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Shannon's World Tour

Welcome to my Travel Page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for me. If I have time in between discovering new places and meeting new people I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Friday, 21 August 2009

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Hi everyone,

There are only 2 sleeps 'til Zanne and I relocate to Vancouver - exciting!!

This message is short and sweet, it's a sign-off really... Zanne and I keep a blog together these days and our blog feels a lot more "now" than this one - I won't be blogging here anymore.

This blog is a great diary of my first travels, but future adventures await - adventures which will be in the company of Zanne and captured on our blog.

Thanks for reading - I've received over 11,000 hits on this blog. I think maybe 10,000 were my Mum though...


Shan xo

Friday, 22 May 2009

Location: Brisbane, Australia

92 days to go!

Friday, 08 May 2009

Location: Brisbane, Australia

It seems like we’ve been worried about money for a while now: I was made redundant late last year and was out of work for two months. We survived the Christmas period on one wage and credit cards but fortunately I landed a new job in January. Unfortunately, that was the same week Zanne took a paycut. The paycut situation has been a massive drama for Zanne involving negotiations and verbal agreements and phone calls and tears. Sucks! In any case, everything should be resolved next week as it has been promised her wage will then be returned to normal. Honestly, if it weren’t for our plans to relocate to Vancouver, I don’t think the redundancy or paycut would have been such a stress. We have still been paying rent and otherwise getting by, however we haven’t been saving anywhere near enough money for Vancouver. Thus, two weeks ago, we made the decision to move to my parents’ house and save our pennies good and proper – Vancouver here we come!

We packed and moved and cleaned all last weekend. We said goodbye to our wonderful apartment and I cried. We filled my parents’ garage with boxes, Zanne’s parents’ basement with whitegoods and here we are living in the ‘burbs. Previously we walked, skated or rode to work, now we drive an hour in traffic. But it’s all good, we are together, and my parents spoil us with dinner and attention. Even though we’re exhausted and definitely sad to leave our apartment (and the Valley), we’re also excited because we now know for sure that we are on our way to Vancouver. Saving the money we were spending on rent each week means that we will arrive in Vancouver with enough in the bank to (hopefully!) make the whole process of relocation (setting ourselves up, getting jobs, etc) relatively painless.

Now that the moving is done and our savings are sorted, we plan to make the most of our remaining 106 days(!) in Brisbane by spending maximum time with family and friends and visiting our favourite spots in and around our “big country town”. Exciting, exciting!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Location: Brisbane, Australia

I study a Bachelor of Communications (majoring in Journalism) externally/online. It is a Griffith University degree facilitated by Open Universities Australia. Considering bills and plans involving relocation to Vancouver, the flexibility of online study is wonderful. If I keep up my current study schedule I will finish my degree before I am 30 – oh to finally have a degree! (and possibly not be a secretary anymore but I will save my rant about the soul destroying qualities of admin for another day… let’s just say sometimes I’d like to strangle myself with my cordless headset).

I don’t know what I want from this degree in terms of career, it is really an exercise in personal development, a chance to improve my critical thinking and writing skills, a chance to learn and grow. So with the somewhat vague goal of “development” in mind, my plan is just to do as well as I can. I admit though, I’m pretty tough on myself and sometimes I feel my best is not good enough. My own worst critic and all that…

I’ve studied for almost six months now. I have enjoyed the content of my subjects (I’m studying a rad Gender subject at the moment) however, the schedule is really intense: before the end of this month I have two assignments and one exam due, then next month I have two exams and one assignment due. In addition, we don’t have any holiday breaks and our exam weeks overlap with the first week of our next study period. The pressure really is on, and some days after work I don’t feel like reading journal articles or researching an assignment, but then I think of some of my classmates who are mothers with babies or who are living in remote parts of Asia (for reals!) and I think: if they can manage to do it, then so can I.

Motivating myself is one thing, but apparently extracting a clear and helpful response from tutors is another… Studying online means interaction with classmates and tutors takes place via discussion boards and forums. Generally this is an ok arrangement, however recently my classmates and I have requested guidance for our assignment and we’ve received responses as clear as mud. It seems we’re all getting ambiguous answers or three word sentences in return to our carefully worded questions, which has inspired one of my classmates to write this note to our tutors on the discussion board:

“I’m cool to have relaxed tutors and I think you’re both great guys, but if you’re going to respond with vague answers then I expect some leeway and generous marking.”

If we were studying full time and could visit with our tutors or talk with our classmates face-to-face we would probably not have this problem (and not feel so helpless/out of our depth/dumb). It’s a bit frustrating, especially when we (external students) pay the same amount of money to complete our degree as those who are full time and have the benefit of face-to-face interaction, not to mention all of those resources!

Oh well, in the words of my Mum, we can only do our best.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Location: Brisbane, Australia

My brother was married earlier in the month (and it has taken me this long to sit down and write about it! I blame work and uni but I’ll save that story for another day). Kris is the first of us to be married; it was exciting and odd at the same time. Odd mostly because marriage is for grown ups. Odd also because the Bride’s family outnumbered us by 12 tables to 1.

I’m so proud of Kris, he went through some tough times for a while there and it is lovely to see him now happy and living life on his terms. He is a real bloke, our Kris: a bloke excited by the Groomsmen’s converse high tops and the classic wedding car, a bloke who forgets to thank his new wife in his wedding speech!

For me, it was a day for dress ups and spending time with my family and my brothers’ friends. My brothers share the same group of friends, I haven’t seen many of them for years (I was travelling, and they now spend their time in places other than my Mum’s house) and it was great to catch up with the adult versions of those crazy kids.

The highlight though was my Mum and her speech… My Mum was anxious for weeks over that speech but she nailed it! She almost broke down part-way through, her hands started shaking and the tears almost came, but she got through it and it was, by far, the speech of the night. Woohoo!

The runner-up highlight was my grandparents being so incredibly accepting of Zanne and I (without explanation even!). Not to mention my brothers’ friends exclaiming “your sister’s Mrs is hot!”.

I have to admit though, while I enjoyed Kris’s wedding, I found myself thinking “if this were my wedding…”. There was a time when I would never have considered a wedding of my own, but that was before I was madly in love *blush*. And speaking of Zanne… We had responsibility of our nephew Noah on the day (his parents were part of the wedding party), and I swear every time I looked across the room at Zanne and Noah talking together, or playing in the grass, or dancing, or doing whatever, my heart melted a little bit more. Does anyone else hear Lionel Richie? He’s singing “Endless Love”. No? It must be just me.

Congratulations to Kris and Shana: “may you grow old together, sharing the same pillow”.

Friday, 06 February 2009

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Hey there peeps. No update from me since November, sheesh. Well, here goes:

Christmas –

Christmas was wonderful. It was my first one at home in two years and my first with Suzanne. Plus it was my nephew’s first one ever so it felt extra special.

We spent Christmas Eve with Zanne’s family. She has four young nephews and four sisters so it was a bit hectic! On Christmas Day we trekked from one coast to the other (2.5 hours) and spent the day with my family. My brother Stevie bought Zanne and I the Spicks and Specks board game (it’s a music trivia game) which kept us all occupied into the night.

Zanne bought me a record player for Christmas – only the best gift ever! I tell you, I’m in heaven when I’m looking through old crates of records at the back of a music store. Just sayin’.


I generally think New Years is overrated but this one was totally radical.

Zanne and I made tee shirts for our friends. Everyone came to our place for starting drinks, then we all headed to a girls’ night a couple of blocks away. We danced, we high fived, we sang along to karaoke, we welcomed in the New Year with 500 hundred other girls.

I love our group of friends - we are “Cassie Inc”. When we’re all together we’re in our own little bubble - always too busy laughing/talking/dancing with them to even notice anyone else. I think we’re cool, even if no-one else does ha!

My resolution and creative project for the year is to take a daily photo. I suspect my enthusiasm might fizzle out when it becomes obvious my life isn't really thaaaaaat interesting. I’m doing well so far though. High five to me.

Broken Head –

Zanne and I spent a week camping at Broken Head beach (near Byron Bay). We went out for breakfast every day, had fish and chips for dinner, played scrabble, ate ice cream, hiked the surrounding Headlands, read books and generally relaxed. Good times fo sho!

Sunset Sounds –

We went to Day One of the Sunset Sounds Festival on January 7. Among others, we saw Tegan and Sara and Soko. Our friend Kylie was the official photographer for the Festival and had an access all areas pass – she stood next to Tegan! Jealous. Very.

Soko’s set was memorable – she cried (read: sobbed) through most of it! It was kinda uncomfortable. We saw her in the evening and she was fine though – smiley and talkative. She signed our poster at Zanne’s request (“my girlfriend loves you!”).

But did I mention we saw Tegan and Sara??? Effing RAD.

New job –

After 2 months out of work I finally landed a new job. Apparently it is not so awesome to be made redundant when there is a financial crisis AND a Christmas break looming. Meh, it’s all good now.

I’m working at the Queensland Teachers’ Union; I’m a secretary for two officers. So far, so good. I work a 9 day fortnight and am able to ride my bike along the Brisbane River to and from, which I really enjoy. Just a warning to any pedestrians on the River Walk – I have a bell and I’m not afraid to use it! Assertive with a bell – who knew?!

Vancouver –

The day after I was offered my job, my friends Lisa and Chris contacted us about renting their apartment for six months. Talk about a turnaround of luck! It turns out their travel plans and ours sort of correspond… At around the same time they are leaving Vancouver to travel Europe, we will be arriving in Vancouver and needing a home.

Details aren’t confirmed yet but at this stage we have tickets and a home for six months (beginning August). Wooo!

Ani Difranco –

We saw Ani Difranco at the Tivoli on February 4. Oh, how I love her! I think it’s fair to say I’ve never been so excited about a gig before – I couldn’t stand still even. I always thought I’d have to wait til I was back in North America to see her play but nope. I have so many memories associated with Ani – she was the soundtrack to my travelling adventures (Poor Lala! Poor Janelle!).

Anyways, Ani was fabulous and everyone thought so. My friend Kristen shot the gig, I’ll check with her re uploading her photos on here.


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Location: Brisbane, Australia

"Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall."

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Latest news is: I was made redundant on Friday. It is a slight (annoying-more-than-anything) hiccup in my grand plan. Damn economic crisis! Mostly it feels unfair, kinda like Merthyr broke up with me. Meh, "I never really loved you anyway".

This week I've embraced the many positives of redundancy, which apparently include a lump sum o' cash, sleep ins, shopping, spa-ing, gigs and that awesome carefree feeling associated with not having a crappy job to worry about ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Good times. Job searching will begin next week. Promise.

Saturday, 01 November 2008

Location: Brisbane, Australia

It has been a long time between blogs it seems. Apologies, bliss has kept me distracted and dizzy.

The past months have been a blur of awesomeness ie. in the falling in love - giggling - ice skating – kick biking - skateboarding – rented cruisers - camel riding - foxtrot lesson – live music - theatre - movies – galleries – restaurants - picnics - new haircut, hats, sunglasses, nephew, friends, Valley apartment – Halloween party – anticipating summer holidays and music festivals way.

Did I mention awesome? *happy sigh*

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Happy 27 to me!

In the words of my friend: thank God I'm not a rockstar. If you don't understand what this means, you simply don't know enough about music :-)


Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Catch ups - done

Home - done

New tattoo - done

New books - done

Daydreaming - done (but that goes without saying!)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Location: Bris Vegas, Australia

G’day ie. hey there,

I’ve been home for two weeks now. My tee-shirt tan has begun its return and my hair is already lighter. I had forgotten what it was like to sweat at 7am – gee thank you sun-brother! I keep hearing conversations about winter coming... what? If you ask me, temperatures in the high 20s make winter seem far, far away. And by the by Bris-dwellers, scarves are so unnecessary right now. I’m just saying.


I’m super skint at the minute (am I repeating myself?) and am currently getting by with a little help from my friends: I’m living in the ‘burbs with my peeps Kelly and Tarquin, and have returned to my old job at Merthyr Law temporarily (they offered me a couple months of work, which is perfect cos I’m feeling quite the commitment-phobe right now).

My short term plans are to finish this first round of “catch ups” and ignore the “worlds colliding” feeling connected with same, move into an air-conditioned inner-city apartment (which, in reality, will likely be a bed-sit with a ceiling fan but whatever) get a new tattoo, buy some new books and continue daydreaming.

My long term plans include saving bulk cash and getting my Vancouver-loving self back to the big C.

Above all, I plan to avoid sunburn and skin cancer.

Peace, Shan xo

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Location: Brisbane, Australia

What's the craic Holly?

Monday, 31 March 2008

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Hey everyone,

I am out of cash-ola and am now home in Aus. On the one hand it's nice to be home, on the other hand I feel like an alien...

I will be home for 6 - 12 months/until I confirm my "what next". I'm looking forward to spending some quality reconnecting time with my friends and family.

I will continue to post updates on here so stay tuned yo!

Love, Shan xoxoxoxo

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Monday, 17 March 2008

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Happy St Patricks Day! xoxo

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Location: Vancouver, Canada

"People who travel all the time are weird anyway, she thought. They spend most of their energy having introductory conversations and brief romances without going through anything with anybody. Their lives become focused on scoring a place to sleep and finding a job until the next train." (Girls, Visions and Everything - Sarah Schulman)


Monday, 10 March 2008

Location: Vancouver, Canada

"And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure." - Albus Dumbledore

Thursday, 06 March 2008

Location: Vancouver, Canada

One week of chillin' like a villain and I couldn't be happier!

Friday, 29 February 2008

Location: Vancouver, Canada

I'm back "home" in Vancouver now xoxo

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Recent Messages

From Shannon
Hi Shannon
The wedding pictures are lovely and you and suzanne looks amazing in them.

So how is everyting else going?
Response: Everything is pretty radical these days: work, uni, family, friends, fun :-)
From Chelse
Hey Shan-shan!
It's so nice to be able to stop in n see what you're up to! I wrote you this huge reply on hotmail the other day n then the computer ate it...somehow? I couldn't figure it out. But you're coming back to Canada! And Vancouver! We can live in the same city again, hurray! August isn't even really that far off, if you think of it in the grand scheme of things. Life seems to fly by these days. Anywho, I just wanted to say hello n say I miss you too! And send lots of Canadian love your way!

Talk to you soon,
Chelse xoxo
From K-stan
Response: Ha!
From Claire
Hi Shannon
Love the new haircut. Noah is a wee cutie in the pictures and your looking great. (Never thought I would see the day you would be wearing a dress). Hope everything is well with you. Things are pretty much the same here. Lisa Moore says hi.
From Claire
Hi Shannon
Hope your keeping well.
Sorry I forgot to email you to say happy birthday. Hope you had a good day.

Response: Hey Claire, what's the craic in Belfast?
Thank you for the birthday wishes - I had a good day.
Say hi to your Mum and Dad for me.
From Petrina
Hey, didn't know it was your birthday!!! Happy birthday (belatedly) from cloudy Norn Iron!
Response: Thanks lady xo
From Babe Ruth
Sup in BrisVegas lady?

Totally agree, scaves and coats in Bris are SOOO not necessary. It's warmer there than here in Prague and you should see everyone here whipping out the shorts, singlets and skirts. :)

How is being home? I so miss Powderfinger.

Response: Hey there Babe Ruth, there's not much craic in Bris Vegas... I've emailed you a proper reply xoxo
From Holly
Just havin' a bo peep...
From Weston
Canada will be waiting patiently for your return and so will I. In the meantime, I will continue to cry myself to sleep because I miss you so much
Response: Awww! I miss you too! I can't wait to hang out with you - I'm missing our wee cuddles and your beautiful smiles xoxoxo
PS. I think your Mum would like it if you slept at night.
From lalalalalalalala
Oi wheres some pics of you in Aus, your ruining my life here Shan! get on it.
dont even think you can forget about me over here in england just cuz your back in aus seeing everyone, you need me, im your rad vego friend! woot woot, 42 days till im in Thailand...whammmmy.
lv you.xo
Response: My rad vego friend,
I reckon you should move to Canada with me next year. Think about it yo.
Peace, Shan xoxo
From Holly
Like this totally awesome chick has come to visit me for awhile like. It's feckin rad.
Response: Woot! Alice xo
From Amy
Welcome back! Hope you had a great time! I love your list of colloquialisms! I had forgot a lot of them - they really are a quirky bunch aren't they?
Response: I had to list them all cos I didn't want to forget - they're funny! Hope we can catch up soon xo
From Liz Matthews
Hi Shaz,
Hope you had a nice home coming and all the family are well. Liz and I keep reading your column. Keep in touch
Liz M and Liz B
Response: Hello Lizzes, what's the craic? I miss yers! xo
From lala
oi your belfast pic is the sample pic on the home page of planet ranger. im uber jelous!
i miss you.
hope to talk soon.
Response: I'm famous - oh yeah! Talk to you soon chook. Peace xoxo
From Chelse, I mean littl
Oh I see now! It's the big fish from Belfast! Sigh, the memories... Glad we're in vancouver together!
Response: Me too!!!! xoxoxo
From Little Metalhead
What am I to be looking for?
From Ciara Ward
Heyyyy Shannon!! It's just clicked with me that you're off to Canada today! Wow, i wish i was you!! I think when i go to Spain i'm gonna get me one of these pages! :D it was lovely working with you and I hope you enjoy Canada before you head home! keep in touch! :D
Response: Thanks chick! Enjoy Spain and do keep in touch :-)
From Darren Matchett
Hey miss good night out last night eh? gonna be missing you bigly!
Response: I'll miss you too Darren Kylie! Keep in touch ok? xoxoxo
From Holly
OK so I swear to god I am not making this up but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was on TV this weekend. It was the kooky Johhny Depp version but still Oompa Loompas heavily featured throughout. They weren't as good as the Belfast ones...
From Holly
All I really want for Valentine's Day is an Oompa Loompa....won't someone get me an Oompa Loompa....I WANT IT NOW!!!

That was my best Veruca Salt impersonation.
Response: Haha! Great impression - I can even hear the whine in your voice. Alice xoxo
From Babe Ruth
I love your blog. You write so beautifully.
Miss you. xx
Response: Hey Babe Ruth,
I don't like my writing and feel quite self conscious about this silly website, but thank you!
I miss you too! I wish I could have visited Prague again before leaving Europe :-(
I hope everything goes well with your new apartment - good luck with the ikea furniture!
Shan xoxoxo
From Holly
Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-dee, if you are wise you'll listen to me...
Response: Still no oompa-loompa pic...
Alice xo
From Holly
Your entries are getting more and more random. Could it be that Belfast has sent you bonkers? Oh to be sure!! Meanwhile I love the pictures of your Belfast Christmas adventures...that blonde girl is hot!!
Could it be that I too have gone bonkers. Peace out!!
Response: I wouldn't say I've gone bonkers, but sure I've been feeling a little uninspired lately.
I agree - that blonde girl is hot ;-)
Peace xo
From lisa
Hi Shannon thanks got your number but credit has now run out pay day 2m what a long month!!! hope your well spoke with claire so think we r going to meet up on sunday but hopefully get speaking to you b4 then take care xox
Response: See you at the Morning Star on Sunday chick xo
From Holly
Do you reckon you could try getting me a picture of a Belfast Oompa Loompa before you leave? Judy from work really wants to see one. Just see if you can subtly sneak one in somewhere. Now that you have become accustomed to deviant behaviour (ie stolen beds and breakfasts) this should not be a difficult task my little bad ass!!
Response: C'mon now Holly, you know I am the weakest bad ass there ever was... I reckon it has something to do with my "instant karma's gonna get you" take on things. I'll do my best to take said photo, although I do fear a kick in the shins!

Peace out, Alice xo

"...shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behaviour!"