alta lake + 23

Alike most, I am well and truly into the swing of self isolation and buying everything that pops up on my Instagram ads; obviously because I need it and I can’t possibly live without. The only time that I am not at home is when I go to the grocery store for an “adventure”. To be honest, I don’t not like it. After getting over the fact that I had to spend my twenty third birthday in isolation, I’ve developed a nice little routine and I’ve had time to do things that I enjoy.

I get up at about 7.30am and have a fuelling snack whilst logging some feelings, goals for the day and gratitude. With this perspective, I then do my workout. I’ve been using the ‘Keep it Cleaner’ app as a motivational tool to get up and get moving, and follow this with a weights program. Jordan already had a lot of equipment from when he was younger that we were able to dust off and start flingin’ around. Karen, my mother in law, has also been consistently coming down to the deck to join in the workouts with me. Karen’s involvement and interest has kept me driven and accountable.

Breakfast is next on the list and is arguably my favourite time of the day. I’m talking fried eggs, wholemeal bread, cheese and sautéed onion, spinach, mushrooms and broccoli with moroccan seasoning, and some smokey bbq sauce on the side. Some home made kombucha and most likely a coffee, accompanied by a comfy couch and some comedy or motivational tv show on Netflix. A complete recipe for the best breakfast and what I’d be requesting as my last meal on death row.

That’s my morning. It’s usually followed by some tidying, reading, stretching, cooking/baking, going for a walk, listening to a podcast, editing photos, playing music, watching some tv and, of course, scrolling through Instagram; because that weird shaving butter, discounted leggings and fruit enzyme face mask ain’t gon’ buy themselves.

For the moment, I’m feeling content, whole and aware of my thoughts and feelings. I’m wanting to double down on my night routine, to aim for better quality sleep and encourage more productiveness the following day. I’m making sure the weekend is the weekend by relaxing to the max on ‘doona days’ with a couple drinks and indulgent foods. It’s been nice looking forward to something other than a trip to the grocery store.

On another note, I’ve been looking at some photos taken in the last week we were in Whistler and realised that I hadn’t yet posted them. We had just been laid off and, day by day, the village became a ghost town. Everyone that worked for the mountain was hanging out by the grocery/liquor store or down at Alta lake, so we headed down with a couple of subs and ciders to check out the frozen lake and enjoy the sunshine.

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home sweet home

It’s official, we have returned home.

I’m currently sitting inside our humble abode amongst the hills, wearing some comfy activewear after a workout on the deck. I just ate some overnight oats with mango, as I listen to the sweet ‘hold’ music that myGov has graciously forced upon me. And when I say myGov, I’m hoping to soon have a positive outcome from Centrelink. And when I say Centrelink, I mean that I am completely and utterly unemployed.

Let me back up a bit, as most of you are aware (and if not, you have literally been living under a rock, about fifty feet down, in the middle of the desert), that COVID-19 has paralysed the economy and sent everyone into isolation. The virus has caused a drastic change in our plans, alike most, where we are simply taking life as it comes. I’d say we’ve done an above satisfactory job of staying calm and dealing with this logically.

Jordan and I were perusing through some of the shops in Whistler village when we overheard “Have you seen the emails? How about Vail closing the mountain..”. Yeah, a major shock to the system. Vail Resorts, the company that Jordan and I work for (or did work for?), the company that operated Whistler mountain and Blackomb mountain. The number in the red notification bubble, over the mail icon on my phone, grew and grew.

The next day we were called into work, at the roundhouse on top of the mountain, for a full clean and pack down of the restaurants and kitchens. Most of the emails suggested reevaluation of the sudden closure in a weeks time, but I remained wary. The packing up was extensive and not something you’d go to the trouble of doing unless you were shutting down for a while. Before boarding my beloved gondola back into the village, I said goodbye to the space I’d worked in for the past few months and made sure to take in the incredible view, knowing full well that I wouldn’t return this season. Content, I stepped in the gondola and enjoyed the ride one last time.

Our return flights were booked for approximately six weeks time, which was too far away. We decided ten days from then would be good, thinking that Vail may open the mountain again and we’d get a couple more snow days.

A couple days went past, as we learned that we had officially been laid off and the closure of the mountains for the rest of the season. The Core gym, that we attended daily, soon closed too, along with many of the retail stores and eateries. Whistler village was a ghost town. In light of very recent events, Jordan tried to see if we could change our flights again, with worry of not being able to return home. The prices had raised considerably and it was almost impossible. Luckily, Jordan didn’t give up and we secured seats on an earlier Cathay Pacific flight.

It was a long five days of hoping; hoping our flight wouldn’t be cancelled or and that we could still get out of Canada, hoping that we could still enter Australia and that we wouldn’t get sick, hoping that we wouldn’t get stuck in another country and that our bus to Vancouver wouldn’t cancel. A long list of hopes and a lot of prayers.

The trip:

  • Our bus did cancel, but we booked a different one.
  • It snowed the morning we left. Our taxi driver informed us that road clearing had stopped and hopefully our bus would still go to Vancouver. The snow stopped for thirty minutes and begun again once we were out of Whistler.
  • My amazing friend and inspiration, Brooke, farewelled us at the airport with a smile and an elbow bump. Our flight was delayed in Vancouver due to a medical emergency on the previous flight. We sat near the gate, as we watched two paramedics, ten or so police officers, two detectives and a handful of flight staff and cleaners wander on and off the flight bridge. The airline gave us food vouchers to use whilst we waited. The pilots made up time and we arrived in Hong Kong with time to spare.
  • The Chinese government declared they were closing their borders. Our flight left at 12.05am, past the deadline, but was luckily exempted. The flight was also quite empty, they didn’t even bother bringing the food and drink carts down the aisles. I was able to stretch out across some seats and get some sleep.
  • Our Sydney leg did cancel, but it was redirected to Melbourne. We moved through customs swiftly and munched on some hungry jacks in the domestic terminal. After passing the time with a couple games of ‘shitswitch’ (a game I learnt from Jordan and his best friend Jarred, where you use a normal deck of cards to play UNO and the winner is dealt one less card every round until someone has no cards left), a flight attendant came around checking the tickets of the ten or so people waiting at the gate. We learnt that they needed a minimum of two passengers in the exit rows to legally operate the aircraft and were struggling to find suitable occupants. 
  • Luckily, we arrived in Adelaide, and were chauffeured to our home in the hills by a double masked, sanitiser enthusiast and very kind mother-in-law. They issued everyone on the plane with forms regarding our compulsory fourteen day quarantine, that we filled out and handed to the police officers awaiting us as we disembarked the plane.
  • Our house was super clean and our cupboards were filled with food. All our plants were thriving and Jordan’s grandma, Nana Di, had stocked us up with toilet paper and plenty of gluten free pasta and bread.

It’s day five of quarantine and we are very much delighted to be spending our isolation in our wonderful home. Coming back from a working holiday really highlighted the areas of my life that I am grateful for. From the pretty average work, expensive groceries and rent, and just lack of ‘things’, is not something that I was used to. On the first day of quarantine, I just felt completely overwhelmed with happiness. The property that I live on is wondrous, we have collected so much cool stuff over the past years, we have our own space, we are close to and with family, our families support is epic, we can smell and hear, taste and see, we are healthy and able to move around however we like., We really are so lucky and blessed to live where and how we do and I hope I never forget this feeling.

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On another note, I am super sad not to be tearing up the slopes on my Nidecker board and I’m already planning a trip to visit another mountain this year. Hopefully the corona virus will settle down soon and we can continue what we enjoy and do best.

somewhere over the rainbow

Most days went along the lines of ‘Eat, Sleep, Gym, Repeat’ up until we started work. In between, we chatted within our new estate and became friends with Rachel and Emma. Steering away from going crazy (and only just avoiding it), we ventured out to Rainbow Falls, positioned on the opposite side of Alta Lake; a somewhat short distance. We took a taxi from Whistler Village to the base of the trail (we probably could have walked but.. the more you know, right?) So, fresh and ready we spend fifteen minutes looking for a trail leading in the direction of Rainbow Falls. Clueless, we begin to walk into the forest.

We eventually figured out where we were going, only to have been confused as to whether we passed Rainbow Falls or not (we did). A lovely, serene walk all the same and a perfect time to take in the cool, fresh air and appreciate mother nature.

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lost lake

We arrived in Whistler a day before my first day of work. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite to plan. I worked approximately ten hours over the span of a month before I even had part time work. Jordan didn’t start work till later in the season either. This made it tricky. Moving to a new country is a big change, let alone a very popular ski resort. It felt like we were bleeding money, with the expensive groceries and rent. We tried to settle in, but without working and earning money, we were going stir crazy.  With the lack of snow, the mountains were far from being opened. We tried our best to stay positive and busy, structuring our days well, eating well and staying active. We purchased a six month membership at The Core gym, conveniently located in the centre of the village, of which we religiously attended daily. Thank goodness for the house we were assigned, as many of the units in other housing complexes didn’t even have a stove. Blessed with a full kitchen, dining and lounge area, we made the most of these spaces. As a way of looking forward to something and goal setting, we made plans each week to go on a hike or do something inexpensive, as there wasn’t anything coming in. In those weeks, one of the hikes we did was to Lost Lake.

Lost Lake is quite close to Whistler Village and doesn’t require a car or bus ride. We took the path leading through Upper Village, in means of checking out more of the area, and got onto the Valley Trail there. A beautiful and breezy walk, with clear paths the entire way. Once at Lost Lake, there are tables and a bbq and areas to lay down a picnic rug. We walked all the way around the lake, as the sun went down, then took a trail right into the village (well the car park just outside the village, but you get the idea).

We met a lovely person on the lake that was particularly interested in our stories and how we came to Canada. She insisted on taking our photos with my camera. She told us about some of the good value places to eat and visit and a bit about the mountain and other hikes we could do. So happy and friendly.

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to the land of maple

You guessed correctly.. Canada!

Jordan and I are packing our bags and moving our life across the world.

With jobs and housing organised, we need only get on a plane. A much awaited trip, scheduled and rescheduled many times; turns out getting married and building a house takes time, who knew?

So, here we are, jumping into a goal we’ve been dreaming about for years and getting ready to take on the 19/20 winter season in Whistler, Canada.

Click here to checkout the

short film I created on our trip from

Adelaide > Aukland > Vancouver

 

italy / day twenty / torino

We had such an incredible time in Cinque Terre and were very sad to say goodbye. Unfortunately, we hadn’t slept very well on any of the nights at the Airbnb. The rooms were quite nice at first glance, but the beds were disappointing and a sensor in the hallway kept loudly clicking the lights on and off every ten seconds. Somebody even stole some money from a compartment in one of my bags, which we made very clear we were unhappy with and they reluctantly paid it out to us before we left for our train.

We took a train from Monterosso al Mare to Genova, then changed trains to Port Nuova, a.k.a. Turin. We were able to squeeze in a couple power naps before lugging our baggage up the cobblestone streets to our next accomodation at Tohouse. We followed the little beacon on google maps to a very big door that we couldn’t open without a key. Very confused, we called the number on our confirmation email and soon we hear the “clippity-clap” of high heels down the street. The receptionist explains that she wasn’t expecting us for another hour or so and was out for lunch. She brings us through the big door that opens into a courtyard, surrounded by apartments. The lady shows us where Tohouse actually is and checks us into one of the handful of rooms. The room was really lovely and I had to use all my might not to jump into that glorious bed.

We walked into the city centre, checking out some of the shops and beautiful architecture, but most museums and whatnot were nearing closing time. We went to the information centre hoping to get some insight into the city and plan some form of itinerary for our two days in Turin. He was actually quite helpful and pointed out the best attractions and how to get there. Hungry and tired, we wander back to the room and order some Chinese takeout, then jump into bed for a good night sleep to fuel our next couple days of sightseeing.

italy / day twenty-one / torino

After a good sleep, we journey to the centre again, but with a plan. I grab some bubble tea and we head to the Palace. We get tickets straight away using our Torino+Piedmonte Tourist Card that the rep at the information centre had suggested was best for the places we wanted to see/go. We chuck our stuff in a free locker and start to roam the halls in the Royal Palace of Turin.

The building is ginormous and the rooms are in great condition. They had a really cool armoury that was filled with all sorts of cool gear. The collection was made up of swords, guns, shields, body armour, spears and other things I don’t even know the names of. The palace was also home to a number of incredible sculptures and paintings.

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We take a lunch break and stop in at a pizza joint. A little on the oily side but is actually really good. Our next stop is the Egyptian Museum. Our tourist card gets us in, again, with no additional cost, except for locker hire. They shove an audioguide in our hand and we begin walking through the museum. Being the second biggest Egyptian museum to Cairo, it attracts many visitors from all over the globe. We spent many hours learning  about the history and exploring the collection. Such an awesome place and I totally recommend trying to get there if you’re in Italy. It was a big highlight of our trip so far and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

All this learning made us hungry and we soon found the perfect thing to fill our bellies, Mexican food! We grab some margaritas and fajitas and it ends up being one of the healthiest and best meals we’ve had in Italy. The service was really good too, it made the rest of our night really enjoyable.

On the way home, we swung past a small wine shop that I had been eyeing off across the road from where we were staying. My favourite wine of the trip was tasted here and I bought two bottles to bring back to Australia with me.

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italy / day twenty-two / torino

Such a good sleep! Absolutely love Tohouse!

We trek into the city and find the bus stop for the Veneria Express, to Veneria Palace. Once the bus pulled up, it was crazy and people were like animals as we simply tried to board. The bus was really good though and it dropped us right down the road. A short walk and we line up to get our tickets… to be met with more crazy. The line was made up of everyone that had been on the bus+ and no one knew what a “personal bubble” was. In addition, they made us line up against the wall outside in the direct sun and then the line moved so freaking slowly. On the bright side, once we got our tickets, they didn’t cost us anything more after we scanned our tourist card – this card paid for itself over and over again!

The main hall of the palace was really amazing, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the rest of the palace, especially after seeing the amazing Royal Palace yesterday. Veneria Palace had actually been abandoned for approximately fifty years and was destroyed by vandals. They did a really good job restoring the building, but majority of the paintings, furniture and sculptures had been wrecked. The gardens were really beautiful and we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the paths and exploring the little district.

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Once we grabbed a bite, we made our way down to the bus stop to head back into the city. We were twenty minutes early and there was already a huge line up. Once everyone started boarding the already half full bus, we realised we weren’t going to make it on, and probably not on the one after that either. We met some lovely ladies that knew of another bus, it was just on the other side of the palace, perhaps a fifteen minute walk. We followed them and successfully end up back in the centre of Turin.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the National Cinema Museum. They have this crazy elevator that goes straight up through the middle of the big, dome shaped building, to a viewing deck of the city. The views were awesome!

Our last day in Turin was coming to an end. After such a great experience yesterday, we go back to the Mexican restaurant for dinner again, then head home for another day of travelling again. Next stop, Florence!

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italy / day eighteen / cinque terre

It’s been a dream of mine to hike Cinque Terre and see the incredible towns that make up this iconic landscape and we are finally here! As we were only staying in Cinque Terre for two full days, the plan was to take the train to Riommagiore, which is the most southern of the towns, and walk to the central town, going through Manarola and ending up in Corniglia. The next day would consist of catching the train back to Corniglia and continuing the same track through Vernazza and finishing our hike in Monterosso al Mare.

Up early and down to the esplanade for an outdoor workout involving some, perhaps, odd uses of playground equipment and park benches. It also seemed like a good idea to stop in at the shops, so we swing pass the local corner store and grab some breakfast and snacks for the road. Breakfast consisted of preserved peaches, muesli and yoghurt.

We take the rather expensive train to Riommagiore and call in at the information desk. She gives us a map and explains the many different trails. We tried our best to follow her instructions but actually ended up really lost. After an hour or so of walking back and forth trying to find the beginning of the trail, a passerby local notices our confusion and shows us the way. He points us in the direction of the path, which disappears over a very, very steep mountain. Hesitant, we climb a couple fences and tip toe through some gardens before our ascent.

A couple minutes into our climb and we realise that this track is absolutely insane. The stairs are so steep and seem never ending. The madly overgrown path leads us traipsing through vineyards and veggie patches. It was slightly disturbing not having passed a single soul.

Eventually, we did reach the top and yes, it was a true path. A sign at the top of the cliff informed us that in the 1920’s, this thoroughfare had been the only connection between the two coastal towns.. eep!

The view was amazing and I must say, I felt extremely proud!

Jordan and I continue along the trail as it dives into a steep descent. At the bottom of the trail we come across some makeshift gates and a large sign reading ‘KEEP OUT’ (then I remembered the person at the information desk had said that one of the main tracks was closed for maintenance.. oops!)

We stopped briefly in Manarola, refuelling with a slice of pizza, rice thins smothered in raspberry jam, and a crap load of water. We easily spot the next section of the trail and move with uncertainty, as to what may be in store.

The path seems all well and good until… MORE STAIRS!

The course took us through Volastra, as the shorter path that followed the coast was also closed. Once at the top, we suck on an ice block and cool down in the shade. The next section was mostly flat giving us nice views of the ocean. The mountain, on either side of the track, was covered in vineyards, and not a style I was familiar with. Instead of running in long rows, they were more of a canopy style that sat approximately a metre or so off the ground. Meaning that the fruit needed to be handpicked from underneath the trestle, as the fruit hung down; very old school!

Once we reached the outskirts of Corniglia (thank goodness), my legs started to get super heavy and the train station seemed aeons away. I flopped myself down another million flights of stairs to the platform and we board a train, taking it two stops on to Monterosso al Mare. Exhausted, we trudge down the esplanade towards our lodge for a nice long shower.

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We dine close by at a local restaurant, ‘La Traverna‘, and try not to order everything on the menu. We got a pizza to share, some red wine and lasagne. In all honesty, it was one of the best lasagnes that I’ve ever had. The chefs used herb infused pasta sheets and the sauce rich and full of flavour and I don’t know why it was soo good, but it just was!

italy / day nineteen / cinque terre

We skip the workout this morning, but still hit the shops for snacks to enjoy on part two of our hike. Nice and early, we board the train back to Corniglia to pick up where we had left off. With yesterdays knowledge, we bring our earphones this time and I simply wear shorts and a crop top from the get go – after sweating like crazy in the sun.

The path between Corniglia and Vernazza was extremely busy, some tourists were even wearing thongs! We also had to buy a €7.50/e ticket to walk the next two towns on the SVA trail. This track was a lot more shadier, but boy, was it still hot! We chucked in our earphones for the most part and there were many flat sections in between the stairs, making it a very enjoyable hike.

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Vernazza was one of my favourite towns. The main street was lined with street food vendors and rustic styled shops. Colourful buildings shadowed the street filled hustle and bustle of locals and travellers. Many boats fill the docks, surrounded by even more people and eateries. We munched on some really tasty pizza squares on the jetty, taking in the Italian spring air.

The path quiets down a bit, making the wacky trail a little easier to combat, and it takes us about three hours to complete the last section. The views were absolutely  breathtaking, especially as we descended into Monterosso al Mare. We reward ourselves with some gelato and a dunk in the icy cold ocean. My legs soon went numb and the ‘ice bath’ was very enjoyable. Although cold, the water felt different to home, almost soft.

The food was just too good at ‘La Taverna‘, so we went back for another serving of their amazing lasagne.

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