During the next two months I hope to make my way through a very good chunk of New Zealand as well as eastern Australia. I do have a lose plan to do NZ north to south, but I'm leaving everything relatively open so that I can also be spontaneous :)
  • Day62

    A Few Things I Learned Along The Way

    May 29, 2016 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C


    After exactly two months abroad I am going home. Most people seem to be quite upset when they have to go home at the end of their trip, but this time I'm not. I feel like over the past two months I've met so many incredible people so cheers to every single person that made my journey memorable! I also know that I did more self reflection in these past two months than I've probably done in my entirely life prior to this trip. Here are a few things that self reflection taught me:

    I confirmed that I very much dislike nightclubs, but I learned that I very much enjoy deep conversations over a casual drink in a nice environment. But do you know what I enjoy even more? Ice cream. So if anyone wants to go on an ice cream date with me this summer, just tell me a place and time and I'll be there!

    This trip also really helped me with the idea of living in the now. Often people including myself, get way too caught up in the past or get far too ahead of their future thoughts. This was a huge problem I faced in my day to day life prior to my trip. In fact it's still something I struggle with, but I'm working on it. I just need to consistently catch myself when I'm going into the past for the wrong reasons, or the future without a specific target. Bus rides were a great place to practice, or really anytime that I had "too much time with my thoughts." Next time you catch yourself drifting into a dangerous thought, just ask yourself this question: "how do I want to feel?" More often than not the thought you're about to dive into isn't going to get you feeling the way you want to feel, so leave it alone and keep yourself in the now.

    This trip has taught me to appreciate home and everything that entails. My family who had my back this entire trip. My closest friends who I wanted to share all the details of my best days with. But also the things I didn't see before like the opportunities that Saskatoon has for me, far beyond a career.

    Being away from home it became clear that there aren't many cities that you can find such a range of restaurants and food choice all within a 15 minute drive from one another. Or that you can do country dancing in one night, salsa the next, and west coast swing a few days later. That is so unique and incredible and I think without going away, I may have never fully realized that.

    I also learned that stepping out of your comfort zone is a good thing. Try things, be spontaneous! But the other thing I learned is it's alright not to enjoy everything, just as long as you give it a real fair shot! If you haven't tried something before you can't know you don't like it, so if you're hanging around with me in the future I'm gonna call you on that shit!

    Those are just a few small things I learned about myself on this trip. To anyone considering a solo trip, I don't care how long or where you're going, I highly support your vision and if you need someone to give you that extra push, I will happily do that for you 😊

    This certainly won't be the last big travel trip of my life, but for now I am content with what I have seen this past year, and it's time for me to begin building a life based not on the next destination, but on making my HOME as exciting and fulfilling as I've made these past two months.

    Until next time,

    -Terrence is home!
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  • Day61

    Finishing Up The Trip

    May 28, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Thursday May 26th

    Today was probably the best day of the week. It started around nine am with Emilie knocking on my door and then her quite literally dragging me out of bed. The weather was perfect for the first time in days and she told me to get ready because we were going kayaking asap!

    By ten we were in Paihia and Dan had set us up with two kayaks at a discounted price (because he's such a cool guy). The water was so incredibly calm, it was magnificent. We paddled out quite a ways to this little island. Me being me I was all concerned and worried about sharks, but really it's a bay and they never come into the bay. Plus it's New Zealand and they're far less prevalent here.

    Eventually we made it to the island. After a five minute hike the trail opened up and boom! What a view! Oh there was also this little bird on the island that was adorable and it kept following Emilie around. It continually flew within arms range doing very short fast flights around her and I. It was incredible. After about half hour we took off. On the way back the weather was turning so the sea was much more choppy and challenging, but we made it back alive 😊

    We went back to Emilie's and she made us coconut pancakes for lunch which were delicious. Eventually we decided to go do a wine tasting in Russell. Some of their wines had sold out for the season already, but the ones we tried were quite tasty and Daniel (the man running the tasting) even gave me a deal on a bottle.

    After that we went to the Duke of Marlborough for a drink. This is actually the same place we went almost two months ago when we met. It was crazy to think how things had changed so significantly since then. Emilie was now settled down in Paihia with a car, a job, and a place to stay and I had nearly finished my journey.

    We left the Duke and took an hour to head to the beach where the sun was just about to set. The waves crashed along our feet. There were some rocks I climbed that reached into the sea a fair bit. We enjoyed the view there for a good while.

    After the beach we went back to the Duke for dinner. We decided to eat quite fancy so she ordered a nice steak filet and I ordered this fancy fish sampler with some nice mashed potatoes. When our drinks came Emilie toasted to our second last dinner together, but I cut her off before she could and said "let's not tall about it." I believe it was this exchange that led to something quite hilarious/magical later in the evening.

    Anyways the food came and it was delicious. There was a coconut dish that involved raw fish that wasn't really my thing but the other two fish dishes were fantastic and Emilie's steak was great too. Upon finishing our meals Vincent (our waiter) came by the table and he put $50 cash onto the table. He said "I've done this for 18 years and I can't believe this just happened, but the table right beside you left this when they finished. They said they heard Terrence was leaving soon and that he looked sad." Emilie and I laughed so hard! They had obviously assumed that we were a couple, but regardless what a kind act. The duke is a really fancy place and our bill (after dessert too) was $120. Because Emilie knew Vincent he gave us %20 off so it came to $88. After the kind gift we technically ate two huge main courses and dessert along with a drink each at arguably the nicest restaurant in town for only $38! WHAT A NIGHT! And what kind strangers, I'll have to pay that forward sometime soon 😊

    We took the ferry home. In the middle of the bay as we were crossing it turned all of its lights off. The night sky lit up in ways I don't believe I have ever seen before. There was no light pollution and the night was so clear it would have been difficult not to be amazed. I have a feeling my eyes were probably as bright as the night sky was because I was more than delighted.

    Friday May 27th

    Another extremely memorable day! We had a late start, but after getting up we headed back to Keri Keri. We went back to the little Thai restaurant from a few days ago and had another tasty lunch.

    Afterwards we headed out towards the Puketi forest which was one of the stops on the tour that we both met on. As we got closer the roads turned to gravel and the country side turned into massive green winding hills. We took the 10 minute loop hike through the forest for the second time in two months. It felt like it had been ages since we had been through.

    After the mild hike we took the car all the way around the forest which I believe was a fourteen kilometer drive. This would have been a quick drive in normal conditions, but we chose to drive extra slow to enjoy and take it all in. The trees stretched into what appeared to be the skyline. It was clear some of the kouri trees were easily hundreds of years old and gigantic in both height and girth.

    When we finally finished there, we drove all the way back to Paihia. I think we spent about three hours just relaxing before it was about seven and we headed out with Jan for my farewell night out.

    Jan took us to the Retired Servicemens Club. It was initially created for all the men who had come home from World War II, but as the veterans started to pass away, they eventually opened it up so the public could become members. The only reason we were allowed in was because Jan signed us in. I guess you could say "I know people" haha.

    Anyways we got in and naturally the place was filled with seniors and a few middle aged people, but the scene was still so alive. Everyone was chatting with someone and there were greetings all around for the new faces (Emilie and I). The alcohol was cheap and Jan was quick to buy the first round. After we got drinks we ordered our food and began to mingle. I ordered the lamb shank and it didn't disappoint.

    As the night went on I met Phil who was a good friend of Jan. He owned a local hotel in Paihia called Swiss Chalet. He told me about how much he loved Canada and how he spent a good chunk of the 70s and 80s in BC and had even married a BC girl way back when. Despite how things didn't work out with her, he still spoke of her quite highly, which was really nice to see.

    There was a one man band who was playing on and off throughout the evening. The ladies in the club definitely weren't shy about getting up and dancing to a few classic tunes. At one point in the evening the entertainer (who I'd learn was named Jack) stopped his whole set and pointed across the hall at me. He caught me doing my own little dance in my seat and told everyone in the hall that it was clear I wanted to get up and dance. Naturally being called out to dance I sprung up out of my seat and made my way hastily to the dance floor. The ladies faces were all quite bright and inviting and they quickly taught me one of their line dances which to be honest were much more difficult than the ones I had done back home. There was even a shimmy part which I really committed to and they all had a good laugh with me. When the song came to an end I hugged a few of them and thanked them for being so inviting.

    When I sat down there was evidently a new buzz in the hall and it felt like all eyes were on me, the young kid from Canada who had happily jumped right into the mix of everything. Phil and Jan praised me greatly for what I had done and explained how much they knew everyone in the hall appreciated my efforts. I was soon tapped on the shoulder by a lady named Zayda who asked what I was drinking. Before she was out of earshot Phil leaned over and explained that she was the manager of the club and she was about to go get me another drink to say thank you for having a good round of fun with all of them. Naturally I joined in a few more times after that, and even got Emilie up out of her seat for a dance as well!

    For the rest of the time at the club I sat with Jan and watched a few rugby games. She better explained the rules and it was clear that this was really her game of choice. She even told me which players she had the hots for haha. Eventually we packed up and headed home, but not to bed just yet.

    When we got back to Jan's we all stayed up sitting around the patio table outside having one more drink and exchanging a few more deep thoughts. I really came to respect Jan, as she was an extremely bright mind with plenty of stories to share of how she got to where she is today. I also deeply respected her honesty to both herself and those around her. Around one we called it a night and headed to bed.

    Saturday May 28th

    Today is the day. I'm finally going home. Emilie and I had a quick breakfast and off I went. I thanked Jan once again for her hospitality and that was that. Emilie took me to the bus stop where we exchanged a few long hugs and then the bus came and I was gone.

    In the airport I met a nice mother and daughter from London Ontario who had just finished a few weeks of visiting relatives in Australia. I connected really well with them on all kinds of topics and it was refreshing to have conversations with complete strangers again.

    The flight went by quite quickly. I watched a few of the hobbit movies and caught about three hours of sleep. Los Angeles airport felt even bigger this time. It ended up taking me an hour and forty minutes to get through all the security check ins and whatnot. By the time I got through I had only about ten minutes until boarding.

    On the flight to Calgary I got bumped to the front of the plane for what West Jet calls "plus" seating. I was in the very seat of the plane so I had an abundance of leg room (since when is that a thing on airplanes!?).

    One more flight and I'm home!

    Ive decided im goimg to write one more entry to wrap everything up and then I'm finished!

    -Terrence is out!
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  • Day58

    First Few Days Back in Paihia

    May 25, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    Friday May 20th

    My bus came cruising into Paihia at about 8:15 pm and there was Emilie patiently waiting for me. After a nice warm hug we went out for pizza and wine. Our catchup began and we were off to the races. It had already been nearly a month since we had seen each other so there was plenty to chat about. Despite our chats it wasn't too late of an evening before we headed back to her place.

    Emilie was renting from a local lady named Jan. Emilie had a cozy little basement type suite which I expected I would be sleeping in on that couch or something, but I'm Terrence so good things just happen to me. Emilie explained how Jan also had another smaller unattached suite that (yup you guessed it!) was vacant. Jan asked me to pay the small fee of $100 for eight nights. As I'm writing this I can't believe how cheap that is for an individual bachelor's suite. I actually checked air bnb and the suite usually goes for $68/night! I guess you could say I know the right people. Anyways I unpacked and fell asleep almost immediately after a long day.

    Saturday May 21st

    After sleeping in a bit Emilie and I headed to Keri Keri which is a small ish town of about 5,000 about half hour away from Paihia. There was a weekly market with all kinds of local food, clothing, jewelry, and live musical talent. I loved the vibe of it all and we had a nice pastry type breakfast there. Emilie was on a hunt to meet locals so we ended up talking to this guy who made soaps and other natural body products. Guess where he was from!? Yeah, Saskatoon! No freaking way right? Wes was a pretty cool guy and we chatted about our home a while before Emilie and I decided to go adventuring.

    Emilie took me to this nice beach. We walked up it and the clouds rolled in. I assured her we had time and they would take a while to actually roll into the bay. I was wrong. They came in quickly and it absolutely poured on us. Not to mention the gusts of wind. I uploaded a video to Facebook that you should check out if you haven't. I think it pretty accurately summarizes the experience.

    The rest of the day was really low key. Emilie made us apple pancakes (more like crepes) for dinner which was delicious. Her friend Josh came over for a bit and that was the night!

    Sunday May 22nd

    Today we went to Russell. We had a nice walk around the beach there before heading into the town for lunch. As a whole we didn't accomplish too much during the day, but the evening was quite different.

    Jan had invited us to have a big lamb dinner, so when we got back around 4pm we started cooking. My job was to make the mint sauce. First we picked some fresh mint from Jan's garden. Then I took all the leaves off the stems (that's not the proper name but you get the point). Then we added sugar and I cut it up nice a thin. Then we just put it in a jar and filled it 1/3 with water and the rest with malt vinegar. Tada! I was pretty happy with how well it turned out. Jan took care of the rest which included the lamb, potatoes, kumaras, vegetables, and gravy. Now that I've written it all down it becomes quite apparent that Jan pretty much did everything haha.

    While everything cooked we watched a local new zealand film called "Boy" which I really enjoyed. It was far from the typical American films I was used to so it was refreshing and actually quite hilarious, I would definitely recommend it to all.

    Around seven the food was ready and wowzers was it good. I piled my plate high and stuffed my face. I think Jan could tell I really enjoyed it, and it was nice to have a full hearty home cooked meal for the first time in quite a while. Jan even made a light tomato and apple dessert which really doesn't sound that tasty, but somehow it just worked. What a delicious dinner.

    Monday May 23rd

    Monday afternoon Emilie and i went into Keri Keri again. We bought a few things from the warehouse (NZ's version of Wal Mart) including the newest Ed Sheeran album which surprisingly had a few songs that I didn't know. Needless to say I was a happy camper!

    Later around four ish we took Emilie's friend Dan up on a sailing adventure he had offered a few days before. All he asked for in payment was some beer which was easy enough. It ended up being Dan, Emilie, myself, and then Oliver from Canada, Lea from Germany, a girl from the Netherlands, and a local kiwi named Seagull. Literally his name was Seagull haha.

    We were out for about two hours and in that time I helped myself to four beers which needless to say hit me pretty hard. Peeing off the front of a sailboat, check! Twice! Haha. We all had a great time with one another and around six we headed in and found some food and then it was a pretty early night.

    Tuesday May 24th

    Today was pretty relaxed. Josh, Emilie and i went to the hot pools today. I also got to meet Josh's dog Blue, which I obviously loved given my adoration for dogs. The hot pools were smelly, but really quite amazing. The pools ranged in heat, but the hottest one was definitely comparable to a full heat hot tub. It was extremely relaxing, but also quite exhausting.

    In the evening the three of us headed to Paihia's fancy Italian restaurant. We shared a pizza bread type appetizer and then I had spaghetti bolagnase. It was all really delicious. About halfway through the meal this couple I met in Byron Bay in my surf lesson walked in. I would say I felt surprised but at this point in my travels it had become normal to run into familiar faces which is really nice. We all cabbed home and that was it for the night!

    Wednesday May 25th

    Today was a complete write off. Neither Emilie nor I really felt like doing anything and the weather was pretty shit so we just stuck around the house. We literally did nothing all day haha.
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  • Day53

    Last Day in Australia/Back To Paihia!

    May 20, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Today is my last full day in Australia. I got up around 8:30 and got ready. I then went down to the market to buy some stuff for breakfast and found a few small souvenirs for myself as well. Around 1130 I took the bus (which I nearly missed, oops!).

    I checked into my hostel. I had intentions of going to see the city but I really couldn't be bothered. Instead I just had some lunch and relaxed.

    Eventually I decided to get some take away for supper. When I returned to the hostel's kitchen area who did I see but my friend from Byron Bay, Stefaan. We chatted and caught up on our last week of adventures. The hostel actually had a rooftop dining area with a spectacular view of the city!

    After we finished our suppers we headed downstairs to the bar and had a beer. We discussed tattoos and popculture before heading to bed early. It was really nice to see another familiar face!

    And that's it ladies and gents. Australia is complete! Now back to New Zealand (yay!).

    May 20

    Alrighty so after a flight early this morning I'm back in New Zealand. I'm going back to Paihia to visit Emilie for the week. We're going to take adventures around the north lands and just enjoy being jobless in a beautiful small town! Looking forward to it!

    I probably won't make much for blog entries this week because I'll just want to enjoy my last week away from home. I'll write a few final entries late next week!

    -Terrence out
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  • Day51

    Fraser Island Experience!! (K'Gari)

    May 18, 2016 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Three days here so very long post ahead!

    May 16

    Another early morning here. Woke up just after six to get ready for my Fraser Island tour, or as I now know it, K'Gari (silent k). Around 645 we got picked up from the hostel and went to the main station in Noosa. There we were introduced to Clint our guide for the next three days and the other 27 people on the tour.

    After our safety video and signing in we were put into four groups to drive down to the island is eight person 4x4's. My group was composed of three girls from London area, a guy named Owen from Wales, and a guy from Germany named Marico.

    Instead of taking the highway we took the beach to all the way to the other pickup location. It was probably a two hour beach drive which was pretty cool! Midway through the drive we pulled over and Clint was able to get some red sand from the side of the hillside (it's called rainbow beach for a reason). He drew three lines across our forearms. He explained later how each line represented a life rule for the aboriginals here in Australia, many of which were quite similar to those of Christianity which I thought was interesting.

    Right before we were going to catch the ferry to the actual island we got stop searched by the police which is pretty normal. However, nobody had renewed the insurance for Clint's vehicle so unfortunately we were unable to continue for a while. Most people were full of complaints, which I found pretty stupid given that there was a beach literally 100 meters from the area we were stopped.

    After about 45 minutes of waiting we continued on and caught the ferry to the island! So for those of you who don't know Fraser island is the largest sand island in the world. We had a nice wrap buffet lunch on the beach before continuing on our first day adventure! The coast driving on the hard sand was pretty easy and relaxed for the most part. The interior back roads were not so lovely though. A lot of up and downs and side to sides.

    Eventually we made it to Lake Boomanjin which was a tea tree infused lake. It was absolutely stunning with a red color and black water. It made for some cool photos and apparently it's supposed to have a nice effect on your skin and hair (but that's more applicable when you spend great amounts of time in it). That was around dusk so once the sun was gone we headed back to camp. It was about an hour and I got to drive the whole thing which was pretty awesome! So much fun :)

    When we got back to the camp we had an absolutely delicious dinner. Steak, potatoes, green beans, and hot dogs. I even had two steaks because I was so hungry from the day.

    After dinner Clint told the story of Fraser island and how it got its name. The story was actually quite sad but it essentially had to do with a rich British couple crashing a ship in purpose to claim the insurance money and then landing on the island. Most of the crew died of hunger because it took so long to get picked up and saved including James himself. The aboriginals of the island (the Butchulla) helped Eliza stay alive until help came and she went back to Australia.

    When she got back she couldn't get the insurance money because the boat was under James' name do she wrote a book about her experience but it didn't sell. So she wrote another book but changed it so that the Butchulla were made out to be the bad ones and the book explained how they killed James and the crew and this one sold. She even wrote one more that said they were cannibals who ate James and the rest of the crew. Eventually the government sent the military to the island to hunt them all down. They took them to Indian head (which is a massive cliff on Fraser island) and pushed them down into the ocean one by one. All two hundred of them. Such a sad story, but luckily forty were able to somehow swim to shore, hide, and live to tell the tale. There was more to the story but that essentially covers it and that's why it was named Fraser island, but to the locals it was K'Gari and because all of this information recently came out, the island name is officially being changed to K'Gari in the near future!

    As Clint spoke more it became very evident that this island had a special place in his heart and that he loved his job and the island itself. He even explained how he felt physically connected to it. Later we all had a few drinks and then called it a night. It was amazing to camp because we were only a few hundred meters from the oceanside so I literally fell asleep to the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore which was amazing!

    May 17

    Rise and shine! Clint woke us all up for 5:45 so we could watch the sunrise. We had a nice filling breakfast and then we were off for the day by about seven!

    Our first stop was Indian Head. I was honestly quite disappointed because despite the horrific story told the night before about what had happened there everyone just took stupid happy selfies there and it felt like going to something like the holocaust and posing for happy photos. Regardless it was crazy to think about standing right where such a horrific event had happened. On a much lighter note we did spot a few whales swimming along the cliff which was quite a sight!

    We had another great wrap lunch. I helped Clint clean up all the dishes because well, I could. Then we went to Eli Creek. It was so pure you could drink the water coming out of it. Also quite massive given that the creek produces eighty million litres of water per day. What was even cooler was learniny that the sand takes a long time to purify the water so it could literally stop raining today and the creek would still flow at the same consistency and pressure for the next 50 years!

    We spent a good chunk of time there before heading to Maheno shipwreck. I personally didn't much care for this part of the tour.

    Later we had another really delicious supper. This time we had a honey chicken and vegetable stir fry. It was loaded with onions and yet I devoured it all which for anyone who knows me is quite uncharacteristic of me. Client explained more stories of the Boomerang and some of the weapons the Butchulla people used back in the day. This kind of stuff always seems to interest me. Again a few drinks. I made friends with this Swiss couple Ursin and Lorena and we had great chats before calling it a night.

    May 18

    Today went really fast. After breakfast our first stop was Lake McKenzie which was so stunning. Beautiful white sand and literally the eater was so clear. Even beyond the points where you could touch the ground while swimming you could still look down and see the sand! Like wow!

    Then we hit up the islands Rainforest area. Clint had lots more stories about the Butchulla and the traditions they had. The forest area we visited was along a creek and it was where women traditionally gave birth. It was also a place where men were not allowed way back when.

    Unfortunately by mid day out tour was over and it was time to drive back to Noosa. On the ferry off the island we saw some dolphins and even a dewgong. After getting back on the mainland we almost immediately got stuck but we were able you push our way out! Immediately after getting stuck one of the other vehicles got a flat tire. What luck! Clint and I changed the tire and my new friend Ursin was quick to comment "how Canadian of you" which I realized it was. It was also weird to see all the cars going by without even one asking if they could help us out. I guess helping really is a Canadian thing! On the way back we listened to some German music from Ursin's phone and then I shared my country music collection.

    When we got to Noosa we said our goodbyes and off we went. I just checked into the hostel for the night and I will sleep soon! What a trip! Tomorrow is my last official day in Australia so i better try and make the best of it!

    -Terrence out
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  • Day48

    Quick Couple of Days in Noosa!

    May 15, 2016 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Saturday May 14th

    So before I set off to Noosa I woke up at 545 with Stefaan and we went to the beach to watch the sunrise! It was the perfect day for it. The weather was relatively warm and there was just enough clouds to make the photos beautiful without covering up the sun! The pinks, oranges, and purples really lit up the sky. Also as we left the beach I got a few funny shots with a prop which you can see in the photos.

    The seven hour bus ride wasn't great, but I made it. Luckily for me there was a shuttle waiting for me so I didn't have to walk from the bus station to the hostel and it was free of charge! Upon checking into the hostel there was almost immediately a welcome night going on for anyone who was new to the hostel that night. There I met Christopher from Seattle and Melissa from France. The three of us chatted a bit and then decided to head out for dinner.

    After a short walk we found a nice Thai place and quickly sat down and ordered. After all the fries that are served here in Australia it was nice to have a stir fry and some rice. It was delicious and hit the spot! After that we went for ice cream and enjoyed rather deep conversations about where we were in life and in our travels. It was nice to share real conversations with people farther than the superficial "where you from? How long are you travelling for? ..." conversations that lead nowhere and are almost automatic to travellers at this point. From there I called it a night.

    Sunday May 15th

    We all decided to do a hike to catch the sunrise again today so we got up at 4:45 and we're off on our hike by 5:15. It was the three of us again plus a french Canadian girl named Marie. By about 6:15 we reached the spot and I witnessed my second sunrise in a row which I'm pretty certain is a new high score for me. Again it was beautiful.

    Our hike took us through the national park here in Noosa. I was hoping for a koala sighting, but no such luck. Regardless the park was full of birds and wild turkeys (which was kind of odd) and so many trees that stretched into the skyline. There were even these skinny branches that reached up tens of meters to the tops but were very loosely connected. It was my theory that the koalas used these branches to slide down like firefighters on the pole haha.

    From there we went and bought some breakfast from the grocery store. We regrouped at the hostel before heading to the beach for three hours. The water was a bit cold and the waves were pretty minor so we mainly just tanned. By one I got bored of tanning and headed back to the hostel. The rest of the afternoon I just made myself lunch and did my laundry in prep for tomorrow.

    Later in the afternoon we went for an early supper. We went to Bettys Burgers and it was amazing! I really messed with the menu and decided to totally destroy my arteries by ordering a beef burger with lettuce and pickles add a chicken burger patty and bacon. And of course Bettys secret sauce. It was delicious! And then we had ice cream on top of that. I essentially had a brownie cookie dough blizzard which was also pretty great.

    Later I met a guy in my hostel. He was from London working in Sydney this past year as a cocktail bartender. He told me that Backster's Inn is actually rated the 6th best bar in the world! (And I didn't even know that when I was there last week!).

    The rest of the night I sat around and chatted with some guys I had met the night before. Around nine I showered up and called it a day. Early morning tomorrow! Going off the grid until Wednesday on a Fraser Island tour!

    -Terrence out
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  • Day46

    Phenomenal Surfing in Byron Bay!

    May 13, 2016 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    Thursday May 12

    Wow what a cool day here in Byron Bay! I slept in until ten and slowly got started on my day! Had a small breakfast and then made penne with cheap sauce for lunch before setting out for my surf lesson! I forgot to mention but last night I also met a Belgian guy from Antwerp named Stefaan. He told me he was going to take a surfing lesson at black dog surf school today so I decided I would join him and luckily for me there was an empty spot.

    So we went to the surf place which was right around the corner for 145. After a brief introduction we set out to the beach in the van. We spent a good chunk of time going through safety and technique and also just stretching which was all very helpful. I technically did try surfing two years ago on Vancouver island, but it really didn't go very well.

    After much instruction we hit the water. I volunteered to go first, but I rushed my attempt at standing up and fell almost immediately. After I got some feedback from the instructor my second attempt was great and I stood right up! It felt so amazing! From there it just got better and better 😊

    It's hard to explain it all, today was just phenomenal! And we got some epic photos!

    After surfing Stefaan and I decided we would give it another go tomorrow as well 😊 We went back to the hostel and ordered pizza for only $6. It was domino's and I was starving so I ate my entire pizza. Then we went and got some cookies and beer and I ate my whole pack of cookies and a beer too. The surfing really built up my appetite.

    Around ten we winded down for the evening, but I wasn't quite tired enough to go to sleep so I took a walk to the beach. The waves were crashing really hard and I'm pretty sure it was high tide because there wasn't too much of a beach left. I walked down the beach a fair bit until it was pretty much entirely dark. The stars were beautiful and the night was so clear. Truth be told I was so scared because it's Australia and there are so many things that are dangerous so when I heard this loud bird noise I just ran back to the edge of the beach with light. I'm certain there was nothing that would put me into immediate danger, but I wasn't going to chance anything.

    After that I went back to the hostel and fell asleep almost instantly.

    Friday May 13

    I slept in pretty late today until almost eleven. Had a pretty relaxed morning. Around two Stefaan and I headed out surfing again!

    This time there wasn't as much of a lesson so we got a lot more time in the water. The day before Dom the instructor was giving us pushes and kinda finding the waves for us but today we were all on our own, paddling and all. This proved to be a lot more difficult but after about an hour of learning the waves and a better paddling technique it became a lot more fluent. I had a few waves that I rode probably at least 50 meters and it felt incredible! On one of the waves, without even planning it, Stefaan, myself and the instructor were all simultaneously on the wave! It was so cool! Also there was this little five year old with his dad who was surfing and getting pushes and he was killing it! He literally high fived stationary Dom as he was surfing the wave. Such an adorable sight!

    When we finished up Stefaan and I got our photos from the day before which look awesome! When we got back to the hostel I met Kyle who was my new Canadian roommate. Stefaan had met a Dutch couple and the five of us all went out for a cheap meal at the local bar cheeky monkeys. They had a deal for anyone in a hostel which was 50% off any food order a complimentary small beer. So for 7.50 I had a burger and fries with a beer. What's even more crazy is happy hour was on so I had a pint for $4. Yeah it doesn't stop there. So it's Friday and they have this body paint theme night going on so there are legitimately topless waitresses walking around with body paint "covering" their boobs. One came to our table and offered to buy us all a round of drinks. So for 11.50 I had a burger and fries with 2 pints and a small beer. Pretty crazy!

    But as the night went on the place turned more into a club and anyone who really knows me knows that I don't much enjoy clubs. There were drunk people everywhere and apparently the great thing about this bar is that they encourage you to dance on tables. So yeah by about ten I left because I wasn't really having too much fun at that point.

    When I got back the English girls were I'm the room relaxing. Had some fun chars with them about making necklaces out of tv remote buttons, which I thought was the weirdest thing, but still so funny. Just imagine going to value village and buying like six broken tv remotes and the look youwould get at the counter haha.

    And that was my time in Byron! Tomorrow I'm off to Noosa for a few days! Nighty night!

    -Terrence out (pictures to be loaded later)
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  • Day44

    Off to Byron Bay!

    May 11, 2016 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

    Not too much to report today. I flew out pretty early in the morning. It was a brief flight and then I had to catch a bus into Byron Bay.

    It's quite a small town which I like, but more of a hippy town than the towns in new zealand (maybe? at this point my memory could be skewed). Anyways I checked in and then had a nap. Eventually I woke up and decided to get out for a little bit.

    I found a kebab place and enduldged before heading to the beach. I have to admit Australian beaches are something else! So beautiful. The waves were not massive, but at times still sizable. I had shorts on but they weren't swim trunks. For a while I just stayed in knee deep, but eventually I couldn't resist. I found a few English girls sunbathing and asked them if they would be around for a while and if they could watch my stuff. Obviously they fell for the Terrence charm (yeah right) and happily obliged.

    I ran in full speed and dove into the water. It was cold, but more than bearable and it felt amazing. I spent the next half hour or so diving in and out of the waves and allowing myself to be one with the ocean (while still occasionally and unnecessarily keeping an eye out for sharks haha). When I was finished I collected my things and headed back.

    I had a few hours to myself so I sat on my phone and then read a few chapters of my book. After a while a few of my room mates came by and introduced themselves. Two were from England and two from Germany, but the german girls left Pretty quick.

    After talking with the English girls we ended up going to a bar for a few drinks. I passed on the drinking, but I had a decent little supper. The bar was very much an open concept with no real doors, but some parts of the bar was more sheltered than others. In the open area they had a projection screen and they played the movie "the blues brothers." I had never seen it, but I absolutely loved the soundtrack and I found it pretty funny. It was a cool experience to catch a movie in a bar and there were quite a few people there!

    That was the end of the night! Going surfing tomorrow!

    -Terrence out
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  • Day43

    Bridge Walk, Tapas, and Manley

    May 10, 2016 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Another really busy last day this time in Sydney! I started the day with the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. The climb was advertised as the "climb of your life" but to be honest I felt it was quite underwhelming. The view was quite nice but we weren't allowed to take cameras and photos were really expensive so I opted out. But on the plus side I got a complimentary hat and group photo. If you're ever considering doing the climb, don't spend the $278 like I did... just find somewhere else for a nice view!

    The day got significantly better from there. When I got out of the bridge climb Reece was eagerly waiting and we went out searching for some lunch. Reece wanted to try this tapas bar, so we went there. We tried a total of four dishes: lobster sliders, braised pork in lettuce wrap, stuffed red peppers, and some sort of braised chicken in a cheese and tomato salsa sauce. The chicken was our favourite. We also had a sangria each which was made up of wine, gin, tequila, liquor 43, amaretto and some assorted fruit. I had never actually had a sangria and I feel like I was spoiled by this one because it was delicious.

    After we finished there we headed to the opera house but unfortunately we weren't allowed access inside. It was still cool to be able to see the different sails and the things inside them (because almost all the walls are glass). From there we got ice cream. We both chose a combination of coconut and this rich milk chocolate flavor. I think the lady at the counter liked Reece because his was almost twice the size of mine haha. From there we decided to walk to Darling Harbour which was quite nice and quaint. Then we walked back and I had to catch the ferry to Manly (a suburb in Sydney) so we said our goodbyes and until next times!

    The ferry was nice and once again I got to see the sunset with the bridge in the background which was stunning. When I got to Manly I met up with Becca (a British girl I had met in Wanaka NZ). We started by taking a nice walk down Manly beach which was beautiful and the loud crash of the waves in the background was music to my ears. Then we went for dinner and we both decided to try kangaroo steak. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. On that note I can't say it really tastes any different than a regular beef steak, just a bit more gamey.

    We both wanted dessert so we went to the grocery store and both got a cake each and a litre of milk to share. The cakes were massive and in hind sight we should have shared one but it was a funny experience none the less. We then sat in front of Manly beach enjoying our cake. It was really quite hilarious to see all the joggers going by trying to take care of their bodies and here we were, stuffing our faces with cake.

    On the way back to the wharf we has to stop and use the bathrooms. They ended up being downstairs in a sketchy underground parking lot. On the elevator back up, the elevator shook violently twice in a row before opening. Once it did open we jumped out as fast as we could. Then we said our goodbyes and I caught the ferry back. On my way home I saw a homeless man tucked away fast asleep and decided to leave the rest of my cake for him to enjoy when he woke up. I sure hope he likes it!

    Anyways, that was my day! Tomorrow I'm off to Byron Bay!

    -Terrence out!
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  • Day42

    Walking Tour and Backster's Inn

    May 9, 2016 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    Another rainy ish day in Sydney. I woke up around 930 and got ready for the day before calling mom for mothers day. We had a really good chat but because of it I missed the walking tour that was run by the hostel (little did I know this would work in my favour).

    So after my chat with mom, I made myself some lunch and finished planning my trip. Aside from two bus rides the rest of my trip is essentially booked at this point and I must say it's an amazing feeling to not have to plan much anymore!

    I decided to take the 2:30 walking tour in the city despite the rain. By the time I got to the tour the rain stopped and I found myself actually quite warm which was nice. Before the tour even started I met Marin Poirier-Coutansais (that's a great guess, and indeed you're right, he was French!) He was from Les sables d'olonne, but studied in Nantes. He explained how his home town. Is where the Vandee Globe sailing competition starts every four years which was really cool.

    The tour was alright. The guide was very knowledgeable, but I found that he was almost always underwhelmed when speaking about historical things. In fact he always just discredited almost everything he would say. He would say something like: "and that commemoration is where the British first planted their flags here, but how can we really prove that so it probably isn't really the spot. If I didn't have Marin with me, I might have just left the tour, but I'm glad I didn't. We ended up visiting Hyde park, and Sydney Tower otherwise known as the golden bucket. I learned how sydney was initially where the British would ship off ex convicts so it wasn't exactly a law abiding town way back when.

    But at the end of the tour we witnessed the most beautiful sunset. Even for Mr land of the living skies from Saskatchewan it was still quite a treat. And the tour finished in a spot that showcased the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The view and the sunset together definitely made my day, especially given that it all started in the rain.

    When the tour finished Marin proposed a drink and I happily agreed. The tour guide made a few recommendations so we chose one of them. The place was called Backsters Inn. Everything about the bar was cool. First off, it was off the main streets. You had to walk down an alley and then there was a little terrace and it was tucked in the corner. Just a small door not even marked. Then you open the door and go down a flight of stairs before opening another door and then BOOM! You're there. It feels like you're in a different universe. It was so classy (even though we weren't dressed fancy at all).

    We had a few drinks and chatted for a few hours. I ordered a wheat ale first which was really nice. I saw the bartenders making all kinds of cool cocktails and eventually I saw this bartender use a juicer for one of the drinks so I asked what it was. It was a whisky sour, one ounce whisky and the rest was composed of two granny smith apples juiced right before my eyes. It was super cool and very tasty. Not to mention I felt like in some weird way it felt like I was being healthy (this would be a very dangerous path I think...). I also met a bartender named TK from the Bag of Islands in NZ which was really cool cause I was just there and he seemed impressed that I knew where that was!

    After a few drinks we came back to my hostel and ordered some food from the bar. We had really nice thin crust pizzas and a few more good chats before Marin and I said our goodbyes. It was truly a pleasure to meet him and he made me realize how much reading this new book has helped me with conversation. Reading as a whole opens such conversational doors that I never truly saw before. So yeah, I'm going to start reading more, permanently.

    Before heading to bed I planned my day for tomorrow. It's going to be a busy one! Tune in tomorrow! Goodnight everyone!

    -Terrence out!
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