hosier street grafitti

Retrospects : February 2017

In Retrospects, California, Oceania, Australia, Blog, United States, North America, Interests, Food & Drink, Series, Destinations by ajauntwithjoy@gmail.com4 Comments

Still playing catch-up on this years monthly recaps!

February 2017 was one for the books! This was my birthday month for starters, and I spent it in Australia! It was also the month I was finally able to cross off two of my major bucket list items! Meeting professor Dr. Bryan Fry and touring one of my current top 2 grad school choices. I then got a pretty sweet offer from my travel agent boss once I returned home.

Read on to find out what that offer was, how I spent my birthday abroad, and what it took to track down this professor!

Destinations Visited

Melbourne, Australia — 2 days
Brisbane, Australia — 2 days
Sacramento, CA — 24 days

february 2017

The Highs

On my birthday, I spent the entire day trying to track down a professor I had always wanted to meet. One that would basically be my supervisor and mentor if I chose this grad school. But he isn’t just a professor. He’s also an incredibly well-known microbiologist and is highly regarded in the science world. Most notably in the venomous wildlife field — aka my proposed topic of study. I hadn’t heard back from him, but I decided to just go and try to find him. It took all day of being sent all over the entire campus and at one point I thought he wasn’t even in this country, let alone on campus!

(Continued) The entire reason I took this Australia/New Zealand cruise contract was to get local leave so that I could see this university and talk to this professor, so I wasn’t about to give up. My last attempt was to just see his office door because most professors posted research and opportunities outside their doors. Turned out you couldn’t access his office without a key card, but I found his lab’s # on a sticky note by a phone and just started dialing! One of his grad students came and let me in! I started to explain “I’m hoping to find out more about Fry’s work and the grad school program…I know he’s not here but..” — the grad student cut me off, “He’s here. He’s in his office.” And the next thing I knew I was shaking his hand and getting answers to questions I’ve had for the last 2+ years!

brisbane australiauniversity of queensland

After meeting Dr. Bryan Fry and touring the university, I headed back into the city to meet up with a local girl. We had gotten in contact through the Facebook group Girls LOVE Travel (or “GLT”)! She made sure I didn’t spend my birthday night alone, and she even bought me a birthday drink of frosé (frozen rosé)! We wandered South Bank, saw huge fruit bats and water monitors, got excellent food, and talked about travel all night! I love the connections I’ve made through this group!

south bank ferris wheel

On my trip back home, I was selected for 2 different random security screenings at the airport. Which usually would suck, but it meant that I could skip an insanely long line and be the first on the plane! It’s all about the little joys on lengthy travel days.

My travel agent boss told me that she was sending me on the next FAM trip (“familiarization”)! I’d be joining her and a handful of other Ships And Trips Travel agents to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in May! Then she took me out to dinner for a meeting where she told me she wanted to increase my responsibilities. Which also meant doubling my monthly income from her! Stoked to have gotten my first raise!

I attended a Sacramento GLT Galentine’s Day event, and met a ton of new travel-obsessed friends! We had brunch cocktails, did a gift exchange, and went out for coffee where we were included in a hilarious scavenger hunt.


While dog and housesitting for a family, I got a knock on the door of their house. It was an Edible Arrangements delivery for me from my boyfriend! We were doing long distance over Valentine’s Day and this surprise was perfect. Especially because it included a double-tiered tower of chocolate covered strawberries inside. *insert drool here*

valentines day

And finally, my roommate and I went to an event in Sacramento called Art Street. We had gone to a similar event put on by the same people called Art Hotel 916, which was the coolest art installation and concept I’ve ever seen. Art Street was a close second and definitely didn’t disappoint. An old warehouse was taken over and turned into art with the concept of everything embodying what a street means and how a community uses streets. There were some pretty powerful pieces on rape/sexual harassment, the homeless population, and Mexican immigrants.

art street
sacramento mural
sacramento art

The Lows

Making my local leave work (financially) was tough. I wasn’t paid by the cruise line in time and another check I was waiting on wouldn’t show up until after I had already came home. So my birthday trip was very budget-minded. There was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to finally go get answers about grad school though. Even if it meant having minimal meals, walking everywhere, and sleeping in the airport the night before flying home.

While dog and housesitting, I was kind of talked into taking care of 2 dogs for the price of 1. Basically, the owners failed to mention until the meet and greet that they had a second dog that “stays in the back, unless it’s raining outside.” Which it was supposed to rain the entire time they were away. Because it seemed to need minimal care and I felt bad for the outdoor dog, I agreed to it without adding on extra money. Lesson learned. I had to keep that dog inside nearly the whole time and one morning I woke up to poop ALL over the game room floor. Along with pee spots from the other dog and vomit. So much for minimal care. The worst part was that this was the only owner who gave me a 4 star rating instead of 5, even though they were really happy with me. So frustrating!


My roommate gave me a scare this month. Her girlfriend was over at our apartment, making her breakfast and doing the dishes. She was washing one of our wine glass tumblers and it broke in her hand and cut her wrist open. My roommate rushed her to the hospital in case it knicked an artery, but once she was there my roomie passed out, hit her head, and wound up in the hospital herself too! I was out of the house and had no idea until her mom texted me about it all! I rushed over to meet them there and they were both okay, but it’s never fun to get a text like that.

Memorable Food

The food this month, guys! In Melbourne, I stumbled upon the cutest macaron shop called La Belle Miette. Probably the best macarons I’ve had to date.

In Brisbane, I quickly realized that this city was having a moment with matcha flavored foods! I am obsessed with matcha. I made my way to Passion Tree, an awesome sweets spot with incredibly instagrammable desserts. I had wanted to try bingsoo, but found a matcha mochi pancake stack instead. Let me repeat. Matcha. Mochi. Pancakes. Happy Birthday to me!

matcha dessert

On my birthday night, a fellow GLT girl brought me to Miel Container, an award-winning burger joint. I had the best gourmet crunch prawn burger with grilled pineapple on a brioche bun. I swear the sauce on it was the saliva of Jesus himself.

When I came home to Sacramento, I went out to brunch for a Galentine’s Day event at the Iron Horse Tavern. The food, the cocktails, (and the floor tiles) were perfect!
We all later stopped at a local coffee shop, Old Soul Co. Their Mandarin Masaya coffee was definitely memorable.

old soul coffee

Memorable Lodging

While in Brisbane, I stayed for 2 nights at Bunk Backpackers Hostel. It was one of the coolest hostels I’ve been to! Which shouldn’t be a surprise since it was awarded the Best Hostel in Australia in 2016, and the most popular hostel in Brisbane as well! The best feature was having a cute restaurant/bar onsite and a nice outdoor pool/spa area.

There was live music at night and free breakfast in the morning. They also had a tour desk with incredibly helpful staff to help make the most of your time in Brissy. Plus, Chinatown was right next door and within walking distance were some great foodie joints. The Fortitude Valley Station was only a couple blocks away as well, so it was super easy getting to other parts of AUS from the hostel.

bunk brisbane hostel
brisbane australia hostel

Most Popular Instagram Shot

This shot was taken in Olympic National Park on the Hall of Mosses trail. I uploaded it to my Instagram to announce my new blog post on Solo Female Hiking. Which a lot of women were apparently really excited to learn more about!

olympic national park

Posts Written

Retrospects : November 2016 — Read on for an overview of my November 2016 destinations and adventures. Also included are my highs, lows, goals accomplished, and more!

Solo Female Hiking Safety : From Clothing to Creepers — New to solo female hiking? Prepare yourself for the trail with this ultimate guide on preparations, weather, gear, injuries, and more!

Goals Accomplished

Life goals accomplished this month were again meeting that professor, seeing the university, and finally getting answers about grad school! I had also spent a couple months researching for and writing my ultimate solo female hiking blog post. I’m so happy it’s finally published!

Coming Up…

MY BOYFRIEND IS FINALLY COMING HOME after nearly 3 months of long distance! I also have a Mexico spring break contract lined up! Woop!

boyfriend in tahoe

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  1. Hi! I’m a Snapchat follower and fellow travel blogger and housesitter (In French though) My IG is vvagabondages and am currently in Japan.
    I love your snaps so keep them coming!
    Take care

  2. Hi! I follow you on Snapchat and I’m also a wildlife biologist just about to start my last term of college. My Instagram is alli.tompkins but I also have an Instagram for my dogs that I’m trying to get popular. That account is called a_few_pair_of_paws. I love your snaps and Instagram posts and watching your adventures!

    1. Author

      A fellow wildlife biologist! YAS! Do you know yet what kind of wildlife you want your career in? Or what kind of wildlife job you’re aiming for? I love meeting others who I can science-geek out with haha

      Your pups are SUPER cute btw!

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