Travel Tip: Australian Visitor Visa

As you may know, we’re traveling to Australia in a few weeks.  Three weeks out, it finally dawned on us that we still haven’t gotten our travel visa yet and we need to get on it ASAP.  Since we have passports from one of the few countries that are allowed to apply for an electronic visitor visa to Australia, we thought it would be quite simple: fill out the form online, pay the $20AUD fee, and and be on our way.  The whole electronic visa process is supposed to be hassle free with a high acceptance rate of 99.8%.  But nothing is ever easy or hassle free when I travel, and it turns out that I am in that special 0.2% that got rejected – with no explanation and also no refund for the $20AUD fee. So this post is not so much about travel tips as it is things you should not do from my personal experience.

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The Day I Shopped Again

I fell off the wagon.  On June first of this year I decided to forgo shopping in an attempt to curtail my materialistic urges.  I started out with the good intention as I abstained from buying anything except the bare essentials all throughout summer.  It was especially hard on my trip to Hong Kong, but I continued to hold out and determined to not be distracted by all the shiny things I see. When I finally gave in and bought a pair of shoes last week, I was disappointed in myself.

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Pretty shoes

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Nostalgia

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I was digging through a box of memories when I found these “books”.  Long before I started blogging, I was writing about my travel stories in these picture books I made.  Each was made of photos that I’d taken or postcards that I bought along the way and held together by binder rings.  

What started as a great idea was forgotten over time and hidden away.  I am glad I found them not only so I can walk down memory lane and re-live those trips, but because they provide me a new source of inspiration to keep on writing and taking more pictures.  After the adventure is over, all we’ll have left is our photos, stories, and memories.

Quote: Travel Companion

Great advice Bill Murray gave to a bunch of guys at a bachelor party. “If you have someone that you think is The One..Buy a plane ticket for the two of you to travel all around the world, and go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And if when you come back to JFK, when you land in JFK, and you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.

A great travel companion is the basis of a great life partner. Traveling together, you get to see how your partner reacts under stressful situations in an unfamiliar environment. We certainly had many travel horror stories, like getting stranded in the Atlas mountain in the middle of a snow storm or getting stranded in Thailand in the middle of the 2008 civil mayhem. In both cases, I am glad I had Fausto with me. I knew he was The One after we came back from Greece, our first trip together.

Random Thoughts: Countdown

Yikes!  Just saw my Inca Trail countdown goes from months to days…Need to step up my preparation. The UA Base 4.0 cold gear have arrived, I tried them on and they fit! Although, I have to say, they are not as warm as I thought they would be for something that’s advertised as “built to take on even the most brutal cold”. I hope I am wrong and these will hold up at night. I don’t look forward to freezing in my sleep.

Musings: Ghost Town

I always like the city on a holiday weekend. There are fewer people around, and all the New Yorkers have long gone to the Hamptons. The usual long lines have shortened and almost every restaurant is empty (except the ones in Time Square). It’s the perfect time to try that popular restaurant that everyone is talking about but impossible to get in. Every Memorial day, July Fourth, and Labor day weekend, New York turns into a ghost town, if New York can ever be called a ghost town.