The Sunshine Award

Switching things up today!

My friend Katie has passed on a fun and informal little blog honor called The Sunshine Award to me.  It represents “positive and creatively inspiring” blogs, which might be a bit of a stretch for my general snarkiness and random tangents, but Katie certainly deserved it and it’s nice that she thought of me.  I also thought it might be a fun change of pace to answer the questions she created for a little easy reading today!

1. How are you like your mom and/or dad?

Probably in more ways than I even know.  Let’s see… I’m a lot like my mom.  There’s the obvious things like going to the same high school, the same college, declaring the same major, and studying almost the same thing in grad school.  I sing out loud all the time like my mom, and a lot of the time I don’t realize I’m doing it.  We both like to bake a lot, and cry at movies (I used to think it was so lame that my mom did this, and now I’ve surpassed her and I cry way more).  I love traveling and experiencing new places, I’m a connoisseur of the lost art of handwritten letters, and spending time with my family is really important to me – all things I’ve gotten from my mom.

On the other hand, I inherited 100% of my dad’s sense of humor, adventurous spirit, and good taste in beer.  We share a lot of qualities that people usually aim to have in common with their best friends or peers, which is probably why we always have so much fun hanging out together.  You can usually find my dad and I working on some random project, watching a Woody Allen movie, sitting on the back deck with a pint, or making fun of each other.  We would kick butt on The Amazing Race.

2. What is your least favorite sport to watch or play?

I’ve never been a big athlete, but I generally enjoy playing most sports in a fun and casual environment (I’m really not competitive!).  I also really like watching most sports live because games/matches are always so energetic… however, I don’t like watching many sports on TV.  There are a few exceptions, but in general, the energy just doesn’t translate and the action seems really small, so I find it pretty boring.  I’d much rather see a game in person!

3. What was the most fun thing you did in high school?

Probably the two-week exchange trip to France I participated in during my junior year.  I’d never been to Europe before, and spending time in Paris and Albertville (in the southern Alps) was such an incredible experience.  A few of my really close friends were on the trip with me, and our whole group got to know each other very well by the end, so we had such a fun time together.  Here we are with Orangina on our first day in Paris.  See?  Fun.

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4. If you had a 25-hour day and the rest of the world continued to have a 24-hour day, what would you do with your extra hour?

Sleep.  No question.  I’d like to say something impressive like yoga, or painting, or enriching my mind with knowledge, but I’m trying to be honest here.

5. What was the last book you read?

I’m NOT going to count the really awful book I just finished for school.  So other than that, I recently read The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.  It was about a lighthouse keeper in early 1900s Australia and I loved it!  The writing was really beautiful and engaging, and lighthouse stories always get me anyway – they’re so whimsical.  I’d definitely recommend this one!

6. If you had to lose one sense for one year which one would it be and why?

Okay, this is tough.  Amity and I were talking about this last week.  I had just told her that I would definitely do away with smell, it’s useless, I wouldn’t miss it, when I walked into the kitchen and smelled her dinner.  It smelled SO GOOD.  So I don’t know.  I think smell tends to be a curse as often as it’s a blessing (although maybe that’s just life in a big city).  Definitely not hearing or sight, though.  Those are my favorites!

7. What is something you want to learn how to make or do?

The one thing I really regret about my time on the Outer Banks is that, in five years of living there on and off, I never learned to surf.  I don’t fully get the appeal (it just looks kind of exhausting), but everybody I know who surfs is completely devoted to it, so I think it might be the sort of thing that you don’t understand until you do it.  I’d still like to learn someday.

8. What is your evening routine?

Provided we can get our reading assignments under control and wrap up homework at a reasonable hour, Amity and I convene in the kitchen to make tea and watch Doctor Who and Miranda.  There were blissful times in our past where we could relax for a few hours, but now we’re pretty much limited to one episode of each, if that.

9. What is one of your favorite childhood memories?

This is funny… I was just reading Amity’s answers to these same questions, and she said that she lives very much in the present and future.  I think that’s generally advised as the best course of action.  Unfortunately, I live in the past quite a lot.  I think about my childhood all the time!  I don’t dwell on it in a melancholy way, though.  I’m just very nostalgic (my mother is nodding her head vigorously right now).  I’ve been extremely fortunate and my childhood was very happy.  Also, I’ve generally always had a very good memory, and the thought of it fading over time from disuse makes me anxious!

So anyway, this is really hard to narrow down.  Everything I remember about living in Vermont is so perfect and picturesque.  One of my favorite memories is climbing the mountain behind our house every day when my dad got home from work.  He would walk in the door, sit me on his shoulders, and walk right out the back.  I was pretty young so it’s a little foggy, but I do remember it.  Especially looking for the creepy doll head that was on a branch about halfway up, and sitting on the hay bales at the top.

10. What season is your favorite and why?

I don’t know if I have one!  I really like them all.  Every time a new season starts, I’m excited for it.  I mostly just like having seasons – real, distinct ones.  It’s one of my favorite things about the area where I grew up.

11. When you travel to a new city how do you plan out what you will go and do or see?

Seeing a new city with someone who lives there is always, always the best way to do it.  If I’m experiencing the area with a local, I’m happy to let them dictate the best way for a newcomer to see their city!  Staying with locals and adapting to their schedule gave me a better experience in Sydney that I could have ever imagined.  If I’m on my own, it’s a little different.  I usually have a few things that I really want to do, or that are can’t-miss attractions for a certain area, so I pencil in time for those.  If there’s anything that requires booking a timeslot or buying tickets ahead of time, I schedule that in.  After that, I always leave myself some free time with nothing specifically planned.  I love just walking around, following whims, and adjusting my itinerary to include things I wouldn’t have known about when I planned the trip.

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I would never have known about the Sydney Ice Bar if it weren’t for Doug and Diane!

So friends, I won’t pretend I have the energy or mental capacity at the end of a school week to come up with questions of my own to pose, but feel free to tell me things about yourselves!  I’m very curious.

Quotes for When It’s Time to Leave

I went to open up a blank blog post and update you guys on the latest adventures in London town, and I noticed this draft that I’d started months ago but since forgotten.

I think it must have been a few weeks before I left the Outer Banks, when my sadness at leaving was far overshadowing my anticipation of moving to London in the day-to-day.  The exciting European city I’d never been to just didn’t feel nearly as real as the little beach that had been my home for two years.

When I thought about it, I was still thrilled at the prospect of London, but then I’d have a day on the OBX that would make me question myself.  It was never a particularly special day; that was the point.  The guy at the produce stand would give me a free sunflower with my fruit and veggies.  I’d see someone I knew at every stop on my errands.  One of my regulars would bring me lunch at the coffee shop because I forgot to pack one.  I’d run to the beach and watch the waves crashing around the pier.  The daily life equivalent of hitting all the green lights.  An ordinary day that highlighted how incredible this place and these people were, and I’d wonder if I was crazy – why in the world I was giving that up?!


But I still knew in my heart that I couldn’t stay there forever – that moving on and going to grad school was the right decision for me.  London was calling (they say it does that…).

I tried to keep a positive perspective and remember my past experiences.  I HATE leaving places.  I didn’t want to leave home to go to Geneseo.  I didn’t want to leave Geneseo to go to New Zealand.  I didn’t want to leave New York to go to the Outer Banks.  But those were all my decisions, and I left anyway – and Geneseo, New Zealand, and the Outer Banks have given me some of the best times of my life.  Why would London be any different?

So I started gathering these little snippets and quotes from around the internet (if you follow me on Pinterest, you may have already seen some of them).  I’d planned to publish this post on the blog when I left the Outer Banks, to share and to remind myself, “don’t worry, be happy!”  But then I forgot.  Oops.

I just read through them all again, and ya know what?  I still like them all.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy them, too.  Some wisdom and inspiration I’m finding very appropriate right now…













In a way, it was kind of nice to find this unfinished post and remember how I was feeling back then.  It was so, so hard to leave the Banks.  I was miserable that morning, and really lucky to have my little brother there to drive and play happy roadtrip songs while I pouted against the window.

But then I had an absolutely wonderful month at home.  I got to spend a ton of time with my family, help move out of my childhood home and into my parents’ new one, eat Stewart’s ice cream, hike mountains, see old high school friends.  I took myself on a veritable tour of the northeast, from Rexford to Boston to Lake George to Vermont to Manhattan and back again, visiting friends and family from all the other homes I’ve picked up along the way.  It was just the best.

And then I got on a plane, flew across the Atlantic, and now I’m two weeks into the part of my life that was looming mysteriously ahead of me for so long.  I really miss the Outer Banks – I had such a wonderful part of my life there – but guess what?  I love London, too (oh, who’s surprised).

Under Construction

Things are changing up around here!

I’m back in New York now and I head off to London in exactly two weeks.  I’m figuring that will be the start of a new phase for this blog, as well as a return to the travel blogging (or really, living abroad) that started it all.

I figured it was as good a time as any for an identity makeover, because there were a few issues with my old blog name/address combo that I’ve been wanting to resolve for a while now:

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  1. The “Julie’s in New Zealand” phrase didn’t make sense anymore, so that had to go!
  2. The URL was really long, and made it hard to remember for people who keep up with my blog simply by checking the website every so often.
  3. The URL and the name of my blog didn’t match, and I wanted them to.  I thought about switching to some variation of, but I decided to just switch it all up.  I liked There and Back Again for the Tolkien and NZ references, as well as the way it just seems to fit my story, but it’s obviously a phrase I got from somewhere else and could leave me with copyrighting issues down the line.  Not worth it!

Let’s all have a moment of silence for My Life as a Kiwi and There & Back Again.  Don’t worry, I promise I won’t keep flip-flopping on ya – hopefully third time’s a charm!  So update your bookmark links or reader subscriptions to – although will still redirect here, too.

I might be tweaking things for a little while until it’s all updated, so bear with me.  Things are pretty crazy here at the moment so I have no idea if I’ll be updating before the big move or not.  I’ll get back to you when my blog is over its identity crisis.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?

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