My sides still hurt and I still feel a little embarrassed about traumatizing a jogger on Circular Quay with our entirely not-suitable-for-blog conversation after our interview. I think it’s safe to say that my interview with Mel from The Mellyboo Project was a whole hell of a lot of fun.
Last week I introduced my new Bite with a Blogger segment with an interview over Korean BBQ with Nicole from Bitten by the Travel Bug. Since that post hit the interwebs I’ve been flooded with expressions of interest to take part in an interview of their own. It’s enough to make a boy feel like the prettiest girl at the dance.
Over the coming weeks you’ll see Bite with a Blogger segments with Tony from It’s Good Overseas, Annie from The Wayward Traveller, Andy from The Travel Maverick, and Nicole from Hola Chica Travels – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of great travel bloggers here in Sydney I still need to interview (hopefully someday I’ll be able to pin down Brooke from Brooke vs the World, Pat from The Laksa Blog, and Caz or Craig from yTravel Blog as well).
But this week I had a chance to sit down with my bride-to-be (Twitter in joke) over some delicious saltwater crocodile pizza, wedges drowned in sour cream, and Aussie boutique beer at The Australian Hotel. And where Nicole and I managed to keep the first Bite with a Blogger segment relatively PC, there were certainly no holds barred between Mel and I.
Wait, that sounded pornographic.
I just meant that no topic of conversation was taboo. I feel for the tourists whose meandering exploration of Sydney took them by our table. Poor bastards.
Eating a Crocodile with The Mellyboo Project
Our plans for the day had originally involved my Hart’s Pub, which has the honor of being my favorite bar in Sydney. Alas, the bar kitchen had closed moments before we arrived for our late lunch at 3.30pm and so we instead headed to the Australian Hotel. Famous around Sydney for its pizza and its home brewed German style beer, the Australia was a pretty good second choice if you ask me.
I was last at the Australian Hotel in the aftermath of the epic Great Nomads Chase, so it was nice to be there considerably less sweaty and sore. There’s an innuendo to be made there, I know, but try and be classy people.
We ordered a tasting paddle and a large saltwater crocodile pizza. I’m a big fan of crocodile meat. In fact, it might have surpassed kangaroo as my favorite Australian animal to dine on.
I’ve yet to try koala though…
But enough about food and beer. On with the questions!
So, how long have you been travel blogging?
I’ve been travel blogging ‘consistently’ for the last year or so. However, back in the day I was quite the avid Livejournal-er and documented every last detail of my life – it’s quite fun to look back on those posts.
OMG! I had a Livejournal too! I was all emo and such in it.
What made you start a travel blog?
I started travel blogging because I really enjoyed reading other travel blogs. I also felt it was a great way for me to document my crazy adventures and share them with my friends and family back home. It actually shocked me that people other than my friends and family would be interested in my silly travel stories — but I suppose I’ve decided to run with it.
Mel went on to talk about how excited she was the first time she got ‘fan mail’. I’m sure we all remember the first time somebody who wasn’t a friend or family member commented on one of our posts, right?
What made you choose ‘The Mellyboo Project?’
I had read a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and it documented this woman’s mission to do little things to make herself happier with her life. When I made the big decision to give into my lifelong desire to see the world around me, I decided that it was me doing my part to make myself ‘happier’. Mellyboo has been a nickname of mine since high school. Thus, I created THE MELLYBOO PROJECT. Plus, like most bloggers out there, I suppose I’m a touch narcissistic.
Where has your pursuit of happiness taken you so far?
I’ve been to Scotland, Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Saint Lucia, a few places in the USA (New York state, Florida), a few places in Canada (Montreal, Nova Scotia, Regina, Southern Ontario)… and… yeah… I think that’s it. I’ve touched down in Iceland for a layover and have their stamp in my passport, does that count?
Somebody always tries to sneak one like this through. Last week it was Nicole with Germany, and now Mel with Iceland. Not cool!
And you’re in Australia now, but what’s next for you?
I’m currently in Sydney on a working holiday visa but will be heading over to New Zealand in the new year on a working holiday. In May 2012, I plan on heading over to Africa to do a 3-4week tour through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Money permitting, once I finish the Africa tour, I hope to stop in South East Asia for a few months to explore Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and hopefully Malaysia. Then back to New Zealand before returning home. Lots of travel plans in the works. Just need to keep making the big bucks to afford this expensive hobby of mine.
During our interview Mel handed in her CV with the staff at the Australian. Keep your fingers crossed for her.
What would you say has been your most memorable experience?
Oh man, most memorable experience?!
I’ve done and seen so much, especially in the last year — but I’d have to say doing the Nullarbor Traveller tour from Perth to Adelaide in March 2011. We covered nearly 4000km in 9 days; slept in swags; swam with dolphins, sea lions and blue fin tuna; went to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches in Cape Le Grande National Park; found ourselves on the edges of the stunning Bunda Cliffs; learned how to surf; and even slept amongst the koalas. I’ve got amazing memories from that tour for sure. Plus it’s always cool to do things that not a whole lot of people have done or even seen before – yay for pretty pictures and bragging rights.
And the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
Scariest? Hand feeding the blue fin tuna was absolutely terrifying. They are massive and as quick as a bat out of hell! Not to mention fingers can easily be mistaken for pilchers! When a massive bluefin tuna is swimming at you with its mouth open because a pilcher has landed in the water mere inches from your face- it sure makes you get out of the water quickly!
(Please Note: this is coming from someone who has scuba dived amongst sharks!)
And the most exciting?
Getting a kiss on the lips from a baby sea lion was pretty cool. But I must say bungy jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand was the ultimate adrenaline rush! I’ve gotta do it again!
On the subject of kissing, got any travel romances to tell us about?
Oh come on! Every backpacker has had at LEAST one travel romance.
*Sigh* I don’t…
I met my first travel ‘boyfriend’ – a guy from Sweden- my second day in Sydney at the end of 2010. It just so happened that a girl I had befriended owed him money, we had to go drop off the money at his house in North Manly, we hit it off and over the next few weeks we spent heaps of time together. He had invited me to join him in Thailand and I seriously considered it, but in the end decided to do my own thing. We still chat every now and then, and I know that if I ever go back to Sweden, I’ve got a friend I can stay with.
At this point in the interview sex had been a pretty constant topic, much to the amusement of the pretty girl who was serving us. So I had to ask Mel if she had any interesting sex on the road stories to tell.
What kind of girl do you take me for!? A lady doesn’t kiss and tell… however, I guess we’ve already established that I’m kind of shameless.
4 words.. accidental live sex show. Whoops!
What’s one travel tip you’d like to share?
One travel tip? Since the previous Bite with a Blogger tip was zip-lock bags, I will just say be open to change. Don’t plan too much. Go with the flow. Some of the most rewarding experiences and memories can happen when you least expect them.
I touched on this very concept in my post about Detours!
My last question would be – what is your ultimate travel dream?
My ultimate travel dream, would be to become a gazillionaire and to never work a day in my life, and just explore and see every last inch of the world. Realistically though, I would absolutely love to dive the Galapagos Islands and travel through South America – Machu Picchu, The Amazon, Patagonia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile… I want to see it all!
And last but certainly not least – recommend two of your blog entries that you think people will enjoy.
Here’s a post about my experience on the aforementioned Nullarbor Traveller tour, and here’s a Pros and Cons of Solo Travel entry I wrote.
With questions done and stomachs rumbling, it was time to launch into our meal at the Australian. We ordered the saltwater crocodile pizza and a tasting paddle of beers. The staff were super friendly and eager to chat with us whenever they came by. The bartender was happy to tell us all about the beers they had on tap and the girls outside would stop for a joke whenever they came by.
Mel, if you get the job there, hook me up with that cute girl who was waiting our table?
Crocodile is… amazing. Whether you’re eating the Cajun Crocodile Bites at Hart’s Pub or sinking your teeth into the wonderfully light pizza at the Australian Hotel, you’re in for a treat. It’s a bit like chicken, but an experience all on its own. Where else in the world can you not only dine on both animals on the national crest – but also dine on one of the most dangerous predators in the world.
This truly is the lucky country.
Our pizza didn’t quite fill us up. Nor did our tasting paddle satisfy our beer hunger. We ordered a serve of wedges with sweet chili sauce and sour cream and a full size beer for each of us. While Mel had a generic beer I can’t recall the name of, I splashed out on the fantastic Kolsch from 4 Pines Brewery in Manly.
When the eating and drinking were done it was time for a leisurely walk through The Rocks to check out Mel’s favorite photographer’s studio and snap a few obligatory photos of The Opera House as we made our way to Circular Quay. Mel’s going to be tagging along on for my trip up to Port Stephens this weekend – so I’m sure I’ll have more tales of this crazy Canadian for you real soon.
Go read The Mellyboo Project!
This series isn’t just an excuse for me to eat delicious food with cute travel bloggers. It just so happens that I’ve carefully planned it so that my first two interviews fit that description >_>
The main purpose of this series is to highlight the many wonderful blogs out there. The Mellyboo Project is full of funny anecdotes from all around the world and you’ll find that Mel’s writing is every bit as infectious and inappropriate as her real life persona. You can also find her on Twitter as @mellyboo.
I’m really looking forward to adding more to this Bite with a Blogger series. There’s a lot of travelers both here in Sydney and around the world I’d love to get to know a little better.
If you’re ever in Sydney and want a bite to eat, a good chat, and some free publicity for your blog or project – let me know! You can reach me through my Contact page, hit me up on Twitter (@aussieontheroad) or ask on my Facebook page.