Tuesday, January 27, 2009

T-Minus Three Weeks

I'm not counting in months anymore, but weeks. I cannot even believe that this is happening for real. I apologize for my absence on this blog and from yours as well. This is my last full week of work (12-hour days, thank you Restaurant Week). I can't complain though, money is money is money.

The apartment search is in full swing, the job hunt has begun, and the anxiety attacks are no joke. I'm feeling a little crazy, but who wouldn't? All I know is that what I need is not here in Philly, so I may as well scope out my options in some place where it's Summer.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Best Job (For Me) in the World

By now, I'm sure that most of you have heard of the self-proclaimed Best Job in the World. If not, check out the website (don't be surprised if you can't get on at first - the server has crashed a few times due to volume). Here's the basic summary: live on Hamilton Island (the largest island in the Great Barrier Reef) for six months, free accomodation, for a salary of $150,000 AUD... which is about $100,000 US. The job part? Oh, you know, snorkel, explore the islands, and blog about it. Genius marketing campaign by Queensland.

I know that there will be millions upon millions of applicants, but think about how many are not qualified. Who wouldn't want the chance to live over the Great Barrier Reef? The thing is, I actually am qualified. This is exactly what I wanted to do with part of my time abroad. The selection committee is searching for an individual with "enthusiasm for the role, entertainment value (personality and creativity), presentation skills (being media-friendly), and at least one year's relevant experience."

Let's see... I'm a scuba diver, PR graduate, travel junkie, blogger, social media user, adventure seeker... and I already have a visa!

In addition to a formal application (name, age, etc.) they are requiring a 60 second video application. They want you to show your personality and your knowledge about the Great Barrier Reef region. What I'm asking for is this: what do you think would make a good application video? I'm talking format, location, content... any suggestion is welcomed. I was mulling over the idea and figured what better way to get audience support than to ask my audience what they'd want to see?

I appreciate your help with this!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tweet Me Up, Scotty!

Tonight I had my first glimpse at how Twitter works. I signed up after much hesitation and confusion simply because I didn't get it. I mean, a website that consists solely of Facebook-style status updates? What is the point?

My primary intention in joining was to learn about how Twitter is used professionally. Exploring social media platforms and their role in the future of the field of communications is one of my personal goals for the next year. When I first joined Twitter, I used the search feature to find relevant "Tweeters" and have been following along (and interacting with) their feeds in an attempt to form relationships. Until I participated this evening in my first #Journchat, I hadn't seen the evidence of an active conversation. I'm sure that's because I wasn't connected to many people, but my efforts to reach out had been, for the majority, ignored. By participating in this discussion between public relations professionals, journalists, bloggers, and freelancers, I have not only found a group of people to interact with on Twitter, but I have also found a tool that I can (and will) use to keep myself educated about industry practices, which is essential since I'm no longer in school.

For those in the communications field, I encourage you to check it out next Monday!

(Not Quite) 101 Updates

I've been struggling to update this blog as often as I would like to, but I'll have to cut myself some slack for a few more weeks. I've been working as much as possible to try and get those last paychecks as high as they will go. This weekend I went down to Maryland to take a little break from reality. Thankfully I had today off since I always seem to need a day after a vacation to regroup.

As you may remember, I'm participating in the 1001 Day Project, and I am happy to report that I am making some progress on a few of my goals. For starters, I have recruited four people to make their own 101 lists - that means I am almost half-way to my goal for task 100!

In terms of projects to help simplify my life, I've gotten quite a few under way:

29. Organize Hard Drive
83. Go through bookshelf and donate excess
85. Go through closet and clear out excess
84. Make an excel sheet of addresses, phone numbers, and passwords

I'm making an effort to assure that these are not half-assed, and that I can be truly satisfied with the final product. I am setting my sights pretty high for these organizational tasks, as I want to get them done before I move. There's nothing worse than coming home from an extended period of time away to a messy room. Hopefully I will be able to report on some completed tasks soon!

Don't forget: if you decided to start your own 1001 Day Project let me know so that I can follow along!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Beer + Greek Salads = A year in Oz

The more people that I tell about my move abroad, the more times I hear the question "Where did that come from?" ...I'll tell you exactly where and when I decided to get a visa.

It was a perfect, sunny day in Santorini, Greece. It was mid-September: the temperature had the heat of summer, but the island was without the hoards of tourists that accompany peak season. I was sitting at a cafe along Perissa Beach with my friend, Tricia. We were enjoying our usual split: a greek salad and a tuna baguette. Oh, and let's not forget the Mythos. We were talking about how unprepared we were to leave Greece... I mean, who wants to leave a beach vacation? I expressed my ambivalence toward, well, everything at home. I had just graduated and had decided not to renew the lease on my perfect downtown apartment. I had no ties to anywhere, and although it was liberating, it also meant that I had to make some decision about what I wanted to do upon arriving home. That's when Tricia decided to tell me about how she lived in Australia for a year under Canada's Working Holiday Visa. She suggested that I look into the USA's agreement as we finished up our lunch. I have never turned back.

42 days!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sunburned Series: Unsolved Mysteries (1)

Way back in December, I mentioned that I picked up Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country to read. True to form, I finished the book within a few days, but I haven't really had a chance to report on any interesting findings. I've decided to use this as an opportunity for a series of posts: The Sunburned Series.

There will be eight installments, as there a total of six states and two territories that make up Australia (Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory... incase you were wondering).

The first few pages of Bryson's book discuss how all things Australia are generally unknown to the rest of the world (as I have blogged about in the past). This, I believe, adds to the allure and mystery surrounding the continent. Bryson opens his travel essay listing some news items that, had they been from a more connected country, would (presumably) have gotten media coverage. The headline that most grabbed my attention was the unsolved disappearance of a prime minister. What?

In 1967, Harold Holt (PM) took a stroll along the shore in Victoria, plunged into the sea, and was never seen again. I feel like I should have heard about that before, even though it was well before my time. It was reported in the December 18, 1967 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald that "Mr. Holt, 59, disappeared while swimming in a very heavy surf off Cheviot beach, on the ocean side of Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula, 59 miles from Melbourne." No body was ever found.

According to a 2003 article in the Aussie publication The Age, any notion of foul play is largely unsupported by evidence, rather by those with active imaginations:
Dark rumours that he was depressed by the mounting opposition to Australia's Vietnam involvement or committed suicide or was assassinated by the CIA have never been seriously entertained. The most absurd scenario - fostered by English author (and now publisher of tracts for the Raelian cult) Anthony Grey in his 1983 book The Prime Minister was a Spy - had Mr Holt swimming out to rendezvous with a Chinese submarine. The most likely explanation is that he, like so many others, misjudged the conditions and his own abilities and drowned.

Though the disappearance of Mr. Holt remains unsolved, the case is "one of 103 suspected drownings between 1961 and 1985 that the Victorian coroner intends to review." It's amazing to me that only now, fourty years later, there is going to be an inquest into the disappearance! Can you imagine a US president vanishing into the Atlantic without an investigation? Didn't think so.

So there you have it: anyone can get lost in Australia, even the Prime Minister. Stay tuned for future Sunburned posts about deadly creatures, three-day railroad rides, and the unique Aussie sporting culture.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What am I doing?

2009: The last year that people will be able to purchase those eyeglasses with the "00" in the middle. Good riddance, I say... Oh right, and Happy New Year!

After the coat room cleared out, my tips were counted, and I watched the Penn's Landing fireworks from the steps of work, a little bit of reality set in.

Oh wow, 2009. It feels like it was just in the early 2000's not too long ago. I only have about six weeks to go! I cannot believe I'm moving to Australia so soon! I cannot believe I'm moving to Australia... What the hell am I doing?

And so, on the first day of the new year, I stayed in my pajamas and watched television all day. Anything to keep my mind quiet. Deep down, I know that I would regret not having gone through with the steps necessary to move to Melbourne, which is the only thing keeping me sane right now. Tonight, I'll simmer. Tomorrow, I'll regroup.