New Website

20 10 2009

If anyone has landed at this page looking for me. You can head over to my new website at http://dnfisher.com. This blog is dedicated to my Travelogue of Australia, and shall remain here until I have another adventure to blog about. Thanks for reading, and look forward to catching you at the other side.

Dave





Notes from a Small Island

18 08 2009


Dandelions, originally uploaded by dnfisher.

Having been back in the UK for just over a week now, I have had the great fortune of being asked to attend interviews for three separate UX/UI design and Support roles around the UK, based in London, Gloucester and Newcastle respectively. I am very happy with this level of response, and am happy that the momentum I built up before my return to the UK has begun to pay dividends. I am very excited about the prospect of each role, as they are all realtively diverse and intersting. I am consequently quite busy this week preparing for my interviews.

I particularly look forward to returning to Newcastle and seeing April and my old uni friends. Will hopefully have some more news early next week.

In other news, I have now sorted some hosting for the new portfolio and blog. I intend to base the new site on the WordPress.org platform, as it is perfect for my needs, and enjoy its flexibility. I hope to have the new site launched within the next 2-3 weeks. I am not sure whether I will be exporting the contents of this blog.

In other notes, the reverse culture shock has not been as bad as I anticipated. It has been lovely to catch the tail end of the british summer. The first few days back in Bath have been gorgeously sunny, the air fresh and sweet smelling, and copious amounts of lush green vegetation everywhere. A very different picture from Melbourne which is still enduring a 10 year drought and ever dwindling water supplies. I will make a note of all the things that seem a bit alien to me now i’ve returned before I am totally re-acclimatised.

TTFN





Update

1 04 2009

Its been a strange week this week. My new job which previous to this week, was going swimmingly, is now not looking quite so rosy. My boss informed me and my colleagues that she has no further funds to pay our wages until she can reign in new customers. It is a shame because as a start-up web design business it shows a lot of promise, and there is very big niche in the market for us. As a measure of damage control, we designed a marketing campaign for her tackle all the small-business owners in Cairns, and offer them a low-cost, high quality basic website, to gain web-presence (See Digital Kitchen). Hopefully, even with a moderate success rate, it should allow the business to start up again, and allow us to continue adding to our portfolio and hopefully pitch to higher profile customers. It slightly annoys me that I couldn’t do more to prevent this situation happening, but being part of a start-up company is always going to be a huge learning experience for anyone, and despite the results at the moment, the experience has been very valuable.

The side effects of this extend to our longer term plans because we rely on the steady income I was receiving to pay the rent and upkeep of us both. April has been very unlucky as she hasn’t had any luck in finding work, and is doing everything she can to keep herself sane. It has got to the point where we have now been in Cairns for a whole month, and find ourselves in a worse financial situation than when we arrived. Given the lack of work, and reliability of exisiting work we are seriously considering uprooting to one of the bigger cities where work might be more abundant and more suited to our skills. Its a shame because Cairns is a beautiful place and we have had some excellent times and met some wonderful people, but the type of work available isn’t well paid and there is an abundance of cheap labour (backpackers) willing to do it.

For now, I will be enjoying some time off, and taking the time to make some enquiries regarding work in other cities, and enjoying the last days with our good friends and flatmates Felix and Thorsten who are due to fly home to Germany tomorrow morning.

TTFN





Its been a while….

9 03 2009

Well, I haven’t checked in here for a while, and I do apologise. We arrived in Cairns last Tuesday, March the 3rd. We were put in a difficult position because we were made to decide whether to stay in Cairns for a spell, or leave Cairns for somewhere else using the last of our funds left over after our long trip up the coast.

We chose to stay in Cairns, as the dry season is nearly upon us, and we postulated that it would be an ideal time to pick up casual work in the tourism trade. Furthermore, we couldn’t have come all the way to Cairns and then quickly departed again without having had a chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

We very quickly found somewhere to live, a company called Cairns Sharehouse, had a number of rooms in a number of properties available for short to long term rent. The minimum tenancy is a month, so we decided to go for it, and try and find work in that period. The house is very nice – much nicer than our house in Melbourne. The house has 5 bedrooms, only 3 of which are occupied. The house has a nice sitting room/ kitchen with high ceiling and ceiling fans, and two large bathrooms. We also have a large outdoor verandah and a manicured garden full of tropical flora and shady palm trees. Our housemates include one Aussie who is doing a postgrad at the local uni, and two german guys who have been doing a similar campervan adventure around Oz. They are all very friendly, and we have all become friends, enjoying our first communal barbecue last night.

Well, we have been here nearly a week, and I have been exploring all the possible avenues of work. I had 40 copies of my revised CV made, and I walked around the town handing in CVs to all sorts of places. Bars, restaurants, car dealerships, car hire places, hotel, hostels, tour organizers, shops etc. All the people I spoke to seemed to concur in saying that Cairns is very quiet at the moment, with not many people hiring due to the economic downturn. I suspect that this probably why there doesn’t appear to be many jobs advertised, but it also strikes me that the tourist season hasnt *quite* started yet, so I am maintaining an optimistic outlook that we will find something soon. I applied for some jobs that looked very interesting, but I was sadly not particularly qualified for (underwater photographer and prawn trawler captain).

Cairns is a small town, with a small but cosy centre. The town is just the right size for me. It is big enough to have everything you need or could want, yet you can walk around it in about an hour. The town has a glitzy end, down by the esplanade and lagoon (see picture) with big name hotels and a casino. Ajacent to the esplanade is the marina, where all the boat operators take shoals of tourists snorkelling or diving to see the shoals of fish loitering in the crystalline waters around the Great Barrier Reef.

Well, thats pretty much all the news since we arrived, so I will keep you posted on any further work developments.

TTFN Dave.

Courtesy of Scott Photos

Courtesy of Scott Photos





Quick check-in

20 02 2009

A quick hello from Coffs Harbour- home of the big banana. Have had a hitch-free trip from Sydney, stopping in at Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. Heading upt to Byron Bay tonight and then onto Brisbane and the rest of Queensland, where you can expect another update. The weather is warm and humid, the scenerey decidedly more tropical, and the insects are getting big enough to carry away small pets.

My diary has been kept up to date, and have been taking lots of picture.

Until I get a chance to upload, keep checking my twitter feed for more nonsensical bite-size updates.

ttfn.





Loose ends etc

9 02 2009

Picking up the campervan tomorrow, am currently very excited to get going. We are both tying up loose ends, and sorting out any last minute business. April has been extremely good and has done 99% of the packing, tidying and cleaning! Bless her heart. I do quite often get in the way, although this is in no way intentional!

We purchased a few more camping supplies at the weekend which is what really drove it home in my mind that we ARE ACTUALLY gonna go on this roadtrip…. which in turn has me feeling very excited. We bought HAMMOCK, which will be a great source of hilarity I am sure.

I will probably be updating this blog via the twitter feed (via txt), as I am not sure how often we are going to be able to find reliable internet to write fleshed-out blog posts. I will be keeping my diary on a daily basis for future posts nonetheless.

I am still trying to flog my bicycle, which I discovered had a puncture this morning. The joy.

Also, for your peace of mind, we will be driving out via a different route that goes NOWHERE near the bushfishes that are ravaging the countryside at the moment, so no need to worry.

For now, that is all, hopefully will post again soon with the first details of our trip.

TTFN.





Nearly time for a change

3 02 2009

Last weekend saw my lovely grandparents (John and Betty) briefly calling into Melbourne on a day trip from their New Zealand – Sydney cruise. It was great to see them, and they were in supremely high spirits, which in turn rubbed off onto April and myself. We took the oportunity to show them around the Docklands area of Melbourne which has been recently re-developed and is quickly becoming one of the more fashionable areas of the city. Think Barcelona waterfront about 20 years ago (not that I would know what that looked like, but you get the gist!). We enjoyed iced coffees, a lovely lunch on the waterfront, and lots chinwagging. I look forward to seeing them again in Sydney.

Well, this week sees me finishing work, something which a few months ago seemed to be ages away, but has crept up on me all too quickly. I have spent last week and this week training my replacement (a funny and very cynical Kiwi called Ted) and doing other odd jobs which has been a nice change of routine. I will be sad to leave Hostmann Steinberg, I like the close-nitted-ness nature of working with a small team and the work is interesting and I am treated very well. Despite this, there is a whole country which I have not yet discovered so I am even more compelled to satisfy my curiosity.

We are due to pick up our 3 berth camper van on the 10th of February, and actually hit the road soon after packing up the same day. We have made some preparations for the trip, but still have quite a few things left to do. No doubt it will be a mad rush an hour before we are due to leave our house (it wouldn’t be right otherwise!). Our initial route is still TBA but it likely to be something like this;

Day 1: Melbourne – Albury/Wodonga on the Murray river
Day 2: Albury – Canberra, stop in Canberra for the day perhaps.
Day 3: Canberra – Coastal run up to Sydney via Wollongong.
Days 4-7: Sydney sightseeing.
Days 7: Sydey- Newcastle.

(See map below)

After this we haven’t really planned, as there is a plethora of things to see and do. There is simply no point in trying to fix a time limit to any particular location or destination. We have got the van until the 3rd March of March after all, so we have sufficient time to adopt a leisurely pace. After Newcastle, destinations include Brisbane, Noosa, Surfers Paradise, Airley Beach, The Whitsunday Islands, Townsville and Cairns (and everything in between). Living in the campervan will be interesting. I plan to keep a diary of my observations whilst living on the road which i’ll transcribe on here at some point in the near future.

Well, not much more to report other than the searing temperatures have abated briefly to a comfy 30 degrees, although bushfires still persist.

Also an interesting article about the future of the car here.

TTFN, Dave.