12 things you’ll know if you’ve done a USA road trip

‘Right on red’ is genius

In the States, if it’s safe to do so you can turn right if you’re stopped at a red light. It’s kind of the equivalent of having slip lanes to turn left in Australia but you can do it at every traffic light or intersection unless there’s a sign saying not to. It saves waiting for no reason when the way is clear to turn. Love it!

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Would you date someone shorter than you?

Taylor Swift presents a VMA to Bruno Mars onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for MTV)

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine was showing me her Tinder matches. Hunched over her phone, we poured over the photos, attempting to gauge the height of her potential suitors by comparing them to nearby landmarks and other people in the photo. She didn’t want to agree to a date, only to show up and see someone shorter in stature. Not long after that, over drinks with a group of ladies the conversation turned to online dating and the height thing came up again “I would never date a guy shorter than me!” came the responses.

I understand where some women get their height obsession from. The heteronormative world view has long told us men should be tall and strong and women should be dainty and take up as little space as possible. As a tall woman, I’ve definitely had moments of feeling ungainly. But literally, only moments! I often forget I tower over some of my friends, realising only if we happen to be stood next to each other in front of a reflective surface. “Wow! You only come up to my shoulder!” style.

I’ve never minded being taller than a romantic partner. It’s just not really a thing for me. Andy and I are exactly the same height, so when I wear heels I’m always taller. It makes me feel statuesque.

When I was a teenager my dad’s girlfriend at the time made some random comment about supermodels always being taller than their boyfriends. “You think a man with Elle Macpherson on his arm would mind being shorter?!” she remarked. I have done zero research in the field of supermodels and their height relative to their romantic partner’s (female, male or otherwise). But this always stuck with me; that tallness in women is glamorous. Sure she meant in the context of being attractive to men which is fraught with other issues but I’m sticking to the take home message of not stressing over height. It’s impossible to make yourself shorter without some fairly hideous slouching, which is frankly unacceptable. Shoulders back, heads high ladies.

Would you date someone shorter than you?

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Winter Weekend: Mount Hotham

Winding our way up to Mt Hotham it quickly became clear we were in a very different snow situation compared with Falls Creek the previous day. Snow was falling, the wind was howling and visibility wasn’t great. I was excited!

Frosty!

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Winter Weekend: Bright and Falls Creek

A few weekends ago, Andy and I packed our winter woolies and headed to Bright, a small town at the base of some of Victoria’s most popular mountains. It was early in the Australian snow season (it’s a real thing, I promise!) so we didn’t have plans to ski but hoped we’d see a bit of the white stuff. We weren’t disappointed.

We stayed at this AirBnb which was really just a motel room but it did have a spa and a fireplace; both essential for a winter mini break. Bright is very picturesque, surrounded by pine covered mountains with low cloud drifting in and out all day. Not all the shops and restaurants were open yet but we still ate very well.

Bright

I highly recommend Ginger Baker for breakfast. They’ve managed to create the perfect cold weather al fresco dining scenario with wood fires to keep you nice and toasty.

I had the potato rosti with cured salmon, spinach, hollandaise sauce & poached eggs

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Four ways I’m embracing winter 

Dressing warmly has me hot under the collar 😉

I haven’t had a proper winter in a long time. I lived in the land of perpetual sunshine for three and a half years (Western Australia) and then chased summer around the world for a year and a half. As a result I am totally embracing the cooler weather this year. The foggy mornings, endless cups of tea, the chilly sunsets (why is it the clouds go the most insane colours in winter?!), snuggling up under 3 layers atop an electric blanket. It’s magic.

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Life lately

Well, well, well. I seems such a long time since I’ve blogged consistently. To think I managed to blog more often when lived in a remote mining town AND when I was on the road contending with abysmal wifi is somewhat shameful. Life hey? It’s either busier or I don’t have a handle on time management. A bit of both probably.

So what’s been happening? Well a couple of weekends ago I flew over to Perth to celebrate the engagement of these two:

Bec and Scottie, whom you may remember from Rome or from when we lived together in an adorable cottage with a white picket fence. Bec’s parents hosted the party at their house and absolutely no effort was spared in putting together this spectacular evening. Bec’s mum painstakingly put together all of the decorations; everything from the floral wreaths to the lighting configurations to the forest of white trees lining the pool. It looked wonderful.

Bec and I

It was a major Kalgoorlie catch up and so good to see everyone and get up to speed on two years of gossip.

As per usual we burnt up the dance floor into the miniscule hours and spent Sunday a little worse for wear. Totally worth it!

So many laughs

It’s amazing to think back to how young we were when we all met in Kalgoorlie in our first graduate journo jobs, figuring out life and love in the dusty Goldfields. Not these guys are gettin’ hitched!

I also saw my old community theatre friends and had an amazing evening with them over cheese platters, pizza and sparkling wine. Wish I’d remembered to bring my proper camera out!

What else? It’s getting very chilly here in Melbourne which I’m loving. I’ve been working a lot which I’m not loving. I have a few mini breaks coming up which will be wonderful. I’ve been binging hard on Orange is the New Black (so weird to think we watched the last season in London!) and Master of None, are you watching? And eating a lot of soup!

OH! And this biggest update is that I am now blonde.

What’s news with you?

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What’s your food philosophy?

Tucking into dinner in Naxos, Greek Islands

That was the first question on a list I was given by Liz from I Spy Plum Pie when asked to feature in the Foodie Files segment of her blog. I was kind of stumped. I’m not someone who only eats organic, locally sourced produce. I don’t kneel at the altar of paleo or gluten free living. Do I even have a food philosophy?! Turns out I do, and you can read my answer here.

What dictates what you eat? Time? Flavour? Where you live? Health benefits? Money? I remember hearing from a woman on a podcast who was amazed at the variety of foods the chefs at her college could make, even if it was just spaghetti or mince meat tacos. The reason? Her family had eaten chicken for dinner every single night of her childhood. She just thought that’s what everyone did!

When you’re fortunate enough that daily food is a given and not a luxury, it’s interesting to think about why you eat what you do.

Even if it’s a burger in a bikini in Bali.

Extravagant

Your thoughts?

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My top 8 blue water travel destinations

Some people love mountains, others a quaint countryside. Some are fascinated by volcanoes or find ultimate paradise in the mist of a thundering waterfall. Me? I love blue water. Especially the kind you can snorkel in. Here are my top 8 best blue water locations around the world:

Savai’i, Samoa

I visited Samoa in 2013 when my sister lived there. After I arrived by plane on the mainland we took a ferry to the smaller island of Savai’i. It was my first (and only!) experience on a South Pacific island and it was magic. So many of the beaches in Samoa were completely deserted, it was bizarre and wonderful. I’ll definitely be back in the region one day.

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East Africa is calling

Full photo credit to my sister Sarah for these beauties

My sister took these photos in Rwanda. That’s where she lives, with her man Nady in Kigali. I’ve just had 5 weeks of leave approved so in September/October that’s where I’m heading. To see animals, to climb volcanoes, swim in lakes, stand on white sand beaches and spend time with some of my favourite people. I can’t wait!

We’ll hopefully get to see not only Rwanda, but Tanzania (hence the white sand beaches), Uganda, Kenya and the DRC. I’ve never been on the African continent so this is extra exciting. If you have any travel tips or advice please let me know. I’m excited to blog all our adventures. But for now I’ll be saving money, hibernating all winter, updating my passport which has run out of pages (!), pretending to do a bit of research (I’ll be relying heavily on Sarah to show us around) and staring at dreamy photos like these.

A close encounter in Akagera National Park, Eastern Rwanda

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What’s your best coincidence story?

I love a good coincidence story, like a lot of people. This American Life (aka the greatest podcast in the world, if you aren’t already well acquainted what on earth are you doing reading this and not on their website downloading EVERYTHING?!) recently did an episode on coincidences and it was so fascinating, I found myself attempting to relay each story to Andy and failing at doing them justice. Because that’s the thing with coincidences; you always think yours is the best. You feel like you have something bizarrely wonderful and ‘small worldly’ happen but upon retelling it to others, barely manage to muster any interest.

That was my experience last week when I had, what I thought was, an incredible small world story. I mentioned, absentmindedly, to my friend at work that this time last year I was in New York City seeing Matilda the musical. To which she replied “I was in New York this time last year as well! But we saw Jersey Boys and Aladdin“. Long story short, it turns out we both saw Jersey Boys in NYC, on the same night, in the same theatre, both with our parents and partner AND scrolling back through our phones, we both took almost exactly the same photo just 13 minutes apart…!!!

The 8am part is wrong as our phones would have been on NYC time when the photo is taken

At the time, neither of us worked at our current organisation. I wasn’t even sure I’d end up back in Melbourne. Doesn’t it seem amazing that a year after seeing the same show in NYC, we are sitting on the opposite side of the world at adjacent desks?! Doesn’t it?!

Probably not. Because it’s my coincidence story, not yours. I want to hear yours and I’ll let you know how it rates to an outsider. Go on!

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