Friday’s Recommended Reads – September 30th

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October has rolled around and daylight savings is upon us here in Australia! That means an extra bit of sunlight each day – not that I’ll see it with my work hours extending well beyond 6pm…

Exciting times for the Aussie on the Road as well. My Queensland trip continues to gather momentum. Not only are my flights and Fright Night tickets booked, but I’ve also picked up my day pass to Australia’s premier theme park: Dream World.

I’m very excited to try out their new Tower of Terror, Shockwave, and Buzzsaw. The latter looks particularly terrifying, and I get into the park an hour early to ride it because I booked online. Winning.

There’s even more exciting news though. I’ve recently been approached by a representative of Ford about test driving their new Ford Focus on a road trip. Brooke vs the World recently capitalized on the opportunity and did a few trips, and I’m really excited to go on a road trip of my own. The great Aussie road trip is something I’m always up for.

The problem?

I don’t drive.

Thankfully my mate Dave has offered to act as driver and tag along for the ride. I’ve also invited Annie of Wayward Traveler and Mel from The Mellyboo Project to come along too. We’re looking at an overnight trip to Jervis Bay to check out the beaches, party with some backpackers, and see one of the often overlooked areas of New South Wales. Can’t wait!

And after all of the above? I’ve got the wedding of a very good friend up in Newcastle, so I’ll be heading back to one of my old stomping grounds to celebrate the occasion as well as fit in a bit of sight-seeing. It might be time for me to check out a few of the cafes and bars of Darby Street and check out one or two of the beaches I didn’t get to when I lived there.

And then? I’m headed up to my home town for a weekend of ten year high school reunion festivities. I’ve somehow been saddled with organizing the whole affair but it’s coming together nicely. Drinks at the old bar on the Friday night, a sit down dinner with awards presentation on the Saturday evening, and then a BBQ on the school grounds to round it all out. Really looking forward to seeing how everybody has been for the past ten years. Hell, there’s one or two guys I considered good friends who I haven’t seen since we said goodbye on the last day of school. Hard to believe it’s been so long.

But you didn’t come here to read my life story. On with this week’s Recommended Reads!

The Reads

The American Dream by 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure

Talon and Tigger’s adventures around Central America have kept the blog pretty quiet so far, so it was a pleasant surprise to see this really thought provoking read about the pursuit of the ‘American dream’ and having the guts to question it. I for one think that Talon is living the dream as he and his son travel the world, and I can’t imagine finding anywhere near that level of happiness in a house and 2.5 kids.

I think a lot of my fellow travelers will be able to relate to the sentiments expressed here, and there’s a bunch of other discussions of the topic included at the end of his post.

My Top 10 Favorite Road Trip Stops by A Dangerous Business

Amanda’s amazing road trip tour of the United States has come to an end and she’s taken the time to stop and run down a list of her favorite stops along the way. I’m a big fan of the road trip and have enjoyed reading about her adventures gallivanting all over the States, and she’s highlighted some amazing spots in this top 10.

She also points out that the States is so damned big that even after her big trip, she barely touched on what there is to see out there. I know I’ve been guilty of the same here in Oz.

Korean BBQ 101 in Sydney by Bitten by the Travel Bug

My good friend Nicole’s first appearance in the Recommended Reads just so happens to coincide with my role in this week’s post. I swear, I didn’t choose it because I’m in it… >_>

When Nicole was in Sydney recently for her role as a Red Bull Mobile Scout we had the chance to catch up and we made the most of it by indulging in a lot of delicious galbi (Korean BBQ beef) and soju. It was really amusing to read Nicole’s recount of her first brush with real Korean eating, and there’s a lot of photos of me looking like an idiot as I demonstrate the process.

There were photos of Nicole as well, but she’s decided they shouldn’t see the light of day.

City Guide, Detroit MI by Bucket List Nation

Fresh of having two reads featured last week, Bucket List Nation is on the scene again with this really interesting look at Detroit. I don’t know about anybody else, but I really didn’t have a great level of interest for visiting the motor/murder city, but this entry might just have turned me around. There’s more to the city than meets the eye and, much like my beloved Newcastle, Detroit seems like it gets a bad wrap almost exclusively.

Good to see somebody leap to its defense.

Night Life in the Old Town of Bratislava by Man vs Clock

Those who have seen Euro Trip probably have a rather colorful idea of what Bratislava’s night life might be like, but Anthony has just experienced it first hand and can attest to the lack of absinthe induced twin incest. I’m sure you’re all relieved to hear that.

This was a really amusing read and I’m all about entries that highlight places most people haven’t been to (or even heard of). Top stuff.

A Tour of Chernobyl and the Ghost Town of Pripyat by Neverending Footsteps

How on earth did this not make the cut last week!? I know I read it and loved it then. Call it a case of massive oversight.

It’s long been a dream of mine to visit the town of Pripyat and see first hand the aftermath of the disastrous Chernobyl meltdown. Amanda from A Dangerous Business had a really interesting entry on visiting places such as Ground Zero, Auschwitz, and the Killing Fields recently – and Chernobyl certainly fits into that same category.

This entry really just needs to be read and enjoyed. Plenty of photos and a really great recount of her visit. Go go!

10 Must See Deserts by One Giant Step

Another first timer here. One Giant Step counts down the ten deserts of the world that he believes are ‘must see’. I’ve been lucky enough to visit one of those listed and it’s not even the one in Australia. But having lived in the gorgeous NSW Outback in the past, I can definitely attest to the charms of the Australia red centre.

What deserts have you explored? And what deserts do you still need to visit?

Coming Home – What’s Bothering Me by Runaway Juno

Juno has just completed an envy inducing road trip journey around North America and is now back in South Korea recovering and coming to grips with life after life on the road.

I just about cried reading this entry. I can completely relate to Juno’s feelings of isolation and confusion after finishing up a big trip. It’s something I’ve dealt with after leaving Korea in the past and even, to a lesser extent, after getting home after last year’s New Zealand and Fiji trip.

I’m sure we’ve all felt that sense of isolation and confinement when we’ve come back from a big trip. Go give Juno a big virtual hug!

Snorkeling Between Tectonic Plates in Iceland by Wild Junket

How on earth am I only just hearing about this?

Nellie from Wild Junket had the opportunity to snorkel between the tectonic plates that separate North America and Europe and she took some amazing photos along the way. I think something just got added to my bucket list…

What’s Going On?

After a pretty slack week last week, I’ve made the vow to myself to get back in the writing saddle and get plenty of entries out this week. I’ve got my interview with Nicole from Bitten by the Travel Bug, part two of my Top 10 Best Kept Aussie Secrets, a post about how to do Las Vegas on a budget, and the first in a whole series of posts about my time in Korea and the United States.

On a personal level, my week doesn’t hold a great deal. I’m in hardcore saving mode as my Queensland trip approaches. With the added costs of the aforementioned Jervis Bay, Newcastle, and Glen Innes trips – I daresay I’ll be snatching up a few overtime trips over the next few months.

Beyond Christmas I’m not really sure what the future holds. I’ve got job interviews for schools in Japan and Taiwan coming up, and I’m still considering my options on the China and Thailand fronts. While I don’t think teaching is the career that’s going to make me happy for the rest of my life – it’s the career that’s going to let me live abroad, and that’s a pretty big draw.

I’ve still got my sights set on that 2012 big trip too. South East Asia, South America, Central America, and Europe are all calling my name. And I’ve still got a lot of unfinished business in North America too.

So much to see. So little cash…

In Case You Missed Them…

Don’t See Your Entry Above?

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  • You listed some great new sites here Chris. I’ve read some of the others already but the Bratislava and Iceland posts I’ll be heading right on over to. We spent some time staying in Bratislava and we really liked the city, and it’s so well positioned to many places within an hour or so of there. It’s a city I think will become more important as a base to see a lot of that part of mid and eastern Europe as much cheaper than say Vienna or Prague.

  • Danke for including my post mate. 🙂

    If you have unfinished business with N.America you should defiantly try and get to TBEX to be held in Colarado early June next year. It’s going to be sweeet!!! ^_^

    •  Ha! I *wish* I could afford that. My sponsored posts would have to pick up pretty drastically for that to happen haha

      • Save harderrrr!!!!! Haha. I mean, my flight to SFO is going to cost me $800 from Australia and then I’m using either my Frequent Flier Points or the ‘IOU’ ticket I have to get home.

        Otherwise, I’ll see you in Sydney… maybe. 😛

        • Anonymous

          Alas, I have no frequent flyer points. I daresay I’ll need to wait until I’m in the same area as TBEX by chance before I actually attend one 🙁

          • Oh well. Nuffnang’s Blogopolis is awesome and I’m going to hazard a guess that since it was in Melbourne this year it will be in Sydney next year!

  • Gillian @OneGiantStep

    Thanks for the mention here Chris. There are a bazillion places to visit in this world but I seem to want to visit the dry, flat places the most!! Cheers!

    • There’s something very beautiful about deserts, I agree.

      (I almost typed desserts there. Still true, but it’s a different kind of beauty).

      I was lucky enough to live in Menindee and Tibooburra in Outback NSW. There’s something very different about growing up surrounded by red earth, flocks of emu, having a pet kangaroo, and having to contend with cat’s heads, spinifex, and razor grass when you’re out playing :-p

  • Thanks so much for the mention dude! Great selection here 🙂

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