Friday, December 26, 2008

1001 Day Project

Ever since I stumbled across Daisy's blog, the one thing that I wanted to do was create my own 101 List. Now, I never make New Year's Resolutions because I don't believe in being forced to make a promise that I will never wholly commit to. I was drawn to this project because I thought it was a good way to organize what I consider important. It's no secret (or shame) that one reason I'm moving to Australia is because I don't really know what to do with my life. This list was able to help me identify goals that I have for myself that don't necessarily have to do with my life's direction, whatever that may be. I will be blogging about each task upon completion (which is one of my goals) and so this post will be referenced again in the future. Without further ado...


The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

For information on starting your own 1001 Day Project, visit this website.

(in no particular order)

BOLD – Completed
ITALICS – In Progress
NORMAL – Not started

1. Visit Thailand
2. Go to Napa Valley
3. Cruise to Alaska
4. Tour the US National Parks
5. Visit Tasmania
6. Participate in the authentic Oktoberfest in Munich
7. See the Aurora Borealis
8. Visit the Equator
9. Visit Perth
10. Visit Kangaroo Island
11. Visit New Zealand
12. Attend La Tomatina in Valencia, Spain
13. Visit one friend from home while they're abroad

14. Participate in Bikram Yoga weekly for one year (0/52)
15. Complete the Couch to 5K
16. Compete in a triathlon
17. Keep an accurate log of food and exercise for one month (0/30)
18. See an acupuncturist regularly for one year
19. Take B2 vitamins daily for three months (to start) (0/90)

20. Organize and update professional portfolio
21. Join PRSA
22. Get three professional recommendations for portfolio (0/3)
23. Learn how to create a website (Dreamweaver, InDesign, FrontPage) (0/3)
24. Create a professional website as a portfolio tool
25. Write two blog posts per month pertaining to public relations for one year (0/24)
26. Get something published (anything with a byline

27. Plant (and keep alive) a flower
28. Complete the 26 Things project and post the final product
29. Organize Hard Drive
30. Scrapbook old letters and postcards
31. Brew my own beer
32. Keep a journal while living in Australia
33. Grow an herb garden

34. Join or start a book club and participate for six months (0/6)
35. See a movie in a movie theater – Slumdog Millionaire
36. Become a regular at a local coffee shop
37. Climb Sydney Harbor Bridge (May with Emily)
38. Dive The Great Barrier Reef (July with Madre)
39. Take the Indian Pacific Railroad
40. Omitted
41. Go White Water Rafting
42. Hike the Appalachian Trail
43. Go Skydiving
44. Start taking violin lessons again
45. Take a sailing refresher course

46. Go to a Temple-St. Joe's game as an alum
47. Make a bracket for March Madness
48. Go to another Eagles Monday Night Football game
49. Go to Phillies Spring Training in Clearwater, FL
50. Attend a cricket match

51. Learn to Surf
52. Complete Rescue Diver Certification
53. Complete Divemaster Certification
54. Complete Dive Instructor Certification
55. Read 100 books (5/100)
56. Learn French
57. Learn how to drive stick shift
58. Learn the basics of Aussie Rules Football
59. Learn to drive on the left comfortably
60. Learn Hebrew
61. Take the New York Times weekly news quiz for one year (0/52)

Giving Back
62. Donate to an Eating Disorder Awareness Fund
63. Complete 100 hours of community service (at any time interval) (0/100)
64. Send a public display of "Thanks!" to my neurologist
65. Take Hazel out to dinner
66. Pay for someone in the drive through behind me
67. Adopt an animal
68. Serve breakfast in bed

For My Own Good
69. Omitted
70. Write an article about life with migraines
71. Buy a pajama set
72. Go to a day spa
73. Own every item in Tim Gunn's Essential List (0/10)
74. Learn how to curl hair properly
75. Purchase all of Manu Chao's CDs
76. Buy a red dress
77. Live in NYC
78. Purchase a piece of art
79. Make a list of 22 characteristics that I like about myself
80. Reunite with ten people I met in Europe (7/10)
81. Reconnect with distant family members

Simplify My Life
82. Sort through boxes from 904 Spruce in the basement
83. Go through bookshelf and donate excess
84. Make an excel sheet of addresses, phone numbers, and passwords
85. Go through closet and clear out excess
86. Organize iTunes library
87. Deep clean childhood bedroom
88. Spend one week without facebook - four times (0/4)
89. Recycle
90. Learn five new ways to go green and apply them (0/5)

91. Learn to make Tria's Grilled Asparagus Salad
92. Perfect the sandwich from Spanglish
93. Make a McHugh-style "Big Breakfast"
94. Complete 52 recipes from OvenLove (0/52)
95. Make bread
96. Make the perfect batch of hummus
97. Host an American Thanksgiving Feast for Non-Yanks
98. Have a Shabbat dinner every Friday for three months (0/12)

Project Itself
99. Blog about each completed task (0/101)
100. Inspire ten people to participate in the 1001 Project (3/10)
101. For every completed task, put $5 in savings (0/101)

My 1001 Project ends on September 26, 2011
3 down, 98 to go

Happy Holidays

Boathouse Row in Philadelphia, PA

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to you all!

Things to look forward to once the holiday cheer wears down:
1. Sunburned series
2. 101 List
3. Melbourne updates

Enjoy this time with your families and I'll be back to posting soon!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Blackout Blogger

I've been toying with moving this blog over to Wordpress. Certain features are attractive, and I feel like I could do more with it. As I was searching through the username availability, I hit a roadblock: my e-mail address was already being used! ...Wait, what?

After some investigative work, I remembered that I had started a blog last year (and did not manage to keep up with it whatsoever). What was more interesting to me was the topic: relocation. It's clear that my desire to move on from Philadelphia is not a new idea.

From the inaugural post:

I am a Philadelphian, born-and-raised. I am fond of (and simultaneously disgusted by) our sports fan reputation (and yes, I admit that I participate in perpetuating the stereotype at times). I am well-versed in the city's wide variety of food offerings in all types of cuisine. I love the city and always will, but I need to get out. I am in dire need of a new experience, and the best way that I can think of to do this is to move out of town into a completely unknown place.

It appears that even in forgetting the mission of my last blog, I've been able to hold true to what I wanted (and needed) most. A new start.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cyber Savvy

One of the reasons that I decided to start keeping up with a blog was to become more acquainted with social media. I thought it would be the perfect time, with my being across the world, to delve into all of the available applications and figure out what works and what doesn't in terms of effective communication. Additionally, I figured it couldn't hurt to become well-versed in the new medium for my career, present or future.

Interestingly, the blog PR Disasters recently posted this after an interview with an Aussie recruiter, stating that to make it in the Australian corporate PR sect, knowledge of social media is not required. Cyber skills are not even seen "in CV’s at under $150k-level jobs, nor over either!" It's surprising to read this, especially after recently coming out of school where the emergence of web 2.0 is so harped on.

Maybe I can differentiate myself while I'm over there, demonstrating the importance and benefits of social media proficiency.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Case of the Mondays

I admit it: I love having Mondays off because everyone else is working and I can truly devote my free day to doing absolutely nothing. That is, absolutely nothing involving leaving my room to venture into the cold. I've been researching and sending out e-mails like crazy, but I can't complain about working from my bed while listening to my Radiohead station on Pandora.

I did stumble across an article posted by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) via Twitter. The article comments on the findings of a recent study which states that "Americans have increased their work week by one hour but have lost four hours of leisure time per week." This country, without hesitation, is one of the most overworked. While traveling, I met so many people from around the world (and I'm not talking solely Australians) who were able to take up to three months off from work to travel without a worry about losing their job. My initial reaction was that of jealousy: "Why don't we as Americans get even ONE month of vacation? That's just unfair!" I will say that I did appreciate the fact that there were so many people taking advantage of their ability to travel and explore during their time off. I won't lie - two months of standard vacation is pretty enticing... I would not be opposed to finding a career in an environment that fosters that kind of benefit.

Friday, December 5, 2008

In a Sunburned Country

On Tuesday I bought the book In a Sunburned Country (by Bill Bryson). I have been looking for it since I got back to the States and decided to move to Australia... but silly me didn't bother looking in the "Travel Essays" section of Barnes and Noble. Whoops. It only took me two months to find! I'm almost finished it and every page makes me more excited. I've found myself laughing out loud in the coat room to myself, so I guess it's pretty funny, as well.

I'm perpetually on a book-buying ban (since that's where all my money goes - I'm territorial with my books), but I feel like this purchase was warranted.

I'll post some interesting findings once I finish!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2 1/2 months to go

I booked my flight this afternoon! As of February 16, 2009 (I definitely typed 2008 first... 2009, strange!) I will be boarding a plane and on February 18, 2009 I will be in MELBOURNE! Australia, not Florida. AH! No turning back, now... as if that was ever a thought to begin with.

Today, on a glorious day off, I did not leave my house once, but I did get some research done. One thing I really am looking into is getting a cat while I'm away. I want to be 100% sure that I'll be able to bring the little guy back to the States with me, so after checking out what Customs had to say, as long as the cat is not sick, I should be fine. They had some pretty harsh wording on their website about "destroying" any animal not fitting their standards for entry. I mean, I know I consider my pets part of my family, and even though I understand the importance of rules and regulations, I think that "destroy" is a little much. They could put it more tactfully. It makes Customs sound like a Michael Vick case waiting to happen.

In non-Australia-related news, over the weekend I finally signed up for Twitter. I have been reading about Twitter for a few years now and how it is an integral social media tool. Honestly, I don't really get it. I will admit that I am finding having topical PR references and news articles streamlined is handy and I did read an interesting article that discussed the end of online anonymity (I will comment on that at a later date, so watch for it). However, that aside, I cannot figure out how to search for people or even publications unless someone I am already following is following them. Anyone have any pointers for getting started with Twitter?

Time to get offline and watch some quality Monday night television (Inside the Actor's Studio with Daniel Radcliffe and The Hills? I think so).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Take me with you!

I feel like every other person I've talked to this week is traveling abroad. One friend just got back from London, another is off to Italy on Wednesday, and yet another is trekking to Sweden at the end of December. I want to go, too!

Perhaps spending the better part of this dreary afternoon looking over photos from my Euro trip wasn't the best idea. I mean, sitting in front of my space heater (while wrapped in a blanket) in my bedroom scanning through photos from Corfu is almost the same as being there...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What about MY country?

While I was in London, I remember finding it very difficult to get any sort of American news to read up on. There was, however, an abundance of international news in the form of both Australian and New Zealander media. On mainland Europe, I had a much easier time finding papers that reported on the US, notably the international edition of the Times: The Times Herald.

I can still hear some of my Aussie friends complaining: "Why doesn't anyone report news on Australia! It's always about somewhere else." I have to admit, I rarely hear news reports concerning Australia. I can honestly say that I have no idea what's going on in that country. It's not that I think there are Kangaroos frolicking everywhere, but I am in the dark to any problems or challenges (or even positive notes) that the country may be facing.

For example, even looking at the Times and checking the World section under the Asia-Pacific region, the other countries completely dominate the print space, primarily due to issues of conflict (Mumbai, anyone?). Surprisingly, I was able to find one headline for Australia, which discusses progress made for gay rights. A much more refreshing read than murder tolls, in my opinion.

Perhaps no news is good news.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed this article in today's New York Times, which equates the strategies used by a C.E.O. to that of a Thanksgiving dinner orchestrator.

From delegation to the bigger picture (or vision) to conflict resolution tactics, I believe the author was head-on in aligning the positions.

"...First, there should be no gloating over elections won or lost, and no discussion of personal income or investment loss. Give people around you a chance to shine by asking them questions that allow them to express their accomplishments. But don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to, such as why isn’t Sanjay going to college or what happened to that nice girl your son brought home last year."

I'm off to finish up my favorite soup for tonight's festivites: Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I know it's a lost cause... but E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"I mean, it's a recession..."

One of my girlfriends at work just gave her notice. She's leaving to go work for another restaurant in the area that will undoubtedly increase her bi-weekly paycheck. Her explanation for skipping out on short notice? "Lindsay, let's be real. It's a recession. Gotta go where the money is." Truer words were never spoken! Usually I spend my evenings inside the coat room whispering to patrons as they walk by: "Tip your hostesses, it's a recession and I have a plane ticket to buy!"

Among the many factors that influenced me to apply for my visa were having no apartment lease, not being involved in a serious relationship, and having no monetary binds linking me to Philly. Additionally, the current state of the economy and the current job market for recent grads significantly helped me make the final decision to move abroad.

This morning I was browsing the Sydney Morning Herald and learned that Australia is predicted to miss out on the worst of any recession woes. Admittedly, I have been a bit concered with the economic crisis and the potential impact on my ability to get work abroad, but this made me feel a little more confident.

Although in a recent posting from PRowl Public Relations it's recognized that the PR job market is one of the few that isn't suffering to the extreme, the fact remains that I'm not the only recent graduate with five internships on her resume. I think that right now, during a time where there is no such thing as job security, it's the perfect time to not start my career and to get some life perspective instead. I am hoping that some experience abroad will help to set me apart in the future, recession or not.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm going to Australia! For real!

Dear Lindsay McHugh

RE: Application for Subclass 462 - Work and Holiday (Temporary) (Class US) visa

This is to advise that you have been granted an Electronic Work and Holiday subclass 462 visa on 20 November 2008.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The waiting game

Well, I just submitted my visa application... here's to hoping for a seemless approval!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tea is not a beverage

So, after having some time for a long-overdue update this afternoon, I found myself spending the rest of my day searching for blogs online about Australia. One blog post I read reminded me of the uniqueness of Aussie slang. I am proud to say that after being surrounded by Aussies for several weeks without any concentrated contact with Americans, I have picked up (or at least am able to understand) some of the common lingo.

A common greeting that I had to get used to hearing was How you going in place of, say, What's up or How're you doing? Reading it doesn't seem so different, but hearing it out loud makes you hesitate for a second, I swear! I also learned that tea is another way of saying dinner, dodgy is the preferred descriptive term used over shady or ghetto, and that there is a lot of reckoning going on.

Also, a piece of advice: be very careful when using the word root. If you tell a group of Aussie boys that you're rooting [for] the home team, they'll have a laugh... and may conjure up an image that you weren't intending to create!

Call Blogging Services...

...this baby is suffering from neglect!

Blogging most certainly has not been on my mind over the past month. Between late nights watching the Phillies win the World Series (from cursed to first!) to following the Presidential Election to simply working as many hours as possible to finance a plane ticket, my time devoted to recounting my planning efforts has been minimal to say the least.

Thankfully for my actual travel plans, progress has not been so stangnant. Tuesday (my next day off) I will finally put in my application for my visa! I have been putting it off to make sure that I could realistically afford the move, but I am finally feeling financially stable enough to make it happen. The current exchange rate between the Aussie dollar and the US dollar isn't hurting my cause, either. As of today, $1 US is equal to about $1.55 Australian. Every cent counts!

This afternoon I spent a few hours researching and reaching out to some talent placement agencies around Australia that my friend Tricia recommended. Tricia (who I met during my travels in Europe) spent a year in Australia on a work and holiday visa from Canada, so she has been helping me with some pre-travel logistics. Now that I have gotten initial e-mails out, I'm feeling better about actually, finally, truly moving forward with things.

The one thing that I really need to set aside time for is figuring out the benefits of purchasing a round the world ticket. I have to find some time to speak directly with a travel agent because for once I can't find all the information I need online. What a shock!

I'll try and be more consistent in my updates as developments should be popping up in a more rapid fashion. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Craig's What?

This morning, to my delight, I woke up to find an e-mail from my friend Jess in my inbox. Jess is helping me out with my transition to Melbourne, her hometown. During my five weeks in Europe, I did a three-week Contiki Tour, and that's where we met.

Along with supplying valuable information on the two airports in Melbourne (apparently only one of them is really used for international destinations) and neighborhoods in Melbourne to research and avoid, she also said that some of her recruiting contacts may be able to help me out with my PR aspirations once I arrive. How exciting!

One thing that I did find interesting was that when I asked if Craigslist was a good resource to find a part-time job or even housing, Jess replied that she hadn't heard of the site. I did take a peek at the one for Melbourne and it is nowhere near as active as the Philadelphia listing. I know that I have furnished entire apartments, found internships, and have even sold items with the use of Craigslist. I'm interested to discover what types of websites are popular forums in Australia - I'm sure there's an equivalent of some sort that Americans have probably never heard of. I have so much research to do!

Plan for tonight: Watch the Vice Presidential debate - should be interesting, to say the least.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Perks of Chinese Food

Fortune cookies are one of life's little pleasures that never cease to provide me with amusement. After nearly two months of traveling to both Central America and Europe, my first meal of choice was some Chinese take-out from my favorite restaurant. No matter how full I get, I always make room for those mysterious cookies. Up until this point, my favorite fortune (which I have pinned to my wall) reads:

Good clothes open many doors. Go shopping.

What girl doesn't like having an incentive to go out and spend money? The cookie made me do it! Having spent so long without Chinese food, I took the liberty of stealing two of the four cookies for myself - and I must say, I was quite pleased with my fortunes. The first cookie declared:

You are soon going to change your present line of work.

Most excellent news! Considering I am an unemployed recent graduate who has no idea what to do with herself when not booked to the minute, any change in my current routine will be welcomed with open arms. I opened the next cookie to receive even better news:

Good news will come to you from far away.

Now, that may sound too vague to mean anything, but I was elated at the sight of this fortune. After spending five weeks traveling around Europe with a troupe of Australians, and after coming to the realization that I don't know where I want to live in the United States, I have decided to apply for my Work and Holiday Visa, Subclass 462 to Australia. Perhaps this good news will be my accepted visa!

The purpose of this blog is three-fold. In keeping up with posting, I hope to:
  1. Chronicle the steps that I take to prepare for a smooth transition to life in Oz.
  2. Keep up with my writing! As an individual with a public relations degree, it is imperative that I not only write regularly, but familiarize myself with new communicative technology.
  3. Stay up-to-date with current events and how they will impact me now and in the future (the DOW did drop 700+ points yesterday, right? Exactly.)

I'm excited to move forward on this project and learn everything I can to take full advantage of this experience ahead of me!