Issue 3 September 2020
The Earth Issue
Thank You, Thank You Contributing Writersâ€”
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Joseph Lew Tiffany Forbes
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Amy Jenkin Caitlin Johnston Coby Renkin Courtney Cunningham Dina Ivkovich Georgia Cameron Hannah Cohen Hannah Schauder Kiera Eardley Maggie Zhou Malena Frey Natasha Schapova Ruby Ellam Ruth Ong Simone Kealy Stephanie Booth Sarah Petty Suzanna Telai Thiamando Pavlidis Tricia Rivera Udaivir Kapoor Vickie Baikie Victoria Gillett Contributing Artistsâ€” Amanda Jambu Aleesha Martin Alexis Hancock Ashley Scott Caitlin Johnston Charlotte Elwell Duyen My Ly (Amee) Emma Lucas Gabrielle Poh Georgia Lilley Jackie Liu Jake Porter Jessie Liu Johanna Toner Liam Grant Lillian Busby Lisa Vullings Madison Marshall Martina Fenech Mikhail Volkov m.ink Ruth Ong Sally Ann Gething Sarah Annett Sophie McKenzie-Stripp Ying Xuan
Contents 04 06 08 10 12 14 16 20 22 24 26 28 30 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60
Savers Scandal What Happens Next? Maybe We Don’t Need to Know Planet Earth for Drop Kicks An Ode to Melbourne Banking for the Future Did Someone Say Pickles? From Point A to Point Cook The Agoraphobic Traveller Subways and Sunburns How to: Composting Indoors Seeking Serenity Conspiracy Theories You Might Want to Spend Your Entire Night Researching Victoria: The Place to Be Nights In... Paradise? Designer Dilemma Lessons from Studying Abroad Finding Home The People You Meet I’ll Have the ‘Sad Girl Special’ Please Finding Yourself: Debunked Crossing Lines On Resin-able Doubt The One(s): Travelling in Harmony Thalassaphobe’s Nightmares Wanderlust The Power of Exploration When Fact is Better than Fiction
Editors’ Note Planet Earth. A big blue ball, floating in outer space. Home to rolling green hills, cities that never sleep and thick velvet skies littered with sparkling reminders that no dream is ever too big. When we envisioned the release of the Earth edition, we hoped it would coincide with the easing of restrictions. Evidently, this won’t be the case, and our dreams of spring picnics and ‘grammable road trips are going to remain just that — dreams; a collection of travel itineraries and bucket lists tucked away in the deleted section of our notes. But if the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that we don’t need to travel to see the world. What resides within these pages are stories that span borders — experiences and memories from Italy, India, Russia, Australia. From tales of finding oneself, lessons from studying abroad, to life after death; our Earth edition pays homage to it all — a love letter to the planet we call home. So, let’s get worldly. Tiff, Joe and Marissa.
Savers Scandal Any avid declutterer or op shopper (guilty as charged) will relate to the immense satisfaction of taking your unwanted clothes to your local op shop for them to resell and donate to their charity of choice. It eases the guilt of our constant purchases and provides a sense of gratification in the way that our donations are contributing to a greater cause. But unfortunately, like all bright fantasies, there are some dark corners.
While commercial benefit is not a hidden component for any op shop business, how these not-for-profits walk the tightrope of running a business while contributing to social causes is usually unclear to the public.
Savers Australia, an op shop chain with five stores in Melbourne, has been found to be hiding some dirty laundry. It's been alleged over the years (to my op shop heart’s horror) that this chain has been giving as little as 3 per cent of their revenue to the charities they’ve marketed to be raising money for. After donating peanuts to charities including Diabetes Australia and YMCA Victoria, Savers would send the clothes they couldn’t sell to developing nations for resale. Yikes.
Thryft (St Kilda)
So, I’m going to give you some insight into which op shops are doing the good work and are deserving of your money and sexy second-hand leggings.
Top of my list is a gorgeous hippy little op shop called Thryft, who sell cute high-quality second-hand clothes, shoes and accessories for $5 or less. Thryft is one of three op shops that raises money for an organisation called Pay A Sack Forward. Pay A Sack aims to support those experiencing homelessness in Australia through the distribution of “survival sacks”, which include food items and essential hygiene products. Thryft is currently running Instagram auctions to continue raising money during the COVID-19 period at @thryft_opshop.
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WORDS BY Hannah Schauder ART BY Amanda Jambu @ajamdesign
Posh Op Shoppe (Carnegie and Elsternwick)
Epilepsy Op Shops (Northern Melbourne Suburbs)
Another non-problematic op shop chain for your donation needs is the Posh Op Shoppe; the David Jones of op shops as I like to call it. Selling everything from pianos to board shorts, both shops have spent over 20 years raising money for the Jewish Children’s Aid Society (JCAS). JCAS provides educational support for children with special needs in Jewish day schools across Melbourne, and is currently supporting nearly 250 children at nine schools.
The Epilepsy Foundation, Australia’s leading epilepsy organisation, runs op shops across nine Melbourne suburbs. While the op shops are more on the quaint side, donations and profits go towards supporting families affected by epilepsy and into research centres looking to find a cure.
The Conscious Closet (Online) The Conscious Closet is the retail initiative for Fitted For Work, an organisation that helps disadvantaged women get into work by offering employment services, leadership training and outfits for job interviews. The Conscious Closet sells second hand designer and high-end clothing for affordable prices, with all profits going towards Fitted For Work’s programs and services. They’ve also moved their wares to eBay, so you can keep shopping to your heart’s content.
Greeves St. Recycling Shop (St Kilda) Greeves St. is a social enterprise initiative of St Kilda Gatehouse, which supports women involved in streetbased sex work as a result of abuse, addiction, poverty and other hardships. Proceeds from recycled and up-cycled clothing go towards St Kilda Gatehouse who provide safe spaces and resources for women in these circumstances.
What Happens Next? Maybe We Don’t Need to Know
WORDS BY Coby Renkin @cobyhr
ART BY Gabrielle Poh @gee_poh
It’s not fair that the animals we give our entire beings will one day leave us empty and companionless.
When I signed myself up to write a piece on mortality and the afterlife, I had all these ideas running through my mind and I was excited to write something witty and exceptionally non-expert on the subject. But the last few months have been rough for me. I have lost some of those I hold closest, both of the human and animal kind. I have been putting off writing this article, telling myself my “creative juices weren’t flowing” when truly I think I just wasn’t ready to come face to face with my views on what happens after death. Partly because I’m not entirely sure, and partly because what I think I do know might just be a bit too much to bear right now.
It’s not fair that the people we love will one day leave this earth. And that is it. Forever. I understand that life is not fair. But, I also understand that sometimes a little bit of faith is not the end of the world, even if it’s not how I would usually define myself. While the death of a loved one chips away at who we are, and leaves a hole we don’t quite know how to fill, it is ultimately not about those left behind. I’ve realised that it brings me great comfort to think that maybe, even if I can no longer connect with them, that those I’ve loved are still out there. Maybe they’re watching over me or maybe they’re back on earth in a whole new form with no knowledge of my existence. Either way, even if I don’t know it for a fact, I feel a little better with the thought that with or without me, the best parts of those I love are always going to be out there.
There are many beliefs when it comes to the afterlife, concerning whether it does or does not exist. The former tends to be based on religion or spirituality of some sort, and to my occasional dismay, I don’t have real faith in either. The problem I face today is that the latter is just a little too hard for me to accept. I, as many others do, struggle to come to terms with the idea that when those I love physically leave my world, they’re just gone. That with them leaves their character, and all the parts of them I loved having around. My beliefs in every aspect of life are very much science-based, but when it comes to our mortality, I hit a roadblock. My logic and my reason tell me I know the reality, but my heart just refuses to believe it.
I’ve realised we don’t always have to define ourselves by our core beliefs and they don’t always have to apply to every part of our lives. Some things are just bigger than that.
It's not fair that good people have good hearts that suddenly stop beating, leaving the world without the privilege of their presence.
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Planet Earth for Drop Kicks What’s up slackers, welcome back to school. Today we’re learning about the parent that didn’t emotionally scar you: Mother Earth. With climate change deniers and flat-earthers still sprouting up, we thought it was time for a refresher on the planet we call home.
Like onions and ogres, Earth also has layers — four to be exact. The inner core at the planet’s centre is followed by an outer core, mantle and crust. The inner core is solid, spherical and steamy, with a temperature as high as 5,400 degrees Celsius. Around it is the aptly-named outer core — a band of fluid iron and nickel around 2,300 kilometres thick. A gooey mantle of molten rock follows the outer core, which is protected by Earth’s outermost layer: the crust. Earth’s crust and mantle are broken up into large plates which constantly bump and grind against each other. This movement of plates is what causes earthquakes to rumble and volcanoes to form.
Until Elon Musk works out the kinks of SpaceX, Earth is the only planet we know of inhabited by living things. The name “earth” originates from the old Germanic word meaning “the ground”. A true indie icon, Earth is the only planet in our solar system not named after a Greek or Roman deity. Earth is also the only planet with liquid water on the surface, which makes it an ideal home for living creatures.
Earth’s atmosphere is mostly made up of nitrogen and oxygen, with a sprinkle of other gases including carbon dioxide. The atmosphere is what regulates temperature on Earth, allows us to breathe, and protects us against harmful radiation from the Sun. Ultimately, Earth’s ability to support and sustain living creatures is what makes it so unique.
Mama Earth is the fifth largest planet in the solar system and third in line from the Sun. Our Earth has seven siblings in the solar system family, including Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and everybody’s favourite: Uranus. While ‘90s kids will remember Pluto as the ninth planet, it was controversially cancelled in 2006 and reclassified as a dwarf planet.
And that concludes today’s class on planet Earth. Make sure to treat her with love and respect, just as your Mother would like.
Earth spins on her axis, taking around 24 hours to complete a full rotation. A talented multi-tasker, she also spends her time journeying around the Sun. Earth shuffles around the Sun in 365.25 days, which is pretty close to the 365 days we call a year. To make up for the missing quarter, a cheeky day is added to our annual calendar every four years, known as a leap year.
WORDS BY Ruth Ong @ru.thx COLLAGE BY Jessie Liu @jessiexliu 9
An Ode to Melbourne
WORDS BY Maggie Zhou @yemagz ART BY Emma Lucas @emlucasart
On an unassuming Thursday afternoon in October last year, I boarded a train heading to Frankston. A middle-aged man put on his best radio presenter voice and held a quiz for all of us lucky train riders. He was singing very loudly and very confidently and we, the few solitary folks trying to get from A to B, had to guess what he was singing. I made eye contact with the woman sitting diagonally from me, we giggled over my magazine. “Who wrote this 1978 smash-hit song that topped the charts in America?” he queried. “Billy Joel?” a woman meekly offered. “Wrong,” he laughed and continued onto the next track. So many whispers, so many stories and so many moments shared in the suspiciously stained carriages of our train network. From the time I found a neat pile of pubes on the seat next to me, to watching dads explain the magic of trains to their little ones, to finessing the art of balancing in the centre of a carriage — look mum, no hands. These squeaky wheels and sudden jolts of machinery are quintessential to my experience of this beloved city. They’ve taken me from patting cavoodles in Brighton to waving at greyhounds wearing turtlenecks in Footscray.
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It’s not footy, brunch culture or our partiality to all black ensembles that makes me love Melbourne. It’s the fact that lining up for hours for expensive croissants or Asian-fusion in Flinders Lane is completely acceptable. That heated discussions debating whether Messina or Pidapipo holds the gelato crown are part of our vernacular. From the sticky floors of ABC, to an 18-year-old’s initiation into Billboards, to the realisation that you haven’t specified which Shanghai dumplings you’re meeting at (Shanghai Dumpling House, Shanghai Street or Shanghai Village?), this city is built on greasy food, loud music and a shared disdain for ticket inspectors. Boxed into my local suburb for the past few months, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the hints of Melbourne scattered around. I’ve seen two taxi drivers gleefully sharing a Domino’s pizza in the front seats of a car together. A local vintage camera store putting out a sign in their front window that reads, “a not-for-profit business (not by choice).” There are generous street libraries popping up in my neighbourhood filled with games, toys and DVDs for the taking. Strangers are borrowing books from each other, organised in our community Facebook page. There’s a weekly hunt for the fluorescent ice-cream truck that blares its tinny tune for kids, young and old.
You see, what makes Melbourne Melbourne isn’t a postcode, a building or even a deep-rooted sense of coffee snobbery. It’s the people who make it a city that’s so beloved. It’s my childhood Greek landlord Jim who would trim our hedges and shake his head when we used to cover our driveways in chalk. It’s the seafood guy at my local Asian grocery that always gives my mum a knowing wink and the freshest slice of whatever he’s got. It’s my boyfriend’s grandfather Uri, who escaped World War II when he was a baby in Austria, and now walks over and drops off fresh bagels every Sunday morning. I guess this isn’t really an ode to Melbourne. It’s an ode to you and me and anyone else who dares pipe up about Billy Joel. 11
Banking for the Future
WORDS BY Vicki Baikie @vickibaikie ART BY Mikhail Volkov @adam_wolf3
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Let me ask you something, how did you come across your first bank account? Was it through the same bank as your parents or with the first bank you knew of? And your super, was it the company that was encouraged by your first employer?
more ethically conscious now than they used to be. But instead of actually changing their ways, enter greenwashing, a marketing tool which sets out to convey a more sustainable image of their processes. A common way of doing this is through setting targets such as 100 per cent renewable by 2030, or by highlighting one thing they may be doing right and completely ignoring the rest; take NAB’s announcement to not fund new thermal coal mines for example.
In 2019, a study conducted by CUA found that 50 per cent of Australians between the ages of 18–24 chose the same bank as their parents and 18 per cent of all Australians chose the first bank they came across. But have you ever considered how such choices influ- I say, if you want the real picture of how environence your environmental impact? And why now more mentally friendly your current bank is, ditch their than ever, it’s crucial we do our homework before “sustainability” pages that scream PR opportunity and choosing where to willingly invest our cold hard cash? check out the bank comparison table available on the Market Forces website. First let me break this down for you. All the Big Four banks still invest in fossil fuels both here in Australia I have done the basics and outlined some great and internationally. But what they don’t want you to recommendations below, but I still encourage you know, is they aren’t stupid. Financial institutions are to complete your own research to find the right place more than aware that consumers these days are much for you.
This bank has strong beliefs in responsible banking and does not support fossil fuels, live animal exports, gambling, the arms industry or tobacco. You can expect to find the same products offered with no difference in fees.
This super provides clear indication of what you are investing in through each of the three investment options. Their Balanced Index option has shown a 9.66 per cent annualised return rate since its inception.
Teachers Mutual Bank
Owned by Future Super, this is a super fund for women by women. Fees are lower than accounts held with Future Super and returns in Balanced Index are lower at a rate of 7.27 per cent.
Governed as Australia's most ethical bank in 2020, this is one of the best options out. However, as per the name you must be working in the education sector to be a member.
Australian Ethical Super
Balanced Index returns are at 6.20 per cent since inception. Important to note they do invest in Westpac and NAB.
An online bank owned by NAB, it is the first bank worldwide to have a green term deposit that invests in sustainable initiatives. However, it’s the only product that is solely dedicated to sustainable investments.
Every dollar you save is a dollar that can be invested in a sustainable future. In a report undertaken by Future Super, Australia could be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 7.7 per cent of super savings without the need for government support. By being less loyal, more flexible and more picky with our banking and super, we can influence the way these institutions spend their money. Put your money where your mouth is and fund the future you want to see.
Did Someone Say Pickles? Spicy Cucumber Pickles
Preservation dates back millennia. Early humans learned that by dehydrating their meat — a form of curing — it lasted far longer than normal. Nowadays, refrigerators have removed the need of curing, but that doesn’t mean preservation has lost its use.
Ingredients 2 regular-sized cucumbers 2 banana shallots 2 tsp mustard seeds ½ tsp ground turmeric 2 star anise 75g caster sugar 150ml vinegar
Other than allowing our delectable food to last longer, preserving can also make it taste better. Introducing: pickling! The word pickle means salt or brine, two important components in the process of pickling. This process involves submerging fresh fruit or vegetables in either an acidic liquid or a saltwater brine, causing them to be less vulnerable to spoilage. Not only that, these fermented foods are amazing for your gut health as well as being anti-inflammatory.
Interested? Here are some recipes to get you started.
WORDS BY Courtney Cunningham @court.cunningham ART BY Georgia Lilley @georgialilleydesign
Slice cucumbers through the middle, then into fingers. Peel and finely slice the shallots.
Put the cucumbers and shallots in a colander. Sprinkle over 2 teaspoons of sea salt. After 45 minutes, rinse well.
Combine all the other ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Fit the cucumbers snugly into a sterilised jar, then pour over the liquid. Seal and leave for at least 24 hours.
Green Cabbage Kimchi
1 head green cabbage 4 tbsp coarse sea salt (less if using table salt, about 3 tablespoons) 3 spring onions, roughly chopped 1/4 cup Korean red chilli pepper flakes 3 tbsp salted shrimp, saeujeot, finely chopped, (or fish sauce) 1 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp minced garlic 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 kg cabbage 1 tsp Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt 3 bay leaves 4 black peppercorns
Remove tough outer leaves of the cabbage if any, then cut into quarters and remove the core from each quarter.
Cut each quarter into bite-sized pieces (about 5 centimetre squares).
Rinse the cabbage and drain, then place in a large bowl.
Dissolve the salt in 2 cups of water and toss well to coat evenly. Leave for 1 to 2 hours, or until the cabbages have softened, flipping over once or twice halfway through.
Rinse the salted cabbage once and drain to remove excess water.
Mix the chilli pepper flakes, saeujeot, sugar, garlic, and ginger with 1/2 cup of water.
Add the chopped spring onions, the chilli mix, and 1 cup of water to the salted cabbage.
Mix everything well by hand until the cabbage pieces are well coated with the chilli mix.
Place in a sterilised jar, firmly pressing down to remove air pockets.
Wash the cabbage and remove the outer leaves.
Grate or slice the cabbage finely.
Layer the cabbage and salt in a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, massaging each layer as you go.
As you massage, the cabbage will start to soften and release water. This will take about 15 min- utes. There should be about 5 centimetres of juices on top of the cabbage. If this does not happen, make up a saltwater mixture of 15 grams of sea salt to 1 litre of water and add a little to the jar as necessary.
Add the bay leaves and peppercorns.
Pack the cabbage tightly into a sterilised jar, pressing down as you add the cabbage. The cab- bage should be completely submerged in the brine youâ€™ve created.
Seal the lid and place the sauerkraut in a dark spot at room temperature for at least a week.
Refrigerate, then enjoy.
10. Leave out at room temperature for half a day or overnight, then refrigerate. Credit here 15
From Point A to Point Cook
WORDS BY Suzanna Telai @suzannatelai
ART BY Sally Ann Gething @sallyanngraphics
When people talk about the history of Australia they often just talk about the history of white people who have lived in Australia. Yet Australiaâ€™s historical narrative did not begin in 1770 with the voyaging of Captain James Cook, or even in 1788 with British colonisation. Instead, it began tens of thousands of years earlier with Australiaâ€™s Indigenous population.
20,000 years ago Aboriginal peoples dispersed across the entire continent, with archaeological digs indicating habitation in places as remote as rock shelters on the Franklin River in SouthWest Tasmania.
40,000 years ago Evidence shows Aboriginal ancestors reached South-Eastern and SouthWestern Australia.
65,000 years ago The earliest confirmed evidence of human occupation in Australia came from an Aboriginal rock shelter, Madjedbebe in the Northern Territory. Some archaeologists and historians disagree on the matter, arguing the settlement should be dated at 50,000 years before contact.
30,000 years ago Archaeological evidence at Bluff Cave site points to Aboriginal occupation in Tasmania. Historians suggest that most of the continent would be occupied by an estimated 100,000 people at this point. 16
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2,000 years ago
An outbreak of smallpox devastates the Aboriginal population. Nearly half of the Indigenous population in Sydney dies as a result.
Rock carvings at Mount Cameron West, show the beginnings of X-ray style art and the development of art styles.
1770 Captain James Cook sails up the east coast of Australia and takes possession of New South Wales. The land is claimed as terra nullius, or uninhabited despite several encounters with Aboriginal people.
1778 British colonists and the First Fleet establish the colony of Port Phillip.
7,500 years ago Earliest evidence of tooth avulsion (initiation rite). Archaeologists argue it is one of the first pieces of evidence showing the development of cultural traditions. 17
1834 By the mid 1800â€™s resistance efforts by Aboriginal peoples quickly morphed into mass killings of many Indigenous mobs across Australia. The Massacre of Pinjarra in Western Australia was one of the most brutal attacks on Aboriginal peoples in Australian history. Captain James Sterling and a party of settlers circled and opened fire on up to 80 Binjareb Nyungar people along the Murray River, leading to the deaths of up to 30 Binjareb men, women, and children.
1915 The New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board is given powers to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families.
1838 Myall Creek Massacre Settlers near Inverell New South Wales shot an estimated 28 Aboriginal people along the Myall Creek River. Waterloo Creek Massacre Up to 50 Kamilaroi people were killed by 26 mounted police under the command of Major James Nunn, whose orders were to expel Aboriginal people from Moree in New South Wales, which was being opened up for farmland.
1804 Eora man Pemulwuy leads a campaign of resistance against British settlers on the land of the Dharug people. Colonists are authorised to shoot Aboriginal people in response to resistance to settlement.
1901 Australia becomes a Federation. The Constitution states that it will legislate for any race except for Aboriginal peoples. 18
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1965 â€˜Freedom Rideâ€™ by Aboriginal people and students is led by Charles Perkins into North Western New South Wales in support of Aboriginal rights.
1967 Constitutional Referendum on Aboriginal Rights is held and passed.
The New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board loses its power to remove Aboriginal children.
The Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act is passed by the Federal Parliament.
By the early 1990s Steps to repair the damage caused to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for abuse under past governments began to be taken.
1925 Australian Aborigines Progressive Association is formed to oppose New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board.
The Agoraphobic Traveller
WORDS BY Kiera Eardley @kieraeardley ART BY Martina Fenech @martinafenech.design
Planes are grounded, we’re supposed to be hungover on a boat in Croatia right now, and things are feeling a bit gloomy. We’re stuck indoors, but who says we can’t make our own holiday from the safety of the couch? If you’ve got an incurable case of wanderlust and access to Netflix, you’re sorted: grab the remote, get your comfy clothes on, and pop some corn, because we’ve got a one-way ticket to home, sweet home.
For our first stop, we’re jumping over to New York — minus the 20-plus hour flight time. Picture this: long strolls through Central Park as the leaves turn golden and crunchy, cable-knit turtlenecks worn in world-renowned museums, and lunch in an iconic Lower East Side delicatessen. When Harry Met Sally is the quintessential NYC movie, and its romance lies as much in the city as it does between the film’s two namesakes. It’s lighthearted, it’s hopeful, and re-watching a classic story of young love through the seasons is just what the iso-doctor ordered. Adventure is calling, so let’s voyage down to South America with Up. This animation is utterly gorgeous. The music is buoyant, the protagonist’s undying love for his late wife tugs at the heartstrings, and an ageless sense of adventure lies at the crux of it all. With vibrant colours and breathtaking scenery, the destination of Paradise Falls is based upon a real tabletop mountain in Venezuela. More than anything, who doesn’t love the idea of tying balloons to your roof and travelling from the comfort of your own home? Paris is awaiting us next, replete with more baguettes, berets and bonjours than we could imagine. Amélie is a French classic about the power of imagination, a poetic joy of a movie that’s guaranteed to make your socially-distanced heart soar. It’s set in historic Montmartre, and if you sit close enough to the TV you can almost smell the croissants, see the artists, and sit in the cafes, all in the shadows of the beautiful Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Oui oui, merci!
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While we’re in the same continent, it would be rude not to channel surf down to Italy for an hour or two. Set on a lush, sprawling estate in Lombardy in the ‘80s, Call Me By Your Name is a summer romance, and one of the most aesthetically luscious coming-of-age movies in recent history. For your vicarious travel pleasure, there’s swimming, dancing, sunbathing, and bike rides through cobbled Italian laneways. Also, Timothée Chalamet. Need I say more? Next up on our silver-screen itinerary is Tokyo, with Lost in Translation. This Sofia Coppola masterpiece is pensive and softly-spoken, focussed on the slowly-unfurling relationship between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Tokyo provides a bustling backdrop, and we can lose ourselves in the romance of its busy street crossings and late-night karaoke outings despite the fact we can barely leave the house, let alone get to Japan.
And suddenly we find ourselves in Singapore, immersed in the glitz and glamour of Crazy Rich Asians. Based on the novels by Kevin Kwan, the film is a love letter to Singapore and a testament to the power of representation in Hollywood. It’s the perfect escape to the glittery, effervescent world of the rich and famous, and a rom-com that’s more luxurious than any other. Our round-the-world trip is coming to an end, and with the touch of a button we’re on the African savanna. That’s right, we’re finishing with The Lion King. It may be animated, but it really does make you want to go on a safari and befriend some lions, warthogs and meerkats. Just maybe not hyenas. Based upon Kenya’s Hells Gate National Park, the plains of Disney’s Pride Lands are visually stunning. I just hope there are hordes of singing animals waiting whenever I actually get to visit.
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Subways and Sunburns WORDS BY Dina Ivkovich @dinanotdiner
I read somewhere that trying to capture New York City in a single frame is like trying to hold water — it slips through your fingers. The obstacle in this metaphor is our own hands, and the response by its original creator is this: ironically and kindly, fuck you.
ART BY m.ink @monotone_ink
La Follette Ryan evolves from a voyeuristic onlooker sharing each train line’s gems to a photojournalist wielding that intimate tone to unveil the aftermath of an outbreak in one of its most debilitated hotspots. @subwayhands has come to light an ominous glow stick to the way our hands have since become yellowtaped hazards to ourselves and others in transmission of something wholly invisible and, for now, insurmountable beyond paranoid preventative measures.
Massachusetts-bred and New York-made, Hannah La Follette Ryan has made it her mission to deliver pixelated proof that hands are the ultimate synecdoche of a human’s being. In the limbo of daily train commutes as a portable nanny, La Follette Ryan’s 225k-boasting Instagram account @subwayhands serves as a candid catalogue of subway goers’ hands taken elusively (and unabashedly) by Hannah on her iPhone — a blended-in bystander who snaps 1:1 visual epics of New York’s day-to-day straphangers.
I would talk to Hannah in the meeker months before our world got a collective cold. By accidental way of her celebrity burner account @paparazzifineartfanaccount and for reasons that didn’t age so well, I would purchase a zine titled “Roasted”: a staplespined jewellery box of literally roasted socialites basking in their salmon-pink hues on rented yachts, archiving the sunburnt likes of Simon Cowell, Paris Hilton and Alexander Skarsgård over the years. With only a one-time-at-band-camp-esque portrait in the “About the Author” page from which to define its creator, I would come to realise that this same urban force and gatekeeper to the realm of (subway) hand fetishism would shepherd my tech-ignorant butt through the process of setting up a PayPal account (a whole other story in itself).
Within the familiarly mundane and vexingly claustrophobic air of public space that often warrants self-restraint, La Follette Ryan hopes to capture that which the hands inevitably betray in fleeting moments of intimate affection, lap-tapping, unease, hair-twirling or exhaustion not so freely made public by a face, let alone that of a knowing one. With over a thousand stealthily sweet posts of subconscious gestures to-date, fellow voyeurs are drip-fed daily finds of hands that are made foreign and coloured by their hungry interpretations of their beauty, outgrowing the bodies of those strangers who bear them.
Embarrassment aside, as well as some months, I would hold Hannah’s writing in my hands and marvel at the movie-like NYC address on the package I paid for, initially exclaiming: “wow, that’s so cool!”, then sobered from my romanticism by a crisis which would age the ink of those details into a message far less glittering. One of the humble weights of our hands, of handwriting, caution and, most of all, care for that which we can’t see. Be it the virus or those at risk from it. Except for those still loitering on their yachts with their leathery tans.
@subwayhands has a marked way of reflecting unspoken moods, whether it be the change of season implied by a shift to knitwear, hands drumming against a pair of thighs balancing sheet music come exam period, or the anorexic assemble of flowers held in a water bottle for a waiting Valentine back at home. Recently, as the coronavirus pandemic has flared in New York City, La Follette Ryan has chronicled new brewing patterns that bleed the humbler realities of a city less boastful of its ‘never sleeping’ charm: sanitiser-squeezing, hand-lathering, rock climber-like crimps of standing poles, and Ventolin-cradlers.
We see you.
Also, un-ironically: fuck you.
WORDS BY Joseph Lew @josephyylew ART BY Ruth Ong @ongdotcom
How to: Composting Indoors We’ve all had our own projects during lockdown. Some of us are baking sourdough. Some of us are learning to play the piano. And some of us are trying to fit 30 hours of sleep into a 24 hour day. Me? I’ve been living out my cottage-core dreams: making jam, growing cauliflower and recycling dilapidated timber pallets into a series of fenced vegetable beds. Next on my list, an indoor compost bin.
I mean I could have just bought a Bokashi Bin, or any of the other pre-made compost bins on the market. But of course, as the project-loving, idlehands-are-the-devils-playthings monomaniac that I am, I decided to make my very own. There were several things that this bin had to do. Firstly, it had to be a decent size, something I could sit in the corner of my hallway, or tuck underneath the laundry sink when I inevitably got sick of looking at it. Secondly, it had to be easy to make and use. Thirdly, low maintenance — little aerating and turning necessary. And last but not least, it couldn’t smell. This was a big one.
In Victoria alone, more than a quarter of a million tonnes of food are thrown away each year. Food waste in landfill decomposes anaerobically, releasing methane and other harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Composting provides a solution to this, by reducing the total amount of waste which goes to the dump, providing an organic source of plant food in the process.
That’s when I stumbled across Hiroko Tabuchi’s method. Widely used in Japan, this method relies on aerobic decomposition to function, with naturally occurring microorganisms using oxygen to break down organic waste. As such, the process neither smells, nor produces any slimy by-products. Tick, tick and tick. I decided to give it a shot.
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Using the bin is just as uncomplicated. Food scraps can be added at any time, and a garden trowel can be used to break up any large scrap pieces, and to stir the compost-mix. If the substrate starts to dry out — you’ll know this is happening when the cocopeat starts to lighten in colour — add some water to the compost and give it another stir.
This bin only calls for five things: a sturdy corrugated cardboard box (preferably with a lid), some additional cardboard, biochar, a block of cocopeat, and some spare plywood or wooden blocks. One trip to Bunnings and a scavenge in the garden shed and I was good to go. Note: If you can’t find biochar, grab a hammer and smash up some horticultural charcoal until it turns into a fine powder instead. Make sure you wear a mask for this.
If you’re wondering what can be composted, vegetable and fruit scraps, tea and coffee grounds, bread, pasta, rice, eggshells and noodles are a go. Stay away from anything with a high salt content, animal bones, dairy products (trust me on this one), and anything that you’d assume shouldn’t go into a compost bin — don’t go using your compost bin as an ashtray. Follow these steps and you’ll have a well-functioning and unassuming compost bin in no time!
To make the bin, what you’re going to need to do is start by soaking the cocopeat brick in water, as per the instructions on the back. While this is happening, reinforce the base of the cardboard box by adding an extra sheet or two of cardboard to the base, and tape up any loose sides. Then, sit the box on top of something to keep it raised, to allow for proper air circulation, and prevent the base of the box from dampening — I used two blocks of scrap wood for this. Once the cocopeat has fully expanded, squeeze out any excess water and fill the box to about halfway with a 3:2 mix of cocopeat and biochar. If unlidded, cover the box with shade cloth or breathable fabric to keep out insects and other vermin. Simple.
WORDS & ART BY Madison Marshall @madagasc.art
When quarantine restrictions were eased, my friends and I immediately went on a small adventure to a remote beach, seeking serenity.
The relief I felt can only be described as breathing again, whether it was in or out Iâ€™m not sure.
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There was something comforting about slowly losing my phone signal as I reached the bay, becoming unreachable.
Knowing I could be detached from everything happening in the world for just a little whileâ€Ś
Conspiracy Theories You Might Want to Spend Your Entire Night Researching
Britney Spears was a tool for the Bush Administration.
Belgium doesn’t exist. Apparently, we’ve all been lied to. According to the website dedicated to this theory, Belgium is a fake country created by the New World Order (those responsible for the alleged secret totalitarian global takeover, of course) to propagate and promote the ‘Liberal Agenda’. How else could you explain the positive depictions of Belgians in the media (Bonjour Poirot!) or that french fries are, in fact, a Belgian invention? All these shining examples of Belgian achievement are actually a tool of manipulation, enabling the global masses to subconsciously consider Belgium a liberal utopia. Of course, in order to make it believable, the Order would’ve had to create some flaws — this explains the existence of brussels sprouts. I’m 70 per cent sure this is satire and I did actually visit Belgium in 2018, but I must’ve spent too much time on this site because even I’m beginning to question some things.
Have you ever noticed how President George W. Bush’s controversies would hit the press at suspiciously similar times to when Britney Spears’ private life was in the tabloids? Here are some examples: February 15, 2002: Britney Spears released her first movie, Crossroads, the same day Bush disposes of 77,000 tonnes of radioactive waste in a mountain in Nevada, despite local protests. November 6, 2006: Bush removed Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld from office. A day before, Spears divorced Kevin Federline. February 2007: Two days before the New York Times published an expose about Al-Qaeda’s growing influence, Spears shaved her head. Days later, she attacked the paparazzi with an umbrella. The conspiracy began after a clip of Spears endorsing Bush emerged as part of Michael Moore’s 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, and claims Spears was a distraction from Bush’s bad publicity. #FreeBritney. 28
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Conspiracy theories are like watching entire seasons of Real Housewives in one sitting. The deeper you get into it, the more you start questioning a) what’s real and what’s for the audience and b) your own sanity. Luckily under lockdown, we as a global community have much more time to publish and explore all the ridiculous conspiracies out there. Here’s four to research further at 3am tonight:
Joan Rivers was assassinated by the Obamas.
WORDS BY Thiamando Pavlidis @thiamand_no ART BY Jackie Liu @jackieldesign
JK Rowling isn’t real.
I couldn’t write about conspiracy theories without mentioning the most infamous perpetrator of conspiracies himself, Alex Jones. You know, the guy on the far-right with the gravelly voice who has been banned from about a dozen different websites.
Have you ever wondered whether JK Rowling’s story of personal struggle turned global success was maybe too good to be true? Norwegian film director Nina Grünfeld claimed that JK Rowling is in fact, a talented actress fronting for a Bloomsbury and Warner Bros’ team of writers who worked together to create the Harry Potter novel and film franchise. However, in order to generate extra appeal, the corporations hired an actor to portray the image JK, a relatable and hopeful character — a single mother who found success from an idea she wrote down on a napkin while waiting for a delayed train.
Well, after looking at a racist and sexist cartoon comparing Michelle Obama with Melania Trump, Jones came to the conclusion that Michelle is actually a man named Michael, who presents as a woman to the public in order to maintain the facade that Barack Obama is heterosexual. That isn’t where it ends though, because internet groups have gone one step further and claimed that television personality Joan Rivers’ August 2014 death was not a result of complications to a minor surgery, but of a joke she made a month earlier regarding the Obamas’ sexuality and gender identity. The Obamas promptly put a hit out on Rivers to silence her for outing them. If you ever want to feel better about yourself, find the people who comment about this on the internet.
Now, of all the theories I’ve talked about in this article, this is the one I most want to be true. Could you imagine the world we’d be living in if this was something we’d found out, say, mid-2019, when they could’ve, I don’t know, suspended her Twitter or something?
The Place to Be
WORDS BY Amy Jenkin @ranga102
Like many university students, dreaming of my next international adventure has gotten me through the drudgery of many semesters. However, with overseas and even interstate trips being uncertain and unsafe at the moment, I began to look local, at holiday destinations in beautiful Victoria.
FILM BY Johanna Toner @hello.joh
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Croajingalong National Park
Whether you’ve been using your time at home to eat more or to exercise, a hike can only do you good. Being somewhere surrounded by native bushland and wildlife will be a welcome change from the four walls of the house, apartment or room you’ve been stuck in for basically the entire year.
A true wilderness walk, these hikes are a bit more difficult than those at Wilsons Prom but well worth it for the natural beauty of the area. Walks are often poorly marked and take you over rocky headlands, secluded beaches and may even require swimming across river estuaries. Be careful not to arrive underprepared though, as you will need to carry your own food and water supplies. The advantage to the secluded nature of these hiking tracks and campgrounds account for a complete immersion in the natural landscape and you might even encounter some native wildlife! It’s also slightly cheaper than Wilson’s Prom, at only $13.70 per night.
Wilsons Prom The hikes in this national park offer incredible views and beautiful beachside boardwalks. You’ll see pristine, clear blue water and famous Australian wildlife such as echidnas, wombats and wallabies. Choosing to stay in some of the less popular spots along the Southern or Northern overnight hiking circuits will often leave you with a campground and entire beach to yourselves. The Big Drift Walk is a shorter hike offered at The Prom that is ideal in poorer weather and takes you across inland sand dunes. Maximum group size per campsite is six and there is a two-night stay limit at their overnight sites, which cost $18 a night. Longer stays are allowed at Tidal River but sites cost substantially more, at $35 per night.
If COVID-19 has affected your income or job security, there are still some amazing places in Victoria where you can camp free of cost, save for a tank of petrol and a couple of beers.
In East Gippsland and other areas of regional Victoria, the coronavirus pandemic has not only shut down businesses, but also hindered important bushfire recovery work. There are some places to visit if you want to spend your holiday revitalising communities that have faced not only coronavirus, but also a horrific summer of bushfires and smoke.
Beauchamp Falls This small but popular campground is just a scenic thirty-minute drive from the Great Ocean Road through beautiful Australian bush. The campsite itself is completely free but busy year round, so itâ€™s advisable to try and arrive early in the day to ensure you get a good spot. Itâ€™s a great place to bring a couple of beers and a guitar, as people sit around their campfires chatting well into the night. During the day there are various short hikes you can do, including to the Beauchamp Falls themselves, the Otway Fly Treetop Walk and the Otway Redwood Forest Walk.
The Roadtrip for Good website plans your route and itinerary for you through bushfire affected communities, highlighting tourist towns and businesses that suffered income loss due to the events of the past summer. It will tailor the trip for you based on your interests and requirements, including dog friendly locations, beautiful forestry or culinary destinations. Trips vary from short day trips to ten-day road trips and long weekend getaways. You can also choose to create your own itinerary from a list of highlighted businesses and destinations that the website identifies. Whether you enjoy camping, glamping or ethical adventures, Victoria is the place to be this crazy year.
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Nights In... Paradise?
as a self-proclaimed millionaire and a pet pig, I realised that I’m not the only person in this world with some wacky hostel stories housed up in that big ol’ brain of mine.
I like to think of travel as an extension of myself; a string of intimate and distinct memories that only exist within the crevices of my own brain. How feeling a stark breeze against my face will always, without fail, remind me of finally reaching the top of Roy’s Peak in Wanaka after hiking for three long hours. Or how the taste of rum will single-handedly teleport me back to being head-first over a toilet bowl in the middle of Vietnam after happy hour went South. Memories that form my collective perception of the world and are exclusively only mine to keep.
In light of this, I asked all the people I had the pleasure of meeting on my travels to take a trip down memory lane, and share a few of their favourite encounters from nights spent arguably at some of the most underrated places on Earth…
I think it’s a funny thought that we could all experience the exact same moment at the exact same time, yet none of us will ever take from it the same two things.
I rocked up to a hostel in Krabi, Thailand during their peak season and it was WILD. I had just recently turned 18 and this was my first ever trip without my parents. On the first night there, I was separated from all of my friends on the pub-crawl and I ended up in another town all by myself. Drinking all night long, I later woke up on a random beach with absolutely nothing on me. Lucky for me, one of the hostel workers was driving past on his motorbike and took me back to [the hostel] with him. Turns out I’d somehow wound up a whole hour away from where I was staying. But that’s on living out my youth, right?
A similar narrative can be strung for hostels. There’s something about an epicentre of free alcohol, themedpub crawls and of course, a beautiful melting pot of travellers from all corners of the world, that scoops you up and spits you out the other end brimming with a whole new lease on life and maybe a nasty hangover to go with it; no singular experience remotely mirroring the next. But from getting proposed to with a pizza in place of a ring, to sleeping in the same room
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WORDS BY Tiffany Forbes @tiffanyforbes
ART BY Sophie McKenzie-Stripp @sophiemcks
At a hostel in Bali, a lizard got into the room and had a poo on two of our beds, yet the staff REFUSED to change the bedding and only offered to clean the affected areas. During the three days we were there, our reptile friend ended up living in the room and kept us up making noises every single night. We’d often wake up and there would be a new poo on a bed or a bag, and just in the weirdest places. Let’s just say, I never stayed there again...
I stupidly chose to stay in a twenty-bed mixed dorm smack bang in the middle of London. Naturally, the people in my room hailed from different walks of life. There was a mother and daughter, two Russian best friends, an older Scottish man and a few other groups and solo travellers. One night I had gone to bed early and I remember waking up to the distinct sound of laughing. I sat up in the now pitch-black room, and found the Scottish man — who must have sleepwalked (or so we hope) — stood at the base of my bunk-bed cackling. I felt like my life was an outtake from the fucking Conjuring.
‘American Boy’ — Estelle ft. Kanye West After spewing my guts up after going too hard on the free spirits at the hostel bar, I woke up at 4am to take a shower. Just my luck, in the bathroom that night I met the most gorgeous American boy. With vomit still in my hair, I remember typing my name into his phone, and we instantly hit it off. Safe to say we fucked in the shower ten minutes later.
Be the Cleopatra to my Julius Caesar In the seediest hostel in Amsterdam (are we surprised) that had almost zero security, I was demanded out of the bathroom for a good 20 minutes by a man who was not from my room nor the hostel itself, claiming that I was his Cleopatra queen and that he had to save me. He ended up undressing himself and thank GOD my friends outside the door warned me… The people you meet, hey. 35
Designer Dilemma Enquiring into the practices of brands and boycotting or campaigning against those with unacceptable practices is necessary in ensuring this work is of the kind that benefits vulnerable workers. When Nike was criticised and placed in the public eye in the ‘90s for the low wages and inadequate conditions it provided to its Indonesian workers, the risk of having a tarnished reputation meant that Nike improved wages and began conducting regular occupational health and safety audits on its factories. Holding these fast fashion labels accountable is critical — we need to tell the brands we purchase from that if they want to keep us as customers, human rights must first be met.
There’s no denying that the latest fashion trends bombard us wherever we look. Whether it’s through Facebook or Instagram, the Kendall Jenners and Tammy Hembrows of the world (and every influencer in between) seem to be constantly flaunting one trend or another, which can make us feel as though we needed to have ‘it’ yesterday. Yet if the outfit they strutted by Gucci is far beyond your price range, you can rest assured that it will become available in mass at H&M in just a matter of weeks, and at just a fraction of the price. The cheap material and labour involved to churn out these trendy clothing collections at such a rapid pace is what constitutes fast fashion — an industry often built off incredibly low wages, child labour, long hours and sweatshops.
In order to put a stop to sweatshop conditions, avoid fast fashion and instead opt for fair trade labelled products, shop locally or second hand, and seek out ethical companies. While these alternatives can be more expensive, this money supports a living wage and safe working conditions. More importantly, if you think shopping ethically is a privilege for the wealthy, consider purchasing less altogether. Are you unable to afford that more expensive jumper because of its price, or because you tell yourself you need a different jumper for every day of the week? Perhaps the bigger issue is living in and normalising a culture obsessed with constantly wearing something new. Instead, advocate for and gain an appreciation for personal style. Consider aiming for a timeless, capsule wardrobe, as opposed to placing pressure on ourselves and those around us to always have the latest. Remind yourself that outfit repeating isn’t a crime, but that the human cost of producing fast fashion is.
While boycotting these labels has been called for as a means of ending these deplorable practices, apprehension exists as to whether a boycott of these brands would actually leave the workers who produce these clothes worse off — jobless and with no income at all. Some economists argue that sweatshops offer a means of escaping poverty, with studies indicating that sweatshops often pay three to seven times more to their workers than alternatives such as agricultural practices — which pay as little as 10 cents a day. Hence, while the $13 a day earned from working in a sweatshop in Honduras may seem completely dismal in comparison to the average wage in a developed country, it can actually provide a far better living standard when compared to the $2 a day 44 per cent of the rest of the nation’s workers earn in other industries. This exhibits that when combined with proper working conditions, not every sweatshop is bad. However, the vast majority of sweatshops aren’t reducing poverty at all. Despite offering a consistent pay, many sweatshops increase the probability of injury and death, which was tragically exemplified when a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed in 2013, taking the lives of more than 1,100 people.
WORDS BY Malena Frey @malenafrey ART BY Jake Porter @jake_porter22 36
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Lessons from Studying Abroad
WORDS & COLLAGE BY Caitlin Johnston @caaityj
Monash has a campus in Prato, Italy. I found this out in my second year when I was living in a sharehouse, working multiple jobs and living off McDonald’s and Mi Goreng. Travel was the last thing on my mind.
One of my worst habits is my inability to plan anything, instead just going with the flow. Though this is fun (to an extent), acquainting myself with new travel strategies turned out to be crucial. This included finding the balance between writing itineraries and being spontaneous, alone time and social events, and immersing myself in Italian culture but also enjoying (thanks to my housemate) Vegemite toast some mornings. This self-care tactic helped me combat feelings of homesickness.
A year later, the stars align, my lease ends and doing a unit in Prato seems perfectly attainable. Being the impulsive person I am, I saw this as my only opening. So, I applied for the unit (late), applied for the study abroad grant to get me there (sorry HECS debt) and applied for a European passport too (cheers Dad). Before I could even process my decision, I was off. My arrival to Prato was horrendous. I got off at the wrong train station, didn’t have cash, and I was sweaty, sleep deprived and tripping over cobblestones. It was already dark, and I was literally running to my accommodation because my phone was on 1 per cent. But once I got there, I was met with a pastel pink boarding house, a warm little Italian lady who helped me to my room and the loveliest housemates who looked past my frantic state and took me out for a welcoming dinner and drink.
Staying Connected to Home
What followed was a month of studying travel literature whilst exploring breathtaking towns with fellow Monash students. Please note that the trip was not simply a romantic picturesque gallivant throughout Tuscany; I certainly experienced culture shock, difficulty with the language barrier and facing my own ignorance and prejudices towards Italy itself. These experiences certainly still benefit me now and I like to think I gained a fair few lessons:
You bet I shamelessly listened to the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack, ordered a different pastry with my coffee each morning, watched Under the Tuscan Sun with my household and ate so. much. pizza! But I also found love in the mundane; cooking for myself, walking slowly to class, watching Italian television and just having fun with the novelty of it.
I’m talking Facetime, phone calls, group chats and even postcards! Staying connected to loved ones helped in two ways: it was comforting to hear voices from home, and it also allowed me to put the privilege of travelling into perspective, strengthening my desire to soak up every second of it.
Lean into it All
Studying abroad taught me to find comfort in unfamiliar situations and surrender to the unknown. Lessons which translate well to enduring the current isolation period and the strange world we now live in.
Be Humbled On the plane ride over, reality kicked in: I’d never been to Europe, never travelled alone, didn’t know any Italian whatsoever nor anyone else doing the program. Humility helped me remain open to learning as much as I could, and to absorb the beautiful culture. Studying abroad should challenge you anyways! There is no shame in asking for help and admitting that you have much to learn.
My short time abroad will be forever cherished. And Prato, may we meet again soon.
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WORDS BY Natasha Schapova @nataschap_
ART BY Aleesha Martin @iampluto
people’s attitudes and way of life. I felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone around me, and found myself seeking more expatriate events to attend where I could relax in the company of Westerners. My Russian passport began to feel more like a fake ID, whereas underground Spanish bars became my haven.
I was born in New Zealand but lived the majority of my life in Australia. However, growing up with two Russian parents, I had never really considered myself to be that Australian at all. Attending a primary school where most of my peers had very Aussie backgrounds, I was the outsider. I wanted nothing more than to shed my Russian identity and plunge into an Australian one where I wouldn’t be told that I didn’t belong there because I “had different blood”. There were days where I refused to speak Russian at home because it only highlighted the disparity I faced at school and reminded me of the shame I felt in being different.
Visiting a country is vastly different to living in it, in the same way growing up with parents from a land you have never inhabited does not signify that you understand their culture. You cannot merely watch a movie trailer and claim to know the intricacies of the film. Upon returning to Australia, a wave of relief washed over me as if my armour could finally shed itself in the comfort of my country. I realised I was more Australian than I thought myself to be, albeit not completely, as some Russian ideas and morals were ingrained in me.
With time, and the experience of attending more diverse schools, I began to accept my background. I saw other students brandishing their cultures in a battle to be labelled the most exotic (back when it was some sort of a flex). After making friends with other Russians I became increasingly proud of my heritage.
Although our background plays a role in shaping us as people, the country in which we’ve spent the most time is the overriding influence. But I don’t believe any of us belong to just one culture anymore. We are the places we’ve lived in, the places our parents have lived in and the place we live in now. With an increasingly globalised world, culture is becoming progressively more fluid and more so a spectrum than a definitive category.
Visiting Russia, I felt like a missing puzzle piece, finally finding its place. Russian songs triggered stampedes of emotions and walking through Moscow’s streets for the first time felt as if I was stumbling through a familiar childhood memory. Upon returning to Australia, I realised my values, beliefs and thoughts that had been drilled into me from a young age were all foreign. I believed I was programmed to be compatible only with Russians.
Children coming from diverse backgrounds may struggle initially when their views are in conflict with those around them. But as they grow they become sculptors, building their view of the world based on the messages passed on to them by their parents and their own experiences. Finding home may become increasingly challenging as people entangle their lives with more countries and people, but it also might enrich our identities as we stop defining ourselves as one single culture.
After completing Year 12 I decided to move to Moscow alone. Navigating through the remarkable city with its breathtaking architecture, surrounded by centuries of history and decorated by people of my kind, I was at home. My initial euphoria subsided gradually when I started studying in university and struggled to form meaningful friendships. I rarely understood jokes and references, tended to have an opposing opinion to everyone around me and was generally shocked by
The People You Meet
WORDS BY Georgia Cameron @a_spooky_peach ART BY Liam Grant @liamgrant.design
them all and serendipitously both ended up in the same place at the same time. It’s these memories that made my time in Busan so special. However, the person whose story still breaks my heart to this day belongs to a lecturer from one of the classes I took. He shared with us life lessons beyond the syllabus from his time in the Korean Army, and the battles he went through. I can still hear the sadness in his voice as he proclaimed “there isn’t anything one could offer me to ever do it again.”
Travelling the world can be one of the most liberating and life changing things that one can experience. Running on little sleep after being in transit for several hours, you arrive in an amazing new place wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to see what your new location has to offer — the amazing food, the different culture and the beautiful sights. But one thing never formally makes it to the itinerary; the people you meet. The same people who often make travel the magical experience it almost always turns out to be.
Finally there are the people you don’t expect to meet, especially those on the other side of the world. People you find in the strangest places. For me that came in many forms. It came once when I was at a karaage bar in Tokyo, I turned to the stranger next to me only to see my old high school teacher. Or on exchange in South Korea, when my roommate — who had been randomly assigned — was a business student from Monash who was taking a course in Korea that same semester. Or in the form of other travellers I bunked with in hostels or sat with on trains. With these people I’d spend hours learning about how they ended up in the exact same place and how we managed to cross paths.
During my trip across Asia, I met many of these people. Strangers who became friends. Previously nameless randoms, who now live in my mind as vivid memories. Here are their stories... If you’ve ever explored the nightlife in a new city, you’ve probably met what I call The Flirt. While travelling in Japan on a study exchange, I met a guy named Kaoru, who I’m still good friends with today. I happened to be travelling with around 15 other students, some of whom caught Kaoru’s eye. Unfortunately, his one and only pick up line didn’t secure many ladies, rather many laughs. “Yeah, I guess you could say I’m smooth... like peanut butter,” he announced as he cosied up to one of my friends. While he may not have landed any dates that night, his efforts were admirable.
Writing this, I am able to recall the interactions with these people so vividly because they were some of the most significant parts of my travel. While I’ll always remember the sights, sounds and tastes with fondness, there is nothing I miss more than seeing and experiencing the world with the people around me. So, on your next post-lockdown adventure, find yourself a Kaoru to make you laugh, make friends in back alleyways, and learn the life story of randoms on trains, because it’s these memories I hold closest to my heart.
Sometimes it isn’t always a laugh that someone brings, but instead a tear after a heartfelt story. During an exchange in Busan, South Korea, I met so many people from around the world. People who shared stories with me as we walked the back alleyways near our university. We discussed hardships, discrimination, struggles with weight, and severe heartbreak. Though, despite our struggles and challenges, we talked about how we had pushed through
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I’ll Have the ‘Sad Girl Special’ Please
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One of my most memorable meals was a cricket taco from a restaurant in New York. While I didn’t like the fact that the server received most of the tip, while the cook and dishwashers got less, I did love the taco. Crispy, flavoursome and exciting. It’s the only time I've liked cricket. I used to host dinner parties — good ones. I’m talking fairy floss and pomegranate champagne on arrival, with a quail egg and pancetta mini quiche to start. I would spend the day rushing about to find these bonkers ingredients to make my guests feel special, bringing us all together over a shared love of well-paired wines and homemade hors d'œuvres. Things look very different in lockdown from a culinary perspective, so here’s what a dinner party might look like at the moment.
We start with a mandarin, eaten in bed. You’ll notice the perfume of the citrus mist, released by the breaking of the shell (skin, if you will). Each segment is a journey of its own. Not today scurvy!
The German word uber can be used to convey the words ‘over’ or ‘above’ and the like. But at dinnertime in quarantine, Uber means only one thing, and I think we all know where I’m going here (well… I hope my driver knows where they are going).
Once dressed (the dress code is less ‘black tie’ and more ‘lack of try’) we settle in for an entree of Greek yoghurt with honey. Your guests might enjoy the novelty of this being served in a drinking glass... because you’ve run out of bowls.
Responsible fishing practices are crucial in order to preserve our oceanic friends and due diligence must be taken when purchasing seafood of any kind. After careful consideration, there’s truly nothing like a can of tuna, eaten while staring wistfully out the door at the world you’re not allowed to enter. Bon appetit. Stay safe and be smart everyone.
WORDS BY Stephanie Booth @birdyanne ART BY Duyen My Ly (Amee) @ameely.d
Finding Yourself: Debunked
WORDS BY Hannah Cohen @hannahcohen__ ART BY Lillian Busby @lillianbusbydesign
When I boarded the plane with a one-way ticket to Heathrow, London burning a hole in my passport wallet, I wasn’t sure who I was. Freshly eighteen and wrapped in a shiny aura of optimism and innocence, the motivation for my gap year was to move to a country on the other side of the globe without knowing a soul and hopefully, find myself. Little did I know that ripping myself out from my comfortable little community and jumping head first into the deep end with no idea how to swim wouldn’t lead me to said destination (myself), but rather throw me off course and hurl me onto the confusing, incredible and challenging journey that I’m still trekking through today.
On a superficial level my gap year includes the many elements that make a great story to brag about to friends back home. It consists of the wholesome, Instagram-worthy moments like picnics in front of the Eiffel tower, island hopping through Croatia, riding amongst a flurry of bicycles in Amsterdam, toga parties in Rome and buying last minute tickets to see a fabulous list of West End musicals. Then there’s the wildly messy stuff, like having baked beans on toast for dinner again because you went over budget, spending early hours of most Sunday mornings over the toilet bowl after copious amounts of alcohol consumption cursed with a hazy recollection of the night before, booking flights at ungodly hours and taking overnight buses in order to nab the cheapest prices, stumbling back to a dodgy hostel room from a London nightclub only to find a random man sleeping in your bed. Honestly, the list goes on but I will spare you some of the tragically filthy details. And then of course, you have the more sombre moments found in bouts of crippling homesickness and the struggles of trying to muster up a sense of perspective and positivity when enduring exhaustion, sickness and hard times at work, pining for the comfort of friends and family at home.
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But at the end of the day, all these experiences created an unforgettable whirlwind that swept me off what I thought were my firmly grounded feet. In a mess of exciting and reckless scenarios, I was led further and further astray from the me I’d once been firmly acquainted with. From someone who I thought was typically straight edged, I was bent into an entirely new shape that is ever-warping and changing to this day. I saw myself saying yes to more things without hesitance. Whether it was staying out until I could see the amber sunrise on my nightly stumble back to my flat, or travelling six hours on a train to town to attend a party where I didn’t know any of the other guests, my gap year overseas allowed me to look at a plethora of opportunities and view them as a chance to test my limits. I almost completely lost who I thought I was in the most productive and beneficial way possible.
The old cliche rings true, you have to get lost in order to be found.
With each new experience, I‘d find a new and valuable puzzle piece to fit into the grand jigsaw I was becoming. I’d surprise myself in moments where I felt entirely unrecognisable. Other times, a relieving sense of familiarity washed over me when ‘pre gap year me’ would return to stand her ground, happy that she hadn’t completely disappeared and always showed up at the right times. So throw away the compass, you won’t need it for your year abroad. While it will amplify the steadfast parts of yourself and tap into areas that are yet to be unlocked, know that on your gap year, you won’t find yourself. It will serve instead as a launch pad towards self discovery with a twist; there’s no final location. But don’t worry, this endless voyage is far more exciting than any Contiki tour you’ll ever take.
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Crossing Lines My grandmother, Vimla Kapoor, was only five years old when colonial rule in India ended, and the country was split into two, primarily based on religion and ideology. Violence, misinformation and chaos ensued as the relationship between the two religions and eventually, the countries, worsened. Amid this, was the displacement of 14 million people. I caught up with her via Zoom call, to learn more about her journey.
Q: Can you tell me why it was so dangerous to stay?
Q: Why did you think your family decided to cross the border? I gather it was not mandatory for all.
A: When we all reached the refugee camps in India, we got the news that our maternal grandparents and our great grandmother had been killed in the conflict. They had locked themselves in their home. They were money lenders who employed jewellery as collateral for loan seekers, but must have been easy targets because of their age and health.
A: The common knowledge was that crossing the border was the right thing to do. Since it was India, religion and nationality dictated everything, so the family had to move. If you wanted to stay alive, as a Hindu and an Indian, you naturally had to go across the border. Q: Moving the whole family sounds like a massive decision. Can you tell me what it was like?
Q: Did your family end up getting the new start they were after?
A: Naturally, I do not remember much. A story like A: Our parents eventually realised that a new start this, you hear from many members of the family as you grow up. My parents had five more children was not possible. They were still surrounded by a culture similar to what we had before. Maybe so they had plans to go back as soon as they could. that made it easier. They worked several jobs. Q: Can you tell us what exactly you left behind? We worked (male members of the family only). The government started allotting houses to the A: Everything. The family managed agriculture land for the government so we left everything from refugees, so they ended up being assigned one the house to the furniture. We gave some valuables in Central Punjab. to friends and neighbours with the promise that Q: Have you ever thought about going back? they would be returned when we got back. A: Yes, your grandmother and I did plan to go back. Q: What can you tell me about your journey across We had discussed it maybe 10 years ago, but that the border? was until we found the village was now one of the poorest regions in the world. It was nearly A: We used trains. Men grew beards to pass as Muslim and women dressed in hijabs and overalls. a ghost town. We were travelling as a joint family — we had our maternal and paternal uncles, aunts and cousins too. The children in our family wore the same outfits as the women, who had strict orders to WORDS BY remain silent. People in different religions had Udaivir Kapoor different dialects, so we had to be very careful. ART BY Ying Xuan @valentinedsgn
On Resin-able Doubt
WORDS BY Stephanie Booth @birdyanne ART BY Charlotte Elwell @cse.designs
“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?”… The next time you do, try saying no. I once watched a man purchase a small bottle of soft drink from a supermarket, then request a plastic bag for it. A small bottle. A big bag. A fully-grown man. A single item. Everything seems to get a day of recognition (National Lima Bean Respect Day and Answer the Phone like Buddy the Elf Day are obviously extremely serious and should be recognised globally), but July 3 each year is Plastic Bag Free Day and although it doesn't have a coloured ribbon or awkward company afternoon tea, it’s a reminder for us to check if we’re really putting our polymers where our promises are. There isn’t any need for single-use plastic bags anymore and the public furore that resulted from the 2018 announcement of major supermarkets phasing them out was embarrassing and ridiculous. So after some serious hissy-fits, supermarkets caved and re-introduced them. How disappointing. Most of us have one, if not a cupboard full, of reusable bags at home. But how often do you forget them? Set yourself up for success: put one in your bag, one in your desk drawer, a couple in your car, one down your pants. Whatever you need to do to avoid the need to use a plastic shopping bag.
Why not challenge yourself to reuse items that have been packaged in single-use plastic as a replacement for purchased plastic bin liners for example? I could never wrap my head around buying plastic bin liners, only to fill them with more plastic, and then put them in the bin! Uber Eats bag? Bin liner. The bag that spinach leaves come in? Bin liner. Doritos bag? Bin liner. Sleeve from a bunch of hastily-purchased Woolworths flowers? Bin liner. Postage satchel from The Iconic? Bin liner. 7/11 single-use plastic bag you guiltily had to get in a pinch on the rush home from work because you forgot your fucking reusable bags again? Bin liner.
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“But that’s unhygienic!” I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t eat out of my bin. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of counter arguments, but single-use plastic is a plague on all our houses, most importantly the houses of those of us that don’t have the dexterity to avoid swallowing it or tangling themselves in it. Such as… all residents of the ocean and many residents of the sky.
“But these are all small bags, I'll be emptying the bin all the time!” Oh no! Not incidental exercise! I care about not choking my planet with crap more than I care about taking a few extra trips to the wheelie bin. Yes, you’ll need to empty the bin more, I’m sure the extra steps (while we’re all stuck at home anyway) won’t kill you, like “I already do my bit for the environment!” an excess of plastics in the ground will eventually kill the earth we live on. Got yourself a KeepCup? Got yourself a cupboard full of them? Collected from every conference or “Re-using plastic packaging is gross!’” industrial fair you’ve ever been to? These well-meaning but useless pieces of detritus are made from You’re gross for wasting excessive plastic and then Low Density Polythene (LDPE) and take thousands posting a picture of a turtle with a plastic bag caught of years to break down. And be honest, how often do in its beak on Instagram once a year for World Enviyou remember to actually bring your cup and use it? ronment Day. Put your money where your mouth is That’s what I thought. Landfill. Cute landfill, but still and actually do something other than getting high landfill. Good for you for having one (or ten) but use on the fumes of your own smugness because you bought a hydroflask or a metal straw but still continue it — actually use it — and for the love of God wash it before you hand it to the poor barista. to purchase individually plastic-wrapped products, housed in wax-coated cardboard boxes. Another interesting fact, and some may not know this, is that often fruit and vegetables — such as bananas and citrus — actually come in their own packet (hint: it’s their skin). Wrapping things a second time in one, sometimes two, layers of single-use plastic is INSANE, however many supermarkets shrink-wrap a deplorable volume of produce. Layer upon layer of packaging to protect a sweet potato from being damaged? Unnecessary. There are hundreds of everyday items that are made of, or wrapped in, single-use plastics that are difficult to avoid. It is ultimately up to the organisation or manufacturer to change how their products are packaged, depending on how much they actually care about making real changes that truly serve their purported corporate social responsibility statements. What we as individuals can do however, is make changes and choices where we can. I’m not suggesting the efforts and changes we are already engaging in are futile — keep them up — I’m just saying there is so much more we can do. Be inconvenienced, walk that bit further to the shop that uses less plastic on their produce, and take your reusable cups and bags. Happy Plastic Bag Free Day everyone.
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Traveling in Harmony WORDS BY Victoria Gillett @victoirgillett ART BY Sarah Annett @sa__designss
Choosing a travel buddy is kind of like choosing a life partner. You have to be 100% comfortable with each other. Ride the ups and downs, be understanding of your need for both space and support, and share interests and goals. We dream of that ebony and ivory companionship, perfect harmony. I always say that I have three types of friends — friends I love, friends I could live with, and friends I could travel with — it was no easy feat learning how different these categories could be. When I first went backpacking around Europe, I headed off with one of my closest school friends. Little did I consider how utterly different we were in so many ways — where I was flexible and spontaneous, she was rigid and anxious. She liked planning out every day to the nanosecond, I liked figuring it out as we went. She wanted to visit every museum, gallery and Duomo — I wanted to lie in patches of sun beneath the Eiffel Tower, and watch old men playing chess in plazas. It wasn’t that either of us were wrong in our ways — we were just too different. My lackadaisical attitude to time put her on edge, her anxiety made me feel increasingly perverse. Far from being on the same page, we weren’t even reading the same book, let alone in the same library. Retrospectively, we were both 20 years old and growing up into very different people from our schoolgirl selves. But no matter how well we got along in a homeland context, we just weren’t compatible travel buddies. As we traipsed across the various cities and sights of Europe, I ended up meeting people who I was more compatible with, and I could feel her getting left behind. It was a tricky situation balancing our friendship, and my desire to enjoy our trip the way I wanted. While I always stuck with her in the end, it strained our friendship at the time and there was constant friction.
When we travel, we live in a paradox of being both the best and worst of ourselves. Via this paradox, you learn so much about your true self, and the true self of who you travel with. I’ve travelled with family, my sister, boyfriends and best friends, but for me — the best travel buddies have been new friends and strangers. The ones who don’t weigh upon us expectations. The excitement of learning about each other while you learn about a new place is enriching. Can you know who you’re going to travel well with until you’ve travelled with them? Probably not. But it is of course important to consider travel compatibility; like interests, goals, and budget, before choosing a Donkey to your Shrek. It’s also worth remembering that your best travel companion may be yourself. I don’t regret any of my adventures in Europe with my friend; we both learnt so much about each other and ourselves, and while I made other great friends along the way, I treat both experiences of friendship with the gravity they deserve in how they shaped us. 53
Blackbeard’s Cannons Open water is way scarier than space — there, I said it.
If you, like me, thought Blackbeard was made up for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise then join in the glorious news that not only is he real, but we’ve found his cannons! Massive weapons that once decked out the ‘Queen Anne’s Revenge’ now reside at East Carolina University where they recently discovered paper inside one of the cannons that could be deciphered. So now we know that Blackbeard was a fan of Edward Cooke’s A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World, Perform’d in the Years 1708, 1709, 1710 and 1711.
Aliens are a huge maybe, but sharks are very much real. What’s worse? Rumour has it they’re supposed to be the softies of the sea! But for the sake of this article, I bit the bullet and put together a list of the coolest and freakiest things lying under the horizon; including the ocean floor’s many treasures and strange skeleton lakes. I’ll warn you now, it’s not just Sebastian the Crab down there.
Remnants from the Very First Sea Battle
WORDS BY Ruby Ellam
The Punic Wars were the first recorded naval battle, and the remains of the Marsala Ship still rest at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. These ship pieces belonged to the Carthaginian Empire that lost to the Romans in 241 B.C., showering the ocean floor with debris, gold, coins and other items that reside there over two centuries later. They are considered priceless in academic circles, and pieces from this particular battle were still being discovered as late as 2013.
ART BY Lisa Vullings @lisavullings.creative
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An Underwater Gallery
In Cancun, Mexico you can check out an underwater sculpture garden filled with an entire collection of submerged artworks. These include life-size, realistically rendered versions of those local to the area. It sounds a bit like a graveyard at first (that one is in Florida, just look up Neptune Memorial Reef), but it’s actually more like a bunch of people chilling underwater, which is just a standard Saturday night.
Dead zones, while naturally occurring, have greatly increased in the last 100 years thanks to dumbass humans. When bodies of water become nutrientsaturated, these patches are rendered uninhabitable by any living creatures due to low oxygen levels. Similar to how Aussie coral reefs turn into chalky wastelands, dead zones drive out mobile life and turn whatever can’t swim away into an underwater desert. Why am I being a bummer? Because climate change is scary, dummy!
Roopkund Nestled in the hard-to-reach Indian Himalayas is a mysterious spot littered with human bones, nicknamed the ‘Skeleton Lake’. It remains frozen most of the year, but in particularly warm summers, scientists return to the site to decipher the skeletons. They’ve identified bones from as early as the seventh century up until 100 years ago, from all across Asia and Europe — curiously including a group of 14 Mediterranean born travellers including men, women and children, none related and all of which died from blunt force trauma to the head. While scientists offer particularly terrible hail storms as a reason for these brutal deaths, questions still remain as to why this lake has become a mass grave site for so many different types of people over so many centuries?
The Stuff We Can’t Find Where is Malaysia Airlines’ Flight 370? Or Amelia Earhart? How can things just not be there anymore? Whilst I’m a fan of conspiracy theories, I think the scariest explanations for all these disappearances are the simplest — the ocean is BIG. And if you crash, no one will find you. On that light note, let me remind you that we have no clue what’s going on under the horizon and urge you to never return to the water. Don’t believe me? Go on the subreddit r/thalassophobia. Nightmare fuel.
Wanderlust WORDS BY Tricia Rivera @triciaarivera ART BY Marissa Hor @marissa.pdf
If I could pick a place to visit right now, it would be New York. I love walking around the skyscraper lined streets, pretending I live there (whilst admittedly doing rather touristy things). But with borders closed and travelling banned, the only thing getting me through lockdown has been planning future holidays and daydreaming of my next adventure. So if the Big Apple is on your list and you have no idea what to do, I’ve put together an itinerary for a weekend gallivanting across my favourite concrete jungle:
Saturday Morning Eat: Russ and Daughters + Doughnut Plant (The East Village) For the ultimate first breakfast in NYC, there are two places you have to check out. R&D, which serves freshly baked bagels smothered in cream cheese and topped with generous amounts of lox, and Doughnut Plant, with their cake, sourdough, yeast and squarefilled doughnuts. Luckily enough, they’re located close by to one another and easy to eat on-the-go.
Saturday Afternoon Do: The High Line The High Line, an elevated park stretching 1.45 miles featuring gardens and art installations, is great for taking photos. Equipped with viewing decks, you get a great vantage point of the city all while being surrounded by greenery. The park also leads you through a passageway to Chelsea Market, a great spot for food stalls and shops.
Eat: Katz Deli (Nolita) Things to order at Katz include the pastrami sandwich, hot dogs, matzo ball soup and the cheese blintz. Hint: Tip your server behind the counter before (not after), to get a seamless experience.
Do: SoHo This high-end shopping district is perfect for either a splurge or window-shopping for some style inspiration. The great thing about shopping in NYC is that you’re still able to see the city as you go from shop-toshop, which beats a shopping mall any day. 56
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Saturday Night Eat: Lombardi’s (Little Italy) Lombardi’s, regarded as ‘America’s First Pizzeria’ serves coal-fired pizza and uses only the freshest ingredients, making it the best place to lose your NY-style pizza virginity. Your marker for finding the restaurant? The giant Mona Lisa painting on the wall outside.
Do: Brooklyn Bridge End the day with a 20-minute walk to Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn, where you’ll be able to see the buildings and the buzz of the cars below you.
Sunday Morning Eat: Baconeggcheeseonaroll Don’t roll out the red carpet for a long instagrammable breakfast when you can have a cheaper, quicker and equally delicious option — the baconeggcheeseonaroll (said in one word). These can be found at bodegas across the city.
Do: Central Park
Do: The American Museum of Natural History
This is probably one of, if not, the most popular parks in the world. Here you’ll find squirrels, bubble-blowers and tourists taking carriage rides. But you’ll also see features like Bethesda Terrace and Strawberry Fields where John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ mosaic lies.
To save time, the must-sees of this museum are the multi-level displays of animals and habitats found across different exhibition halls. Hot tip: this museum has a ‘recommended’ entry fee, meaning you can pay a bit less if you aren’t going to spend the entire day here.
As a bonus, nearby is Levain Bakery, home to thick melt-in-the-mouth cookies. Their signature flavour is the choc chip and walnut. Look them up on Instagram right now if you haven’t already.
Eat: Halal Guys The Halal Guys’ food cart serves up gyro platters on rice (with dangerously good packeted garlic sauce) that is a must-try. When finding this place you’ll need to double-check the name of the cart as there are other vendors with the same cart colour and uniform.
Do: Top of the Rock This is an alternative to going up the Empire State Building because you get the view of New York with the Empire actually in the frame. If you have time before dinner, squeeze in a visit to Fifth Avenue which is nearby.
Sunday Night Eat: Keens The last supper should definitely be at Keens Steakhouse in Manhattan. Serving premium grade steaks and mutton chops with a collection of single-malt whiskeys, Keens will set you back a bit but I assure you it’s worth it to end the trip with a bang. 57
The Power of Exploration WORDS BY Sarah Petty PHOTOGRAPHY BY Alexis Hancock
The state of tranquillity and clarity that occurs for hikers when partaking in long treks was profound for Alexis Hancock, who trekked the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea as well as Kala Patthar which lies along the south ridge of Pumori in the Nepalese Himalayas. It was the first time she really found herself when trekking the Kokoda Track as it put life into perspective. Trudging through mud for ten hours a day in the sweltering heat, pushing your body past the brink of exhaustion with every step, although physically exhausting, Alexis found it mentally easing. It births a sense of focus and clarityâ€Ś
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What has encouraged Alexis to pursue long treks such as the Kokoda Track is the personal satisfaction that comes from being able to push herself in these harsh conditions and come out the other end filled with a sense of achievement. It is up to the hiker as to what pace they choose to set, how fast or slow they want to go, and how hard they choose to push themselves; everything is a result of their personal choices throughout the journey. Rid from distractions and out in the elements, there is nothing out there pushing you; it’s purely the result of sheer will power, and it’s incredible to see what the mind can do. Hiking isn’t about your physicality but your mental endurance in reaching each milestone along the way, describes Alexis. The grit and determination to traverse at high altitudes has proven almost life-threatening for Alexis when she attempted to climb Kala Patthar in Nepal, however. Already 5,300 metres when her trek leader decided to change course, every metre in altitude made an immense difference. At almost straight-up incline for three hours, she crawled on hands and knees to persevere to reach the peak. She willed herself up the mountain and at the top, and burst into tears of overwhelm.
Australia, extending from Cape Jervis to Parachilna Gorge, Ronan was on day 22 of his 58 day hike when we spoke. Calling from Bundaleer Forest Reserve, Ronan explained to me why people choose to embark on long journeys and treks across the globe, often solo. Ronan believes when you are going through your day to day, you lose track of the things that you truly enjoy and making the most out of life. As everything begins to get on top of you, nature can bring you back down and help you realise what’s important. With an abundance of time for self-reflection, Ronan explained how the simpler aspects of life seem to come to the forefront of your mind when traversing through nature without distractions. He revealed how he’s “…been spending a lot of time thinking about personal relationships, and how important they are and how [he] should give [his] family and friends more time.” Embarking on these colossal adventures, it is the experiences you have along the way which stick with you the most. Whether that’s staying in different caravan parks or cabins, or meeting hikers along the way, the smaller moments are the most memorable. Both Alexis and Ronan agree that undertaking these strenuous expeditions such as the treks they’ve experienced are a testament to an individual’s whole being, both physical and mental. The sense of personal achievement that comes from completing these hikes is addictive, which is why they both will continue to plan more of these experiences for years to come.
“It was the most incredible thing in the entire world. I’d never felt like that in my entire life. I’ll never be able to recreate that feeling.” Whilst hikers may travel far and wide to explore, Ronan Banks, another avid hiker, decided to explore his backyard. Traversing the Heysen Trail in South
WORDS BY Simone Kealy @simone.kealyy ART BY Ashley Scott @ashscottdesign
When Fact is Better than Fiction
While many of us have escaped into fiction during quarantine, there are numerous places across the globe that bring these stories to life. Here are a few that have inspired me to travel after this madness is over.
Harry Potter Harry Potter was an integral part of my childhood. It was the first proper book series I read, and I remember sitting by myself during lunchtime reading them as an escape from my bully-ridden primary school years. The series held such a special place in my heart, so to be able to visit any of its locations would be a dream come true. Platform 93/4 at King Cross Station in London is one of those places. Here, a luggage trolley that Hogwartsâ€™ students used is inserted into the platformâ€™s wall. If I could go, I would definitely be the first in line to get my picture taken, wearing my Ravenclaw scarf and waving a wand. Another place on my Harry Potter bucket list is Alnwick Castle. It was used for the first two Harry Potter films and is recognised as the place where Harry and his friends first learnt how to fly broomsticks. Fittingly, Alnwick Castle also offers flying lessons.
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Doctor Who I was first introduced to Doctor Who when I was 12 and I have loved it ever since. Seeing the adventures that the Doctor had with companions across time and space, in places that I could only ever dream of, inspired my desire to travel. I remember I hoped that I too, like Amy, would find the Doctor crash-landed in my backyard so that I could join him in his escapades. The Doctor Who Museum in London inspires such fantasies. To get into the museum, visitors must first enter a TARDIS replica. So yes, it is indeed bigger on the inside! You can find over 120 Doctor Who-themed items, props and costumes in the museum, such as an authentic costume worn by the 11th Doctor, a genuine Vincent Van Gogh costume and original scripts. Both my 12-year-old and 20-year-old self are longing to visit so that I can feel that small bit of magic I experienced when watching the show.
Twilight Whilst others have learnt how to bake bread or started a side-hustle during quarantine, I recently read and watched the entire Twilight Series for the first time. Despite never reading them before, I felt a sense of nostalgia for when I was in high school and obsessed with teenage drama novels such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. To experience those feelings again were a welcome release from the reality of our current world. One of the most captivating aspects of Twilight is its breathtakingly beautiful film settings, fitted with lush green forests and rugged yet majestic beaches. Fortunately, the set is based on a real place called Forks, in Washington State in the US. There are tours that take visitors to see Bella and Edward’s houses, the character’s high school and the infamous red truck, but what really interests me is hiking through Olympic National Park and walking along La Push’s beaches. The setting seems so magical, I can nearly imagine vampires running through the trees, or Jacob walking along the beach. Not many works of fiction have a real-life place where fans can visit, so Forks is truly special.
letâ€™s get worldly
If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that we don’t need to travel to see the world. What resides within these pages are stor...
Published on Sep 21, 2020
If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that we don’t need to travel to see the world. What resides within these pages are stor...