Guide to surviving summer break

26 Nov

So the uni 3 month Summer Break is finally here and, unlike last year where I spent it in an office cubicle in 25 degree air conditioned air, I have nothing serious planned. Sounds dangerous right? So many times I’ve arrived at the end of a plan-less summer – begging time to come faster so I can return to uni.

What happened? Did we simply hyper inflate our expectations to those typical Hollywood adventures – aspiring yet totally unrealistic? (Honestly, who can save animals, travel across a continent to beat the bad guys, and STILL have time to have the sweeping summer romance – all within 2 hours of viewing time?!)

But I can be stubbornly optimistic and….well, when the pen for my final exam is dropped for each year, this is what I have in mind for every summer break:

Image creditsfrom Google

But…reality looks more like this(credit):

My tips to having an awesome, totally non-regrettable SUMMER BREAK: 

  • FIrst, plan plan plan! You usually hear the whole “failing to plan is planing to fail” thing close to exam dates and such…but I believe that concept applies to everything. Forget to plan your dinner – oops Maccas again guys! Forget to plan for trips? Don’t blame anyone if credit cards get swiped, bookings cost 50 times more and you run into serious argument mode with your travel buddies. Shit just happens when you’re stressed.

I find lists the best way to go – and what better than the amazingly functional and mobile EVERNOTE? – free on mobile and computer it’s an invaluable tool for when you’re working on the go, when inspiration strikes at the most inconvenient times (public transport anyone?) and when you’re forever losing bits of paper.  Play around with it – you can categorise, prioritise and   organise all your bits and pieces. This way, you won’t have an excuse for forgetting to complete your 20th to-do list because you “can’t find it anymore” (:P)

  • Inspiration time!

A really funny thing I find with me is that when I’m stressed pre-exams, I have 2 streams of thoughts going on – one that is constantly streaming reviews and dotting down information; the other, planning things to do when exams are over. So by the time I’m done, I have already set aside plans and am ready to go.

Of course I’m always keen for ideas – and the clichéd star gazing and road trip doesn’t always cut it. Googling Bucket List Ideas is a fantastic way to start! Sites like give you ideas to suit all budgets – from getting a tattoo and donate blood to learn to surf and visit the Pyramids in Egypt.

We’re young and the world is our oyster…so why not pile heaps on our plate?

  • And action!

So honestly, the biggest reason for downfall is our laziness – really, that’s all! The span on 3 months appears endless…and today always seem to be a good day to chill and do nothing. But the 3 month still has an expiration date – and really, I always just ask myself: do I want to return to uni, missing the workload?

For all you chronic procrastinators out there:

Procrastination is the thief of time

Wonder the magic behind how some people can sustain amazing social life, family life, travelling and juggle their careers/high results? They understand the dangers of “putting things away until tomorrow”.

And when you have a definitive list of things to accomplish over the summer that will challenge you, and help develop you into an more mature, focused YOU – that’s really a summer worth spent.

Oh, of course – beach trips are a must, along with unlimited supply of ice cream!

So slap on the sunscreen and sunnies – and make today exciting.

Stay tuned! Travel ideas for students on budget coming soon! 🙂




Down the waterhole – Blue Mountains

19 Nov

A few months ago I decided that I had enough of uni work – so I packed up my bags and took the nearest train to Wentworth Falls for a day hike with a few friends. Wentworth Falls is located in the Blue Mountains region and is approximately 2 hrs by train from Sydney CBD. Usually a famous picnic spot, we decided to embark on the ‘beginner level’ trail which would simply take us down the mountain basin, and then up again to land.

Sounds easily enough right? This wasn’t my first time on a day hike – my previous one being 3 years ago at the Hawkesbury Rivers – and I absolutely adored it. Despite all the sweat and cramped legs that last for a week afterwards, the sheer sense of joy in the accomplishment is the reason why people go again and again.

Upon arrival we were treated with this spectacular view of the Blue Mountains.

Still only 2 hrs away from Sydney CBD, but it felt like centuries away from the congested roads and overcrowded buildings of the metropolitan, city lifestyle.

As the first half of our trip was downhill, involving multiple successions of stairs…we reached our first destination point rather easily. 

Only halfway there though!! But WOAH….the waterfall in proportion!

It took another hour or so before we descended to the bottom of the basin. And boy was it a hard trek down! Ladders and slippery rocks…but we definitely weren’t prepared for the other half – going up! This was our rest stop by the way – the few moments of bliss before we were struck down wordlessly by the ascend to the top of the basin! 

And my beautiful fellow hikers! Don’t let our smiles fool you…we were all just so keen for a nap! And we hadn’t even started going up yet!

Looking back…it didn’t seem that tough I guess

At the end of the day? Honestly one of the best days I’ve had for awhile! Sure I took over 4 days to recover – but my friends and I now have so many amazing stories to tell! And I never complained about the Basser steps at Uni again…so that’s definitely a bonus learning experience 🙂

Until next time – take care!


(Taken on Sony Cyber-shot!)

Bondi love

13 Nov

I’ve always had a fear of water. I think it stems from a time, as a young inexperienced swimmer, I jumped into some waves – rather TOO eagerly – and felt my life flash before my eyes as I felt sand sliding between my toes and my legs tumbling over each other as the arms of the waves pulled me towards the sea.

This is why I’ve never taken to swimming at Australian beaches. That, and also, I’m always hearing news of shark attacks, jellyfish stings and vicious ocean conditions means at most I will be dipping my toes in the waters, literally.

But this doesn’t stop me from loving summer and the beaches. By far, Bondi is the most beautiful place in Sydney….closely seconded by Newcastle and the Harbour. What’s even better is that during October and early November, Bondi Beach runs an art event known to locals as “Sculptures by the Sea”. It’s a trail from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach, each step hidden with little twists, ups and downs leading you to ever more art treasures. Some snippets:

Childhood memories

Close up of previous shot. These are like windmills. Gusts of winds cause these to rattle and…the most interesting tribal-esque sounds sweep across the beachside. We stood there for ages, absolutely captivated by the surprise and incongruity of it all.



5 Nov




Life of uni student!! One moment you’re riding on a wave of procrastination high – planning a billion things per mile without a scrap of assignments/tests in sight…then blink and the next moment – you’ve got three final exams and every day you’re living, breathing exams.

(with the added forbidden yet irresistible procrastination sessions – on Stumble Upon, Facebook, YouTube. I’m quite sure I re-watched all old school NigaHiga videos….and spent countless minutes on cat videos, food blogs, and even re-activated my Flickr account – something that I only seem to do during exam periods)

But exams came and went. My birthday arrived too, amidst the scramble of notes and flurry of half-cramming and half-celebrations. Finally twenty, I really cannot wait to embark on the next year. Travelling is so on the agenda and I can’t even sit still at the thought that in a year’s time right now, I will be in America, for the full college life experience. To say I’m excited is an understatement.

So I’ve been wanting to focus more of photography. Having been AWOL the last month, stuck inside the study room and firmly glued to the computer desk, getting back into the camera touch is like re-kindling with an old friend. We had a past, but it’s a little awkward, not certain how each approach a shot, not sure how different apertures will turn out….Hello old friend.

The next series of photos were taken at a time when Sydney was blessed with absolutely exquisite sunsets. They made me think – the vivid splashes of red and orange against the backdrop of the blue sky. How many amazing moments do we miss because we’re too busy to look up? How many sunsets go by before we truly realise our life goals? How do we measure life’s successes – by little moments of laughing with friends, or when we rake in a new multi-million dollar client?

Whatever the answer, enjoy 🙂



Can we play a game?

17 Oct

That’s the question I’m forever burdened with, thanks to the kid sister in 3rd grade. It must be annoying for her though too – me wanting to just sit there and sun-bake instead of playing tag/elastics/MarioCart/whatever-kids-do-these days during my free time. If I look back on my own childhood now, I have to say most of it was dominated by afternoon playtimes with neighbours’ kids. I vividly recall the time when my best friend (from Age Five) and I ‘ran away from home’ to our kindergaten school without telling our parents. It was our first times crossing roads without adults! We felt so proud and grown up when we rocked up to our school after-hours and spent ages, unsupervised and FREE on the play equipment.

And then we went home….and saw our parents, faces mid-way between fury and happiness when we stepped into our homes again after our adventurous day. We weren’t grounded…but I don’t think we ever did anything like that ever again.

Another of my favourites was cloud-watching. The thrill of finding resemblance between the puffy white smoke to everyday things was always an easy fun time for me. So, being lazy with an inherent dislike towards sport, I took up sister cloud-watching last weekend while picnicking on PB+J sandwiches and chocolate in our backyard. Easy, efficient and effortless -but at the end of the day, still acing the ‘big sister’ role 😛

Some snaps

Balloon animal!

A crocodile/alligator?? The massive jaw at the bottom, and the tail further up

And I’ve actually forgotten what we dubbed this one!! Any ideas? 🙂

Springing into SUMMER

7 Oct

There’s just something indescribably beautiful about gazing into the wide span of ocean, listening to the crashing of waves and feeling the tension of the day descend around you as the night slowly seeps in.

Coupled with a good friend and some greasy fast food, we gossiped, laughed and recalled the wisps of the youth we wish we had – the younger carefree days without any stress about looming exams or job market prospects. Strangely enough, it is often those moments of intense conversation with a few close mates that makes me feel absolutely content with life – that everything is perfect. And too often, late night outs with large groups leave me feeling hungry for more – for a sort of intimacy that extends beyond the “how ya going” “good? cool”…

I had to fill out a college application yesterday. Finally I understand the pain of American kids and their complaints of college applications. When faced with questions such as “What was the hardest thing you’ve overcome?” it is just so damn tempting to pluck ideas from Hollywood super hero movies….and well, I really wonder if the application evaluators do see the youths of America differently after going through all those responses 😛 But I do really admire the American system – the strong emphasis on student life participation and work experience placement as part of the academic degree – is about fifty times more hard-work than what the average Australian student would face. And yet they still party 50 times harder than us – logic?

So all of last week, I realised that I’ve lost something along the way this semester – the whole idea of ‘exploring the broader world’. My intention, after quitting my full time job, was definitely to first ‘experience true university life’, and with it – make new friends, experience new things and work in something completely different! But somewhere along the way, I started focusing on the academic side of university way more than its social side. My memories of the dull 9-5 job is fading and at times I *think* I actually miss it! I felt so lost with my career goals and direction in life….and that’s where the beach outing came in. It really helped to bring me down to earth – taking it one step at a time, and choosing to embrace the unknown. So what if I don’t have a summer internship? More time for travelling, methinks.

Recently Snapped – Hunter Valley Gardens

2 Oct

Finally managed to squeeze in a bit of photo taking opportunity amidst the rushed daily routines and preparations for my final exams. Last week was definitely a keeper – spending 3 days away from uni and taking the time to re-live ‘working 9-5’ again was definitely something that has motivated me to make most of my uni days!

Over the Labour Day long weekend, we had a family trip up north to Hunter Valley, New South Wales. There’s something so deeply satisfying about tossing away the dreary, mundane city life and drive out into the outskirts of the state to enjoy some real, wholesome fresh air and exercise. The garden spans over 60 acres, with ten feature gardens and a trail that takes approximately 2.5 hours to explore. Each feature garden is themed – Oriental Garden, Moongate Garden and Storybook Garden to just name a few.

We probably spent more than two hours…just because my dad wanted to ‘maximise’ the experience from ticket price. It is definitely a great fun for all and the sculptures scattered around the place provide great photo-booth moments.



Happy Chappy


Poker, surely?

Okaay never took the rhymes literally…til now…

Alice-in-wonderland-esque moment 🙂

Mad HATTER here!!

And naturally, some flower bombing:

This garden was my childhood dream coming true!

On an ending note: