Tuesday, April 22, 2014

South













































As always, I'd like to write something profound here that does justice to my experiences and it never seems to come out right (or at all) so I'll just go with a simple chronological retelling of my week in the west of Tasmania.

Leading up was a really busy and stressful week and I didn't think I'd get all my uni work, necessary catch-ups, packing and preparation for a bike trip done but don't we all always somehow manage? Not long after my last class last Thursday I was picking my brother up from fashion week to take me to the airport, accidentally pulling up in the taxi area where a well-dressed long queue were waiting, managed to 'sweet talk' the angry car ushers by saying I've got deliveries (pointing to my bike's box in the back) and finally just making it to the airport.
I met up with my friend, another Aussie I met at my university in Austria, who's also back now and currently cycling around Aus for a few months. We set off from Launceston on Friday (after a visit to the Country Women's Association store and a few lemon and coconut slices) and the plan was to head towards Cradle Mountain National Park - a place I'd never heard of but apparently is quite well known. I had a semi-conscious goal with this trip to gain (or rediscover) an appreciation for Australian nature. I think I somehow trained my brain to appreciate European beauty and I had grown to largely disregard the Australian wilderness unless there was an ocean in sight, something which I hated and really wanted to change.
The first night we camped at Mole Creek, a small town where we camped for free at the back of the local  pub/hotel and could use the hotel's hot showers for $2 - score! We used an amazing App called WikiCamps that shows you all campsites on a map, many of which are free in Tasmania. That night I got a rude shock that I packed much too lightly for the cold nights - my thin summer sleeping bag and few jumpers weren't quite sufficient for the very low temperatures. Every following night I'd put literally all my clothes on, wrap myself in an emergency space blanket (that I thankfully bought last-minute in Launceston), get into my 'thermal' sleeping bag liner then wiggle into my sleeping bag. Every time I moved it sounded like a thousand crinkly shopping bags.
The next day we visited amazing Marakoopa caves on the way (saw glow worms for the first time!) and started the long climb towards Cradle Mountain. Day 2 was one of the most mentally and physically challenging days of my life. My left knee had started to hurt a lot towards the end of the previous day (later discovered that it was probably due to my saddle being too high - derp) and by 20km into the second day it was almost unbearable. Very long story short; it had gotten dark, Wolfmother were screaming down my ears to no avail, we had still not finished the huge climb and morale was pretty low but we eventually came to an intersection with a B&B. The nice lady said we could pitch our tents out of sight behind one of the buildings, we filled our water bottles and ate the only food we had - oats with Tasmanian honey and tea. The next day the climb was relatively okay to the entrance of the Park and we decided to 'splurge' and pay for the paid campsite nearby for the warm showers and kitchen.

Will be continued soon

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Good agony










































"Never waste good agony". Taking advice from a Yiddish proverb that appropriately popped up on my feed and feeling a little bit sorry for myself, looking through photos of my happy place.

Sorry for the silence on here of late. My life isn't filled with spectacular weekend hikes in the Alps or weekend trips to different countries any more and I feel like I haven't really done anything lately worth sharing, ya know? It's been very busy with Honours slowly but surely living up to it's reputation and over the past two weeks I've poured my heart and all my attention into a particularly big assignment. Now I feel a sense of loss having handed it in but I'm sure that that wasn't the end of that journey for me. I've been looking into the topic of displacement in the context of offshore detainment of asylum seekers and wow, I chose a pretty complex topic! Even after a substantial amount of research and writing I think I still haven't gotten my head quite around it. Possible major work topic for next semester? Hmmm…
I've started teaching once a week and I love it. I'm considering doing a Masters or even a PHD and entertaining the idea of becoming an academic/ tutor/ part time freelancer, what a nice lifestyle that would be... What I know for sure is that I need to get out of the life-sucking suburbs asap and I need to go on several gap years and get back to the mountains. I feel quite (understatement, more like overwhelmingly) frustrated at the moment because something must have happened to my heel/ achilles when I got back to Sydney and started running again. I ran through the pain for the first 1.5 months till one day I literally couldn't walk any more so took a week, then two weeks off. It kept hurting, even when walking, so this past week I finally got to the physio but despite treatments and not doing any exercise at all (not even cycling to commute or swimming), it feels like it's getting worse. I can't actually put into words how devastating the thought of never being able to run again is to me, so I'm just hoping and praying that that isn't the case. Seeing people out jogging makes me want to cry and I'm feeling very, very restless and have been heavily eating my feelings.
On a lighter note, I'm going to Tasmania next week to go on a week-long cycling trip! I'm flying to Launceston and starting from there, so if you have any tips for that area, gimmie! I think that this break will be very good.
Also trying to plan my fast-approaching US/ Canada trip (eek, 2 months!) which at the moment is looking like: NYC - New England area - Montreal - Toronto/ Niagara Falls - Chicago - Vancouver/ British Columbia - Seattle - San Francisco - LA. Again, tips for any of those places would be amazing. I'll be trying to couchsurf as much as possible while I'm over there, so if you have friends/ friends of friends who wouldn't mind having two friendly girls crash at their place, email me! madeleine.mtn[at]gmail.com

PS. Sorry for the rambling-ness of this post, I think this one is the most over-the-place one yet, kind of resembling my current mindset.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Closure








Sometimes I feel really good and sometimes I feel bad and sometimes I think I'm totally fine and then I think again and realise maybe not. Maybe the past 4ish months have been harder on me than I was able to realise in the busyness of it. I was going to write a really happy post about how I feel complete closure about being back and how good this week was (it was) but then one hour later I feel pretty crappy. I still feel uneasy about getting very personal on here and I often write stuff, only to erase all of it (just did that twice). The last few months in Europe was an emotional roller coaster (with many very happy moments too) and coming back I had to face a few personally devastating facts. I really wish I could let it go more and just trust God with it, but it's hard.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phillipians 4:6

On a lighter note - this week was really good! On Saturday I met Elize and Sophie at Eveleigh Markets which was so, so nice. You know when you meet people and you can just talk for ages and when you leave you just want to talk more? I can't wait for our next catch up. Afterwards I met a really really good friend and kept the theme of the day going (talking), walking through the botanical gardens (forgot how magical that place is!), eating the most delicious fig & frangipane tart from the markets, reminiscing about the mountains and watching the preparations for the Mardi Gras.
I've really been enjoying Sydney this week too. I cycled a long way to uni on Monday morning and watched the sun rise and the morning unfold while cycling through the suburbs - it was so beautiful. Have also resolved to make the most of my time after class in the afternoons - going snorkelling, swimming laps, going for walks through the city and visiting all the wonderful new cafes that have sprung up while I've been away. I'm loving my classes this semester and realised how much I missed the conceptual-ness of my degree here.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Valley





Eeeeh. University tomorrow. In Australia. I've never been as indecisive in my life as I've been in the last 2 months and up until Friday I was going to take this year 'off' - until I realised I didn't have a plan, really. So, honours it is and if you talk to me in a few weeks I'll probably be manic and questioning why I ever changed my mind. Hopefully then I can remember this peaceful day in the Mountains and not be too sad about missing Austria.