August 29, 2009

The End

Oh holy hell, I have finally finished with putting all of my Australia photos online. Getting on a bit since the end of the trip, but I told myself I would get it all done. So, read the last story here (it's a bit long, but it was quite the adventure with bus problems, very early mornings, and the amazing things the outback has to offer) and check out the photos.

August 23, 2009

Feeling decidedly unskilled

Lately I've been making further enquiries into how I'm going to get to Australia exactly. There are various work visa options and a couple seemed like possibilities. First, there is applying for jobs with my company's office in Sydney and getting them to sponsor me. I emailed someone in HR there and she made it sound very easy and possible.

Another option is the regional skilled worker visa, which tries to attract skilled people to non-urban areas of the country, where people usually aren't as willing to move. That sounded like it could be an unexpectedly interesting experience, living in a smaller town, doing something very different from what I do now and getting to meet nice and/or quirky people, a whole Northern Exposure kind of thing. But it's not as easy as saying "sure, I'll live in a regional area and do what job I can find!" You have to have skills, the right skills, things that not many people in the non-urban areas can do. And I don't really qualify. I'm not a doctor or nurse or bricklayer or plumber or baker. All these solid professions where you can say "yes, I am one of those, I've been one of those for years, I can be one of those for your town." So unfortunately I think my quirky little-town fantasy has been killed.

I've looked at a couple of other visas and I'm likely not skilled enough for them either, so I'm pretty much left with the option of transferring with my company. Which isn't bad, I am very fortunate that there is this possibility, I guess I just worry about having the one hope to hang on to. I will check into it more though, make sure it is possible, if needed start getting my manager to tell them to hire me, damnit, because I am good and they want me in their office. But they also have to convince Australia that I'm good and deserve to be in their country taking a job away from an Australian. Why does it have to be so difficult?

August 21, 2009

Concentrated tomato goodness

The produce stall I've been frequenting at the market has some wonderful, sweet mini roma tomatoes. So I knew I had to get some when I saw this photo from Lynn. I spent an evening earlier this week oven-drying the tomatoes with rosemary. Here they are before:

And the delicious end-product:

Tonight I'm throwing them on the wheat spaghetti with grilled veggies that I'm making.

Australia podcast

I put together a little podcast for a Decemberists forum project. It consists of songs either by artists who are Australian, or songs that remind me of my time in Australia. Go check it out!

August 5, 2009

Fall getaway

I told myself that I wasn't going to travel much this year in order to save up some money, and I was doing pretty well, but the travel itch got too strong and now I've planned a 10-day holiday to Croatia in September.

Planning this trip was different from most trips I've done in Europe in that I won't be staying in one city for most of the time, I'll be moving around the country quite a bit, so a lot of logistics were involved. Making all the plans reminded me of planning out my trips in Australia and New Zealand though, so it felt good to do that again. For better or for worse, I'll even be staying in hostels again, though this time I've granted myself the luxury of only taking single rooms, no dorm beds. Croatia also has an abundance of people offering rooms in private houses, so I booked some of that type of accommodation as well. Overall, the average I am spending per night is around 30 eur, which is pretty reasonable. Less reasonable is the cost of renting a car, but I'll only be renting one for a couple of days to get to a more remote area.

My general itinerary is that after spending time in Dubrovnik (it'll probably not be enough time, unfortunately) I'll head up the coast to Split and then take a ferry out to the island of Vis. I'll spend 3 nights there, so it's a fair bit of time to explore the island or just relax, depending on what I feel like. Then I ferry back to Split, pick up the rental car, and drive to the area near Plitvice Lakes, a beautiful national park containing the lakes, waterfalls, and forest where I'll have a full day to hike in the park.

Hopefully it will be a good little extension of the summer, spending time on Adriatic beaches and getting some sun. Croatians sound very friendly and helpful, I can already see that in the emails I've received from the places where I've booked a room in a private house, I feel like I can't wait to meet these people and stay with them. I'm looking forward to another little adventure.