July 2016 Recap: Sydney, Australia

I won’t lie, July was a bit of a snoozefest compared to most other months of this year. I spent the entirety of it house sitting in Camperdown, an Inner West suburb in Sydney right near where I used to live during my Sydney Uni days. Anna joined me for the first half of the month in a townhouse where we watched a mini schnauzer named Milo, then I moved to a one-bedroom apartment on the other side of the ‘hood to care for an old Manchester terrier named Laika. It’s been so lovely getting to wander the streets of nearby Newtown, Glebe, and even Stanmore and be a local at a few of my favorite cafes here. I will also admit to some serious feels-so-good Netflix bingeing in the form of Gilmore Girls, the Chelsea Show, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Anyone else feel a major void in their life after wrapping up a really good TV series? I kinda feel like I’m mourning the death of the Gilmore Girls now :( Cannot WAIT for the revival later this year!

This month I was frequently hit with pangs of loneliness and restlessness. I’m rarely lonely while I’m moving around and traveling because I’m constantly doing things and interacting with people along the way. It’s when I settle down for awhile that I start to feel a little lost. I find it difficult to switch gears from that go-go-go traveling mindset to a more settled-down lifestyle. And I’m constantly finding that when I do start to hit it off with someone (friend or more-than-friend wise), it’s time for me (or even them) to leave again. I’m just feeling like my life doesn’t have much continuity to it at the moment, and that there’s got to be a better balance between routine and adventure for me to strike.

sydney brunch

I’m also not thrilled about the lack of out-of-town adventures I’ve experienced this month. The dogs I’ve been watching lately are anxious and needy, which means I can’t leave them alone for too long (ugh, more on that later). I just hate feeling like I’m tethered to the house when all I want to do is hit the road, if only for a day. Except really all I want to do is buy a used car(avan) and just go on roadtrips all the time. Geez girl, make up your mind!

On the plus side, I am getting SO MUCH done while on pseudo-house arrest. I’ve jumped back into writing the e-book that I started last year and am now 40+ pages deep. I’ve kicked off the process of applying for my Australian work visa, I’m slowly getting caught up on editing all my travel photos, and I’m attending boxing and strength training classes at my gym 4x a week. I feel productive as f***, and therefore amazing – now all I need is friends, part-time dog sitters, and/or adventure buddies in Sydney! Any takers? :)

dog sitting
I mean look at us! You’d want to hang with us cuties, right? :P

July 2016 Numbers

Days: 31

  • 31 days in Sydney, Australia

Total Spent: US$774.22
+ $740 for student loans
+ $97 for business expenses
+ $47.50 for tech/camera gear

Average Spent: US$25/day

Total Earned: US$2190

Overall 2016 Numbers

Days: 213
Total Spent: US$9738
+ US$5180 for student loans
+ US$529 for business expenses
+ US$771.50 for tech/camera gear
+ US$335 for travel insurance

Average Spent: $46/day

Total Earned: US$29,533

darling harbour

July 2016 Lowlights

The House Sitting Blunder

I explained this in full detail in a recent newsletter (which you can subscribe to here if you aren’t yet on the mailing list!), but the gist of it is: My house sits this month overlapped by one day, so I hung out with both dogs at the old house all day, then left the old dog there and went with the new dog to stay at the new house overnight. The old dog’s owners would be returning early the next morning, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal to leave the dog on his own when I’d be out of sight sleeping during the night anyway.

NOPE. Apparently poor Milo stayed up all night barking, and his owner arrived back in Sydney to emails from the neighbors complaining about it. She was absolutely livid when she found out I hadn’t stayed the night and hung up on me after ripping me a new one on the phone. I felt absolutely terrible for a few days and made a point to drop off an apology gift and note to explain what happened. On one hand, I completely understand why the dog’s owner was so upset arriving home to what probably seemed like a huge mess. But other than disrupting the neighbors’ sleep for one night, nothing bad happened. Milo was SO well taken care of while they were away, but because of one mistake I made she probably doesn’t believe that.

And you know what? I’m ok with that. I’ve said and done all that I can, learned from my mistake, and forgiven myself. That said, I think I have a little PTSD from this experience that’s made me afraid to leave Laika alone for too long (whose owners warned me profusely about her tendency to bark when she’s feeling some separation anxiety). Note to self: maybe think twice about sitting for needy dogs next time!

dog sitting

A Few Really Bad Dates

I figured this month would be a swell time to jump back into online dating, since I’d be in one place (one NEIGHBORHOOD, in fact) for 2+ months. All I have to say is YIKES… I guess I wasn’t really missing much! Between the guy that insisted on Skype calling me before meeting and ended up aggressively berating my country and making lewd comments about my photos, and the guy who tried to make a move on me completely out of nowhere (ever been on the receiving end of that? AWKWARD AF), and oh yeah the guy who took me to his grubby neighborhood pub and then basically bolted as soon as I finished nursing my one drink without even walking me to the bus stop (where I had to wait a half hour for my bus to come) – man, it’s a jungle in Sydney!

street art newtown

July 2016 Highlights

The Penthouse Dinner

Anna had been going on and on to me about “the penthouse” for months before I ever actually saw it for myself. The story is that our old HelpX host from last year in Bondi has a friend who knows someone who has this incredible house in Point Piper right on Sydney Harbour with a sick view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It’s one of those pads you might pass by while on the ferry thinking to yourself, my god, what do I have to do to get in with these rich folk?

Welp, Anna’s since befriended our old host’s friend and that friend’s friend and has been crashing at this penthouse off and on all year. We have an in! I finally got to see this fancy house when we organized a little dinner gathering there, and yeah – it’s seriously impressive. Moreso during the day they say, but the view was damn fine at night too, don’t ya think?

sydney sunset
View from The Penthouse.

We all prepared dinner together and I made some mulled wine and maybe some of us went out on the balcony and mooned some passers-by… yeah, it was a fun evening!

Pole Dancing Classes!

On my walk to the gym, I kept passing by a sign advertising a free introductory pole dancing class. One day I snapped a photo of it and sent it to Anna with some LOLs, and she was like: LET’S DO IT!

I’m not one to turn down anything that’s free or fitness related, so of course I agreed. We ended up with two free classes, actually: we got bumped from the pole dancing class we had signed up for, and to make up for it they let us take the headstand class that was being offered around the same time. So we got to practice kicking up into headstands both against the pole and wall (equal parts terrifying and exhilarating for me). Then in the pole dancing class, we learned a few different ways to mount the pole as well as a few sexy dance moves (insert snorts, guffaws, and eyerolls here).

I LOVED all the physical stuff we did. I’m always amazed at what the body can do on its own, whether it’s holding still during an inversion or spinning around a pole with nothing but the support of your thigh muscles (btw, do you even know how much it hurts to have your legs slam against that pole? SUCH PAIN). Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by gymnastics and figure skating: sports involving flips, spins, and contorting your body into graceful shapes… so cool, right? Pole dancing can be similar when you watch the dancer climb up, down, and around the pole – but then you lose me once the hair whipping and twerk-like moves make their way into the performance. I couldn’t take that part of the class seriously!

pole dance class

My First Bondi Sunrise

In my two months of living on Bondi Beach last year, not once could I be bothered to wake up early to see the sunrise. (Mornings are painful for me, ok? Also, I’m the worst). Unless I’m camping or road tripping, I pretty much have to be dragged out of bed if there’s any chance of me watching the sunrise.

Well, I had one positive dating experience this month that had me heading out to Bondi to enjoy some fish that this guy had caught while spearfishing around Sydney (Anna has dubbed him Arms mark II, but he could just as easily be nicknamed Bondi or Fish Guy). Anyway, I ended up crashing on his couch because it was late and would have taken me at least an hour to get home. And since he is very much a morning person and I’m very much a light sleeper, I woke up while he was rustling around getting ready to go out to see the sunrise and figured I might as well join him. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me, so no photos to share – very glad I finally got to see it, though!

Bondi Beach sunset
Sunset (not sunrise) on Bondi Beach.

An Epic Dog Walk to Pyrmont

We were gifted with exactly two 77-degree days this month, a rarity during winter in Sydney (when it’s usually about 60). You know I dropped everything I was doing and spent both days entirely outside. On the first one, I set out to take the dog on a long walk from Camperdown to Balmain and back (about 3 miles one way), mostly ‘cause I’d never been to Balmain and had been meaning to check out its harbour views. Halfway there, I somehow got sidetracked and ended up crossing the Anzac Bridge into the city instead. You know how I feel about bridges, so I guess it wasn’t entirely surprising that this happened. It was my first time ambling through the parks on the Pyrmont waterfront, so that was fun. And sidestepping all the tourists in Darling Harbour with a dog in tow was a good way to spice up my umpteenth visit to this part of town. In the end, I think we walked about 8 miles in total – and 13-year-old Laika wasn’t even tired out!

blackwattle bay sydney

The Cronulla Coastal Walk

And on the other unseasonably warm winter day, I dropped Laika off at doggy day care and made the lengthy trek out to Cronulla to take on a coastal walk through Botany Bay National Park. The landscape reminded me a lot of Royal National Park, which starts just south of Cronulla: think flat clifftop rock all down the coastline with little rock coves down below in the sea. And because it was winter, I encountered several whales and puddles along the way (one was much more enjoyable than the other).

Man, it felt amazing to have the warm sun on my skin and my bare feet in the sand again. Summer, please hurry up and get back to Sydney!

hiking cronulla

That One Time I Kicked Butt In Gym Class

I am well used to performing in the bottom half of most any strength training class I take. There’s no denying that guys can typically lift a lot more weight than girls can, and these classes are typically dominated by men, so… it’s pretty obvious math there.

But there was one day this month where only 5 people showed up for the lower body strength training class at my gym (usually it’s, like, 20 or more). Somehow all the variables aligned and I absolutely DOMINATED the class. I charged through each exercise in the circuit, from box jumps to lunges to bridge lifts, moving faster and sometimes even carrying more weight than the guys in the class (who at times had to stop and take quick breaks). It was so fun to finally have the tables turned because usually *I’m* the one gasping for breath and not 100% completing each exercise. Full credit goes to my man legs!

sydney coastal walk
#MANLEGS

What’s Next in August 2016

I’m powering through one more month of house sitting and getting sh*t done here in Sydney. These sits involve young, mid-sized, energetic dogs and homes with Sydney skyline views, so if nothing else they should bring a little more excitement to my life (hopefully not in the form of drama this time!).

And the getting sh*t done involves the following and likely more:

  • Trip planning for the Philippines and short excursions from Sydney (Canberra? Blue Mountains?)
  • Badgering old employers to sign off on my job references so I can proceed with applying for my work visa
  • Continuing to work on my e-book
  • My usual freelance SEO/web/copywriting work

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

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  • That sux about Milo, what a downer end to an otherwise great sit. I haven’t had any bad experiences with housesitting yet but a friend was bitten by the dog she was looking after the other day :(

    • Oh god! Hope it wasn’t too serious? I’m learning so much as I accumulate more house sits. I think going forward I’m going to take the dog’s temperament into consideration before I accept any sits – have had a couple recently that are very high energy, one of which refuses to get back on the lead after I take her to play in the park. Spending 2 hours trying to get her to come home = NOT FUN! :/