A man and a woman, a dog and two cats.

This afternoon we are leaving Helsinki to fly to Oslo, Norway. I am excited to be inching closer to those Northern Lights! However, this evening will be my first real taste of being out of my comfort zone…or maybe not, it remains to be seen!

The reason is that we will be living in the home of a Norwegian couple who live about an hour out of Oslo for the next three nights. They are in their 5o’s and have a dog and two cats…and that’s about all I know! How did this come about, I hear you ask? Well, I joined Globalfreeloaders when we were still living in Cronulla and although we didn’t get anyone interested in coming to stay with us we planned to use this site once we got o/s. Although we sent requests to people in Finland, it has been the Norwegians who have answered the call. We will also be staying with another woman and her daughter in their small unit in Oslo on our return from Tromso, where we hope to see the Aurora Borealis.

I am hopeful that this will prove to be a memorable part of our Scandanavian adventure (for all the right reasons of course!). I truely believe that it is getting to know the locals and how they live their lives that adds a depth of understanding to anytime spent in a foreign place. If you don’t talk to the locals you can only view their lives through your own lens. I have vivid memories of times like this when I stayed with a local Hill Tribe village in Northern Thailand or the nine hour boat ride to Battambang in Cambodia where Damien and talked literally for hours to a young guy who gave us insight into life under the Khmer Rouge. The interesting thing about the Hill Tribe village stay was that I spent a night hanging out with these people and we all laughed and genuinely had a wonderful night together despite that most of our conversation was through body language and smiles.

Here’s to the next leg of the adventure and the surprises it will bring!

Categories: Cambodia, cronulla, Norway, Scandinavia, Thailand, travel | 2 Comments

Last images of 7/20 Ozone Street

As Damien indicated, the last week was a whirlwind and in hindsight this was probably for the best as it didn’t allow for much time to sadly muse over leaving our much loved sea side abode.

Similarly, the full throttle launch into the extreme variance of sub zero Helsinki has been a great means of easily saying goodbye to the old and Hello! to the new.

Once I had finished the joyous task of cleaning the unit I took some brief time out to film our place and the view we loved so much.

Video 1 – inside the unit

Video 2 – outside down to the Esplanade

Video 3 – out the front

Categories: cronulla, travel | Leave a comment

Last days at chez nous

After a year and a half of beachside living, our days at Ozone St are coming to an end. Our final day there was more tiring than bittersweet, as the moving and cleaning took (much) longer than expected. Still, the sun was shining and the views just as special as always…

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A place called home

Last night I slept in my own apartment for the first time. It felt great. Already life here is working out better than I could have dreamed:

– the move went smoothly, though it was a very long day on Sunday (8am-1am)
– my furniture fits in perfectly, making the place more spacious than I expected
– all the neighbours are very friendly, and I already know half their names. We went nine months in Searl Road and I only met one neighbour – once – when I had an issue with the fusebox
– having a train station on your doorstep really is a godsend when you live so far from civilisation
– it is very quiet at night: almost no road noise and the trains just whisper past
– internally there is little noise either, the walls are nice and solid
– the village around the corner has everything you might need
– the shower is hot and strong

All up it’s close to perfect for me. If only I was hanging around a bit longer to enjoy it before going travelling!

Categories: cronulla | 2 Comments

back in Sydney

One week down, three to go…

After a few days of extreme jetlag, this has been an organising kind of week. Such as updating the look of this blog! I’ve also given notice that I’ll be vacating my current home in Cronulla in a couple of weeks. I move into my very modest apartment in Woolooware on October 17th. I wonder what that will feel like, actually being in a place I can truly call my own?

The biggest news of the week is that I’ve decided to postpone running the New York marathon until next year. I didn’t run anywhere near enough while in South America, and marathons are far too serious an event to treat so casually. I could struggle through and do it, but I probably wouldn’t enjoy the experience and the risk of injury would be very high. To be honest there has been so much other stuff to focus on (getting work ready for my long absence, going to South America, moving house, getting ready for Asia) that I haven’t given NY the attention it deserves. Much better to put it off until 2010, when it will be the big focal point of the second half of the year.

The decision was made easy by the fact that I can postpone it and still get guaranteed entry to the 2010 race. My accomodation was fully refundable and the flight credit can be used for some other journey, so the downside is minimal. I feel much more relaxed now, and can simply focus on getting ready for The Big Trip.

Of course if I don’t go to New York, I suddenly have a couple of weeks free before heading to Asia. What to do? I think I’d get too antsy just staying home, so I think I’ll take advantage of the car and go on a bit of a road trip to some parts of Australia I haven’t seen before. The current plan is head to Broken Hill via Mudgee, then down to Adelaide to visit Joel’s parents for a couple of days, then to the famous wine region of Coonawarra and nearby Robe before heading home via country Victoria. But this isn’t set in stone yet – any suggestions on where I could go?

Categories: cronulla, running | Leave a comment

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