Read this: Around The World In 80 Days by Jules Verne

Around The World In Eighty Days
by Jules Verne

Happy Friday! Congratulations on making it (almost) through another week, particularly if, like me, you’ve been in your office chicken coop instead of being out exploring the world, like you’d prefer to do. So on your lunch break today, treat yo self; go spend a few dollars on a new book and live vicariously through a character who’s doing exactly what we all want to do – getting up, leaving regular life behind for a few months, and seeing the world.
I absolutely love this book; I’ve read it twice this year already! The premise of the story is quite simple: Phileas Fogg, an upstanding but eccentric English gentlemen makes a bet with his mates to the tune of, today, what is around £1.6 million (or just over AUD$3 million!) that he can travel around the world in exactly 80 days. He sets off with his recently employed manservant, a Frenchman named Passepartout, and a strict timetable which proves the feat is theoretically possible. He attempts, in earnest, to adhere to this timetable, which is challenged and interrupted at every opportunity, by, among other situations, a police officer who believes he is responsible for a bank robbery, making this one of the classic adventure novels of all time despite being written in the late 1800s.
 
It’s a pretty light, quick, easy read, but it’s one of those rare novels that truly take you away from your world for the time you spend reading it and immerse you in this adventure or Mr Fogg and his entourage. If you’ve got a case of wanderlust, if you’re having a crappy day and need to escape temporarily, if you need to experience the world of travel before the simplicity of jumping on a plane to take you from A to B in a few hours, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy, pour yourself a proper English cup of tea, and take the whirlwind tour with Mr Fogg  : )

TBT: Visiting Camp Nou in Barcelona!

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Even for someone like me, who isn’t a soccer person, it’s an incredibly impressive stadium. Camp Nou isn’t just a stadium; it’s an all-encompassing sporting museum, too. It’s been the home of FC Barcelona since 1957, holds just under 100, 000 and has undergone a few renovations to get it to it’s current glorious state.

23€ will get you entry to the stadium and museum, which is truly something to behold. Even if you’re not a soccer fanatic, it’s well worth the visit if you find yourself in Barcelona…

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Eat, drink & watch sports here: The Happy Endings Bar & Restaurant, LA

The Happy Ending Bar & Restaurant
7038 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, Los Angeles
http://ni7033.wix.com/happy-ending

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Ahh Wednesday. That time of the week where I’m starting to struggle, being two days down and three to go, and wishing I was really somewhere else. But not Hollywood. Let me be very blatantly honest here and say that I just wasn’t a fan of Hollywood. It felt so fake, repetitive, boring. I quite liked other parts of LA, like Abbott Kinney Blvd down Venice Beach way, adored Greystone and would’ve loved to have seen Koreatown. But Hollywood? Meh.

Our saving grace was The Happy Ending Bar across the road from our hotel. When husband pointed it out, laughing, I was mortified, until we got closer and realised it was actually a sports bar (thank goodness). And a properly gorgeous, booths and wooden detailed, warm and welcoming sports bar at that! We spent a bit of time there, just kicking back and relaxing, and we decided to stay on one night while watching the Bulls play and get something to eat, too, which turned into an unexpectedly amazing dinner of a few small dishes, including the pulled pork and slaw sliders and buttermilk fried chicken skewers below.

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Good service, great food, fantastic happy hour prices, dozens of TVs to watch all your favourite sports, cosy and welcoming vibes, it was no wonder we spent such a good chunk of our time in LA there, and I’d recommend you do, too.

 

Happy Ending Bar on Urbanspoon

Urban paradise: The High Line, New York

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Woke up on Sunday morning thinking about this place for some reason… I think I first heard of the High Line around a year or so before I started actively planning our trip, and the concept completely fascinated me right from the get-go. You can read about the history of how this incredible project came to fruition on the website, but as a quick overview, a group called Friends of the High Line was founded in 1999 by a group of people who wanted to preserve and open the High Line, a train track abandoned in the 1980’s to the public as an open park-type space.

The planning began around 2002 and after a lot of hard work by some very dedicated people, the first section was finally opened to the public in 2009. It runs on Manhattan’s west side from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Aves, and it’s a fantastic way to see the city from a different perspective.

It’s open to the public daily, free walking tours are held if you want a bit more information on your stroll. There are events held regularly, like snow sculpting in the winter, and pop up cafes in the fairer weather. While not a green thumb myself, even I could appreciate the gardens; they still shone through the snow when I took these pictures in January. I could have spent the best part of the day up there, and it should be a must for anyone visiting the city!

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WANDERLUST 108: Melbourne 2015

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Back in 2006, I completed my first and what I assumed would be my last triathlon. I don’t like swimming, running or cycling, so it clearly wasn’t something I did of my own free will; it was something I had to do in order to graduate from university and complete my Bachelor of Exercise Science. While I am a competent swimmer and bike rider, I don’t enjoy either of them, particularly not in a competitive setting like a triathlon. I also have a tendency to struggle with heat exhaustion; my triathlon was held on a 36°C Melbourne summer day. I had met my now husband a few years earlier, towards the start of our time at uni together (we studied the same degree), and will be forever thankful to him for getting me through that. He grew up in the water and is a better than good swimmer, so he helped me through the half-kilometer ocean swim leg. I was fine on my own for the 20km bike ride (I didn’t enjoy it, but it was at least pretty easy for me). By the time I got to the 5km run, I was spent. The heat was ridiculous, and I was in a world of pain. Dad was the only family or friend either of us had there to cheer us on and meet us at the finish line; he later told me that he met husband at the finish line and husband’s first question was “have you seen Jess?” Nope, not finished yet, answered Dad. Husband back-tracked a few kilometres to find me in a hallucinatory state, poking his chest and asking if he was real, and walked the few kilometres back with me to the finish line. That was when Dad decided he was a keeper and part of the family.

Anyway, despite how proud I am of myself for finally finishing, it was a shitty experience and one I never intend on repeating. So you can imagine my husband’s face when I told him I’d entered myself into a triathlon this weekend. Not just any triathlon though; the Wanderlust 108. The “kind” and “mindful” triathlon.

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Wanderlust is a global lifestyle group that focuses on keeping both the mind and body fit and healthy, and they’re running a triathlon unlike any other in cities all around the world.  What they’re all about, as they write on their website is…

Wanderlust’s core mission is to create community around mindful living.

Mindful living is a conscious, value-based approach to leading a sane & healthy life. At Wanderlust, we focus on a few simple principles:

Practice Yoga

Practicing yoga helps clear the mind, tone the body, and heal the spirit. Wanderlust is committed to creating inspiring places to practice with a broad array of the world’s most accomplished teachers.

Eat Well

We are what we eat, and at Wanderlust — and in our personal lives — we support local farms and purchase organic, sustainably grown products whenever possible.

Be Green

It is our solemn responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. Wanderlust is committed to sustainable practices, including waste reduction, recycling, composting, the utilization of renewable energy sources and carbon offsetting. Sustainability is a moving target, and we also pledge to improve year after year.

Practice Purpose

Wanderlust is a purpose driven company, and we build partnerships with like-minded companies who value social good as well as the bottom line. Some of our greatest power lies in what we do, what we purchase and who we associate with.

Create Awareness

Many of the great challenges facing us today, from environmental damage to food shortages to disease to political upheaval, can be improved or solved through mass action. But mass action requires awareness, so wherever possible, we will use the Wanderlust platform to highlight — and with luck, resolve — the most important issues of our time.

Showcase Art

Wanderlust is a place where creative expression is both valued and open. We treasure our community of artists and are honored to provide a canvas for their work.

You can find out more on their website, but basically, the event looks something like this:

  • 5km-running course
  • 90-minute yoga class
  • live music
  • inspiring lecture by One Giant Mind’s Jonni Pollard
  • lawn activities such as acroyoga
  • delicious locally sourced organic food

They run these events all around the world, and I was pretty excited to find out they were hosting one in Melbourne! I found out about it exactly four weeks before it was scheduled; I entered myself online, immediately downloaded the Couch To 5K running app to my phone and instructed husband to drag me along to the gym with him when he went three mornings each week, so I could complete the program on the treadmills there. Let me emphasis what a big deal this is; I have always hated/completely sucked at running. I’ve never been good at it, I’ve never enjoyed it, I’ve never understood the “fun” concept of a “fun run.” But at this stage, I was just beginning to take my depression/anxiety/disordered eating recovery seriously and thought this was the perfect opportunity for a fresh start, and a great way to train my body to achieve something other than losing weight. So I did. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5.30am and every Sunday around 7.30am for the four weeks leading up to it, I got up, put on my workout gear, and hit the gym. I kept up my own yoga practice, a few sessions per week, leading up to it too.

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So, how was the day itself? Pretty amazing! Despite the event running a little late to start, it was a fun day! I surprised myself with how well I did on the run and couldn’t have been happier when I crossed the finish line :) The 90 minute yoga class was good fun with great tunes from Aroha, led by the incredibly motivating “flying nomad” Simon Park – seeing 1500 people practising their downward facing dog in the park on the beach overlooking the sea is one hell of an experience!

I also got a lot out of listening to Swisse ambassador, the gorgeous Bianca Chatfield, captain of the Melbourne Vixens netball squad, superstar athlete, founder of The Ignition Project and all around lovely lady :) Hearing her speak about not only the importance of working hard, but the importance of resting and taking time out to look after yourself, too, was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

A big thank you to the team at the Lulu Lemon hub as well – how they kept up on the bag check front (the best ever complimentary service that could have possibly been on offer), as well as selling their gear, I will never know. But they did, and they made everyone’s lives a lot easier because of it! Oh, and the food was hella good, too – I hit up the team at Mastic twice – firstly for the black rice risogalo after the run and before the yoga (black rice and coconut milk/yoghurt pudding deliciousness, topped with toasted coconut and pomegranate), and then went back for one of the phenomenal quinoa falafel souvas after the yoga class, by which point I was famished!

Hellenic Republic Kew on Urbanspoon

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Wanderlust108 Melbourne was an awesome experience, and I think something that most of us would benefit from; taking the time to slow down and make time for ourselves, to both challenge ourselves physically and mentally, as well as nurture ourselves, and to be around other people wanting the same things, is a truly uplifting and inspiring experience, and I’m super thankful for the opportunity to have been part of it all! Was anyone else there on the weekend, or done any of the others in other cities around the world??