries to dissect exactly why I am so obsessed with these cities and countries.

So why exactly do I love NYC so darn much? Is it the idyllic stoops and fire escapes, the never ending maze of perfectly curated parks and gardens, the treasure hunt for vintage boutiques and record stores, or the darn right fabulous fashion muses strutting along the worn pavement? I guess it’s all of this and more. New York City, to me, just seems to be the place where THINGS HAPPEN. Everything just seems cooler in New York. Even doing a walk of shame seems more glamourous when the character/person is wandering past vibrant flower stores and gourmet grocers. And yes, I know these things can all be found in other  cities, but they won’t happen with the same allure of magic and charm. I don’t know why, but they just won’t. 

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Image by Thomas Koehler
Sure, NYC has been commercialised and advertised to us since we were babies. Manhattan is the place to BE if you’re anyone whose anyone, and a penthouse on Fifth Avenue is seen as the epitome of real estate heaven. And yet, I have always drawn to the Brooklyn-esque vibe of NYC. I know it’s all trendy and dabbed ‘full of hipsters’, but I’ve always envisioned Brooklyn as to where you’ll find up and coming designers and heaps of cool galleries and 15 different band gigs popping up throughout the burrow every night. I’ve always looked at it (from very afar) and thought: that place is me. It just seems to have everything I want and more out of a city. Of course I know that Brooklyn is a real place, with laws and social issues and garbage disposal and gangs, but none of this has managed to dampen my I<3NY bubble over the years.

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Image via Pinterest
Fast forward (or back) to September 2012, when I was granted my heart’s desire and got to visit New YorkI went across the pond with my family as a bit of an impromptu trip (and by that I mean we decided to go in February/March of that year – kinda short notice for an overseas holiday!) for the September school holidays, in my final year of high school. We were in America for 2.5 weeks, so we spent roughly around 3 days in NYC, which was definitely not enough time to soak up the city and tick off all of my tourist goals, but I am grateful nonetheless for my precious time in the city.

It all seems like such a blur now, but I will never forget seeing that skyline for the first time, squished in the back of a taxi coming in from JFK. I remember breaking into the biggest, cheesiest grin, and possibly squealing a little when I saw the place that had been the back drop for my dreams for the last 17 years. Traffic heading into the city was of course, rubbish, and trying to snap a decent photo from the back of that cab was challenging, but I was ecstatic anyway.

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I’ve decided not to include what we did in NYC in this particular post (but stay tuned for my NYC Travel Diaries VERY soon!) because this is about how that magical city made me FEEL. It was so surreal walking along the streets that I had seen in the movies, (although I didn’t get to tick a single Gossip Girl/SATC pitstop off my list 😦 ), looking at the same scenery as millions have before me, and just genuinely gulping everything in. It was everything I expected it to be and more, and I was more than a little sad when it was time to pack our bags and head on to our next destination.

My whirlwind long weekend in NYC taught me a few things: 1) it is VERY cold there in September, so layer the heck up before you leave the comfort of your heated hotel. 2) It’s called ‘the city that never sleeps’ for a reason, so embrace that craziness and stay out all night, every night, exploring and learning as much as you can. 3) You will NEVER take enough photos of the place, and don’t be afraid to be ‘that tourist’ who wants a snap with everything cool, because you’ll look back at in in 4 years time and be totally grateful that your past self had the balls to take cheesy tourist shots with the Empire State Building in the background.

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So now we’ve touched on my little love affair with NYC, here are some remedies to cure those ‘currently not travelling’ blues and keep that Big Apple obsession of yours well and truly alive. Enjoy x

 

Movies

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself gawking at the cute apartments and scenery more than the characters – although they are pretty great too. 

How To Be Single

The Perfect Man

Definitely, Maybe

The Devil Wears Prada

Kick Ass

Dead Pool

The Amazing Spiderman

Hitch

Maid in Manhattan

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Uptown Girls

13 Going on 30

Hellboy

I Am Legend

It’s Kind of A Funny Story

The Avengers

The Other Woman

The Intern

 

And for a little more long term viewing: 

Sex and the City

Gossip Girl

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

How I Met Your Mother

Flight of the Conchords

 

And if you’re wanting to dream up the streets yourself:

Confessions series by James Patterson

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

Detective Michael Bennett series by James Patterson

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

 

 

“I wish I was as spontaneous as you!” : Travel Tips for Amateur Adventurers

So last year I travelled a LOT. Maybe not a lot compared to some, and definitely nowhere as much as those who seem to have limitless bank accounts, but it was a lot for me. 

I was never at home for more than two months at a time, and even when I was technically “home”, I spent my days off running between Cairns, Babinda and the Tablelands. There was this running joke at work where everyone would ask me “when’s you’re next holiday, Viv?”, not expecting to get a solid answer, but every time, without a doubt I would have something lined up or in the works. And that was still whilst studying! 

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Image via Pinterest

This year, things have slowed down briefly – and by that I mean I’m currently on a two month break of no holidays or gigs or festivals (R.I.P. Splendour this year), with my next adventure being in August to see The Amity Affliction in Brisbane (so much excitement for that one!).

After my little Brissie stint, I have a killer holiday lined up for September which includes a music festival and a gig, as well as travelling to the Sunny Coast, Melbourne, Byron, Brisbane, and finishing off all the craziness at the family beach house back in Cairns. All over a quaint 10 days! Yes, I’m going to be absolutely exhausted and will need to perfect my plane skincare routine before then, but I wanted to see all of those places this year so I figured, why not wrap it up all in one go? Whether it’s actually genius or pure mental, I’m thrilled either way. It will be a primarily solo expedition, with a couple of days here and there staying with friends or family, but Melbs and I will have an entire 3 days all to ourselves!

Anyway, the point of this post wasn’t to gloat or give you guys an in-depth update of what I am getting up to over the next few months, but rather to inspire more of you to do the same! A lot of people are initially intimidated by the thought of solo travel (especially some of us ladies), or are unsure of how to organise a trip without your parents dealing with everything and sending you the itinerary in a treasured email (that you are somehow sure to lose). 

So here are some realistic tips for how average Everyday Gals (and Guys) can inject more adventure into their lives and do so in an affordable way that doesn’t take YEARS to save for 🙂

 

Tip #1: Start Small

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Image via Pinterest

This may seem kinda obvious, but if you’ve grown up without the travel bug rattling around in your system then the idea of travelling can seem kinda daunting and HUGE. Before you go booking any flights to Paris, do some research on what cool things are around your local area. Whether you have to catch a bus, or train, or rely on Google Maps to drive there, it will be a great experience to get you out of your comfort zone and go somewhere new. If you’ve got some time on your hands, bring a book or a film camera and enjoy just wandering around the town/suburb/rainforest (wherever you may end up) to take in all of the foreign elements of the place. Who knows, it soon might become your safe haven!

 

Tip #2: Go for a Reason

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Image via Pinterest

Sometimes it’s hard to see the point of going to a place you’re not familiar with, just for the sake of going. It could be the most magical oasis in the world, but our mean girl (aka that nagging, negative little voice in your head) will come up with an abundance of reasons why it’s simply not worth bothering with. That’s why it’s brilliant when there’s an event being held there. Truthfully, I’ve never flown to Brisbane just for the sake of a holiday. There’s always a concert or festival on that I’ve booked tickets for. But that’s okay, because I then will make sure I stick around for a couple of extra days post-gig to relax and explore and soak up the city. Because there’s ALWAYS new stuff to discover, trust me. 

Most capital cities are thriving with events and music gigs, so a lot of the time you won’t even have to fly out of the state to have a rad time. Keep an eye out on your city’s gig guide and even the city council social media pages, as they will often advertise for major events or activities happening in the area.

 

Tip #3: Plan in Advance

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Image via Fierce Little Studyblr

Yes, it completely takes out the “spontaneity” of the whole thing, but if you’re like me and can be quite the obsessive planner/overthinker at times, then having things organised with weeks to spare will help ease your mind a lot! Of course, if you feel like a spur of the moment trip to Sydney for the weekend (and have the funds to make that happen), then go for gold! But when it comes to booking flights I like to have as much notice as I can, mostly because I’m a cheapskate but also because you have more options with times and airlines. The “spontaneous” part of my trips usually comes when the initial idea sparks in my head. Usually, I will hear that one of my favourite bands are coming to Brisbane, I immediately decide “Yes, I’m bloody well going” or think about it for a few days until the tickets are released. In most cases, it will be the first one, and in a matter of minutes you go from having a casual Wednesday morning off to feverishly browsing on ticket and airline sites.

 

Tip #4: Don’t be Afraid to be Alone

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It doesn’t matter how flipping fantastic the trip is going to be, the reality is that sometimes your friends aren’t going to be able to go with you. That’s something you need to make peace with early on, because everyone has different shit going on in their lives and simply may not be able to take the time off/afford it/already have plans, etc. etc. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your mates entirely. Recently, I’ve started buying two tickets for all of the gigs and concerts that I’m going to, so that if one of my friends does decide that they want to come (or are simply unorganised as hell), they can just buy the ticket off me and we are all good to go! And if at the end of it you still end up going solo, then head to the event page on Facebook and sell your spare. 

Anyway, doing things alone is liberating as fuck. Sure, it may seem scary at first and you will be paranoid that everyone is staring and laughing at you for not having any friends, but once you get over that initial fear and just don’t give a shit you will have the BEST time. And dude, no one is laughing at you! If anything they are admiring you or thinking how much of a freaking badass you are for not needing a human life vest to do the things you love. 

 

Tip #5: Take Advantage of Travel Agents 

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Image via Go Abroad

If you’re booking a pretty straight forward trip or going by car, then there’s no real need for this step, but if you’re ready to jump into the unknown and possibly broaden your horizon overseas, then finding a rad travel agent will be your saving grace. I had the loveliest TA from Student Flights, Erika, who was a total gift from the universe when it came to organising my Bali trip. I went into the store for a solid session with her, where we  researched and organised all of my accomodation, private vehicle transfers and activities months in advance. And the best thing is that I was able to pay it all off over 6 or so months! Which, if you’re like me and are absolutely crap at saving in bulk, is the most glorious thing EVER. Erika was super attentive, and went above and beyond what I expected a TA to do, and even gave me some extra goodies that Flight Centre should’ve provided when I booked my flights but didn’t. So if you’re a student or under 26, I would 100% recommend seeing a Student Flights TA to organise any of your big adventures. *Not sponsored, just fricking grateful.*

 

Tip #6: Forget What the Adults Told You

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Image via Pinterest

Let’s be real guys, the adults in our lives grew up in a different world. Yes, they live in ours now, but they haven’t grown up with the exposure to technology and access to information about other countries that we have. We are not only extremely lucky, but are such an open-minded generation who is not afraid to challenge the social norms and go after what we love. 

When I was told everyone I was going to Bali solo, the initial reaction was shock or a not-so-hilarious comment about locking my suitcase so I didn’t get framed for drug smuggling. I laughed it off at first, but by the time I was ready to go, I couldn’t help but shut those ignorant comments down and tell them about what Bali was really going to be like. I had done my research. I had done plenty of solo interstate trips before. I was almost 21. I wasn’t an idiot. But suddenly all of these people who had never even BEEN to this country were experts on it and what I should and shouldn’t do. Sure, travel advice can be brilliant and an absolute lifesaver if you’re getting it from SOMEONE WHO HAS ACTUALLY BEEN THERE. Or has read up indepthly on other peoples’  firsthand experiences. 

I’m sure they all meant well and good, but usually when you tell someone about an exciting adventure you’re about to embark on, you don’t want to hear how shit this is or how scary it was there 10 years ago. So MY advice? Read articles by people who have actually visited the place. Scroll through the hashtags on instagram. Talk to your travel agent (because they’ve probably been there at one point or another). Ignore the negative noise and look after yourself, because you’re going to have an absolutely rad time and no one back home will be able to stop you!

 

 

I could probably go on. And on. And on. But this post is already giant enough, and I think you get the gist of where I was going. Being spontaneous and adventurous doesn’t mean dropping your shit and ditching your job at the drop of a hat. It means following your passions and going to those ‘dream destinations’. Sure, you might not get to New York by next Tuesday, but the fact that you’re committed to going and are researching and booking stuff is the first step! And it’s a helluva lot more than most people will do. So don’t be scared and don’t worry about saving for that house just yet. You’re young and you have the world at your fingertips, so live now and deal with all of those pesky HECS fees later.

 

Till next time,

Viv  x

 

 

Excuses 2.0 + A Mini Gig Review

Holy crap! I just read through my last blog post and realised that I posted that nearly 2 MONTHS AGO. Where on earth has the time gone?

Oh I know – towards moving, working, starting uni with a 5 subject semester, going on adventures, reuniting with old friends and planning my Groovin/Byron/Bali trips for later in the year. Up until very recently I was also deprived of full time internet (not even by choice – Telstra hadn’t given me my start up password and just FORGOT to mention it) and trying to get into a somewhat regular schedule that just completely went out the door this week. Haha, and I’m only just starting Week 3 of my 12 week semester. It’s gonna be a long and busy ride, my friends.

One of the positives from all of the chaos is that I have been journalling nearly every night, which has also come at the price of not posting on my blog. I feel just a teeny bit guilty but at the same time I can’t really write ALL of my insignificant life details on here (and some are just way too embarrassing for the internet to see). (Side note: I think my neighbours are having a brawl. They are having a ‘street’ party and the music has suddenly cut out and the yelling has escalated. But there’s no way in hell I’m going for a look haha).

Anyway, so I spoke to an old school friend recently (yes Tayla I am talking about you!) who said that she actually reads my blog and LIKES it haha so I’m feeling inspired to attempt to pick it up again. I’m currently procrastinating my studies, so I figured now was as good as ever to warm up my writing skills.

And speaking of writing – I actually wrote an entire story draft today, in UNDER AN HOUR. From start to finish. It’s very basic, and rough, with no dialogue, but holy crap I am proud of myself. I was actually falling asleep at the table when the idea came to me. And for once I thought, no Vivienne, wake your damn ass up and write this shit down! Don’t forget another idea AGAIN. So that is exactly what I did. What started out as a couple of images in my head is now a 4 page word document that even has a dodgy ending. I will probably change the conclusion because it’s not very uplifting (I’m a sucker for a happy ending) but hey, maybe branching out into not-so-perfect story endings will be good for me! Maybe actually finishing one of my stories will be good for me! Ha ha. That will be the day.

I’ve come so close twice now, with novels that I worked on for easily two years each, but something has always gotten in the way of me finishing them. Life, mostly. Work, school, boys, blah blah excuses blah. I really need to go on a two week long retreat somewhere and just WRITE. That would be so glorious. Maybe I’ll plan another Byron trip for next year and do it. Or hide away in a cabin in the Snowy Mountains. Wearing jumpers for 2 weeks straight would totally be OK with me!

I guess one thing that I’m really glad about is my mindset this year. After that failed 2-and-a-half year relationship, I am feeling much more like myself again, except for the part where I can’t decide on a career. I’m still running around in circles trying to decide between teaching, interior design and music journalism. All are equally fantastic and rewarding in different ways, and I kind of want to do all 3. I am genuinely considering finishing this teaching degree then heading straight to Melbourne to jump into a journalism one. Because who has time for sleep, right?

My passion for music is so majorly back that it isn’t even a joke anymore. I’ve got a lot of people who laugh and joke about how invested with festivals and gigs I am, but why the hell wouldn’t I be? There is seriously no cooler feeling than getting lost in a crowd of strangers, dancing ridiculously, singing loudly and your face shaped into one, big genuine grin.

That’s exactly how I felt at the John Butler Trio gig I went to up in Kuranda recently. I was meant to go with my parents and aunty and uncle, but they all pulled out last minute because of the dodgy weather. But me, being the total adventure junkie that I am, braved the horrible range at night (with rain, clouds AND fog) and even managed to find a decent park. It was the first time that I actually went to a gig intentionally solo (I did Soundwave last year by myself as well, but at least I saw 2 shows with my Uncle before we parted ways) and at first I was super awkward and didn’t know where to stand, but just before JBT started playing I was like “fuck this shit, I’m totally getting as close to the stage as possible.” I didn’t even have to push through, like a lot of dickheads around me did. I just went with the natural flow of the crowd and eventually wound up in the front row (but then retreated back a step, because there isn’t much room to dance on the barrier). It was a glorious night, and dancing in the rain was something I’ve never done before but now something I can’t wait to experience again. Having the show at the Kuranda Amphitheatre was so magical, and the weather and all of the gumboot clad guests only made it that much cooler also.

The band was obviously, mind-blowing. You could google any review on the John Butler Trio and I bet you it would all be words of praise. Those boys have such a huge amount of talent, and yet they are so humble and generous and still manage to find stand up for the things and current issues that are important to them.

If you couldn’t tell, I am frigging glad I went. I took a bunch of wonky, swaying videos (you can’t sacrifice an opportunity to groove, even if your friends and family do want footage) and now I have the memories for life (in my brain and on my iPhone). Writing this kinda stuff down is brilliant because when I’m old and boring and live in, *gasp* an estate (please don’t ever let me do that!) I will at least have all the badass adventures of my youth to look back on and think, “yeap, this girl definitely lived”.

Till next time (if you’re still reading this),

Vivienne