2017 has gotten off to a tremendous start. The first few months were normal until the end of March when I became homeless and jobless. This series of events has meant I'm free to do as I want any old time. Introductions are now considerably more interesting. I openly admit to some self-satisfaction when I calmly state "I don't have a home, nor do I have a job." The conflicting emotions on the face of any new acquaintance is genuinely pleasing.
So, jobless and homeless, I went to Iceland, Berlin, and France.
Iceland was...well have a read here. It was everything I wanted it to be and a little bit more.
Berlin was extraordinary, humbling, imposing and breathtaking. My friends and I stayed in Kreuzberg, close to the famous East Side Gallery, a Korean burger joint called Angry Chicken, and a park where young, black men kept trying to sell me weed. It was a strange contrast visiting sobering museums and historical landmarks, then spending the evening sitting outside a store, pleasantly drunk on vodka and Club Mates, affectionately known as Vodka Mates.
As for France, Paris is one of my favourite cities and hanging out in a chateau in the Loire Valley for a week during spring is quite a nice way to wind down, even when you're not wound up all that much. I filled my days with many of the best things in life, such as creamy cheese, bottles of wine, and buttery pastries.
So what now?
I am back in Sydney for the next two weeks to see friends, swap my winter clothes for summer ones, and because there was a cute girl I was hoping to take for a drink, although in the words of Bernard Black, she's probably seeing one of her four million friends.
Then I am off to Indonesia!
My first stop is Lombok, where I will be trekking to the top of Mt Rinjani. At an altitude a little over 3700 metres it is not an insignificant trek, though it should only take a couple of days. The only annoying thing will be packing luggage for trekking in the mountains while the rest of the time will be spent on tropical beaches. First world problems.
Gili Trawangan will be all about diving. I hope to get a few more under my belt and I have heard this is a great place to do it. Considering I leapt from my PADI Open Water, into a certified dry suit dive at Silfra, I feel it is time to go back and log a few easy dives.
After Gili T, the island of Flores. I am going there exclusively to see Komodo dragons. I have seen one in a zoo. I want to see one in the wild. If it seems a little strange to fly to a small island in Indonesia just to see something I've already seen before, I don't care. It will be amazing.
Then back to Bali. I have experienced the wonders of Kuta and its fluxional population of Australian bogans. I lasted two hours before I aborted and ran back to my surf retreat in Canggu, hoping Kuta would one day sink into the ocean. Unfortunately that hasn't happened yet. It is a shame as the Balinese people mostly seem to be lovely. This time I know what to expect!
Dancing the edge of my 30 day visa, I will be back in Sydney ready to see friends, swap out my summer clothes for winter ones, and perhaps buy a cute girl a drink.
After actively avoiding cold weather last year, I will be spending winter in Queenstown, New Zealand in a solid attempt to relearn how to snowboard without tearing any important tendons or breaking any important bones. I should become at least proficient enough so my nephew and niece think I'm cool.
I'm also planning on doing a lot of road trips around the southern part of the South Island. Expect some more articles on this great part of the world!
If you have any travel plans then feel free to share them. If you don't have any travel plans, make some! If you want some ideas, then let me know! I may try to convince you to come to Queenstown for snowboarding and road tripping around New Zealand's South Island. There are worse things to endure.