What Happens When Dreams Don’t Come True

Well, it’s finally happened; Tourism Australia’s ‘Best Jobs in the World Contest‘ finalists have been announced!

Hilary w:cub excited copyThey have whittled the top twenty-five in each category down to three. After 14 days, 3,000 new Facebook fans, 998 miles, 350 new Twitter followers, 200 blog comments, 13 endorsements, 8 parks, 8 interviews, and 1 academy award winner… Continue reading

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When Everything Changed

I let the luke warm water wash over my body, sighing out my stress. Even though hot water was practically non-existent in Fiji, I felt grateful. I was excited just to have running water in Suva (that had been an uncertainty). Plus the cool liquid helped to quell the squelching humidity of the morning. I soaped myself with satisfaction.

It was a few days into my Fijian journey and I finally felt like I was hitting my stride. I was learning the language (albeit slowly). I had adopted the traditional garb of wearing a sulu (or sarong) when in the company of the elders and had tasted my first bowl of grog (kava). It had tasted like pepper water, which as it turns out is a pretty accurate description (kava is made from the root of the pepper plant). Yes, it had the desired effect of making my tongue numb. No, I wasn’t really interested in experiencing more. But it wasn’t bad.

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The Journey to Suva

The charter bus had the air conditioning full blast. I reached for my sweater that I hastily shoved into my bag days earlier. It had been a practical effect for Australia, but who would have thought I would have wanted it while in Fiji?

The TTF bus clamored along. I wrapped the sweater around me, hugging my knees into my chest. I selected some Dave Matthew’s on my iPod and rested my chin on my knees, looking out the window. The coastline inched by. This was going to be a long four hours. Luckily I had more than enough thoughts to occupy my time. Continue reading

Hostile Hostel Roommates: How to Deal

Yes, I know. I don’t normally post twice a week but I have been receiving lots of e-mails from you adventurers out there wanting advice. Looks like cheap travel is in the air and we’ve got a lot of adventurers preparing to embark on their first hostel experience. Whoohoo!

And I get it; there’s a lot of fear to be had about sharing space with strangers. “What if I get crappy roommates?” “Will it be like the movie? I don’t want to die!” “I’m traveling alone. What am I going to need?”

So by popular demand I am releasing this blog early (I can’t leave my homies hanging). No worries mate; just read so you can breathe easy about your upcoming adventure. =)

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The Boys of Brisbane

I scribbled in my spiral notebook on the YHA Drifters‘ patio, taking notes on my day’s adventures. My foot was propped up on an empty chair with a small bag of ice on it. I looked at it and smiled. What had been such a crippling injury in Cairns was almost insignificant now. But I still was staying on the safe side and icing whenever I had the chance.

Tonight was poker night, apparently a weekly tradition at this YHA. And while I had planned on showing all these gents how to really play a game, I had arrived back too late from my day out at The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. I felt my heart beaming from the memory of holding a koala. Well worth it, I thought.

A shaggy man in a baseball cap strode out to the patio. He lit a cigarette and walked around examining the couples sharing drinks. I didn’t pay much attention to him until he gestured toward me with his cigarette and said, “You sure know how to take up a table.” Continue reading

That One Time I Toured an A380…

Emma led me behind the red partition and into the galley. “Hey guys, this is Hilary. She’s a travel blogger from the States. She’s going to be the next Bear Grylls and she’s going to write all sorts of cool things about us.”

I gave a meek smile to the gaggle of flight attendants. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. God help me if there’s a test on their names, I thought.

“The next Bear Grylls, eh?” One of the guys asked in between bites of his dinner. “That’s pretty cool.”

I blushed at the thought. “That’s quite the compliment, thanks.” And while I certainly didn’t think myself deserving of the accolade, my mind took off and ran with the thought. Could I be the next great adventurer? What would my reality show be called? Who would want to watch that? Would I finally get to fulfill my lifelong dream and play harmonicas with Craig Ferguson on his Late Late Show?

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane… No really, it’s a plane.

So I finally had time to catch-up on writing my Qantas adventure over to Australia. Whoohoo!

Yes, I know I am obscenely late in posting this. I was kind of hoping the cuddly koalas would distract you from realizing I completely glossed over that section of my trip. But don’t worry; the post is extra witty so hopefully you will find that reason enough to forgive me. And if it’s not, remember all the kangaroo cuteness. Studies show that looking at fuzzy animals makes you happier. So if you’re still angry after you finish reading, just go back a post. Psychology says you’ll feel better. =)

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Holy. Crap.

I had never seen a vehicle so massive. Continue reading

A Guide to Feeding Kangaroos

So as much as I loved cuddling the koalas, I think I preferred interacting with their bouncy marsupial pals.

Why?

While you only have a limited amount time with the koalas (I think they belong to a union), the kangaroos roam the reserve freely. You could literally spend all day feeding the hoppers. To spend time with the koalas you have to pay for a photo. But you can walk into the kangaroo reserve at no additional cost. They do charge for food but kangaroo pellets are inexpensive.

Most importantly, there are HUNDREDS of kangas. So if one seems snobby, aggressive, or flips you off, you can walk five feet and meet a new one. Continue reading

Koala Cuddling- The Movie

Thanks again to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for arranging such an awesome day of awesomeness! If you hadn’t guessed, I found the experience pretty awesome.

This is for all those koala fans out there who want to see what the experience is like in action… And please don’t judge me because of my incessant and incoherent rambling. My mind turned to goo from all the cuteness. If you would, however, like to judge my choice of outfit or hairstyle, I have no qualms with that. =)

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