Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top (World)

With this week’s photo challenge, it is emphasizing and reminding me how much I enjoy hiking to the top of a mountain or a higher elevation. I do get affected by altitude sickness though, as realized on the Inca Trail. With this effort though, I have gained experiences along the way and am allowed to enjoy the view from a different perspective.

Here are some views from the 7 continents:


View of Neko Harbour, Antarctica

View of Neko Harbour, Antarctica

Continue reading

Wildlife – Cassowary

My first interaction with a Cassowary was from a distance – we shared a sideways glance as I sat in the back of a Greyhound bus.

I had been traveling from Cairns to Melbourne with multiple stops in between. I had heard about a giant bird, much like an ostrich or an emu in appearance but the cassowary is much more colorful in comparison. However, it has a nasty temper and known for attacking people.

That day, as I watched the world drift by from the inside of the Greyhound bus, I noticed a bright splash of color in the distance. Just standing in the middle of the road, in the other lane. As my head whipped around to catch the final glimpse, I noticed there’s not one but two cassowaries! The second was smaller, I presume it is the baby and mom was shielding the baby from the traffic. Continue reading

My First Time… in a Hot air Balloon!

Sunrise above the clouds over Australia

Sunrise above the clouds over Australia

Have you ever wondered what it is like to fly in the sky?!

To be in the clouds?!

To breathe in that fresh air and not just experience it through an airplane window?!

~ I have.

It is probably why I went paragliding in Nepal and parasailing in Thailand.

Maybe I was a pilot in another life. Maybe I was a bird of some sort in my past life.

Who knows the reason… I just love being in the sky! Continue reading

My first time… Scuba Diving!

Back in 2009, I packed my bags and went to Eastern Australia for 6 weeks. The plan was to get my scuba diving certification at the Great Barrier Reef, visit friends I met while traveling who live in Sydney and Melbourne and fill in the blanks on the go.

I was scared and excited – total mixed bag of emotions, I tell ya!

The KINK => I cannot swim, not really. I am scared of water. I can kinda swim the back stroke but if water splashes onto my face (with goggles ON) – I freak! I have drowned in a swimming pool, during adult swimming lessons, where the water was just deep enough that I cannot touch the bottom. So yes, there’s a slight problem. Reason for fear of water: I drowned to death in a past life – this is a recent discovery. Continue reading

She did What!?! ~ with Bellarock

Single Woman Travels! (SWT) is a place to inspire and motivate women (and men) around the world to travel. She did What?! is a monthly series of Q&A – asking women around the world to share their past travel experience. From this, I hope a few more women who are on the brink of expanding their world will be inspired and motivated to turn their dreams into reality.

Bio…    Bellarock

SWT:    Where was the destination of your first solo trip?

B:        Solo enough I guess without family – California on a student exchange for a month… Also left Australia to live in the UK at the age of 22 – did that one alone!

SWT:    How old were you?

B:        I was 16

SWT:    Were you single or attached at the time?

B:        NOPE!

SWT:    What inspired the idea?

B:        Small town girl… looking for big things.

SWT:    What was your trip style? (backpack, tour group, comfort, meetup with family/friends)

B:        I was in a group with about 20 other kids from all around Australia – the same age.

SWT:    What type of accommodations? (family owned, B&B, tents, if a hotel, how many stars)

B:        I stayed with a host family.

SWT:    How long was your trip?

B:        A month

SWT:    Who looked after the logistics?

B:        EF Foundation.

SWT:    If you planned and/or booked the itinerary, did you enjoy the process?

B:        I do all that stuff now… Yeah, but that’s kind of my job. 🙂

SWT:    If you worked with a travel agent, how was the experience?

B:        Annoying… you’re not a priority… they have many many other clients

SWT:    Would you / have you booked subsequent trips yourself?

B:        Yeppers

SWT:    What would you do different – in hindsight?

B:        Not a lot… Research and asking friends, family, strangers advice.

SWT:    Did you feel comfortable traveling solo?

B:        I always seem to – but the road sometimes feels more lonely than unsafe.

SWT:    How much research did you do in advance?

B:        Lots.

SWT:    What was the biggest surprise on the trip?

B:        Too many to count… but running into people you know in the most random places.. it’s happened so many times for me on public transport.

SWT:    What did you learn about yourself during the trip that you weren’t totally aware of beforehand?

B:        How resilient I am, adventurous, brave and independent I can be.

SWT:    Was there any close calls or run-ins?

B:        Depends on what close calls or run ins you’re talking about…

SWT:    Where is your next dream destination?

B:        Iceland or a road trip around the USA

Next time, we’ll hear from Kristine who chose to travel on her own…

If you’d like to share your story, contact me! 🙂

My first time… White water rafting!

Photos and Post by Karen Sze

On Valentine’s day of 2009, I gave white water rafting a try! It was the first day they reopened the Tully River in Australia, after a month long closure. Why you ask? Answer: Flooding upstream. There was so much rain, the roads were closed and nothing was coming through Townsville. The grocery store was so bare, I couldn’t believe my eyes.



Sorry – I digress.

Raging Thunder took great care of me that day!
Waterproof camera – check
Safety orientation – check
Safety gear – On!


The sun was shining.. Paddlers – ready.



After we got comfortable with paddling, our fearless leaders met briefly to strategize the best approach to the rapids in this swollen river. All the recent rainfall have submerged a lot of the usual outcrops and have increased the speed of the rapids. At this point I realize I’ve actually signed up for a grade 4/5 rapid instead of a grade 3/4 rapid – time to ride with the waves.


What happened next was completely unexpected! Our raft flipped going through the rapid, everyone fell into the river. I was submerged for about a minute. I did panick at first but quickly reminded myself the safety orientation and surfaced.

Was I scared?! Hell YES!!
Did I swallow some sacred river water? Yes.
Did I live to tell the story? Well, yessss.

The other rafts quickly plucked us out of the river – everyone was safe! We all got back into our raft and continued the journey. When we reached a calm section, we all jumped into the river for a swim / float. It was so relaxing, I’d completely forgotten what happened just minutes ago.


Life Lesson: Go with the flow. The Universe is looking out for you. Have faith. Trust the Universe. Everything will work out. You might not get what you want but you’ll receive what you need at the time.