2009 in Review: The Professional Hobo

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As I sit in the remaining days of 2009, reflecting upon days past and planning for days to come, I realize that this year has seen quite a few adventures!

It all started roughly a year ago, when we decided to give the gift of pumpkin pies to as many Australians as we could. We baked a lot of pumpkin pies. A lot. But we also succeeded in getting the vast majority of Aussies to agree that pumpkin can indeed be incorporated into desserts, contrary to initial popular opinion.

In the course of our holiday celebrations, I continued to explore such Aussie phrases as Fair Dinkum and other unique expressions in my linguistic journey around the world.

This post was originally published in 2009. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

2009 in review, started with the Victorian Bush Fires

The heat hit us in full force by mid-January, culminating in the 100 year heat wave which I normally would have enjoyed if it weren’t for Australia’s worst-ever natural disaster – the Victorian Bushfires – pummelling the area where we live and turning our lives upside-down for weeks (if not months). While we were evacuated, we volunteered and did as much relief work as possible. It was truly heartwarming to see how Australians nation-wide came together in such inspirational ways to help each other. By the end of February, we were (somewhat) settled back into our place and tried to recapture a sense or normality over the ensuing days and weeks, along with so many others who had endured the fires in one way or another.

Oh yeah, and I met the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. That was pretty cool. (!)

In March, we traveled to the Snowy Mountains and conquered Kozzy (Australia’s highest mountain, but don’t worry – the dog could do it!) and enjoyed all that the off-season has to offer in the alpine village of Thredbo.

I became a published author in May, with the release of 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget (Skyhorse Publishing). Set for release in an economically climate primed for people to want to save extra money, it has been flying off the shelves in the US, and has seen releases in Canada and China since then.

Shortly thereafter I started the popular bi-weekly Week-In-The-Life series here at TheProfessionalHobo, profiling the “daily grind” of other long-term and full-time travelers as they experience the world in their own unique ways.

In the meantime, Kelly and I received working rights and visa extensions as a result of the work we did during the bush fires…something rare for two travelers over the age 30 – so Kelly took the opportunity to work and save some extra money for our future travels by running operations for an outdoor education company. (While I initially focused on just writing, I too was eventually lured in by the same company (going on expeditions) towards the end of the year).

While we were busy discovering more Australian foods and abbreviations, winter set in. Good thing Aussie winters are absolutely beautiful, with rolling green hills and layers of magical fog.

But the beauty wasn’t enough to keep me on-side in the southern hemisphere – I prefer the heat. So in July, I took off to greet the summer in New York, then head to Toronto to visit family and friends, and Mexico for a wedding. While in Toronto I even managed to nab a live appearance on Canada AM!

After an excruciating trip back to Australia and a reintroduction to Australian vs Canadian coins, I reconnected with the magical sounds of Australian birds that are unbelievable until you hear (and see) them. With this fresh bout of active travel under my belt, I also explored a few nerve-touching issues around full-time travel and America’s unofficial no-vacation policy.

The remainder of the year saw such adventures as gold panning, koala spotting, fire spinning, and getting sheep.

And now, on the heels of re-writing I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas just for the Aussies, I look on to the year ahead. Official plans are still in the making, but it may well be that Australia will again be a home base for this year, on the basis that Kelly has some (temporary) career opportunities which can’t be ignored.

I’ll keep busy with regular trips into the Aussie bush, guiding groups of school kids on paddling/camping/hiking/climbing trips. It allows me to see a different piece of Australia entirely to what most people see, it forces me to get outside and away from my desk (which as a writer, is a constant challenge!), and heck – let’s call a spade a spade – it pays too!

I’ll probably take a few trips farther away too; maybe India? New Zealand? Some place I haven’t thought of yet? Between seat sales and serendipity, I expect we’ll keep our perpetual life on the road interesting here at The Professional Hobo in 2010.

Thanks for reading, and stick around!

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18 thoughts on “2009 in Review: The Professional Hobo”

  1. @Deb – Thanks! It seemed like a pretty tame year, but in summary – I guess I was a pretty busy girl!

    @Rachel – I love these summary posts. I tend to do one when we leave a place, or at the turn of the year. I recently reviewed the one I did on Hawaii….and I’d largely forgotten about a bunch of those adventures! Yay for blogging.

    @soultravelers3 – Thanks Jeanne! I feel the same way about your own travel adventures….I guess we vicariously follow each other…. 🙂

  2. Great summary! I’ve read many of your adventures through the year, but it’s still fun to see a whole year in one place 🙂

  3. @Mike – Thanks for following…you’ve been pretty busy this year yourself! Whew….well if you ever need a witty host or brilliant actress for your work… 😉

    @Frank – Wherever I am is indeed the hobobase du jour. And du jour – it’s Oz! Thanks for your appreciation around the fires…we simply did what we thought was necessary and a good thing to do, since we were in the middle of it anyway. And it has been a tough haul with longer-term ramifications and adjustments for the community, but with such strong will-power characteristic in Aussies, everybody is pulling through.

    Enjoy your trip to the secret spot(!), and say hi to a koala for me!

  4. I guess this is one of the benefits of blogging, you have your whole year laid out behind you no matter where you are! So, writing the annual summary is a snap. It gave me a good chance to catch up on some of the posts I had missed. I had an especially tough time getting through the “America, the no-vacation nation” article.

    After working for a Fortune 50 corporation for 13 years, avoiding vacations, working at my desk over lunch, on weekends and late into the evenings on frequent occasions… 25,000 of us were laid off and the CEO went to great pains to make sure we knew it was, “nothing personal.”

    I left behind 5 weeks of paid vacation that I never truly appreciated. The only options available to me now are unpaid leaves and no guarantee of continued employment afterward. This is an ugly treadmill and now it is looking me right in the face! Thanks for the opportunity for self reflection. ;^)

  5. @John – Indeed, putting together these summaries is a snap; all I have to do is review my posts!

    I’m so sorry that the No Vacation Nation article hit a nerve for you. It’s pretty hard-hitting stuff. What you’ve got now – unpaid leaves and no guarantee of continued employment afterward – sounds like freelancing to me! Welcome, my friend, welcome. Now the onus is on us to earn as much money we can with the gigs we take so we can pay ourselves to go on vacation! (Easier said than done, of course).

  6. @Dora Thanks, I had not equated this to freelancing, it gives it a sort of legitimacy I didn’t have before. I have lots of time to plan. I get 6 weeks between terms in July-September — no pay, but benefits if my contract is renewed. So, I have time and time to plan… now, I just have to figure out what to do!

  7. Can’t resist this, I’m betting you guys will end up being based here – maybe the new hobobase… (or is wherever you are the current hobobase ??)

    It HAS been a busy year in hoboland.

    Just to reiterate, very, very thankful for your excellent work around the fires. Reading between the lines it must have been a very traumatic event for you and you could easily have just packed up and run! BUT, you stayed and you contributed. A fine thing to do, so thanks.

    The other big highlight for you personally must be the book launch and it “flying off the shelves”. Congrats and keep it up!

    Have a great New Year. We are off to where you saw the koalas on Saturday (you know, the secret spot) It will NOT be a lightweight camping trip. Cheers and many VB’s – Frank

  8. If I could suggest, New Zealand is an amazing place, it is absolutely worth a visit.
    Your year was just amazing, and I wish you a happy new one.

  9. Congratulations on such a fantastic year! It has been quite a success. All the best for 2010 and I look forward to seeing what the Professional Hobo will do to keep inspiring us all in the future. I love the picture of you two baking at the top! Happy New Year!

  10. Nora,

    Wishing you the best for 2010. I love your bi-weekly recaps and this annual recap. It’s great to reflect back on the year and see what we did, instead of living with blinders on and only looking out at today and tomorrow. Can’t live in the rear-view mirror, but to look deep into it every once and a while is a good thing. I might do this for my own site.

    I have asked this before, but it’s worth asking again. When a hobo lives in one place for a year, gets a regular job (even a really good one), can’t leave because the career is going well again, when does she stop being a hobo and becomes someone who has just moved?

    Any plans for a new hobo base?


  11. @John – I’ve always got a good spin that justifies/rationalizes stuff! Just give me a call if you need a good rationalization…any time! 🙂

    @Chis – I can’t wait to hit NZ. It’s just a matter of when! (I’m told by many people that we’ll like it even more than Australia)!

    @Scott – Thanks for your support. You are touching a nerve that runs very deep by challenging my “hobo” status, and although Although the specifics of the situation are very personal and private, let’s just say that there are factors that are out of my control that have necessitated this extra year here. Whether or not I can retain my branding through this time is up to the reader, I guess.

    @Dave & Deb – Thanks! I still can’t wait to meet….be it in Toronto, Asia, or…. 🙂

    @flip – Thanks! Same to you!

    @Joe – Thanks. There are indeed some fires burning, but none close to where we are. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a tiny sense of dread for this summer, but then again – most of the fuel around here was burnt last year!

  12. Great adventures and a good recap! I’m actually really interested in reading your book. We just completed a trip and have considered writing a book ourselves, and your travel stories and tips on this blog have been very inspirational. Your stories bring back memories of our trip.

  13. @Laurie – Thanks! And great Site – looks like you’ll be able to develop lots of good fodder for your book with it. Keep me posted! How long was your trip?


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