Planning for the Land Down Under

Australia has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. This year I set a goal to go to one new-to-me state and one new-to-me country. I’ve traveled to Japan 3 of the last 4 years, in part because it’s been relatively inexpensive, even cheaper than going to the mainland U.S. But this year seemed to be the right time to go to Australia, particularly because airfares to Sydney were affordable. Better yet that I’m using miles for the return flight and had enough miles to upgrade to business class! (essentially first class)

Pooky & Louis studying about Australia

My time will be split between Melbourne and Sydney. So far the following are on my itinerary:

The following dining experiences are also in my plans:

The adventure begins in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

p.s. you can find me at #kendrasadventures

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Work Life Balance

It’s been four years since my last post.  Why is that?  The easy (and cop out) answer is that I’ve been busy with life, and this blog has not been my priority.  So why have I returned now?  It’s part of my effort to restore the ever sought after “work life balance.”  What the heck is that anyway?  As hokey as it sounds, it’s what I’ve spent the past 16 months searching for.  Since my last post, I’ve changed jobs 3 times, went back to school, and have been on probably a dozen trips, including my first trip to Japan.  I also found myself getting much more involved in political activities than I ever imagined possible.

Until last year, work ruled my life.  I’m not complaining.  Since 2001, I’ve had jobs that I’ve absolutely loved — I know most people can’t say the same.  But, work was really my life.  My work friends became my personal friends.  I easily spent at least a quarter of the year working 60+ hours per week.  And I loved it.  But, after losing a job that I loved because the person I worked for lost an election, I did some soul searching.  Maybe this was my chance to do something I’d dreamed of for years, like going back to school.  Or maybe I should find a different career path.  I ended up getting a job that gave me an opportunity to work with someone I admired and not-so-secretly wanted to work for.  But somehow, that wasn’t enough, and six months later I found myself going through somewhat of a midlife crisis.  As much as I loved working with that elected official, I decided I needed to really think about what I wanted to do, and I quit my job without having anything lined up.  Some people might think that was reckless.  For me, it was something I needed to do to save my sanity.

So what did I do after I quit?  The first thing I did was take a 10 day trip to Japan, which was life changing.  Then, I applied for grad school.  I also started exercising regularly, with a weekly Pilates session and walking several times a week.  I spent a lot of time with friends.  I spent time talking to people about different job opportunities.  Because I was unemployed, it gave my mind the freedom to think about ALL types of opportunities, and not just pigeonholing my thoughts to staying with state government.  It forced me to really think about the qualities I really wanted in a career.  I had time to think about what I valued, I came to the realization that most of my adult life has been dedicated to activities where I felt I could be of service to others and have meaningful impact.  In the end, I went back to state government in a position where I could contribute to positive, widespread change, but in a pretty different area than what I’d been doing for the past 15 years.  I also got into grad school.  And now, I’m trying to adjust things to incorporate other things back into my life (especially health and fitness, but also my creative outlet such as this blog) and thinking about what I can and should unload.

Why am I sharing this here?  Partly because I enjoy writing.  But mostly, I hope that it can help others.

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Annual Pilgrimage to Las Vegas

For almost 20 years, I have been making an almost annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas.  It’s probably the closest thing I have to a second home.  But it’s not the same kind of pilgrimage that most people from Hawaii make…I’m not really a gambler.  I go, in part, to help some friends with the Super Run Car Show, a Classic Car Experience.

Super Run is a big deal — it’s one of the largest car shows in Southern Nevada, held in Downtown Henderson, usually around the last couple weekends in September.  Proud car owners enter their cars of all types and share in the camaraderie of fellow car enthusiasts.  The general public can walk through the car show and vote for their favorite cars, as well as patronize the various food and other vendors that set up their tents along Water Street in Downtown Henderson.

There is also a Super Run Kick Off held the day before the festivities begin on Water Street.  This year’s Kick Off was held at The District at Green Valley Ranch.  Super Run participants come to pick up their registration packets, and some of them bring their cars to display in The District.  The District is a nice place for this event because there are a number of shops and restaurants for participants to patronize in between sharing in the camaraderie.

In addition to helping out with the Super Run Car Show, because I’m not much of a gambler, I spend the remainder of my time in Vegas doing things like shopping and eating.  This year, I had a few restaurants on my list that I plucked from a Travel and Leisure magazine article by Peter Jon Lindberg.  Let me tell you, Mr. Lindberg knows what he’s talking about…every place I tried from his list was great!  Granted, I only tried 3 places, but 3 out of 3 is a great average.  These are the places I tried based on the recommendations in the Travel and Leisure article:

The other memorable good eats from this trip were Chef Flemming’s BakeShop in Downtown Henderson and Rachel’s Kitchen in The District.  I also had some good eats from food vendors at Super Run.

I will leave you with that teaser for now and will describe these places in greater detail in future posts.

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Thanks for visiting!

Welcome to Gastro Voyager!

Pardon the dust…things are still under construction, but I hope to have bits and pieces of the site up and running in the next few weeks.  Please visit again soon to share in tales of fun, food, and adventure!

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