Given that I was (and am) a major fan of the Lord of the Rings movies–enough of a heretic to suggest that they are, in some ways better than the books–I would’ve had my Geek Card revoked if I didn’t visit the Hobbiton movie set while I was in New Zealand. After quite a bit of discussion and little success arranging said visit from the U.S., I found out Trafalgar offered the tour locally (it would’ve been nice if they’d said that in the first place, but that’s a discussion for another day). What follows are pictures and thoughts from the trip to Hobbiton and another tour I took out of Queenstown to some other LOTR sites. Enjoy! Continue reading “What I Did on My Autumn Vacation, Ep. 4”→
Thanks to plate tectonics and an ice age or two splitting them away from the rest of the world’s land masses, Australia and New Zealand’s local wildlife had time to evolve differently. Suffice to say, there are some mightily curious critters down under, and I saw quite a few of them under varying circumstances.
At a rest stop in the Dandenong Hills, there was a spot where the cockatoos liked to hang out. My guess is that the birds figured out that the arrival of the large, noisy vehicles filled with humans meant they’d get fed. This fellow decided to jump up and pose for a picture. Oh, and the bird liked the idea, too…
Unlike Australia, New Zealand had few apex predators when human beings arrived (starting with the Maori around 1200 A.D.). It was, if anything, the world’s largest bird sanctuary. A couple birds died out thanks to the Maori–the Moa and the Haast Eagle, which preyed on it–and others like the Kiwi face threats from ferrets, which Europeans brought in to bring down the population of rabbits, which Europeans also brought in. Speaking of critters the Europeans brought in…
Okay, so I’m not going to win any awards for bird watching or animal photography, but I had fun with the critters.
So I’m back after three and a half weeks of being a tourist in the lands down under (Australia and New Zealand). I kept a journal during my time abroad and took a ridiculous 7,000 photos…however, eventually the reason for that will become clear. Feel free to read for enjoyment or just look at the pretty pictures. I will not post all 7,000. (You’re welcome.) Continue reading “What I Did on My Autumn Vacation, Episode 1”→
I’ve needed a new hobby for a while now. Specifically, I needed something to get myself out of the house and out of my own brooding thoughts for a while, so when a theater friend from high school told me she was appearing in a community theater play up the road from me, I really had no excuse not to reacquaint myself with the theater. And wow, I’m glad I did! Continue reading “Getting the Introvert Out of the House”→
Childhood is all about learning to use your senses and body: just getting up to speed. Adolescence is about adjusting to other people: socializing and learning your place in the pecking order. Adulthood is where you take what you learned from the earlier stages to shape the rest of your life and, potentially, a partnership and family. If you’re not prone to partnering or procreating but are prone to philosophizing, as I am, you might spend more than the average amount of time trying to figure out what to do with yourself. Today’s post will take you through my process…one of them, anyhow. Continue reading “What Are You Supposed to Do With Yourself?”→
Pride is a tricky thing…for me, at least. You grow up receiving praise for things you do, but also getting a heaping helping of “reality checks” where authority figures or peers tell you not to brag too much or get “too big for your britches.” Still, should you be proud of yourself or not? That’s where today’s rumination took me. Continue reading “Is Pride a Sin, a Necessity, or Something in Between?”→
Wow, so here it is: 50 years old. Not quite sure how it snuck up on me like this, I’ve now clocked half a century on the old chronometer (“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage”). I guess I’ll take this occasion to share what’s on my mind: Where am I in life? What have I learned? Where else might I go? Read on if you dare. Continue reading “The View from 50”→
Coming from a family that worked for Eastern Airlines and kept maps around the house, Trips with family and friends have been some of the best experiences in my life. But what about traveling on my own? Am I’m missing out by going places without others around? No, not really. Continue reading “The Introvert Traveling Alone”→