#PAXAUS – Day 1

I bought our tickets many many months ago. I think almost as soon as they became available. They are just too much of a bargain to take risks with how long they will be available.

If you want to ask me “What’s a Pax?” – go over to Penny Arcade, read some comics, and maybe watch a video or two. A PAX is essentially a glorious celebration of amalgamated nerd culture. Over a three day weekend, there are panels on many varied topics, a show floor for PC, console, handheld hardware and games, board games, and many places to play and try a little bit of everything.

All set on the south bank of Melbourne, with all the food, and entertainment, and gas torches.

We’re now at the end of day one, and it just doesn’t feel like there is enough time to get to everything. Too many sessions. I am on average triple-booked throughout the day. I need more time to see all the great cosplaying. I need more time to play all the games.

Or perhaps a better filter. As great as the event is overall, it is not all equally great. I’ve been in two panels that felt a bit under-prepared. Like the host had had a great idea for a session, suggested it, got accepted, and then didn’t do any work to put together a cohesive set of questions and a narrative digging into the material. Which is a shame, because I was looking forward to the sessions on diversity in games.

And although Mike didn’t manage to make it to Australia this year, Jerry (Holkins) is firing on all cylinders like always. I like his words. He puts them in order in the most fantastic way. I need to figure out if there is something I could ask him to sign on my pass. I am leaning towards “A Second Naked Kris Straub” at the moment for reasons I cannot adequately explain outside of the context of the game of Quiplash I witnessed. I could easily listen to him all day.

I had a specific request lined up for Mike as well. Something from First 15 that I thought would go well on a T-shirt, but I will have to forego that privilege for now.

Maybe that was more to assuage my guilt over not knowing what either Mike or Jerry looked like last year, and possibly accidentally snubbing Mike at the pin-trade. Which I have since learned would have been an even more severe snub for the fact that pin-trading came forth from his imagination.

It is a shame that all these cool people gathered here together disperse again in less than 48 hours.

3 days just feels too short.

It’s like… less than 1% of the year. Does that sound like enough to you? It doesn’t to me.

Day 330 – Personal Assistant

36 – The 100 Most Amazing, Unique, and Beautiful Hotels In The World

There’s a theme there. Well, a few themes.
Isolated places. Strange places. Opulent luxury.

And it doesn’t look like everything on the list is unaffordable to mere mortals either. Sadly, there is a bigger problem. With all of my travel-related lists actually.
Continue reading Day 330 – Personal Assistant

Day 329 – Do What You Don’t

37 – BEST 100 TRAVEL TIPS AND HACKS

There is a wealth of travel tips floating about the internet. I may have even indulged in a tip or two about local flights and how to improve the odds of a good seat for yourself.

The biggest secret to a great holiday experience though is…
Continue reading Day 329 – Do What You Don’t

Day 309 – Little Places

57 – 100 BEST TOWNS IN AUSTRALIA

I am kinda proud that I recognise at least some of the names on the full list. When I first arrived in Australia, when I’d mention coming from Europe, everyone’d comment how great it must be to live there.

The problem is, wherever you live becomes dull and mundane.

I have the same problem in Australia now; unless I make a specific effort, it’s easy to just get stuck in Sydney all the time. A few family visits have given me great excuses to travel about a bit, but I could probably do more.
Continue reading Day 309 – Little Places

Day 305 – What Are Your 100 Things?

61 – My 100 Things

Bucket lists are a little morbid by definition, but that doesn’t make them a bad idea. While looking around for a suitable list to link to today, I actually found a do-your-own-bucket-list site, and I created one. It was a lot harder than I expected to get a good list of a hundred.
Continue reading Day 305 – What Are Your 100 Things?

Day 268 – Essential Preparations

98 – 100 Tips to Prepare for a RTW Adventure

There was a lot of preparation involved before I was ready to travel to Melbourne for work. Luckily I had a handy advice-page to help me through the rougher parts.

Get rid of your belongings

Check! … Sold my trusty 20kg PC and my handy touch-screen tablaptop and converted them into an XPS15. Now I have everything handy in a single package that is convenient to carry around.

Find a way to earn extra money

Check! … I write a blog that literally has multiple readers. I haven’t put any ads up, but I plan to make up for that in volume. I’m sure my check will be in the mail any day now.

I also strategically got a management job 19 months ago, which helps.

Decide on Travel style

Check! … I’m no good at camping, so I’ve opted for hotels. I also decided on flying to my destination; I’m sure it is a little more expensive, but the hours I save translate into at least another 3-4 blog posts, so that’s practically money in the bank.

I considered walking, but someone told me it’s far.

Exercise and get in shape

Check! … I know there’s always more I could have done, but I’m in good shape and more than ready for the long treks to and from the office. Even the longer slogs for dinner should barely be an obstacle. I probably can fit in a few desserts as well.

The unusual essentials

Check … I travel with my bluetooth headset for entertainment. I’m not sure that’s too unusual, but it’s definitely essential. I guess I could live without the mouse for the laptop, but it’s too much of a hassle operating this thing without.

Is a razor unusual? Is my medication? I think I’ve thought of everything that’s worth thinking about.

Do you have enough blank pages in your passport?

Check? … I … I think I can get there without my passport. But I checked, and there is room… I guess?

Sell house or notify landlord

… Pardon?

Get cash for each country you know you will be visiting

Melbourne isn’t a country.
What the hell are you talking about?

What does RTW stand for?

*click*

Uhm.

Guys…

Forget I posted this, okay?

Day 238 – Another Destination

Travel to Melbourne makes for very long days. It is now 10:15pm and I am sitting down and unwinding at last. I haven’t had a shower yet, but that’ll be a thrill in its own right that only someone without a shower at home at the moment can understand. I’m going to send Abbey some thrilling shower pics… of the shower… all by itself… trust me, it’ll work.

I am not where I normally am.
Apparently there is a Grand Prix somewhere about the city and it has driven me out of my usual haunt. I think I disapprove, but at the same time I’m embracing the novel of the Novotel.

The hallways are maze-like and claustrophobic. The rooms are studio-apartment-like and face inwards to what looks like a shopping plaza far down below. But there is a certain compact charm about it. It’s weird not having a balcony though.

The taxi in Sydney was quick to hand me his card and suggest I send him my flight number for a pickup upon my return. I prefer the pot-luck of whomever is in the ranks at the time. And even if I did, he wasn’t a particularly good driver; I’d choose one of the earlier drivers I’ve had over him. He seemed a bit distracted from his driving, like he didn’t really want to be there. This also meant he was on the phone with what I think was a friend saving me from having to dodge a conversation I wasn’t interested in. I just disappeared into headphone-land with my personal musings.

The flight itself was a little rocky, but not overly so. Cloud cover at both ends, and rain in Melbourne. But the other passengers were clearly more uneasy on average than they usually are. I’m chalking that up to the Malaysian Airlines flight that’s still un-recovered. It’s odd how that makes people act like suddenly all flights are suspect… as if our plane was going to disintegrate with the very next shake or rumble.

The pilots were actually very good all things considered. You can always tell by the landing. Some just have that light touch that shines through when the rubber hits the road once more.

And now I feel a bit disoriented.

What do I normally do at this point in the first evening?
Without the internal-stair-climbing something just doesn’t click.

Oh yes.

Shower time.
And then my Kindle I think.

Day 210 – Travel Fatigue

Theoretically there should be seas of time.

I wake up when breakfast is at my door. Once I’m showered and dressed, it’s a 5 minute walk to work. When I leave Sydney my calendar looks no different from the way it does normally. After work, I have nowhere else to be, so I have dinner with my colleagues and I’ll end up back at the hotel around 8pm-9pm.

And yet…

During the day it feels I’m in a constant rush to see everybody that needs seeing. Additional meetings materialise out of thin air to fill every available minute of the day. After I get back to the hotel in the evening I keep telling myself I’ll get some extra work done, but after I’ve settled in and had a little bit of relaxation it’s suddenly 10:30pm already, and if I don’t get to bed around 11pm, then waking up the next day starts getting harder.

I’ve tried to work out what it is, but nothing stands out in itself.
Is travel for work really this inherently tiring?

Day 124 – Surreal to Visit

In the wake of yesterdays’ travel inspiration in the form of the movie Gravity, I stumbled upon a BuzzFeed post with 27 Surreal Places to Visit which makes me want to get out a ticket and a camera and start hopping around the planet.

Some of those are specifically very much up my alley.

Hang Son Doong cave

CARSTEN PETER/National Geographic Creative

This looks like a place to feel tiny in. In the same way that the scenes in Gravity with earth in the background gave me a tremendous sense of scale.

Mendenhall Ice Caves

Flickr: gillfoto

Just because I think the glowing blue looks surreal. I do think I’d be a little worried to be walking underneath melting ice like that.

Sea of Stars

DOUG PERRINE/Barcroft Media /Landov / Via quora.com

A glowing ocean… I think I could sit on the beach and just stare at it.

Whitehaven Beach

Flickr: wicker-furniture

One in Australia! Score! I haven’t been to the Whitsundays yet; it looks like I should though. Barefoot walk along the water sounds like a great way to spend a week.

Salar De Uyuni

abc7 / Shutterstock / Via quora.com

Salt flats do not really do anything for me as such. But the mirror effect with the water on it looks like a definite winner.

Antelope Canyon

Manamana / Shutterstock / Via quora.com

Just because of the otherworldly colours.

Glowworm Caves

Flickr: 63349090@N08 / Via quora.com

New Zealand is not *that* far away. And this cave looks amazing. And then there are the elves, dwarves and hobbits as well…

Cenotes of Yucatan Peninsula

Flickr: daquellamanera

And this just looks like an Indiana Jones movie. Minus the face-melting.

So, how do I get a job as a travel photographer?