Popping my Point Perpendicular cherry: a newbie’s guide to surviving NSW sea cliffs


10308147_10153061590320763_8068364200019952265_n
Point Perpendicular, New South Wales

1. The world of sea cliffs climbing is different to that of the mountains. Be at one with the spooge. You may be terrified of the supreme slippage at first, but you must try to acclimatise in order to avoid day long grumpiness.

10013024_10153061589735763_2897782684184912836_n

2. If you formerly had a terrifying sea cliff experience, expect this one to be no different. There are waves. They are big. And crashing. Hmm.
10612626_10153061590310763_8147390900861886103_n

3. Leaning out over the cliff yields the best photos. Add a lathering of mist and a good looking man to complete the adventure look.
1012983_10153061589725763_6552384831701079557_n
4. Albeit overcast, wear sunscreen and bring sunglasses. Ocean + glare + strolling along light coloured cliff lines = squinty eyes (and a weird tan).

10675670_10153061589720763_765693935366695305_n
5. Don’t be so busy being terrified that you forget to bask in your surroundings.

10635937_10153061590315763_4201639961183697676_n

10858638_10153061589715763_4398428261587027102_n

10959357_10153061589730763_7608641113171301154_n

Musings in nostalgia and the love of climbing


photo(1)

Penrith, Australia

I have never thought of myself as one who could be afflicted with homesickness.

Long before I discovered I could be so incredulously wrong, I was adamant I would never feel this way. In Brisbane, I dreamed of making a great escape and traipse the streets of foreign lands. Once I had finally made it, the grass looked ever greener on the other side and I soon accepted that I did lead a rather privileged life and upbringing in my home town. Public transport, while mostly infuriating, was at least limited to at most 45 minute trips. The bus picked me up directly across the road from the climbing gym and dropped me at my door step. My beloved, scenic, picturesque, idyllic areas  of Teneriffe and New Farm were the epicenters of all my dining maintees. So spoiled was I in my choice of cafes and cuisines of my whimsical choosing that I never could have predicted a world of opposites when I moved to Sydney.

Our need to be close to the Blue Mountains and subsequent job search in the Western suburbs has drifted us far away from the frugal lifestyle that was. To simply put, a bigger city equals a great deal more effort to go places. The Western suburbs are far removed from the windswept, tree lined wonderland that is Teneriffe. The cost of living is considerably higher in return of far less luxuries; especially pertinent when you must consider two. It’s not enjoyable having to travel between three supermarkets to do your groceries because the things you need are not situated in the one place.

I yearn for the unconditional love of a pet but rentals here render that dream impossible, but only for now.

The decision to relocate was spontaneous, but rather than lament I remind myself that these are, at best, minor grievances.

Because the weekend comes. And the freedom we’ve assigned ourselves to trample through the wilderness, hanging off rocks and swinging out of cliff faces engulfs us. It is hard to imagine life without climbing. It is scintillating, all consuming and above anything, essential. The endless pursuit of improved skill, the waging of war with your mental and physical capabilities; never before have I encountered an experience to reveal such a new existence and lifestyle as this. Of course, I hadn’t done any form of sport or exercise in ten years prior to this, so I may be slightly biased.

photo 1

photo 3

IMG_4566

The Tube 2

I have quite enjoyed growing up these last few years. I don’t believe one can truly begin to form a solid awareness of themselves whilst they are still young, or at least such has been the case for me. Evenings were spent following what every other 18 year old was doing with no individual thought or action.

Only from lessons in love and loss, my short stints in solo travel, random wanderings, sojourns in nature and the serendipitous discovery of climbing have I really come to realise these true matters of the heart. The things that bring the most sunshine to my life for now. How incredibly exciting it is to continue discovering.

photo 1(1)

photo 3(1)

photo 2(1)

Proscrastination ends in Penrith


IMG_2461
Penrith, Australia

I promised myself that somehow I wouldn’t let my blog get away from me, and yet somehow here I am, a year later and the spiral of despair I descended in has led to this very prominent absence. It wasn’t all the injury’s fault; my natural disposition to procrastinate didn’t quite help matters.

So how did I end up here? In Sydney’s western suburbs instead of in South America like I had planned? I ask myself the same question often.

Last November I had some big decisions to make and, upon realising that my perspective on travelling had changed dramatically, I took the easy way out.

Where on my round-the-world trip I barely looked at my phone, I found myself talking to my friends back home more and more.

Where I used to find aimless wandering joyous, I found myself wanting to simply just climb all the time. The thought that there would be a chance I could not find partners in South America created angst. Sure, I could have chanced it and embarked on probably what would have been one of the greatest adventures of my life, but my will was broken.

Further to that, I simply feared not being able to find a job, feared the language barrier, all the usual setbacks that I allowed to dominate my thoughts. It soon dawned on me that while I was approaching 25, I was still in hot pursuit of a career and should I dawdle for another few years, I may lose my chance at forging this path completely.

So many excuses, but all valid.

So, instead of being an expat in South America, I returned home after my three months in Europe was up. Soon after, I moved to Western Sydney to surround myself with what I loved – climbing and writing.

It’s been a good few months I have to admit. Before my journey home, I joined an Italian street boulder competition but was only brave enough to try two problems.

67012_733733136654660_1495647332_n

IMG_2422

IMG_2434

It has been no Latino sojourn, but I braved my first real winter, living in the Blue Mountains (day time temps max 8, night time around 0). Climbing entailed five layers and a beanie, lots of star jumps and sun chasing.

I made some new (furry) friends and cuddled baby wombats.

furry friends

baby wom

I became well versed with the process of moving and general adult domesticity. I even discovered if I ever change career paths, hospitality would be an ideal alternative.

1660459_10152389343665763_4557749308982593390_n

10252182_10152397135490763_2513345917066402046_n

before and after wood polish

before and after wood polish

Of course, I climbed a few things and was lucky enough to catch some beautiful views.

10372014_10152469206660763_6941721043957856874_n

1794803_10152611713115763_3962682943971274282_n

10403458_10152617629025763_8385102389904174519_n

Plus, my parents are ultimately thrilled that I am still living in the same country and not on the other side of the Earth. Which meant that I could make it to my sister’s wedding.

photo by Ellan G

photo by Ellan G

So yes, I suppose even though I admit life in Sydney has been a lot harder (and expensive) than I had ever imagined, my life back home in my sleepy city and all of its comfortable familiarity is only an hour away. This thought is quite ironic as some years ago, I loathed the idea of Brisbane and remaining in its encompassing bubble. With the insurgence of some truly fantastic restaurants, easily accessible locales and the company of some wonderful people, I came to really enjoy it in my final months living there. I will always take reassurance in that.

One thing I LOVE about Glasshouse Mountains


Glasshouse Mountains, Sunshine Coast
A midweek escape in the hinterland! As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the place had its own macadamia trees.

These greeted us when we arrived – what bliss! Macadamias and pineapples are commonly farmed and are incredibly cheap to buy in this region so I couldn’t help but glam up my yoghurt with some fresh nuts and passionfruit.

vscocam78-2

vscocam79-2

A moment of clarity at Frog buttress


IMG_0858-2

Mt French, Boonah
Moments of clarity enjoy coming to me at interesting points in time.

That weekend at Frog buttress was my first ever taste of crack climbing and multi-pitching and somehow, there I was on a ledge 30m up in the air, having been talked into scaling a crack in the wall by twisting and jamming my hands and feet into it repeatedly, shivering in the chilly breeze.

It was with five other climbers, who were also slowly making their ascent up to the quickly dissipating ledge.
I was attached to the wall by a sling. The others were tied around trees and some shared the ring bolt with me. There were so many slings and ropes that it was madness. Everyone was a little bit hungry, a little bit uncertain and more than likely afraid. Honestly, it was not the best time to question my choice of recreational activities.

I guess that’s what happens when you drag amateurs into unsuspecting territory. Telling them to stick their hands into a crack and trust that they won’t fall when they put their entire weight on them seemed insane.

But it did occur to me that whatever was happening right now, with these endless new stimuli hitting me all at once, would be worth remembering. I was so high on adrenalin that anything excited me.

IMG_0857-2

IMG_0853

It only grew when it was time to side step into the void and climb up the second rock face. What had been a relatively warm day comfortable in linen shirts had turned crisp and overcast but our leader was at the top, encouraging us on so naturally the only option was to go up.

vscocam78-3

I had never been to that part of south east Queensland before so enjoying rural views with an entirely different type of stone, type of climbing and new people was rewarding.

IMG_0867-2

IMG_0877-2

IMG_0875-2

Of course, climbing is always made better with something gourmet to nibble on afterwards.

IMG_0873-2

More from the Blue Mountains


Blue Mountains, New South Wales
What else would we encounter after a gruelling uphill battle but a deadly-looking snake? How exciting. Feeling free, running wild, teetering on ledges, no other priority but watching yourself take one step after another… and then some more photos.

IMG_0019 (2)

IMG_3330

IMG_0029 (2)

IMG_3282

IMG_3289

IMG_0046

Butterfly stalking in Brisbane


On a sunny day, with nothing to do and wanderlust in my heart, I went butterfly stalking at Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens and this is what I found:

IMG_3072

IMG_3216

IMG_3190

IMG_3192

IMG_3200

IMG_3203

IMG_3185

IMG_3206