Been there, done that…The strikethroughs

You know it is a slow news day when the latest panda birth headlines the 7pm news.  This is my slow news day.  I have been working on a few things recently, none of which are ready to go so I thought I’d take a little moment to summarise the items on my list that I had already completed before starting a blog.

I thought it might also be useful for me to start including some information (where appropriate) to help others wanting to do something similar 🙂

I must apologise to readers outside Australia as the links I have given are for organisations here but hopefully that helps you in one of 2 ways. Either you decide to come here, or the information you find in the links lead you to the equivalent in your own country.

1. Learn to surf

Narooma 2011 with Surf the bay surf lessons. No Pic’s of me unfortunately but we went with a group of 4 friends and had a great time.

2. Jump out of a plane

Redcliffe city Skydving (Brisbane) 2008.  This was part of our flying trip around Australia.  I liked the idea of jumping over the water and landing on the beach.

I was surprised that I was not afraid at all,  the poor girl before me was white as a sheet,  wide-eyed and unable to speak.  The view of the earth below from 14000ft was amazing and you really don’t feel like you are falling.

It is well worth trying but be prepared for a face full of air, very knotted hair, possible motion sickness and pant legs full of sand unless you tuck them into your socks!

3. Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Prodive Cairns.  3 day live aboard.  I know it sounds like a paid advertisement but…It is the only way to see the GBR.  Don’t fight the crowds on the day trips to the overused reefs. Get away to places where you won’t see another boat for 3 days, go night diving or use it as an opportunity to get your dive certification.  They even cater to snorkelers.  All the reefs they visit have shallow and deep reefs.

We have our advanced certificate, loved every minute and met some really lovely people 🙂

4. Visit the Daintree

It took us 2 attempts to achieve this one.  The first attempt was thwarted by a particularly nasty bout of tonsillitis. After spending the entire time in Mossman Hospital we took a drive to the Visitors Centre for 1/2 hour before flying home. The Silky Oaks Lodge where we stayed (well where husband stayed) gave us 2 free nights to come back, so in 2012 we went back and had a great time.

Stay at accommodation in the rainforest if possible, then you can wander the bushland without a guide and you will have a lovely time.  If you do a tour, try to find something that takes small groups and doesn’t just involve places you could easily do on your own.  We did a tour with North Queensland Heritage interpretive tours (NQHIT).

5. Learn another language

When I was 17 I won a scholarship and was an exchange student in Germany for a year.  When I got there I couldn’t speak a word.  When I came back to Australia I was fluent.  Sadly, I don’t practice enough and my German isn’t very good anymore (But my spelling and grammar was never very good!)

Als ich 17 war gewann ich ein Stipendium. Ich war ein Austauschschülerin in Deutschland für ein Jahr. als ich da gegangen bin, konnte ich kein Wort. Als ich zurück kam nach Australien war ich fließend. Leider machen ich nicht genug üben 😦 mein Deutsch ist nicht mehr so gut.(Meine Rechtschreibung und Grammatik war nie sehr gut!)

8. See a Symphony Orchestra

Looking at this again, I wonder if I have actually seen a Symphony orchestra.  The one I saw at the Opera house may have been a chamber orchestra…let me consult Google and I’ll get back to you.

9. Go to the Ballet

Again at the opera house.  Husband and I found this, well painful to be honest.  We almost left at intermission.  That being said, went to the festival of Russian Ballet at the State Theatre in Sydney with M.I.L for her 60th Birthday and it was brilliant!  Variety is the key.  The video below says ” if you only see one ballet in a lifetime…”

13. Hug a stranger

I was walking through Sydney’s Circular Quay when I saw a man and a woman holding signs saying “FREE HUGS”  I didn’t think, it was already decided.  A big smile flooded across my face as I let go of my ‘public appropriateness’ and walked open armed towards them.  The man walked toward me, he was neat, tall and a little alternative looking.  I got a warm-hearted smile and a big genuine hug to match.

I then wished him a nice day and kept going.

When looking for a photo to reflect the free hug experience I found the website of a guy who has started an International free hugs campaign.

14. Get Married

There really isn’t enough room to discuss this point here but below are a couple of my favourite pictures from our amazing day with family and friends.

18. Live in another country

See #17.  I lived in Germany for a year. In the northern part of the country on the Baltic Sea there is a City called Rostock. Later I moved to a smaller nearby town called Bützow.  They are lovely places very different from the usual tourist hotspots such as Munich and Berlin.

21. Visit Asia

For our honeymoon we traveled to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.  We spent a week relaxing in a Phuket resort followed by 18 days traveling with Intrepid.  My favourite place was Cambodia.  It is not over saturated with tourists and you get some really amazing opportunities to have grass-roots experiences with local people.

Thailand (Andaman White Beach Resort, Snuba on Racha Yai, Wat Chalong Temple Phuket)

Cambodia (Temples in Siem Reap, Dinner in a village, Volunteering at a Bear Rescue Sanctuary)

Vietnam- (Halong Bay, Hanoi coffee-house, Hue banquet)

31. Write a Blog

Starting a blog is a bit of a daunting thought for some people, myself included.  I did a lot of research before settling with WordPress.  I knew of someone with a Tumblr blog and had seen a few Blogger sites too.  I’m not sure in the end what I liked most about WP but I think it was that the information from WP about ‘how to start’ made me feel at ease.

I think the end decision was as simple as ‘oooh, I like that layout’ and the ideas of what I wanted just flowed from there.  So here we are, Welcome!

33. Visit New Zealand

I usually plan all our holidays myself but on this occasion I was being sent to Dunedin for work and I had little time to plan.  I found a travel agent in NZ.  They were great.  We had a week to drive the South Island (Christchurch-Fox Glacier-Queenstown-Dunedin)  and they helped us create a custom Itinerary.  We decided to drive and stay in B&B’s rather than driving a motorhome.  It was our first B&B experience too.

The highlights were as follows:

ChristchurchWillowbank Wildlife park  then via Arthur’s Pass to West Coast. Christchurch has a lot to offer despite having been devastated by the Earthquakes there.  People were so welcoming and thanked us for not skipping their city.  We are glad we visited.  The Riccarton Gardens market and seeing Kiwis at Willowbank were the highlights.

Fox Glacier & Lake Matheson -Fox is less busy than Franz Josef.  Do a full day Tour or none at all, don’t waste time on a half day. Also do a walk around lake Matheson.  We Stayed at Misty Peaks B&B

Queenstown – Gondola/dinner/show was great, lots of thrill seeking activities available

Dunedin – Quiet town, went horse riding, reminded me of country Australia.

40. Go Hangliding

Queenstown New Zealand.  This is great if you want to get your money’s worth.  We had about 15 minutes of flying time and had a go of flying the glider.  Unlike bungee jumping (which is comparable in cost) there is no feeling of falling,  you feel yourself being lifted from the ground and it is so quiet.  Queenstown is a lovely place for this as the landscape is  quite dramatic.

51. Climb the Harbour Bridge

When I lived in Germany I met a Finnish girl named Kaisu.  We got back in touch through Facebook and I met her in Sydney when she came for a work conference.  My aim was to show her all the ‘Aussie’ things I could in 2 days.  On the list was Wildlife world (that took care of the mandatory Kangaroo/Koala pictures), Bondi Beach and climbing the Harbour Bridge.  Some things are made more memorable by seeing the delight in someone else experiencing it. As an Aussie I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much without Kaisu there.

52. Ride a horse on the beach

Unfortunately this did not live up to my mental image of riding bareback in my swimmers, hair billowing in the warm summer air…

Rather, we booked with a company in Dunedin that did rides on the beach and they only had a 2 horse float so the woman who took us had to walk.  This meant we rode at walking pace along the beach.  I felt like a kid on a Shetland pony at a country show (only 300x the price).

The trail ride trained horse I was on wouldn’t leave the ass of the horse in front which was frustrating. Needless to say we wouldn’t recommend the company so I won’t paste their details but we did go for a trot up the beach after which husband’s horse bucked him off.  This was the highlight of the morning really, it was hilarious! Oh and we saw a sea-lion so that was kinda cool.

Ok, so after looking at the pictures it was quite a nice day, I would have enjoyed it more if it were free.

55. Milk a cow

This was probably the first ever thing I had on any bucket list (before I knew what a bucket list was) I grew up in Dairy farming country and my best friend lived on a farm.  In the mornings we would go down to collect milk from the vat and it stunk like a mix of rich, fatty milk and poo…wait while I gag a little… then I would try to be OK with having warm milk on my cereal.

Mum arranged for us kids to go and try milking a cow.  I remember the regular black and white cow with udders so full she was leaking on the floor. I don’t remember much else but it wasn’t like the cartoons where you sat on a little wooden stool and squirted milk into a silver pail.  It was an empty ice cream container, and the whole place smelled like poo.  The only other thing I remember is squirting someone with milk and then deciding I didn’t like it.

No pictures though, this was the 80’s and some things were just captured in the mind back then!

57. Go skinny dipping

Been there, done that. ‘nough said really…

59. Raise money for charity

I have done a few of these over the years.  Links for just a few are below if you want to help any:

61. Go on a sleeper train

Vietnam, Hue to Hanoi.  Was a bit worried about cockroaches but slept like a baby.  We are going on another one soon.

63. Have High Tea

We did this as part of my hen’s/bridal shower/Bachelorette or whatever you want to call it.  The night before was involved a life drawing class with spunky models, champagne and silly games, dinner and a night out on the town.  Since I thought my great-aunt Freda may not want to draw nude boys, drink cocktails through a penis straw and hitch her skirt up for a dance (although the more I get to know her I think she might!) We decided to have high tea at the Hyatt hotel in Canberra.  It was a lovely morning, complete with the little sandwiches and cakes.  It’s just a pity I don’t drink tea.

We also recently did a more modern high tea at a Patisserie for M.I.L 60th Birthday

67. Get hypnotized

I thought this was a load of crap to be honest and that is why I volunteered.  The next thing I knew I was trying to answer the guy next to me’s shoe as I thought it was ringing.

Being hypnotised is a bit like being drunk.  You know what you are doing and sometimes you know you are making a fool of yourself but you just can’t stop and you don’t want to stop.  I bought the video and I think my parents still have it.

68. Give blood

I used to give blood regularly I am blood type O+ so they are always asking but recently I have found that I get really tired and run down a day or 2 later.  Perhaps I should suck it up and start again after all it is a small sacrifice to potentially help 3 people. If you are in Australia contact the Australian Red Cross Blood service.

70. Sleep under the stars

In 2008 husband and I did a 3 day caning trip up the Ord River (The Kimberlys NW Australia) We camped by the river under a mosquito net and the bright starry sky listening to the croaking of the freshwater crocs.  It was lovely.

72. Watch sunrise on the beach

I have done this many times since I grew up on the east coast of Australia.  The most memorable was getting up and walking along the mist beach after camping at Gillard’s beach the morning after husband proposed.

73. Watch sunset on the beach

This required a trip to the West coast of Australia.  Luckily, husband is originally from Perth so we had a picnic at Cottosloe beach with pink champagne and strawberries (aww, how romantic!)

75. Visit a concentration camp

As part of a school trip while living in Germany we visited the Buchenwald concentration camp.  It was a very confronting sight and a quite uncomfortable experience.

76. Go to an ANZAC dawn service

ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.  Each year on 25th April the people of Australia and New Zealand hold services all around the country to remember all the service men and women that have fought for us.   and I recommend a guided tour of the War memorial afterwards.

The Dawn Service observed on ANZAC Day has its origins in a military routine which is still followed by the Australian Army today. During battle, the half-light of dawn was one of the most favored times for an attack. Soldiers in defensive positions were woken in the dark before dawn, so by the time first light crept across the battlefield they were awake, alert, and manning their weapons; this is still known as the “stand-to”. Australian War Memorial – Remembrance Day


77. Fire a gun

At the Chu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam there is a shooting range where tourists can try a variety of Vietnam war era guns.  This was the first opportunity I’d ever had to shoot a gun (other than the pellet gun that our neighbours had when we were kids)  Guns aren’t exactly commonplace in Australia, in fact I don’t think I’ve seen one except in the holster of a police officer.

Vietnamese AK47

Vietnamese AK47

81. Register as an organ donor

This is a very personal choice often with cultural and religious factors to consider.  For me, it wasn’t a problem, I am a ‘woman of science’ and could think of nothing better than to leave the parting gift of helping others if I cannot live. If you would like more information Australian Organ donation register or Donate life

82. Go canoing

See also #70.

83. Go in a mosh pit

Pearl Jam, 2000, Berlin.  Front Row.  One word: EPIC!

84. Get a tattoo

Yep, have 2 of them…

92. Take Dance lessons

We took lessons for our wedding dance. Nothing special or overly choreographed but enough to do more than sway.  We also had a fun group lesson with our bridal party so we could dance to the Big Bopper’s Chantilly lace just for a bit of fun!

96. Finish a computer game

Husband and I folded out the sofa bed, got Pizza and assorted snacks, closed the curtains and tackled Halo in co-op mode.  Some will call that cheating but it was fun!

98. Teach

In 2011 I was approached by the course convener of the Diploma of Applied Science at CIT (the Canberra Institute of Technology) as their teacher for the Assisted Reproductive Techniques Unit (who I knew through work) was going overseas for an extended period.  I was asked to teach for a semester.  I took the existing material and reworked it to suit my teaching style and my knowledge.  I had recently finished a Diploma of Training and assessment myself and was excited to jump in.  Since then  I have learned a lot about teaching and I think being on the other side of the fence has helped me be a better student since going back to Uni too.  Sometimes I wonder if I could see myself being a teacher in the future…

Well, there you have it! If you made it this far, thanks for sitting through a very long post.  Not long now until the next thing on the list…

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