Skydiving in Gold Coast

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Last September 29, I decided to conquer my fear of heights, by jumping out of a plane, for the very first time. 🙂

Supposedly, I will be doing that once-in-a-lifetime skydive experience exactly on my 30th birthday, last September 9. However, due to some important events in between, I needed to delay it a bit.

So I flew from Hong Kong (directly from the office to the airport) to catch my evening (overnight) flight to the Land Down Under.

It was quite a bumpy ride, but since I have this talent of not having difficulties finding sleep even during trips (shorts and long ones), I still had a good sleep, after watching Oceans 8 on my plane tv monitor. And so I woke up with these lovely views:

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Lovely sunrise somewhere in Australia
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The sky was sooo clear and blue, while the water was sooo calm. I already felt at that time that it will be an awesome day, awesome trip. 🙂

So in Sydney, I just met my bestfriend to walk around and had a great lunch @ one of my fave restaurants in the city– Tap Rooms, while waiting for my connecting flight to Gold Coast.

 

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Sunny Spring in September down Under

Indeed- it’s Golden (pertaining to Gold Coast) 

Before the skydive experience, I woke up early to have my early morning walk by the beach and also to catch the sunrise in Gold Coast. Indeed, it’s golden.

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Honing my mobile photography skills 
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Footprints in the sand
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Early morning walk by the beach
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Saw a group of people by the beach. It was an awesome view. 

Here’s my breakfast after the morning walk:

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Loading up before the most anticipated jump! 

The Moment of Truth

At the reception of Gold Coast Skydive Center, I was asked to fill out forms for proper  documentation, etc. I was a bit early, so I was asked to take my time filling them all out. I also got the chance to see the earlier batch of first-time sky divers like me, who had mixed emotions before that jumping in the shuttle that will take them to the airplane of skydivers.

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This was a mandatory interview before the jump. The interviewer (who was also my videographer up in the air) asked me to give message to my family and friends, just in case. Oh well, JUST IN CASE WHAT?!! haha
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I just realized that in this photo, captured the very fist time (as far as I could remember) I asked and begged for an attachment, a secured attachment (LITERALLY, hahaha) 
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All set! I still managed to do the peace sign. At that time, I was still enjoying the view, and few chit-chats with my fellow first-timers and with the pro-skydivers. Thanks to them for making me feel more comfortable during the flight. By the way, my tandem skydiver, his name is Ken, is half-Filipino. What are the odds of finding some kababayans (at least half) up in the air. 🙂 
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And so my eyes rolled as they opened the door of this small plane. It’s my first time riding a plane with the door open. And to note, it was so cold up there. 
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So at this point, we were just waiting for the Green Light– which means, it’s time to Jump! Me– I can’t remember what was on my mind at that time. 

 

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Captured moments (seconds) before the JUMP! Me: Am I sure of this thing??? Can I back out? haha
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THIS– was the most unexplainable feeling of all. Indeed, Will Smith is right, that the best things in life are on the other side of your maximum fear. Yes, I have fear of heights. But at that moment, that I didn’t have the choice but to jump, was the same moment that I felt zero fear. Maybe, that unexplainable feeling was total BLISS. 

 

 

 

 

Indeed,  as the saying goes, “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, and something great will come out of it.” On that twenty-second free fall. I just felt pure bliss and no fear at all. I just enjoyed the beautiful creation from high above. It was really a great choice to conquer my fear by doing this extreme skydiving.

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After the freefall, I was then able to spread my wings (I mean my arms) and do the thumbs up pose, and smile (of course). My smile was automatic when there’s camera. 🙂
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I was also able to close a deal up in the air. What a hectic schedule up there. (Whew!) 

After that, my tandem skydiver did few spinning stunts. Like spinning a bottle up in the air. At that moment, I felt dizzy. But of course, still managed to enjoy the view and controlled myself not to throw up (in the air, haha, because that would be soo gross).

 

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As we landed, my videographer (of course, still taking video) asked me about my experience. My eyes were closed because I really feel dizzy at that time. But still managed to do the thumbs up pose (approving the freefall experience, and not the spinning stunts)

But overall, it was a very remarkable experience. I just scratched off SKYDIVING in my spontaneous bucket list. It was all worth it. 🙂 So for those who has that skydiving in their long waiting (bucket) list, Go for it! You can do it too, then share your experience too 🙂

 

Kerin Signature

 

 

 

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Why the Glass is Half-empty

Liquid

I have always been that glass-half-full-kind-of-person. In my life (so far), I’ve always (or should I say, most of the time) been on the brighter side of life. I always picture a rainbow coming out after a rain.

But digging deeper in life (or at least in my life), I can now say that it is not really so bad or pessimistic to say that the glass is half empty. In my own point of view, the meaning of that is the other half of the glass is excitedly waiting for it to be filled.

I wanted to compare my life with the glass half-empty. That means, I already have plenty of experiences (good and bad ones), which makes it half-full and still have the rest of the space of the glass to be filled. As an explorer, a wanderer, I always wanted to discover more. I know there’s more to life than counting the days, that’s why I travel often, and with that, I let my days count.

 

And to connect this half full and half empty perspective in our weekly photo challenge, here are some liquids that contributed in simple ways to make my glass far more than half-empty (and waiting to be filled to the brim). Those are some kinds and forms of liquid in my adventurous journey called life. 
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Cute bottle of Pinot Grigio waiting to be opened and sipped. (Photo taken in Senden, Germany)

 

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One of my favorite liquid in the world in barrels – Wines 🙂 (Photo taken in Hunter Valley, NSW)
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Rose Lemon Tea – a refreshing Drink @ The Grounds of Alexandria (Photo taken in Sydney,NSW)
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Bondi Beach filled with deep-blue waters (also a kind of liquid). What a beautiful sight.

 

 

 

 

 

Lines and Perspectives

Lines

Mathematically speaking, a line is “A geometrical object that is straight, infinitely long and infinitely thin.”

Let me share with you some of my photos highlighting all kinds and forms of lines that I usually see and encounter in my daily working life, since it revolves around design (producing thousands of different lines from different perspectives) and construction (where you can lines of various forms).

 

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Trains, tracks, trails @ Campbelltown Station NSW
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Top View from Sydney Eye Tower
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Behinds the REbars
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Scaffolding, and  Shoring Squares
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Colorful world of Construction
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Night Lights, Fast-paced Hong Kong Life @ Wan Chai Foot Bridge

 

 

 

Repost: The Art of Travel Photography

Nice blog from kasiawrites:

These days it seems that photography is synonymous with travel. Everywhere you go, there are people with cameras – both point-and-shoot and professional quality – smart phones and even tablets. Let’s be honest, we all do it. But are we all motivated the same way?

via Photography behind travel writing — kasiawrites – travel blog

The Grounds of Alexandria: Also feasting your eyes on a great view

Good food tastes even better when served up with a nice view and great ambience. That pretty sums up the description of the place we’d just discovered last summer–The Grounds of Alexandria.

 

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One fine sunny afternoon

The place was quite busy and jam packed of people with hungry stomachs and eyes during this time of the day when we arrived. It was around 12 noon. 🙂

But I was not really in a hurry to fall in line for the most awaited lunch. I was more of enticed to explore the whole place.

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chalk boards are so pinterest-y. 🙂

 

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There’s a cute vintage car loaded with plants at the back. so cute.

 

 

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So this is the so-called “The Garden” restaurant, with garden beds of florals, vegetables and herbs.

 

 

There were also rustic kiosks of desserts and drinks outside.

 

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and so I tried their fresh rose lemonade to quench my thirst at that time. 🙂

 

There was also  a shop selling ornamental plants, and bunches of unique fresh flowers too.

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My eyes were already full by the time my stomach complained of hunger.

So we tried the ” The Café ” of the place. Compared to the “The Garden”, it was more formal inside. The design was like industrial-type.

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They were also serving freshly-baked breads and pastries, best paired with the artisan coffees. 
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Ordering their specialty burger, the “Ground” beef. Ohh soo yum!

 

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And to neutralize, we also ordered Moroccan Bowl, which was also appetizing.

Overall, we had a nice experience here in “The Grounds”. Both our eyes and our stomach were filled with colorful and relaxing views, at the same time, good food.

I am excited to try the “Potting Shed”, another spot inside this quite huge place. They say that is a nice place to meet, eat, drink, relax and chat one’s day and night away. 🙂

’til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 7 Golden Rules of Blogging — Cristian Mihai

A blog post about blog posts. 🙂

REPOSTing a nice article. 🙂

 

It’s Blogging Week here at Cristian Mihai blog (yeah, I don’t have a fancy name for my blog). We’ll talk about blogging, different tools that make blogging easier, and other stuff. The other stuff is mostly related to some of the do’s and don’t of blogging, what works and what doesn’t. Everything you’re about to read […]

via The 7 Golden Rules of Blogging — Cristian Mihai

Fall for Munich’s Fall

 

 

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Aside from the famous Oktoberbest, which is the world’s largest folk festival, who won’t love the colors of Munich during autumn/ fall season.

Luckily, I got the chance to visit Munich during that lovely season to see and capture its stunning fall foliage.

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Since I was based in Senden at that time for a training, I took one of the earliest trains to Munich to have longer time to explore that city. It was a 2-hour ride, and just nice to appreciate nature while on my way.

 

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What a lovely day.

 

 

 

 

 

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On my way to the park

 

Since it was Sunday, and most of the shopping malls and other establishments are closed, I headed down to the city center where you can see the famous structures and churches.

Marienplatz is the central square in Old Town, Munich’s urban heart and the central point of the pedestrian zone.

1st Stop was the New Town Hall. 

 

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Magnificent neo-Gothic New Town Hall

 

In front of the New Town Hall, are clusters of people of different nationalities who were all trying to capture the best angle of the building (or taking their best selfie with the view).

While roaming around, I remembered two Chinese youngsters approached me to film their activity for the Grand mother’s birthday. Also, I noticed another young lady, with a DSLR camera. I guessed that she was looking for someone who could take a photo of her with the New Town Hall as a background (just like me). And I was right. Maybe she sensed that I am also in need of a photographer since I went there alone. Moments later, she approached me and in a nice way, asked me if I want her to take a photo of me, and in return, I will also take photo of her (give-and-take). 🙂

soooo taddahh!

 

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Thanks to my fellow solo traveler for this photo with the New Town Hall.

 

After that, I just walked and walked, wondering what else I can see. To note, I didn’t use my Google maps. I just learned from my previous travels that if you just want to explore the city, and enjoy the nature, it would be better to look around, interact, ask people and  enjoy the view, rather than walking with your eyes focused on your smartphone, while missing the little yet nice things around.

Around the corner from the New Town Hall is St. Peter’s Church and outside of that is a small entrance to climb St.Peter’s Altar. For a few euros (I can’t remember the exact amount), you can climb to the top and get a 360 degree lookout around the city.

Just a tip: While it only takes 20 minutes, the stairs can get intimate and it will be uncomfortably tiring to go up, so it would be nice to bring water with you. I just remembered, I got unexpectedly dizzy on my way up.

But the view on top is worth the climb.

 

 

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I lit a candle inside the St Peter’s church.

 

After that short climb, I got hungry, and looked for some nice place to have a light lunch, the Bavarian way. However, most of the local restaurants are crowded. So I ended up grabbing some take away food from Mc Donald’s. I decided to eat outside, for a better view.

 

 

 

 

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I ended up eating my Big Mac Meal with the doves. They were so happy because I threw almost half of the bread in crumbs, and some of my fries.

 

So after a short DIY tour inside Munich’s city center, I walked back to the train station to catch the trip that I pre-booked (since it’s cheaper that way). Also, it’s getting colder.

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So I caught the train home and rested while looking out on the German countryside. I just grabbed a muesli, sandwich and wine for takeaway dinner inside my hotel room. It’s better to hibernate inside room and prepare for my training the next day. 

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Cavewoman Unleashed: Exploring the Greater Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves

Early last year, I planned to visit the Land Down Under, Australia. More specifically, it was in New South Wales, since my best friend was based there, and at that time, she promised to tour me around her ‘area of responsibility’, which gladly happened.

And so we planned where to go, what to eat and everything in between.

Good thing that I grabbed that discounted tour via Klook (thankful for the discount) — that one day tour in The Greater Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves. I already had an idea about the Blue Mountains and the famous Three Sisters. However, I don’t have any clue what would I see inside the Jenolan Caves, aside from the fact, that it is a cave. So I just waited til the day of our tour.

And so we rode in a huge bus full of other wanderers like me. It took us almost three hours to reach our first destination which is the Greater Blue Mountains. Sadly, we where only given FIFTEEN MINUTES to tour around. Imagine that! Everyone rushed outside like it’s an amazing race to find a perfect spot to take pictures of the famous Three Sisters, and then run again back to the bus.

(but to note, the tour guide explained the reason behind the rushing. It’s because we were booked in an exact time of tour inside the Jenolan caves, which was our next and main destination for the day. So it would be better to hurry and beat the clock so we won’t miss it.. So fine.)

By the way, here’s my best shot of the Three Sisters using my Huawei P10. 

FACT: The Greater Blue Mountains is on the World Heritage List. And It is called BLUE because the mountains consist mainly of eucalyptus tree, and eucalyptus trees produce oil that make them appear blue from a great distance.  

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Moving on, we rushed to the Jenolan Caves. The road going to the Caves was so narrow and winding that everyone inside the bus was holding their breath and praying at every sharp  curve that we were passing through. Thank God we had an expert and patient and cool driver/tour guide with us.

Outside the Jenolan Caves, there was a Blue lagoon, which was a nice sight while we were grabbing our quick lunch before the tour started.

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And so the Jenolan Cave Tour started.

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Good thing that I wore nice sneakers while is good for walking and slight mountain walks, and a hoodie, to cover me a little bit. It was really cold inside, like 14 degrees celcius, as far as I can remember.

 By the way, we chose the Lucas cave, or better to say, Klook picked that for us since we have no idea about the Jenolan Caves.  Here are some of my shots inside the Lucas Cave:

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It was a very informative and interesting tour inside the Lucas cave for more than an hour. We saw lots of rock formations, the stalactites and stalagmites forming cathedrals, bishops, animals, dinosaurs, and to my HUNGER, I also saw lots of salted caramel ice cream fudge inside. haha. 

At almost mid in the afternoon, the tour was finished, and we were reminded by our tour guide to rush directly to our BUS assignment so that we could avoid traffic in the city and reach home early.

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Overall, it was a nice trip. Another way to explore New South Wales, more exposure and appreciation nature’s beauty, and another holiday well-spent. I promise to dig deeper in the land down under sooonnneeeesssstttt!

I will also post my Bondi Beach and Kiama adventures soon.

Til next time!

 

 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This has been one of my favorite  poems since my high school days, which, I realized, has greatly influenced my present life.
I notice that every time I choose, I usually  always prefer the road not taken, the less traveled by, the different one, the challenging one.  The choice that  will make me feel more alive, which is quite good, in a way.
By the way, the photo that I featured was taken by yours truly, during one of my train rides on my one-week technical training in  Germany.  It was a fine autumn sunset ride.  And yes, it was a technical training. For more info about me,  I am  a Formwork Design Engineer in a multi-national company (based in Hong Kong).; and I am one of those fortunate people to be sent to Europe for a training (already twice now) by my employer.
I love my job as an engineer, fiddling and twisting my brain with analytical and technical problems that usually need immediate and accurate solutions.  However, even if I have this left side of my brain overworked during working days, I also have this dreamer, writer, artistic side of me that also craves for attention in between those busy days. That is why, I am here, in front of the laptop, waking up the ‘writer’ side of me; taking a step towards my dream to be a successful travel blogger.
I love to travel. I think, I am born to travel and see the world. Fortunately, for the past 3 years of my working life,   I have been to places that  I’ve longed to visit. One place was my dream place. And with this blog spot, I will share my  previous travel experiences, one by one, and my future travels, as well.
I may not be the only design engineer who loves to write and travel. But at least I am one of them. I am one of those people who would want to make a difference and explore the world, while still committing to the duties inside the four corners and the construction arena.  It may not be common,  the road less traveled.  🙂
Until next time!
-kerin