My Mysterious Life

Well, needless to say, I haven’t posted anything on this blog in a good long while. Nearly forever.
In that amount of time I worked a vintage in Australia, spent a week in Hawaii, traveled to and from North Dakota, spent the summer in the woods near Snoqualmie Falls, and now I’ve just traveled down to Portland to work another vintage period. Good gracious…

I’m going to write a few posts to hopefully give people a glimpse or what I’ve done, and also to force myself into some good old photo editing.

Stay tuned. I promise, as the colder weather hits the northern hemisphere, I’ll post some truly tropical Hawaii pics.

Airbnb in Australia

To hostel? Or not to hostel? That was my question. Luckily I had previously had a bit of experience with Airbnb. I knew friends that used it, I have friends that are hosts, and I think the idea is great.

However, I had no idea how it was approached in a different country. While traveling in Australia so far I have used a few different hostels, and although they are great for meeting other travelers and having fun, they have a few downsides. I think the most important is that you are sharing sleeping space, and if you’re with all other strangers that might result in you staying up literally all night.

Hostels also, while being great for meeting people, end with you forced in a small space with others constantly. I’m just not someone who enjoys 100% constant interaction with other humans. I think at some point in my childhood maybe I did enjoy this, but my recent travels have shown me that I really do like my own company and I am comfortable when I have some space to myself.
Airbnb in Australia

Now, because of my own personal traits, Airbnb is basically a dream. Here are the biggest benefits (according to myself):

  1. Your own room. Now, obviously you have options when you select a place to stay. I look for something that has a private room, and a real bed. And internet. Those are pretty much the basics for me. The website itself offers you some great filters so you can really hone in on what you prefer and what will make you comfortable.
  2. Interaction with locals. As opposed to hostels where you are surrounded by other travelers, Airbnb allows you to stay with people that actually live in the area. It’s awesome. Provided that your hosts are friendly (and all of mine have been), you have someone to ask questions to about local dining, museums, fun things to do, beaches, and anything else that suits your fancy.
  3. Security. The nice thing about not sharing a room is that all of your stuff is only with you, and you don’t have to worry about your phone charger running away.
  4. Oh glorious sleep. Nobody is coming into your room after a night of drinking and trying to get into the top bunk. This might not seem like a huge deal, but after a few nights of questionable sleep, you understand why this is of the utmost importance.

So, if you haven’t tried it yet, Airbnb is awesome. Do it.

My experience in Australia specifically has led to lots of fun conversations with locals where I have been advised about the best activities in each area. However, I did learn that “peaceful” is code for boring, and other travelers ratings really are important. Because of this, I have done my best to write reviews for the places I specifically enjoyed. Some hosts are beyond accommodating and so lovely you want to keep in touch as friends. In these instances I have made a point of telling other people that I would definitely visit those hosts again. Overall, I have stayed in quite a few places and have never had an upsetting stay. It’s absolutely worth checking out.

And thank you to all the Australians that have made my visits so wonderful.

McLaren Vale

I’ve made it! I’m officially in McLaren Vale, and for those of you who don’t know, I’ve come here for the opportunity of working vintage. This means that starting soon my life will be devoted to a winery for essentially every waking moment. Until of course, the grapes stop coming in, and the fermentations are complete. aboriginal

This sculpture is at the war memorial right in the middle of McLaren Vale. I thought it was very beautiful. The people I am staying with here are very nice, and I was taken on a little driving tour when I arrived to orient myself in the area.

It’s gorgeous. And very close to the beach. An added bonus.

 

McLaren Vale

It is illegal to take stones off the beach, something this resident clearly ignored for the sake of art. Every inch of this house is completely covered in beach stones. I found it very amusing.

rock house

Now you’ll have to excuse me- there is wine that needs tasting.

Why is Beach Life so Addicting?

Beach life, island time, being a beach bum. Everyone knows what those things are, but I’d like to know why being near the ocean is so addicting.
And I think I have an answer.
You are forced to be connected to nature.
glenelg

The waves don’t care at all what you are doing. They are busy doing their own thing, to their own rhythm. They are making their own noise and supporting their own life.
Sure, you might surf, or swim, or do some other sport that harnesses their power, but as a human you are unable to really do anything about those waves.

glenelg

The tide is also totally in your way. And it doesn’t care either. You have to pay attention to time in a whole new way. Something you created out of sand is easily wiped away, and whole beaches get swallowed daily. And then they return. It’s like we borrow this whole expanse of sand, but there isn’t any bargaining we can do about it. When the tide comes in, you have to get out of the way.

beach

There are so many things that people can control. When it gets dark, I turn on the light. When I’m cold, I turn on a heater. When I’m hot I can turn on the air conditioning. The ocean is different. It’s a whole massive ecosystem, doing it’s own thing. Humans have waged a whole climate war agains the ocean, and are in the process of destroying it, and our planet. Yet, the amount of abuse the ocean has sustained, while still going about it’s daily routine is phenomenal.
The beach is more than just a gathering place where people play volleyball. It’s a place that we come to witness nature.

Henley Beach

henley

Henley beach is beautiful. And quiet. It’s a bit further north from the more touristy locations, and the water is clear. It has an almost green hue to it as well. After spending time in the Barossa with my friends, consuming a notable amount of alcohol and learning about the unique wine region, I needed to chill. And the beach is the perfect place for that. Luckily, the beach culture here is so strong, that the weather is irrelevant. Even if you go on a windy, rainy day, there is still a cafe overlooking the ocean where you can sit with a nice cup of caffeine.
It was exactly what I needed.
A day with my own thoughts.

Which were actually mostly about wine. Oh well. I’m eager for vintage to start. There is something intoxicating about harvest work that is hard to explain. It’s like you turn yourself into a wine-making machine, who enjoys pressure washing metal, and lives for fermentation. Working 12+ hours a day during vintage actually seems fun, and until you’re on the other side, winding down for the season, you almost don’t realize that you never slept.
You’re a season inspired animal.

I’m ready.

How to Order Coffee in Australia

First, this is me sunburned, but happy. I don’t think I’ll be any less pink or red until I return to the Northern Hemisphere. The sun here is brutal.

sunburned summer

Now, on to my musings of coffee. In Australia, you have instant coffee, or you have espresso. If you go to a cafe, then you only have espresso. There is no drip coffee here. No fancy pour overs. No fancy cold brew. They seem to fancy themselves coffee snobs and therefore only serve espresso related beverages.

  1. The traditional latte. My favorite. Coffee, milk, perfection.

coffee

2. Their cappuccinos have chocolate on them. What? Yes. I don’t have any explanation for it. They just do.

3. The long black. Akin to what Americans call the “americano”.

4. A flat white. I believe this beverage is actually Australian in origin, thus if you’re here, you had better try one. It’s somewhat like a latte but with a higher coffee to milk ratio.

It is nothing like the weird holiday flat while spiced thing that Starbucks came out with in America. For the record, I had one of those this last year and then was just thankful that eggnog lattes where an option.

5. Iced coffee. Now, this is a truly brilliant beverage, although the name is misleading. It is not coffee poured over ice. It is a coffee milkshake. I repeat, you will be indulging in an ice cream containing beverage. And it’s wonderful.

 

Okay, what have I missed?

The Little Things

I have seen more city-vegetation in Australia than I ever remember seeing in America. There are roundabouts filled with flowers, shops with vine covered arbors, and succulents hanging out in pots everywhere.

red rose

It’s really an uplifting thing to see. I love it. And it makes just walking though a city of town so much more fun.

I like noticing the little things.

yellow rose

U-Pick Strawberries

Hahndorf. It’s a little town in South Australia that retains it’s German heritage. Everything from the food to the buildings pays homage to the German culture.

Migrants from Germany settled in Australia as early as the 1830s and started farming in parts of the Adelaide Hills, as well as the Barossa regions. Hahndorf itself is a great little town to visit for food, wine, and to experience some of the area’s heritage.

Just after all the shops on the main road heading west, there was a U-Pick Strawberry patch. Now that I had acquired a car, I could actually do things like pick strawberries and not worry about them getting squished in my backpack.

strawberries strawberries

Plus, they were so juicy! I had a great time. Both with the strawberries and with the town itself.

Head Trained Vines

Head Trained Vines. Not a thing you really see in Washington, so now that I was in Australia, I was determined to see them. Basically, you grow your grapevine as a little tree or bush. No fancy wire action here, no sir.

head trained

It’s really a very pretty landscape to look at. However, I can’t imagine hand picking and pruning a vineyard like this one. It just seems like all the maintenance would be much more arduous than the trellis systems I’m used to seeing back home.

bush vine vineyard