Saturday, 12 October 2013

All Good Things (Come to an End)

And just like that, my funemployment will finish.

Reality set in this week when I paid the bond and rent on a great little flat, spent hours cleaning and assembling furniture and unpacking my belongings, both those I shipped home from my time abroad and those that have waited patiently for me in storage (at my parent’s farm) for the past five+ years.

This time off has been wonderful. The obvious highlight was the months of travel to destinations I’d long dreamed of. But there were other highlights as well.  Spending more time with my family than I have since I first moved out. Spending more than a few days a year with my niece and nephew especially. Seeing the extended family I didn’t always get to see on my fleeting visits home.

Falling in love with my home city all over again. I’d romanticised it from afar, especially during the dark winters but really, it is as good as I thought it would be. Better even. Exploring it with the new boy, a Melbournian I met in Panama. Revisiting favourite spots with old friends. Impromptu day trips down the coast, or road trips interstate.  The time to just be, to enjoy.

Being here as my best friend gave birth. Being around for the reveal, the shower and the birth. All of it, not just being here for a week a year.

A lot of the things I thought I’d achieve during this break, I didn’t. My photos aren’t sorted. My travel recaps are far from up to date. I didn’t loose that weight. But all in all, this break has been the best for so many reasons.

And with that, I start work back in the corporate world 9am Monday. 348 days after I left the working world, I will dust of the shift dresses and re-join it. I’m pretty excited about that as well.

{Photo at top was taken at Chitchen Itza, Mexico on my last full day in Central America. The next morning, I left for Melbourne via Miami and LA. Not sure when I’ll ever be that relaxed and tanned again}.

Monday, 7 October 2013

I Can See Clearly Now

Mostly unrelated photo but hey look, it’s me the day after my 30th birthday in Prague, wearing glasses.

It’s been just over a year now since I had my eyes fixed. At the time I thought I’d live with it for a bit and let you know my thoughts. A year on, much travel and some day to day life later, I’ve certainly lived with it and love it.

It was one of those things I always thought would be nice, you know, if I was rich. I’d never really looked into it on the basis it was probably beyond reach. Friends and colleagues around me had had it done and kept recommending it though. Then, on a sunny weekend in Dubrovnik last year, my travel buddy and colleague, P, mentioned she was getting it done that very next week.  I decided then to look into it.

After a few consultations, I had my treatment on Friday 21 September 2012 in central London. There are various treatment options and I went for the most expensive. My rationale being that if I’m going to play with my eyes, I’m damn well going to do the best for them.  As I mentioned a year ago now, I had LASIK (as opposed to LASEK) and opted for wavefront intralase.

The difference between LASIK and LASEK (from what I remember) is mainly to do with how the flap in the cornea for the laser work is made and the recovery time. With LASIK, it is done by lasers and reduces the post treatment recover period. The wavefront refers to how the sight corrections were done.  Wavefront is a pricier treatment where the corrections are mapped to the shape of my eyes, rather than a standard prescription across all of my eye.

I had my procedure on a Friday so I could recover on a Friday. After a several further tests and consultations, I was taken into the treatment room. The actual procedure really only took a few minutes but with all the checks and tests, I was at the clinic for around three hours. After the procedure and some recovery time (about half an hour), I caught a taxi home and went to sleep, wearing protective goggles to ward of any rubbing I might want to do. I was able to see clearly as soon as a few hours later although my eyes were watery for around 24 hours.

The consultations leading up to the treatment prepared me for what was coming but one thing that no opthamologist or friend mentioned was the smell of your eyes being lasered. Whilst passing, it was easily the worst part of the procedure.

Walking around London on Saturday before my 24 follow up appointment was incredible. I could see. Clearly. Further appointments followed at the 3 day, 7 day, 1 month and 3 month mark. There was a decently involved eye drop routine for a while (antibiotics, antiseptics, moistening ones) and some mild dryness in the eyes for the first week but it was incredible how quickly glasses became a thing of my past. It was at my 3 month checkup (held after 2.1 months as I was leaving the country) I donated all my old eyewear.

A year on and I couldn’t be happier. It’s made life on the road a lot easier. Whlist wearing glasses for work never really bothered me, I’d never really taken to contacts for extended periods (8 hours or more). Travelling would mean taking glasses (and a spare pair), prescription sunglasses (not very nice ones – I always struggled to find frames I liked that would take prescription and polarization), basic sunglasses (for wear with contacts) and contacts (for water sports or any sort of activity really). I find my eyes are more susceptible to glare and I’m quicker to put sunglasses on but I haven’t had any problems with night vision or anything.  All in all, I’m really glad I spent the money and did it.

Do you wear glasses? Have you ever considered laser correction or have you already had it? Any other questions?
It’s not a cheap treatment (it cost me £1,495 per eye) but when I looked into it, I found it to be a lot cheaper in London than Australia hence going for it when I did. At that time, I also needed a new prescription written for contacts, my glasses were two years old and my sunglasses five. ie. I was going to be spending a decent amount on eyewear within the coming months anyway. I used Optical Express as their locations were convenient and I was happy with them.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Capture the Colour 2013 (#CTC13)

After seeing these posts around the travel blogosphere, I’ve decided to get in on the action.

Capture the Colour is a travel photography competition with some pretty sweet prizes from Travel Supermarket. Prizes aren’t my goal though, it’s about looking at your photos in a different way. And flicking through other entrants for constant inspiration.

Below are my favourite photos showing red, white, green, yellow and blue from the last year.

CTC Green Uganda
GREEN – Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

CTC13 Bue Nepal
BLUE – Phewa Lake, Pokhara, Nepal

CTC13 Red India
RED – Taj Mahal Mosque, Agra, India

WHITE – White water on the Ala Archa River, Ala Archa, Kyrgyzstan.

YELLOW – Sunset on the Malecon, Havana, Cuba

The last year has taken in Kyrgyzstan, Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan, England, France, Nepal, India, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Mexico, Cuba, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvadaor, Guatemala & Belize. It’s been one for the ages and choosing the pics for this post has been a trip down the best of memory lane.

I’m leaving it late to nominate five more but if you get a chance Daniel, Krissi, Brenna, Kay and Kyria, do it!