North Island Road Trip – Part 1

Living and working on Waiheke for the summer was great, but by the time March rolled around I was itching to get out and explore this beautiful country. I bid adieu and hit the road, with a tag-along companion in tow!

Michael and I were taking the same ferry to Auckland so I offered him a lift. As we were then heading in the same direction, it made more sense to travel together – and I really lucked out with my first road tripping side kick. Not only did he hold my phone and navigate, but we we had good conversation, and he actively ENJOYED my belting along with the tunes. It was great that we had the same taste in music – he even put the Shrek Broadway soundtrack on!

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Once in a Lifetime

When I traveled to Asia for four months back in 2015, my mother kept saying it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” My combative nature and I were like, “Why does it have to be once in a lifetime? Why can’t this be my life?” And about a year after that, I left New York for good and moved to New Zealand.

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Bye Bye, ‘Murica!

I remember quite clearly how difficult the first 2-3 weeks were. I battle anxiety and depression, and moving to a completely new country with no friends, no job, no real plan of what I was going to do was incredibly stressful, and I didn’t give enough weight to the enormity of the task I had thrust myself into. I would curl up on my hostel bunk and cry because I was so overwhelmed and scared. I kept putting myself out there, trying to stay active with day trips, but it was difficult to enjoy myself.

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Like Asia, NZ also has some pretty cool trees.

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Let’s Talk About Food

While things have been going smoothly since landing in Wellington, the past few days I’ve been constantly reminded that I am, in fact, not a Kiwi born and bred. This all came about due to my desire for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

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Yurmm

I love these cookies and make them often in the winter as they’re warm, fluffy, and utterly delicious. As we’re going into winter down here, my body was like, “Time for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, Julia!”, so off to the store I went.

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My Kiwi Kristmas

I’ve had many wonderful and unique experiences since moving to New Zealand, but one that was an absolutely novel delight was experiencing a SUMMER Christmas! img_6907 Continue reading

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Lessons of a Twentysomething Millennial

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard some variation on “People grow so much between 18 and 25.” You can know something without really knowing itFor example, I knew moving to NYC would be hard. I had no clue what that actually meant until I moved there and experienced it for myself. Similarly, the years between 18 and 25 were just some vague notion that something might happen and I’d become a different person. Something in those 7 years would somehow, miraculously, Make Me An Adult.  Continue reading

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So Long, Farewell, Aufedersein, Goodbye

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. It was a massive undertaking leaving behind my life in NYC – my world for the last 7 years. Packing up an entire apartment and putting on a solo concert certainly strained my resources to the max, but I came out all the better for the stress and hard work. I not only blew others away with the concert, but I surprised myself. I hadn’t performed in several years, but my voice has never been better and I was able to sing pieces I’ve longed to sing for some time but didn’t have the power or finesse to pull off even two years ago. This project was a huge reminder that even if you don’t feel/think you’re ready, just take the first baby step, then the next, and eventually everything works out and you’ll be so glad you tried!

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The happy face of triumph

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Wait for It…

I’ve decided something. Finally. After months of pondering, weeks of calculating, and countless seconds agonizing, I’ve finally decided something big. But let’s take it back to the beginning, shall we? Continue reading

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52 Things I’ll Miss About Sea

  1. Street Food
  2. Khao Soi
  3. Drinking morning tea w/ elephants
  4. Elephant Nature ParkIMG_3930
  5. Fatty Tuna!
  6. Frangipani blossoms
  7. Crooked trees that overtake man-made structuresIMG_0264
  8. Watermelon
  9. Lychees
  10. Mangosteen
  11. Mangoes
  12. Tamarind
  13. Pineapple with salt and red pepper
  14. Ok, ALL the fresh fruit. I’m really gunna miss it.
  15. Snorkeling
  16. Zipping along a mountain road on a motorbike
  17. Rice terracesIMG_1276
  18. Hidden waterfalls
  19. Brightly coloured butterfliesIMG_0453
  20. Cheap prices! (pardon me while I go sob…)
  21. Thai massages
  22. Fresh fruit shakes
  23. Foreign currency – it’s so much prettier than American money
  24. Exotic birds
  25. Wild monkeysIMG_1484
  26. All the dogs and cats!
  27. Lush greenery
  28. Local beliefs and religions
  29. TemplesIMG_0325
  30. Getting to immerse myself in new cultures
  31. Pho Bo
  32. Free shisha!
  33. Perfect beachesIMG_8322
  34. Swimming with jellyfish and manta rays
  35. Learning new skills every day – from how to use the local toilets to navigating the bus system
  36. Bum guns
  37. PolitenessIMG_0571
  38. Street fairs and local markets
  39. Friendly localsIMG_2671
  40. Meeting so many new people every single day
  41. Lack of structure and rigid rules
  42. Presentation and attention to little details – always adding the extra little touches
  43. Tea!IMG_0885
  44. Jungle rivers
  45. Swimming fully clothed
  46. Geckos and little lizards
  47. Fountains and ornamental water everywhere
  48. Relaxed pace of lifeIMG_2672
  49. Lack of materialism
  50. Family connection and importance
  51. Bayon in Angkor WatIMG_0787
  52. Not giving a f*ck – tapping into what I truly desire to do, and then going and doing it!IMG_2685
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Dingle

After spending 4 days at Garrett’s wonderful apartment in Cork, my journey continued with a road trip to Dingle. It was my first experience where the cars are on opposite sides of the road, but thankfully Garrett was at the wheel. I got to sit back, navigate, and soak up the breathtaking countryside views.

We stopped to explore beaches and coves and make new friends along the way 🙂

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We were only in Dingle for a day. It’s a small, quiet village with not a lot going on and only two pubs.  Sitting on the dock, you’re surrounded by water and green hills dotted with sheep. It was so peaceful. One day, when I’m a highly popular writer with advances for my next series of children’s books, I’ll go to Dingle for three months to write and just be.

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Japanese Food Porn

I got an unexpected addition to my SEA trip – three days in Tokyo! Turns out it was easier to fly to the west coast of America instead of across Europe to the east coast. Color me totally ok with that!

My time in Japan was a mixed lot, but I’ll tell you one thing – the food did not disappoint.

*Note, I am NOT a food photographer. I am a food EATER.

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