So Here’s What Happened

I was living in Melbourne, Australia. At first I was working in a cafe but eventually got sacked for no other reason than everyone got sacked when the owner decided to hire all of his friends to replace us. Which, as is becoming a recurring theme with most shit things that happen to me, turned out to actually be good: it meant that I ended up getting hired on at Absolute MMA and Conditioning, where I’d been training to fight in Mixed Martial Arts. Because becoming a cage fighter is totally a legitimate career change for a 30 year old woman. Continue reading

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So. . .This Isn’t a Travel Blog?

Uh, well. . .sort of. Whether or not you can call On the Road to Ithaca a ‘travel blog’ depends a great deal on what you consider travel to be. I would call it a travel blog, for two main reasons.

One, the shoe fits. I am traveling. I am from Canada. I was in India. Now I am going to Australia. But what about once I arrive in Melbourne? Once I find an apartment and a job and settle in for a bit am I still traveling? How long can you stay in a foreign country before ‘travel’ becomes ‘immigration’? Continue reading

Wait. . .What?

As absurd as it sounds, there was a logical process of thought behind my decision to try prize fighting. I had reasons for choosing to do this, now.

First, there was sheer curiosity. Which is admittedly a stronger driving force for me than is perhaps healthy. But when I get a question in my mind it fucking burns until I get an answer, man. Especially when it’s a question of ‘Can I [insert task here]?’ I need to know. And this one had been nagging at me for a long time: could I hold my own in a cage fight?

I’d trained in martial arts before. But I’ll admit readily – not a lot. There was some Shotokan Karate back in my last year of high school and some half-assed Jeet Kun Do back in my short-lived university days. But the style I really loved was Muay Thai, in which I had trained during my early years of tattooing in Newfoundland, as well as for a while in Ireland back at the start of my travels.

And I loved it. Which brings me to my second reason: Desire. Continue reading

And Now, For an Abrupt Change of Plot. . .

5 years ago I made what, at the time, seemed a terribly difficult decision. At the tender age of 25, I had been preparing to leave the sheltered Canadian province of Newfoundland and go traveling overseas with the unequivocal love of my life. Unfortunately, one month prior to departure an ill-timed and particularly heart-wrenching break-up left me with an awkward choice: Should I still board that plane, even though ‘we’ had become just ‘I’? Or should I abandon plans and allow my limping heart time to heal before hurling it halfway across the world, over an ocean and into foreign lands and potentially disastrous situations?

In the end, it just seemed easier to go. Flights had been booked, visas arranged; momentum was behind me and it would have taken more effort to cancel plans rather than just follow through with them. Still, I deliberated the choice up until the very last moment, having approximately 4 panic attacks in the remaining interim. But in the end, I did board that plane.

Lil’ ol 25 year old me preparing to head off.

Making the decision may have been challenging as all hell but actually leaving my home and job to begin traveling with a broken heart actually turned out to be one of the easier things I’ve done. Continue reading

Reasons to Travel #02 – Life Sampling

best. cocktail. buffet. ever.

NOMS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like buffets. Boxes of mixed chocolates. Appetizer platters. Miniature bottles of alcohol. Packs of tiny, packaged cheeses.

I like variety. I like sampling, and trying new things (sometimes off plates not my own, much to the chagrin of my company). And yeah, sometimes you just want the old favourite, the comfort of the familiar. . . but you’d never have found that favourite to begin with if you hadn’t, at some point, initially tried it. And tastes change – I’m guessing you weren’t a fan of that rich, smokey scotch you now adore so much back when you started drinking. On the flip side, that sugary crap you downed so enthusiastically back in uni might well turn your stomach nowadays.

Maybe you’re someone with a limited palette. Maybe, even at age 35, you’re still more than content with microwaved hot dogs and instant mac-and-cheese for supper 3 nights a week. And that’s cool. . . as long as it’s making you happy. And, just to be clear, if your diet isn’t supplying you with the nutrients you need to maintain energy throughout the day, or is causing you to become so obese that just getting up the stairs to your apartment is a dreaded struggle for you each and every day. . .that’s not making you happy.

It is, as always, about making choices that positively serve you. And it’s difficult to decide what is good for you if you never step out of your comfort zone to sample the other options that are out there. Continue reading

This post is 2.5 pictures long

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. They do not, however, say anything about the accuracy of the stories said words tell.

As I prepare to upload 6 photo sets from my time thus far in India to the FACEBOOKs, it seems a good time to address what I hope many people who use any sort of social networking site or follow any sort of media source already know: That a picture painted by a series of photos can, frequently, be a less than accurate portrayal of how events actually transpired.

First, a quick catch up from where we left off: Departing Rishikesh with our newly serviced bikes and heading towards Vrindavan for Holi.

Holi is a Spring festival in which Indians celebrate the coming of Spring, the miraculous escape of Prahlada, the burning of Holika and the general awesomeness of Krishna and his female counterpart Radha. They celebrate this by hurling ‘gulal’, a colored powder, at each other. They also hurl colored water called ‘rang’ and, my new disdain, colored foam (which wouldn’t be so damn evil except that it’s scented, and its scent seems to be ‘rank’).

The drive there was long and hard and contained another 3 repairs: Sheila took a tumble during a railroad crossing and busted her mirror from the hand brake. Hrithik snapped a piece off his exhaust that required an. . .interesting welding job. Another tumble down a dirt road knocked another screw from the exhaust mount (In case you’re wondering, no, bikes are not supposed to fall over this often. But then, that’s when you’re driving them on roads, as opposed to collapsing mounds of dust). We’ve been fortunate, at least, in being rather close to a mechanic each time we’ve busted up the bikes. Though that may have less to do with luck and more to do with the sheer number of bikes and prevalence of shitty roads in this country. Continue reading