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November 20, 2019

La Paz

I'm back! Here marks the start of my South America posts.

The city of La Paz itself is not a tourist draw, but I’d been wanting to visit since seeing photos of it. At 3500-4000m high depending on where you are in the city, it's the highest administrative capital in the world - the official capital of Bolivia is Sucre, but business is conducted in La Paz. It sits in a canyon carved out by a river, and is the most amazing jumble of buildings spreading up the walls.


October 9, 2019

3 weeks in a backpack: outdoors edition

I haven’t done this in way too long. Here’s my packing list for my upcoming three week trip to Bolivia and Patagonia.


Original source images here (RIP polyvore). Note these aren't the exact items I own and I changed some colours.

As usual, attempting to go carry on only, this time in a new 35L sports backpack. Unusually for me, this is going to be a very outdoorsy holiday, hence the reason why this list has a bit of a different look to my previous ones.

I’m going to be spending a fair few days doing proper hiking and/or roughing it in the elements, with unpredictable weather and temperatures between 0C on the Uyuni salt flats at night and 25C in Buenos Aires. This made planning a bit difficult as I don’t own any technical clothing. I didn’t want to buy lots of outdoors clothes to never use again, but at the same time wanted make sure I would be comfortable. So I tried to strike a balance between borrowing and trying to buy things that will be versatile for future use.

Jackets
I’m taking more outerwear than usual this time. I’m borrowing my father’s parka for being outdoors in the rain and as a general jacket. I’ve also borrowed my mother’s padded jacket for when it gets cold at night during camping or on bus rides. It’s synthetic, not down, and doesn’t pack down very small unfortunately; I toyed with the idea of buying a Uniqlo down jacket, but decided not to as it’s not something I would wear day to day. I also bought a Uniqlo fleece jacket on sale, as I’ve read that fleece is good for warmth while being active. I’ve already worn it lots casually (it’s so warm for its weight!) so I’m not too mad about having spent money on it.

Tops
Just three t-shirts, as I’m very much working with layers this time. The black tee is an Icebreaker merino one which I bought earlier this year - you may have heard I swear by merino since it’s temperature regulating and goes for ages without needing to be washed. It’s been a staple in my closet this past winter, especially layered under a jumper, so cost per wear is already less than a dollar. For any hiking I’ll be wearing the merino top, and for other days I’ll wear my other two for variety.

Bottoms
Again, more pants than I would usually pack. Jeans are a must for me, I feel comfortable in them and plan to wear them on walking-around-town days. I’m planning on wearing the leggings and joggers for hiking. Both are quick-drying synthetic from Uniqlo‘s activewear section. I figured I’d keep getting wears out of them post-trip as opposed to traditional hiking pants.

Shoes
Hiking boots were the one area I couldn’t cut corners with, as I didn’t want to injure myself or endure wet feet for days on end. Unfortunately they're so ugly they make me want to cry. There were better looking ones, but were either too expensive or uncomfortable. I ended up settling on these Columbia ones which I got for about $120 on sale. I wore them on an 11km hike a few weeks ago and didn’t have any problems, so that’s a success. The other pair I’m taking are my trusty Chelsea boots which always end up being a vanity pack since I don’t really need them. I just love them so much. Funnily they’re actually a tad heavier than the hiking boots so I’ll be wearing them on the plane, which will make going through airport security easier.

Other
Trusty Kanken daypack, hat, gloves, and sunnies self explanatory. Not pictured are underwear, socks (including hiking socks), flip flops, and a top and leggings I’ll be wearing as PJs that I could wear out and about in a pinch. Most of the rest of my pack space will be equipment like a sleep sheet, torch, toiletries, first aid kit etc. We'll be hiring sleeping bags and tents, so we don’t need to worry about that at least. I’m not planning on doing much shopping but I’ve packed a light tote bag to use as an alternate carry on in case I need to check my backpack at the end of the trip.

I could seriously go on and on and on about packing, I love it. I will see if I can do a review post of how it went when I get back!

October 6, 2019

Cemetery Drive

Another year, another Hidden show at Rookwood Cemetery. It's the largest and oldest cemetery in Australia, and every year they hold a sculpture exhibit amongst one of the older sections. I'm not finding I like the works as much as I used to, but I really enjoy visiting in the springtime and this gives me a socially acceptable excuse to go.


September 29, 2019

Wildflowers

Yesterday YY and I headed up north and did the Berowra to Berowra waters walk - an 11km hike in and back.


September 24, 2019

Gardens and tea

Last weekend, I went to Leura in the Blue Mountains for a day trip with Waka and Kaalya. I was last there two years ago, and was keen to see the Everglades garden in bloom for spring!


September 16, 2019

Spring resolutions

Hello all! After a bit of a dark winter, spring is finally here and I'm ready to get back into life and hopefully blogging as well.


I've found this year difficult. Starting a new job at a new hospital in February was a lot harder than I expected, and I spent a few months feeling stressed, self conscious, and battling a bad case of imposter syndrome. It got better with time, as well as meeting lots of awesome people along the way. Then came another round of job interviews last month (I only had a one year contract), which has had the happy result of me staying on to start formal ICU training next year! It feels so good to finally be able to get stuck into an area that I'm interested in and excited about.

With this comes the next challenge: sitting a big exam next year, which I'm aiming to do in March. It's almost a purely science-based physiology exam, which was never my strong point at uni - I was always better with clinical content. At the same time, there's something comforting about the idea of studying for an exam, as it's something that I know how to do and have control over.

I don't want this to be the next thing that takes over my life, though. As I learned during med school, balance is key. I want to stay healthy - both emotionally and physically. So here are a couple of resolutions that I've thought up - I feel like spring is as good a time as any to make some new ones!

1. Keep running. It's difficult to be consistent with my schedule, but I've managed to get back into the swing of running over the winter. Somehow over the last few months I've been able to run further than I have before - I managed 12k last week, which was something I thought was impossible for me until recently! I'm aiming to do City2Surf, or even a half marathon, this time next year.

2. Start reading again. I have been in a horrible reading drought which I am only starting to break. It's just been so much easier for me to relax by frying my brain with Netflix or random leopard documentaries on Youtube, but I'm starting to make a conscious effort to read more. I've put a load of detective novels onto my Kindle to get me started, and I'm making myself read during meals or before bed (when I'd otherwise be watching videos), which is working well for my sleep hygiene too.

3. Be productive on the train. Again, lots of wasted time on my commute to and from work this year, mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed. I've decided I'm going to use train time to either study (and have printed off hard copies of my notes to make it easier) or write up blog posts on my phone.

4. Get dressed. On my days off, it's tempting to stay in my PJs if I'm not leaving the house. I've started changing into proper clothes, even if I'm studying on the couch, and it does make a difference in mindset.

5. Take more photos. I used to love taking photos - this blog is a testament to that. My favourite thing to do would be to spot something beautiful amongst everyday scenery, and take a snap. I haven't been doing this much anymore - a combination of being mentally burdened with other things, and maybe because I'm sick of seeing people take photos of everything since the rise of Instagram. But that's not got anything to do with me, and I want to start photographing again.

6. Do more new things. I feel like the way I spend my leisure time is stuck in a bit of a rut. I want to try new things - go to a beach I haven't been to before, or an event or activity that I usually wouldn't do. Go alone, if no one else is free. Maybe make that once a month? I'll report back here.

And on that note - what better way to break out of a rut than to go on a trip? Next month, a friend and I are going to Bolivia and Patagonia for three weeks! She's also a doctor, and somehow miraculously the stars of annual leave have aligned - which they may never do again for the rest of our working lives - so we're going big in the short time we have. Get excited for the packing post.

And with that I'm going to end this post which has turned out way longer than the few points I initially wanted to list. I guess I still have lots to say after all! Anyone else have any resolutions for the new season?

July 8, 2019

Impression, Sunrise

On Saturday, I went down to Canberra with YY and Wai Lam to see the Monet exhibit currently showing at the National Gallery.


June 22, 2019

Pizza, Duchamp, and a spot of shopping

I have been stressed lately, and my friend told me I needed to take some time out to properly relax in a way that didn't involve Netflix and ice cream, so yesterday afternoon I had some me-time.


I feel like this is one of my favourite views of Sydney, looking back towards the city when you've crossed the Domain. It's underrated.


I came across a pop-up food truck and bought myself a pizza which I ate on a park bench. The weather was cold but the pizza was warm in my lap. I polished it off while watching the lunchtime joggers (I looked at every one of them in the eye).


I went and saw the Duchamp exhibit at AGNSW.


My favourite was the hat rack, it looks like a cute little sea creature.


I swung by the Cos sale afterwards and picked up a replacement striped t-shirt for a good price.


Sat and read in Koko Black for a while - best hot chocolate in Sydney, believe me!


Then I bought another top in Uniqlo - I know it looks like I'm just stress shopping now but I promise I've been meaning to get a striped button down in this exact colour for ages!

After I went home I went for a jog and ate vegetables for dinner. I felt rejuvenated indeed.

June 9, 2019

Paronella Park

I spent two days up in Cairns this past week. I was up there for a one-day course, but I had the day before free, so I decided to hire a car and drive somewhere. I thought about the Daintree, but I didn't quite have enough time to get up there and back, but on some research I came across this place called Paronella Park, which was about an hour and a half south of Cairns. It was built in the 1930s by a Spanish immigrant, and it is amazing. It reminded me of Quinta da Regeleira in Sintra, which is one of my favourite places in the world.


May 25, 2019

Vivid '19

Another year, another Vivid! It always marks the start of winter for me, but to my disappointment it wasn't properly cold when I went last night. However, since it was the first night, the crowds weren't too overwhelming. So after a dinner at the new Mary's CQ (which is now on my Sydney recs list), we set out to see the lights.


May 2, 2019

Sydney recs

Here is a post that has been brewing in my mind for a few months! A list of my favourite places to eat and drink in the Sydney CBD, from morning until night.


April 15, 2019

Birthday week off

My seven days off last week happily coincided with my birthday week.


March 21, 2019

Kakadu

Kakadu is a famous national park in the Northern Territory, a 2 hour drive from Darwin. It’s both ecologically and culturally significant, having lots of important Aboriginal sites archaeologically dating back at least 20,000 years. Twenty thousand! Currently it is the tropical summer, which is wet season (although we didn’t encounter any rain), so lots of sites were inaccessible. We still had a great time seeing what we could. The park covers a huge area - half the size of Switzerland, apparently - so we did a lot of driving.


March 16, 2019

Darwin

I have been up in the Top End the last five days! I have friends working in Darwin currently, so decided to make the most of my week off to go and visit. We spent most of our time in Kakadu National Park (post to follow) but I found the little I saw of Darwin really interesting so wanted to give it its own post.

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, and is geographically in the tropics. It’s closer to South East Asia than it is to Sydney and has a more diverse population than I would have expected for a smaller Australian city. It was the only Australian city bombed in WW2, and in 1974 it was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy. It has a completely different feel to other Australian cities I’ve visited.


March 2, 2019

Homebody


My plant babies multiplying.

Just checking in, saying hi. It's been an exhausting few weeks! I've started up at my new hospital, and even though being on a seven-days-working-seven-days-off schedule should technically give me lots of free time, it doesn't feel like it. I work 12 hour days on my weeks on so basically don't have time to do anything else, so on most of my week off I'm out catching up with friends and errands. So it feels really, really nice when I get the chance to chill at home, tend to my plants and read on the couch. And once things settle down I hope to be more active around here again too!

February 14, 2019

January 30, 2019

Blue jeans

I thought I'd do an outfit round up since it's been a while since the last one, and I realised that all the outfits that I'd caught with mirror shots involved my new Uniqlo boyfriend jeans. Not regretting buying them at all!


January 21, 2019

Thursday and Friday

Thursday and Friday were my days off last week, this is what they looked like.


January 12, 2019

New in recently

Some new things I have bought over the last few months.


I got myself a new bag in the sales, it's the mini Signet from J. Crew and I love it! I'm not much of a bag fiend (the last bag I bought myself was in 2014) but I'd been wanting a small cross-body bag that matches my tan sandals. It's big enough for my wallet, phone, and keys, and I can squeeze my Kindle in as well if I really wanted to.


I added a pilea to my plant collection but it's not doing that well - the leaves are all curling and I don't know why. I tried more light and less water but that made it look even sadder. I think it might be the hot weather we're having, which can't be helped much. It's still putting out new leaves quickly though, I guess that's a good sign?


A new mug from H&M home. I quickly realised why large mugs aren't usually shaped like that, it's not very ergonomic.


New top and jeans from Uniqlo. The top is rayon, which they've changed to make it less wrinkle-prone, and I love it. I'm considering buying it in black. These boyfriend jeans I've been wanting for years, I finally bit the bullet and have been wearing them all the time!


Added to my work wardrobe in the spring - a boxy top, from Uniqlo again.


My eight year old Macbook Pro was finally brought to its knees by a few drops of water (that dripped off a carton of ice cream, no less) on the trackpad. I replaced it with this Windows Surface Laptop which I got for a good price in the Black Friday sales. I really enjoy using it, and the all black looks pretty nice. I considered going with another Macbook again but I wasn't so committed to Apple that I could justify the price.

January 7, 2019

Looking forward

Here are some things I am looking forward to in 2019.


A seven-on, seven-off working schedule. My roster for most of this year is seven days working and then seven days off, which I think I prefer to the Monday to Friday life. It gives me enough time to do things I need to as well as a few days to solidly relax.

The human contact of catching the train to work. I will probably be sick of it two weeks in, but I've been driving to hospital for the last four years and have sort of missed commuting via public transport.

Being more social. Despite being a firm introvert, I do enjoy a good party. More often than not I'm glad I've made the effort of turning up somewhere, even if I've dreaded leaving the house.

Studying in cafes. I have started studying for real, making notes from textbooks again, and am finding that I quite enjoy it. I do get easily distracted and being in a public place helps quell my desire to watch Netflix or online shop from sheer self-consciousness.

Another adventure. My leave is in October and I'm wanting to go to Patagonia, or elsewhere in South America. I will just have to make sure my plans don't get out of hand to try and keep my usual travel anxiety to a minimum.

Taking up hiking. To prepare for aforementioned possible trip to Patagonia, for which I will need to break in a pair of hiking boots.

Bringing back this blog. There are so many post ideas that have been in my head for months, which I've just not been able to get onto the screen. Watch this space!