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Arrived in Paris by the Chunnel Eurostar. The plush carriages circa 1990s provided a comfortable time capsule to arrive in. The Paris hotel is located between Riquet and Crimee stations, so a series of Metro changes to most places.

ET from Arch De Triomph

We visited Notre Dam and climbed the tower. The views over Paris highlighted how strict the building code must be to limit the height of buildings so far throughout the city. Obviously this is reflected in astronomical property prices. The Arc de Triomphe provided not only another great vantage point, but much hilarity watching the crazy peak hour traffic navigating the many lanes with no lines marked – particularly as the tiny smart cars darted and squeezed between the murmation of traffic swarming around the monument. A mammoth walk to the Great Arch was quite the pilgrimage. Visited the catacombs, and the 14 degrees beneath the surface of Paris proved quite a warm treat… setting the almost numbing quantity of bones aside. Enjoyed an evening picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower (although there was no lawn and drinking alcohol isn’t permitted, a park bench and a fine bottle of red from Bordeaux made it quite lovely), visited the Moulin Rouge, Sacre Cur, and the Louvre.



Pretty things in the Louvre

The Louvre was simply overwhelming. The vast collection is just too big to explore, but relished the opportunity to savour even a sliver of it. Managed to spend over seven hours walking the halls and many rooms of just a small section of the immense museum. I think I almost crushed Kathryn’s spirit dragging her through it. The audio guides were VIOLATING. They had crapping Nintendos – which I had thought fell out of grace at the end of the 90s, but alas, were alive and kicking to violate us with their poor displays and constant WOOOOOSH sounds as they constantly alerted to you to the fact you had changed rooms – NO SHIT!?


Most importantly, the food… I have enjoyed countless visits to the boulangeries! Such delights… and the cheeses, the wines… the baguettes make me so happy. As does supermarket plonk. Just a few euros and you can find some delightful bottles of wine. Certainly not a place I could see myself living in, but the locals were helpful and our limited French was more than enough.




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Achingly beautiful.

The flight to Dubai was spent engrossed in Richard Flanagan’s Man Booker (2014) winning book The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Flanagan is a favourite author of mine, and crafted a beautifully realised and vivid book that weaved a tail of humour, comraderie, mateship and the horror of the Thai-Burma railway. My plan was to set my watch to London time as soon as I got on the plane, and to behave accordingly. The QANTAS flight was delightful. For the second leg of the journey, between Dubai and London, I tried to sleep as much as possible… not a huge success but arrived surprisingly sprightly.

Leicester Square

Arrived in London at 6:30am, which by the time we passed through customs nicely timed our arrival into the city with rush hour. Crammed into the tube like sardines is bad enough at that time of the morning, but adding 20+ kg ruck sacks just made it hilarious. In the early morning light, we walked through the beautiful suburb of Hyde Park. The dignified and manicured neighbourhood is a delight, and the hotel was just up from Glouster Station, near the park itself and Royal Albert Hall.

Harrods of Kensington

Harrods of Kensington

Sightseeing included Buckingham palace (Liz wasn’t home), Royal Albert Concert Hall, Westminster Abbey, Campden Town Markets, Oxford Street, Kensington Palace, the Ritz, Green Park, Changing of the Guards, Clarence House, St Pauls, Tower of London, Big Ben, the shop that is the frontage for Black Books, Harrods, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Churchill War Rooms, Cavalry Museum of the Household Guard, The National Museum, The Beefeater Distillery, Matilda the Musical in the Westend, The London Eye, National Portrait Gallery, The Monument, Portobello Road Markets… I’m exhausted just thinking about the amount of distance we covered. We also had the opportunity to catch up with a college friend, several times. Bernie went out of her way to catch up and spend time with us – a real treat.


Absolute highlights include an early morning through the fog covered hyde park, picking up a sheet of ice from the fountain in Trafalgar square, seeing an original ‘cartoon’ by Da Vinci – 500 year old full size sketch prior to painting, on paper and climbing to the roof of the amazing St Pauls Cathedral, exploring its architecture and history.

I found London highly agreeable. As the first European city to visit, my susty senses were tingling, the tube is excellent, the city is clean and vibrant yet refined. I could definitely see myself married as a lady of leisure there. I loved the markets, the antiques, and accessibility to quality clothing – I bought a good coat, Scottish woolen hat and scarf. Plus – Thai pubs – what magic is this?! Such a great idea.




Just because they are local, doesn’t mean they know where to go…

Arriving in Sydney was actually a grave fear of mine.  My dear friend, henceforth known as Directionally Challenged, had been sending me updates of the 38+ degree weather, and I was arriving with a pack full of winter clothes for Europe.

But arrive, I did. Sydney airport now has this delightful ‘Pick Up Zone’ which necessitates you hauling your luggage through a car park, basically comparable to walking to Woolongong and then avoiding being hit by traffic as eight hundred four wheel drives try to squeeze their way around a laughably small square of a car park with a coffee stand lumped in the middle.


With many apologies, Directionally Challenged Friend and her flat mate arrived to pick me up. Unbeknownst to me, they had suffered a biological emergency shortly before leaving to pick me up when they found two rotting dead bats stuck in their municipal waste bin. DELIGHTFUL.  If you have ever wondered what dead bat juice smells like… you are a sick bastard.


The first night we headed a suburb over to a local Italian restaurant. The food was amazing and the wog boys were muscly and cute. Perfetto. We popped a bottle of G. H. Mumm to celebrate all that we had achieved in 2014 and what was installed for 2015. Wine flowed. Laughs were had, and we made our way back to the bus stop to head home. Noting that we were only a suburb over and had a 50/50 chance of ending up on the right bus, Directionally Challenged Friend, whom I suspect was distracted by the muscle wog across the road promptly put us on a bus heading in the wrong direction, despite my protestations (what would the Tasmanian know, after all!) Long story short, we finally ended up walking home and I had to pee on an electrical substation. JOY.

We explored the bars of Newtown, chatted, relaxed and in such an Australian tradition, had a barbeque in thongs on my final night in Australia.


So today is the day. We are off, and away. I’m about to head to Sydney airport to travel to London, via Dubai, and will arrive ten hours before I depart. The adventure begins…




Oh, beautiful Melbourne was the first start of my journey. I arrived (very) late Sunday night. I enjoyed quality time with my sister and little nephew, catching up with friends – including one who flew in from Adelaide! – Peruvian dinners and may have dumped three kilos of junk at my sisters house as the pack was just too heavy.


Life is… a rucksack and my boots.


Being a ‘great’ uncle…



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Today is your day
You’re off to great places!
You’re off and away!

Dr. Seuss “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

Zero. Well, Negative? I’ve left the island. The end of the year flew past in a packing/studying/cleaning/Christmas whiz. Some beautiful friends were absolutely invaluable in helping me pack up my life for the next seven months.
Life is now comprised of two bags – my big ruck sack and a backpack for carry on. I’m spending a few days in Melbourne catching up with family and friends before the same in Sydney and then flying to London.
Final dinner in Hobart at my favourite bar - the Henry Jones

Final dinner in Hobart at my favourite bar – the Henry Jones

I’m still a bit too tired to be stressed or worried, which is probably a good thing. Hopefully I can make some time to post more regularly now.

42 Days


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Progress is slow and steady, yet it seems time is now racing past.

My final paperwork has arrived from BOKU, so I have now applied for my Resident Permit and have transferred my deposit for an apartment through to Austria.

The Visa application has so far raised more questions than answers, but I’m hoping a detailed conversation with the embassy should sort that tomorrow. The apartment I have applied for is in the second district, a beautiful modern passive solar building, close to two subway lines, parks, shopping and only 20 minutes to the campus.

Literally on the home front, things have been going much better. I have taken my first huge load off to the Salvation Army, and am already building another pile to go off to charity. I have also thoroughly enjoyed finding homes for certain more special items. Being able to give special things like paintings, books, and good quality appliances has been a wonderful experience. I am still convinced I can cleanse more from the house, and I am committed to ensuring I don’t take any superfluous clothing or clutter with me.

The next big challenges will be finishing a summer school unit before I fly out, packing and moving the house. The preparation for Europe itself, is now largely ready. I’m taking so little, I am essentially already packed.

The opportunity came up to return to my current apartment in six months, with the real-estate company filling it with another tenant for the time I am away. I thought about the practicalities of this – being able to return home and hit the ground running, knowing where I was living and how the house “works” for me and my lifestyle. But the reality in the emotional sense, of coming home from a huge opportunity to my same old job and same old apartment, hit hard. The freedom to arrive home flexibly, when my plans post 2015 are still unclear, seems more valuable than convenience.

I am under no illusion that returning to little Hobart will be a great example of reverse culture shock. Perhaps a new little home to fuss over, whilst I finish my degree, will be just the distraction one needs.

60 Days


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There is nothing like a string of assignments and end of semester exams to rush you through 25 days. I’m just beginning to gather my thoughts again after all the madness.

I’m still waiting on enrollment confirmation from BOKU – This is a final formality, and then I can finalise my accommodation and visa application. The days left in Hobart are few and the amount of stuff to do seems to be rapidly increasing.

I’ve had the chance to make some good decisions, though. In the spirit of collaborative consumption, I’ve been cleansing and culling the amount of ‘stuff’ I have. In Botsam and Roger’s book What’s Mine is Yoursthe role of ‘stuff’ is considered in depth. The reality is, I seem to have an awful lot of it. From shoes to books, it is time for a big cull. What value do they bring to me? How often do I use them? Can I part with them without guilt of sentimental memories? Largely, the answer is yes.

I was discussing change and the upcoming journey with a friend, who described it as the start of ‘watershed years ahead’. I found this particularly poignant, with reference to years. 

Once I get back to Australia, I should be able to finish my degree with a mere three further units – a single semester, all things going to plan. And then, there is a whole new raft of opportunities pending… honours, masters, employment. All of these options are scattered in various locations, so it seems logical to start stripping back to the essentials now.

This sits well with me on many levels. The lesser known reference from ‘fight club’ is ‘the things you own end up owning you’. And it is very true. I need to reduce my stuff ecologically to reduce my footprint, and to increase my mobility. Of course I won’t part with the cumbersome but important pieces – Nan’s blackwood organ will be lugged around by four to six removalists many times for the rest of my life, it seems!, but there is a lot of stuff I’ve been enjoying finding good homes for. There’s always been a minimalist in me busting to break free and enjoy industrial design, but I ended up comfortable and surrounded by frilly Victorian antiques. Such is life…

This is now also my approach to travelling next year. The decision to take a rucksack and not a suitcase was a surprisingly long internal dialogue, but truth be told I’m excited at the thought of throwing a few pairs of jeans, a pair of boots, a big warm jacket and some T shirts into a pack and heading off.

With no illusions that the remaining 60 days will be chaotic, stressful, emotional and exhilarating, I’ve just got to keep moving forwards…

85 Days


I would have thought signing away 140 days of leave, or sending off enrolment forms written in German would have been up there with the moments that made this seem ‘real’. Yet today when the calendar clocked over to 85 days left on the island, and I started looking at accommodation for London, suddenly everything seem very real.

There are many motivators to take this time off work: it has been a long, hard slog working and studying. I’ve studied by correspondence, and am craving peers for discussion and thought. But as someone studying sustainability, particularly interested in cities and sustainability, the “great good places” of Europe are calling – and what better Great Good Places to explore than the coffee houses of Vienna?

The ‘Great Good Places’ are stolen from the work by the same name of Ray Oldenburg, who wrote about the role of the part public/part private spaces such as cafes, coffee shops and bars, and the roles they play in society. I’m an avid people watcher, and I love observing how strangers and friends alike move and interact in urban areas.

The role of transport in connecting people to life opportunities also enchants me. Australia’s urban sprawl and low density housing has many externalities, from automobile dependence (and thus oil dependence) and the rise of antisocial ‘carchitecture’ through to the effects of creating pampered prisoners, the children whom rely on parents to get anywhere as public transport is either unreliable or deemed unsafe.

For me, I knew I had to study in the field of sustainability, and I’ve had the chance to study units that have convinced me that the front line in the battle for our environment is our cities. This trip is just as much about adding new (European) ideas and value adding to my degree as it is about getting me from Hobart and immersed into some of the greatest cities in the world.

Give me a city where women and children feel safe to cycle. Give me a city where rail, light and heavy, connects people to work, school and home. Give me a city with density and architecture that enchants and creates intersecting moments. Give me arts, music and farmers markets. Give me London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna…

And so it begins


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In 2013 I moved into an amazing apartment looking out over the Derwent River in Hobart. Top floor, with a great deck, mountain views from my office and an amazing kitchen. I had lucked out. So here I sit, upon my couch, looking out over the yacht club and contemplating packing up my entire life.

Life is very comfortable at the moment. My house is idyllic. I have a wonderful job. I’m surrounded by beautiful people. So it seems the perfect time to do something completely outside of my comfort zone. In less than 100 days, I’m moving to Vienna, to live and study at a university in a country where I don’t speak the native tongue, during the middle of a European winter.

What surprises me is how suddenly this has all become very real. I was at the ATM today, and thought to look at my card to check its expiration – I will have to get a new bank card before I leave, was mentally noted. The list making has commenced. What to cancel, what to suspend, what to pack and what to give to charity. Its methodical and rational (for now).

With less than 40 days left at work, a huge change is racing towards me.




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I often feel that any travel related story is a Platinum (TM) First World Problem. “Oh no, our flight to Paris is delayed! Quelle catastrophe!”…

Traveling often, I am plagued by the first world problem of luggage envy. Standing in line with all the other suit and ties one can not help but compare one’s carry on luggage with those whom he finds himself surrounded by – its like the unintended observances at a gentlemen’s urinal: I doubt one would admit to partaking in it, but one just can not help but be impressed occasionally, and feel slightly inferior by comparison.

I have a simple black trundle case that suits me for work travel perfectly. It is sturdy, has a life time warranty, and rather well set out. I can live out of it quite comfortably for a week. But it is like comparing a utility to a BMW, at times. Perfectly functional, but – well – it just isn’t… pretty.

I found myself in New York (note the casual dropping of enviable travel locations – bonus points in any white whine) and in the beloved Strand bookstore. It was at that moment I lost all self control. I had been diligently avoiding purchasing books for the prior three weeks of travel but suddenly with new found energy and resolution, I decided to unleash the Amex and pick up a what felt like four cubic tonnes of reading material.

This posed a slight problem. How was I now going to get all of these beautiful books home? It turns out, although I had more that enough room in my checked luggage, cling filmed books look suspiciously like drug parcels during airport screenings, and the TSA kept opening my bags (A FWP in itself).

I had a light bulb moment and assumed that this was the perfect time to release the proverbial stone upon two birds: I could buy a pretty carry on case to put my books in and travel home.

So I purchased a gorgeous little roll on case. It was more like a duffle bag with wheels. It was stream lined and, most importantly, looked great. Getting back to the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I could fit in it, as well. It was looking like a great acquisition.

Until I arrived at Atlanta airport.

At gate A3 and needing to get to Z546 in forty minutes.

So I started running, as most people seemed to be. Running for the gate and my connection onto Los Angeles. Running for freedom!

And then it started.

Above a certain pace – shall we say, slightly faster than a brisk walk – my beautiful luggage develops what can only be described as a case of speed wobbles.

Picture a poor, flailing, scrawny man running through a major airport with a suitcase convulsing on two wheels behind him. It was no longer rolling, more so rapidly bouncing from one wheel making contact to the ground to the other. This was not a quiet process either.

Maximum velocity was soon reached. This is the point at which the wheels can no longer absorb the jolts and jiggles, and like a beached whale giving up on life, it merely falls upon its side.

Picture it, ladies and gentlemen. Me, sweating and swearing, dragging my beautiful case on its side whilst listening to the stitches crackle and pop, praying that it could hold the excessive weight of books I was smuggling aboard the plane. If only I had been practical.

Damn these first world problems. Damn them.


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