Baby, it’s cold outside!


A serious case of jetlag kicked in, so I spent most of the day in Starbucks and my hotel room creating my blog and searching the internet for jobs. I didn’t have the energy for much else.


I felt a million times better, so I woke up early (6 a.m. – can you believe it?) and got settled in to my temporary “office” at the coffee shop. The day before I’d identified the top 15 jobs I was interested in based on my criteria:

  • the contracts were less than 6 months,
  • the role was focused on internal communications,
  • and the pay that was at least the same as what I was making at home, if not better.

I prioritized my list and started making calls.

By 11:30 a.m., I’d accomplished a day’s worth of work. Of the eight recruiters I’d contacted, only one dismissed me by telling me to apply online like all the other candidates, and three of them were eager to schedule appointments with me the following week. Success!

Now, a note about the weather. Right now it’s spring in Sydney, and it’s bloody cold. Cold, says the Canadian who doesn’t mind -20 at home but can’t handle +17 in Sydney. Cold, because the heating in buildings is turned right down (I half wonder if some of them even have heating), and cold, because there is a wind in the air that permeates everything, and cold, because no matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of the chill in my bones.

I looked up the nearest recreational facility, thinking a soak in a hot tub would surely warm me up. I was in luck; the nearest one was just a few blocks away. Imagine my dismay to find out on arrival that the closest thing to a hot tub was a hydrotherapy pool, at only 32 degrees. Out of pocket $15 and still no warmer, I resigned myself to a hot shower and went back to the hotel, pulled on a warm sweater, and decided to curl up with a good book for the night.

Not just any book would do. I was doing my own version of Eat Pray Love, and I wanted to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s story for inspiration. Unfortunately, the publisher hadn’t granted Australian bookstores permission to sell it as an e-book, and Chapters/Indigo wouldn’t sell it to me because my computer registered as an Australian IP address. So frustrating. The story does have a happy ending though. A few hours later, I managed to find a loophole in an account I’d already created with another e-book provider, and Eat Pray Love was all mine for the reading.


I decided I’d done enough work these last few days. It was time to play. So I took the train to the Rocks, a district close to the water with lots of beautiful old character and brick buildings and a few good pubs.

Anyone who has ever walked into a pub on his own knows what a daunting experience it can be. There weren’t a lot of free seats around the bar, and when I asked “Is this seat taken?” I got a very rude “yes.” Rebuked, I slunk away to the next seat.

Fortunately for me, the next seat happened to be next to an entire team of NZ rugby football players with plenty of money to burn. One snakebite after another, and we were ready to party for the night. Now, I could go into more detail about my drunken adventures, but suffice it to say, they were a great group of guys to party with, and it wasn’t an early night.


I was hungover and wanted nothing more than to spend the entire day in bed. The only problem was I’d failed to extend my stay at the hotel, and now every room was booked for the night. In fact, it seemed every room in the city was booked for the night. Mild panic set in, and I booked the first room I found, Australian Backpackers. A few minutes after booking, I read the online reviews and quickly cancelled my reservation. Instead, I ended up staying at a hostel called “Wake Up” just a few minutes from my original hotel.

As a hostel for young backpackers, the vibe was a combination of chill and party mode. Six girls in a room was a bit much for me, so I doubt I’ll stay there again, but I was really impressed with the place. The food was cheap and delicious; the bathrooms had actual hot water, and the beds were surprisingly comfortable. Especially since I spent all day sleeping off my hangover.


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