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United For A Cause: Japan Fundraising


Mar
28


Photo courtesy of the BBC website.

Every few years or so there comes an event so horrific that the entire world is joined in shock, mourning and the intense need to help. When I heard about Japan I was in New York towards the end of my Big Adventure, taking photos with my friend, chatting idly at 2am and catching up on my Twitter feed. Suddenly all I could see were Tweets saying, ‘Japan. Oh God. Pray for Japan. Japan. Japan’ – what had happened? A quick glance at the CNN and BBC news sites and it was all too clear. I felt sick to my stomach: I had friends in Tokyo, how far had this disaster reached? With news that the resulting tsunami could spread to Australia & New Zealand, even as far as Hawaii and the West Coast, all places where I have family and friends, I couldn’t rest. The next couple of hours were filled with watching live news feeds, reading the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre‘s page obsessively and worrying.

With news of more and more aftershocks still ravaging Japan, more footage and images of devastation, coupled with the odd glimmer of hope, there seems to be little that we can do. But a little is still better than nothing. It was easy then for me to get involved in two separate projects to raise money for Japan.

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This Is The End, My Friends: New York


Mar
23

As I write this I’m sitting in my own bed in London, my clothes strewn across the floor, my bag unpacked but my trusty backpack still sitting next to me, as it did every single day of my travels. I’ve been back for a week and, despite the fact that it’s quite nice to be settled for a bit, I wish I was still travelling, still exploring and still meeting wonderful people across the globe. But I’m back, though ‘home’ I’m not sure if I could use.

I think people underestimate the power of travel and the feeling of freedom it brings. I took the trip to discover, to meet friends and to eat, I did all of those things and more, but I also took the trip to escape. I visited cities I have never known before, caught up with old friends, solidified friendships that have hitherto been solely based online, fell in love with people, with places, with ideas… and so yes. Yes it is a come-down to be back in a place where I do not – have never – felt that I belonged, but it’s also an opportunity for me to prepare myself for what may be many more Big Adventures, to recharge my batteries, and to wait for another chance to meet so many more friends and discover where it is in the world that I may call ‘home’.

This is the last post in my travel series from the Big Adventure. Thank you all so much for the friendship, the support, the laughter and the tears, the singing, the food – everything. It’s been wonderful.

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The Beginning Of The End: New Jersey


Mar
19

I really wanted to put New Jersey and New York into one last post, a nice little button-ending on my travel series, but I found when I was trying to pull it all together that there was far too much for just one.

You see, even though there were no food bloggers to meet up with in New Jersey, I was staying with my Uncle Ian and Aunt Wai, Momma Lee’s youngest brother and his wife. My Uncle Ian has always been the relative who would send crazy-awesome gifts in the post at Christmas, such as this past year, when he sent me a pair of socks that look like Lucha Libre wrestlers (they even have little arms and legs, they’re the coolest; yes, I realise my excitement over this is entirely juvenile, but it’s the simple things that excite me), and also, like all of my family, has quietly followed along with my adventures through the blog.

When I arrived he told me that though they had been thinking about where to take me to eat, as I was visiting them right at the end of my trip they couldn’t compete with the rest of the world, so they would just take me to their favourite places, or feed me “crap”, as my Uncle Ian put it. How silly, because you know what? I ate well, I ate heartily, and to be honest it was nice just to have a bit of a breather with family for a stint, catch-up and make stupid jokes (many of which were made, including an extended conversation about the Double Rainbow video/song, which then ended up in the sermon he delivered at his church that Sunday). In fact, I think I ate more in New Jersey than I had anywhere else on the trip: weird, right?

Thank you Uncle Ian & Aunt Wai!

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Mhm, I Loves Me Some Boston


Mar
13

It has taken me a ridiculously long time to write this post up – I guess it’s because I’ve been having far too much fun running around. But Boston was wonderful, and even better than the city was my fantastic host, the amazing Brian, who not only gave me a comfortable bed to sleep in but also pulled out all the stops for food (he made me lobster on my first night!), and kept me entertained with his list of Boston must-dos. I also met up with Jen for a quick coffee and a bite, which, though brief, was equally fabulous. Come to my side of the world soon, Jen!

As with everywhere else, it was a short trip, but it was full of fun, food and friends, and that’s the most important part, right? Oh, and we also did a little video, because we’re awesome like that. Thanks Brian – you are such a superstar!

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Welcome Ta Chicahgo


Mar
06

Oh how I wish I’d planned to spend more time in Chicago. I’m not sure why I thought a day and a bit would be enough (I arrived in the afternoon on the 1st, had the 2nd to play, then left on the morning of the 3rd: error) because it wasn’t! Not at all! There was so much to see and do, so many to play with, so much to eat, and yet I only gave myself that weenie amount of time. Oy-vey. I didn’t try an Italian beef sub, I didn’t even get deep-dish (or stuffed) pizza; what a disaster!

However, it’s not all a loss because I can always return, and after meeting the wonderful Alice, Mara and Mike, I know I have plenty of good company in town too! And although I didn’t get to try “typical” Chicago fare, I did have the best meal of my life when I was there, a meal that I would happily get on a plane and return for, in fact that I would specifically travel to Chicago just to have again. If that’s not a reason to love the Windy City then I don’t know what is. Thanks to Alice, Mara & Mike, and, of course, my baby cousin Lorraine, for the food, the fun and the complete awesomeness. You guys were the best!

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This Hurr’s Texas – YEEHAW!


Mar
04

When I was packing for this trip I wasn’t sure what I should bring with me. It was going to be Spring-like in Hong Kong (it was actually pretty cold), Summer in Australia (steaming hot), cold in the Pacific North West (remarkably not that cold, I had good weather), warm on the West Coast (San Diego love!), and freezing as I went further towards the East Coast. What I didn’t really account for, however, is the fact that Texas pretty much has summer the whole year round. As I left San Diego I packed all of my summer items at the bottom of my suitcase, threw all my jumpers on top and headed to Austin. What a mistake. As soon as I touched down in Texas all I felt around me was intense sunshine and humidity, and what was I wearing? Far too much.

As I waited for Megan at the airport, I started pulling off clothes and stuffing them into my bag, trying to get over just how oppressively hot I felt, much to the amusement of the other travellers around me. Well, these things happen! So here’s my tip to you: if you’re travelling to Texas, regardless of the time of year, it’s hot: don’t wear too much clothing. But, once I’d figured out the clothing situation, I had a great week between Austin and San Antonio, with two fantastic friends: Megan and Andres. You guys were the best – awesome hosts, super fun and made me feel right at home. Thank you both so much! If you head into Texas hit these two up: they know where the hot spots in town are!

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