Archive | December, 2013

From the archives: ‘The travel illness’

20 Dec

[Hey peeps!  So, I just found this post in my blog drafts.  It’s so strange to read it because, even though I wrote it this year (the 11th of February, to be precise), I can barely even remember writing it!  Even the emotions I describe in it feel foreign to me.  It’s like I’ve just found an old diary.  Key changes between myself then and myself now?  Well, I’ve kicked the travel bug, for one…  No niggling urges to run away, no wistful afternoons spent daydreaming about European countrysides (okay, maybe a few of them), no desire to ride on the back of a Vespa with a gorgeous Italian man (okay, who am I kidding?  Of course I still have that)…  Just happy to chill with friends and an icy summer drink these days :).  Anyway, have a read and let me know what you think – both about the feelings I describe (what stage of the travel sickness are you at?), and about that feeling of not relating to your past self.  Has it ever happened to you??  xoxo, Dunja]

Most people who love travelling started their love story with it by having a few awesome experiences on the road, meeting a bunch of amazing people at youth hostels and finding a great restaurant or two after following a few rabbits down a few city alleyways.  After those experiences, they wanted to repeat them, meet more amazing people and have more and more exciting meals, and pretty soon they started complaining to their friends when they were forced back into the office again, like, “ergh, I must’ve just caught the travel bug!”

Well, my friends, I’m pretty sure I’m past the bug point.  I’m pretty sure my condition started off as a travel cold, then became travel influenza, then passed Go at travel bronchitis and is now collecting its $200 at chronic travel syndrome.*  These days I can’t go more than a month without succumbing to the desire to run away for a bit.

Problem is, I thought I’d gotten the darn thing out of my system last year.  I’d spent the whole of 2011 in Europe, travelling to my heart’s content (with a few studying/working pit-stops along the way) and came back to Canberra thinking, ‘okay great.  I’m over that now.  Enough travelling for the minute, young lady.  Now it’s time to put some roots down and buckle down until the storm** passes.’  Thing is, I thought it was just that simple, but it’s definitely not.  And yet, at the same time, it is.

Travelling doesn’t have to be this huge thing.  Trips to Europe or America aren’t the only thing that count as travelling (even though they’re often the most exciting).  No.  Just like I’m reading in Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”, sometimes all you need is a little change of scenery and a few wacky characters to go with you, and you’re happy as Larry.

I guess the thing that distinguishes me from other travel-ailment-sufferers is that I don’t really want to just, like, have one big trip every 5 years which is, like, completely mind-blowing, but also puts my bank account into cardiac arrest.  I don’t know if I’m just suffering from ‘boo hoo, I’m in my 20s, life is so hard’-itis, or a general sense of annoyance at the thought of still being buckled down to Canberra until I finish my degree, but these days I just feel like I want to travel all the time, every week, to ALL the places.

Last year I started focusing on seeing Australia more.  I hit up Sydney, the Snowy Mountains and Cairns*** during the Canberra winter, then took a few more weekend drives to the south coast of NSW and the countryside around Canberra during Spring.  This Autumn I’m planning a jaunt or two down to Melbourne and a drive to the Blue Mountains just for funsies.  If I have time, I’d love to do the Great Ocean Road by the end of the year, but I guess we’ll see how we go.  Oh and I might, like… hit up Europe a bit again… at… some point…****


* Please ignore my ignorance of the progression of medical conditions.

** I.e. my twenties.

*** To thaw off from the Canberra winter, obviously.  (But actually now that I mention it, I’m really looking forward to the icy mornings again!!  Yaaaayyy!  Go Canberra <3.)

**** The ellipses are supposed to indicate my embarrassment at the ridiculous extents of my travel illness sometimes.  I just wanna laugh at myself most days.  Such a silly one.

[Notes:  I never got around to that jaunt to Melbourne, nor to the drive to the Blue Mountains.  I did get to Sydney twice, though……….. Hahhaha, SO not something to write home about!  ;).]


Pools of Canberra: Manuka Pool

16 Dec



Check out my latest blogging adventure, Pools of Canberra!  Here’s a taste of what’s to come all summer long, as I circumnavigate Canberra’s 10-odd public pools and rate them according to kid-to-adult ratio, tanning opportunities, the price of Paddle Pops, and more!  This one’s about Canberra’s first public swimming hole, Manuka Pool:

As Canberra’s first public pool, I thought it appropriate to start my summer foray into the pools of Canberra with Manuka.  Originally called ‘The Swimming Pool’, Manuka Pool replaced the Molonglo, Murrimbidgee and Cotter Rivers as Canberra’s favourite swimming hole in 1931.  Built in the Federal Art Deco style by architect E H Henderson, Manuka Pool is a quaint but gorgeous open-air complex that would make any rockabilly kid’s heart flutter with retro charm.  Get your high-waisted bikinis and Ray Ban sunnies out and make a day of it, peeps!


1.  Cost of entry:  kids/students/concession: $4.50, adults: $5.50.
2.  Water quality and prettiness of the building/surrounds:  The water’s clean and won’t make your new blonde ‘do turn green from chlorine; the only issue would be the few leaves and twigs falling into the pool from the trees that overhang from next door.  The art deco building is super cute and provides plenty of sitting space close to the water, while the grassy area outside (complete with a kids wading pool and a makeshift volleyball net, lol) provides a great balance of shady and sunny areas for relaxing.
3.  Ratio of kids to adults:  The day I went, the demographic was approximately one third kids, one third adolescents/20-somethings, and one third adults – pretty good.  Not too much screaming, either.
4.  Tanning opportunities:  Speaking as an unabashed tanning fiend, I was really happy with the offerings at MP.  Both inside the building (on the concrete surrounding the pool) or in the grassy area outside (on… the grass), I managed to get about a shade darker in only two hours.  Totally acceptable.  Just remember to slip, slop, slap, people!  Tanning through sunscreen is the only way to go!
5.  Price of a Billabong/Paddle Pop ice cream:  $1.50 for a Billabong Triple Swirl.  Mmmmmm artificial banana flavouring…..

Overall, an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and easy, too – one of Manuka Pool’s biggest strengths is its central location.  No excuses!  Check out their website for more information.


I love that poolside spitting was such an issue at some stage that they needed to make a sign about it.  Tsk tsk.

Be sure to check back at the end of the summer to see where Manuka sits in my ranking of Canberra’s Best Pools!  Until then, keep on poolin’, errybody!

xoxo, Dunja