Welcome to a new monthly series we are running on Flat Earth Magazine! Our weekly blogs only touch the surface of what we’ve been up to, so we’ve decided to dive in a little deeper every month so you can see what travelling and living abroad is really like.
Places Visited: Alstonville (NSW), Byron Bay (NSW), Lennox Head (NSW), Broken Head (NSW), Moreton Bay Region (QLD), Moreton Island (QLD), Brisbane (QLD)
Our FIVE year anniversary. How has it been that long?! We celebrated the milestone with a drive around the slightly underwhelming Moreton Bay Region, a delicious meal at Fat Noodle in Brisbane’s CBD and then a late night screening of Fantastic Beasts – perfect!
Seeing Matilda at the QPAC. Fresh from the West End, Tim Minchin’s Matilda has been transported Down Under and is slowly making its way around the country. We have been wanting to see this since it opened in London to glowing reviews. It really didn’t disappoint. Despite some questionable British accents and our seats high in the heavens of the theatre, it was a great night out.
Visiting the tropical Tangalooma Resort. A visit to Tangalooma has been on the top of our bucket list since we arrived in Brisbane. Floating 90 minutes from Brisbane, the resort’s day cruise package advertises itself as ‘a holiday in a day’ and this couldn’t be more fitting. We were whisked away for a day of lying on a beautiful beach and bathing in some of the clearest water we’ve seen. We’ll have a full blog post coming soon!
The final camping trip. We hopped over the border into New South Wales for our final Australian camping trip. Read all about it here.
Leaving work. The last day of November signalled our final day at work. It’s been great to have a steady income for the past 6 months but working in admin isn’t something we’re hoping to pursue in the long-term. We’re welcoming unemployment and a couple of months off with open arms!
Scrapping Martin the car. It was a really difficult decision to condemn Martin to live out his days on the scrap-heap but with the amount of maintenance he needed to pass a roadworthy (the Australian equivalent to an MOT) and the complicated paperwork involved in transferring ownership, it had to be done. It was much more emotional than we had expected, this pile of metal had been our home for months on end and taken us to some of the most amazing place we’ve ever seen. RIP Martin.
Moving out of our New Farm apartment. The end of November saw us uprooted again. After two and a half months nesting in an apartment we both loved it felt like such an upheaval to move. We had liked being settled and had just started to settle into routine. We’ve now checked into a great Air BnB across town to spend our final days in the city. Back to being transient!
Having a brush with the deadly Australian wildlife. This month was like a bumper episode of the Deadly 60. We documented our snake attack here but little did we know that our experience with the local wildlife wasn’t over for the month. Whilst we were out snorkelling one of the shipwrecks off Tangalooma, Ryan was stung by one of the native Blue Blubber jellyfish. We sat and checked the blistered sting on a half-submerged part of the wreck until a Blue Blubber decided to get friendly with Ryan again. Luckily it bumped into his shorts rather than skin but it gave Ryan a massive fright and he promptly screamed and paddled for his life towards the shore. Hilarious.
The end of an era. We have now officially left Brisbane, our home for 7 months. This has been the longest stretch we’ve spent in one place and we couldn’t have picked a better spot to hang up our backpacks. Living in Brisbane has allowed us to be drenched in year round sunshine, be surrounded by the best beaches in the country and get to know this fantastic city. We’ll be back for a short weekend before flying out and it’s going to be a tough goodbye.
Most Popular Blog Post
We are still benefiting from our viral post last month with 9 Things You HAVE To Know Before Driving the North Coast 500 still raking in the most views. Second, is Ryan’s Tales of a Snackhead – The Best Snacks Down Under which is one of his best posts to date.
We published five posts this month. Martin’s Obituary, a blog from our final camping trip, an exotic Snap of the Week and Our Australian Job Story detailing all the weird and wonderful jobs we’ve had in Australia.
Most Liked Instagram Photo
I love taking pictures of the ocean, especially when the waters are as stunning as these at Broken Head. On the hot, sunny day this image was taken there was nothing more inviting that the crystal clear sea below. Cooling off at the beach has been one of our favourite ways to spend our time in Australia and something we’re not going to be able to replicate for a while.
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Best in Culture
Book of the Month – Failed States by Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky should need little introduction. He has tirelessly been holding a lens up to the reckless and unjustified foreign policies of the U.S.A for the past 50 years.
In this particular book Chomsky focuses on the double standard of the U.S’s military interventions abroad and their contradictory funding of state terrorism in order to guarantee their unimpeded access to the “free market”.
Although published in 2006 and more overtly critical of Bush II’s administration, it feels particularly prescient now as America looks set to hand over the reigns of the most powerful military in the world to the most underqualified, unpredictable and dangerous Republican regimes in the nation’s history.
Chomsky bases his argument and narrative on empirical evidence and his style makes the utterly incomprehensibly complex nature of the U.S.A’s global crimes accessible to anyone.
Track of the Month – Les Cactus by The Last Shadow Puppets
The wonderful side project of Arctic Monkey’s Alex Turner and Miles Kane dropped a cover earlier this month as a taster of the Dream Synopsis EP that looks set for release just before Christmas.
In what seems to be an ever-expanding collection of musical influences, the pair recorded a cover of ‘Les Cactus’ by legendary French psychedelic rock icon Jacques Dutronc.
The accompanying video is a satisfying insight into the pairs weird, undying brotherly romance. Alex Turner dances around the studio, wild-eyed and singing French in a quasi Sheffield/Mid-Western Cowboy baritone as Miles Kane stares on in encouragement. What more could a self-confessed Alex Turner fan girl ask for?
Film/Television Series of the Month – Citizenfour
Perhaps it has something to do with the recent U.S election’s and the rise of populist far right sentiment in Europe but most of my reading and viewing this month.
This documentary is first and foremost an incredible bit of investigative journalism and documentary making on behalf of Lauren Poitras. She manages to capture an extremely human element to Snowden as he hits waiting for an unknown fate in his Hong Kong hotel room after one of the biggest leaks of classified U.S government documents in recent history. This humanity is distinctly lacking in most mainstream media which retains a sense of detachment from the man as we are only able to see glimpses of him from indistinguishable blank rooms in the depths of Moscow.
The current climate surrounding the issues of privacy and surveillance are more pertinent now than ever. Administrations across the world are abusing the constitutional rights of their own citizens and we as a general population are seemingly ambivalent and subservient to it.
The UK just passed the Investigatory Powers Bill earlier this month which retroactively legalises all of the illegal activity undertaken by the GCHQ against its own citizens right to privacy and effectively removes any small shreds of freedom we had left.
The endeavours undertaken by whistle blowers such as Manning, Assange and Snowden are nothing short of heroic but so too is the work of the journalists who bring these matters to our attention. Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras did an incredible thing bringing these stories to light and this film as in incredible introduction to one of the most pressing matters of our time.
Book of the Month – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Hands down one of my favourite books of the year, if not of all time. As an English Literature student I’m surprised I haven’t come across this modern classic in class but after years of hearing it heralded as one of the most important contemporary novels I thought it was time to give it a try.
Reading this novel with the backdrop of Trump’s nauseating campaign against women gave the whole experience an extra layer of terrifying prophetic doom. Set in a dystopian America where women are relegated to second-class citizens under a religion-fuelled military dictatorship, the book explores the too-close-for-comfort ‘near future’ through the eyes of Offred.
A crucial read, especially today.
Track of the month – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Leslie Odom Jr.
As a die-hard Hamilton fan and lifelong lover of Christmas, when the two collided in the show’s star Leslie Odom Jr’s Christmas album Simply Christmas it was as if it was Christmas day already.
By far the best track on the album, Odom’s brooding rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas instantly conjures festive memories and makes you feel like you are sat beside a roaring log fire sipping on mulled wine. No easy feat when it’s 30 degrees outside!
Film/Television Series of the Month – The Crown
I unashamedly loved The Crown. Another Netflix triumph, it would have been hard to have missed the hype surrounding this multi-million dollar show. Most of the royal history explored in the series was new to me and incredibly interesting. The cast, Claire Foy especially, are brilliant and it was a great surprise seeing former Doctor Who actor Matt Smith take on the role of Prince Phillip (excellently, I may add).
The series did a great job of humanising the often sterile Royals, which is no mean feat. Another win for Netflix!
Coming up Next Month
December is possibly going to be the most exciting month of the year. We will be spreading ourselves over 3 countries, beginning with a 10 day trip to Port Douglas in tropical North Queensland where we plan to get some much-needed rest and relaxation before the festivities begin. After topping up our tans Ryan will fly to London and I will fly to meet my family in South Africa! See you on the other side.