Harry Potter Park (A.K.A Hyde Park)


So back in April of 2013, I briefly mentioned that while we were gallivanting around Hyde Park doing silly things like going for runs and such, we had random people offer to take a photo of Rachel in a compromising position. Which brings us to the sign in the photo above. When we saw it in Hyde Park, we were pretty excited – I mean, who wouldn’t be?  Even John Green thought it was cool enough to put in one of his videos! (0:46)

So, naturally, we took photos of ourselves next to it. I was taking the photo above when a group of strangers walked by and asked if I would also like to get in the photo. I politely declined, but unfortunately, it was too late for Rachel. They had already seen her like that.  This is one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments, but it was incredibly funny and we laughed about it for days.

– Annette.



That Time We Nearly Died On The Way To Sydney

That Time We Nearly Died On The Way To Sydney

Have you ever had one of those moments in your life when you thought you were going to die? Well, up until October 6th, 2012, I had been lucky enough to avoid any near death experiences and, until it actually happens, until I actually die, I hope that I never have to go through anything like it ever again. It was the single, most terrifying experience of my life.

You know those roads where it is so far between towns that they have to purposely build petrol stations? That’s the kind of road we were on. We were at that stage of the road trip where the excitement was starting to wane, but we weren’t close enough to our destination for the excitement to flare up again. We had been on the same stretch of road for the past few hours and nothing noteworthy had happened… Well, unless you count us singing (making up the words) to Tintarella De Luna at the top of our lungs. Suddenly, out of the nowhere, a swarm of bikies surrounded us. The sound of hundreds of motorbikes is indescribable and something that will forever send a shiver up my spine. When we recognised the logo on the back of the thick leather jackets as a well known Aussie bikie gang (we will not disclose the name for fear that we will be hunted down and murdered), our hearts started thudding in our chests. What were we to do? Should we pull over, would that make us targets? Panic set in, Rachel was driving but when she started sobbing uncontrollably, I had to reach over and take the wheel. I glanced out the window and my eyes locked with one of the gang. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was a hardened criminal. He must have seen my fear, and maybe that’s all they came for, because they then left as quickly as they had came to start terrorising another vehicle and we were left try to pick up the pieces of our shattered existence. We thought that was the last of it until we drove over a bridge and saw an abandoned bike on the side of the road. And then, on the river bank, we saw it. We won’t go into detail, it was horrific, but we knew that the bikie gang had disposed of one of their own. Again, we were struck with the question of what to do. It was clear that there was no way we would be helping the poor chap, the question was whether or not to ditch our car, change our identities and start a new life. We were pondering this difficult decision when we saw the police vehicles driving towards us. It was like a mirage and we couldn’t quite believe it. But then, like the sound of angels, we heard the sirens and we knew that they were real and that we were safe. Nevertheless, we were too afraid to rat anybody out, so when we were stopped and interrogated by at least 12 uniformed officers, clad in bullet proof vests, guns drawn, we said nothing. To our luck, they believed us, and we drove away into the sunset, changed women. And all the more stronger for it.

***NB. This account may be slightly exaggerated. And by exaggerated we mean we did end up sharing the road with hundreds of bikies from a well known gang (and by well known, we mean we had to Google it) and we did see a large police presence on the side of the road, but the bikies were very respectful and did not harm or intimidate us, or anyone else that we are aware of. This is one of those stories that started out as an interesting event in our fairly mundane drive and slowly snowballed into a tale of our imminent demise. Now, whenever we talk about it, we each try to outdo our last re-telling of the story. One day, I’m sure it will become a story of how we managed to save the world from an impending apocalypse.

– Annette

Our Tattoos


So when we decided we were definitely going to get tattoos, (we were, then we weren’t, then we were… etc.) the first dilemma we faced was; where would we go to get tattooed? Being from Melbourne, this was a more difficult decision to make than it normally would be because we had to rely heavily on website photos. Fortunately, Rachel had a friend of a friend that hailed from Umina and was able to recommend a tattoo shop, specifically referring us to one tattooist. Unfortunately, when we called to book, we were unable to get in with that specific tattooist because we had left it too late due to our indecision over getting tattoos, but we were fortunate enough to secure a spot with another tattooist at the same shop. His name was John.

I got my tattoo first and, as usually happens, John asked about the story. I told him that we were on a road trip from Melbourne, visiting sites from Melina Marchetta’s books. He dutifully asked who this was (*eye roll and sigh*) and I asked if he had heard of Looking For Alibrandi. John’s face lit up with recognition while he told me that it was one of his wife’s favourite movies. And then he told me something that made the story so much better. Tattooist John was friends with the guy who played the lookalike John Barton in the scene where Josie sees whom she believes is John, when in actual fact, it’s not. Coincidence? Perhaps. Awesome? Hell yeah! (You may remember us mentioning this a while back.  Click here for the original post.)

To cap the story off, I had to move my car (surprise, surprise) and, when I left, I turned to Rachel and made the reference that was waiting to be made from the moment that John was formally introduced to us. I said ‘Bye John’ before closing the door and walking away. Granted, it would have been much cooler had I not started laughing hysterically half way through, but you get the gist. – Annette


*** Please note my explanation may contain SPOILERS.

Deciding on what quote to get from my all-time favourite book was incredibly difficult. I spent a long time thinking about it, as 1. There is so very many quotes to choose from, and 2. It’s a tattoo. I’m stating the obvious here, but considerable thought should always be put into something that’s going to be on your body for life. Annette and I agreed that we would attempt to pick a short quote each, which narrowed it down a bit. I ended up agonising over two quotes – ‘Wonder dies’ and ‘I wonder’ – that are similar in wording but very different in meaning.

‘Wonder dies’ is from the prologue, which is probably the  most heart-breaking piece of writing I’ve ever read and yet, one I have endless amounts of love for. It is, without a doubt, one of  my favourite passages from OTJR.

‘Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”

‘Did I wonder?

When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?

‘Wonder dies.’

‘I wonder’ are the final words from the book (not including the epilogue).

‘I look at Hannah, waiting for the answer. And then she smiles. Webb once said that a  Narnie smile was a revelation and, at this point, I need a revelation. And I get one.

‘I wonder,’ Hannah says.’

My interpretation of these quotes is that they are essentially opposite to each other in meaning. ‘Wonder dies’ is an explanation of the depth of Narnie’s grief; the loss of her ability to experience amazement/marvel/astonishment – some of the basic feelings wonder provokes in you – due the extreme trauma she goes through, watching her father die and being forced to see what the car crash did to her mother. As a result of the death of her parents, Narnie battles depression for much of her life. During her teenage years in particular, she doesn’t have any hope and lacks the will to live. To me, ‘I wonder’ is significant coming from Hannah (Narnie) because it shows the re-occurence of her ability to feel these emotions.

So to summarise, the deciding factor for why I eventually chose ‘I wonder’ as opposed to ‘Wonder dies’ is because I prefer to be reminded of hope, rather than despair.


Deciding on a quote from OTJR to permanently imprint onto my body was probably the hardest decision of my life. The problem, as you would know if you’ve read the book, is that there are too many to choose from. I was able to rule out a lot that were too long or were dialogue, but I was still left with far too many. Eventually I decided on ‘Long to be’.

Usually when people ask what it means and I start to explain that it means ‘belong’ I can almost feel their eyes rolling as they presume I’m going to embark on a tale of woeful musings about how I don’t fit in. Then I roll my eyes because they clearly a) have not read the book and b) probably don’t have the intellectual capacity to comprehend it anyway so I usually end up just going with ‘it’s from a book’.

But I’m sure that our lovely readers fit into neither of these categories (well…you may not have read OTJR but I am sure you would love it if you did) so I will proceed to share my love of this quote. If you haven’t read the book, you may want to stop reading now as there may be *SPOILERS* depending on your definition.

In the beginning of the book Taylor says “There is just something about that boy that makes me feel like I belong. Belong. Long to be.” At this point, (from my perspective anyway) it does represent a sort of woeful misery of teenage angst and not fitting in, but as the story unfolds you learn the power of those words. You learn the importance of family and community and the need to belong, particularly for Taylor who has so often felt displaced in her life. But it’s not only Taylor who is searching for that sense of belonging, it really is an overarching theme to the book. In the end, some of the final words are “A home to come back to every day of their lives. Where they would all belong or long to be.” And it’s no longer said with a sense of yearning or despair, but with so much hope and love that it makes you feel all warm and gooey on the inside. So, for me, ‘Long to be’ not only signifies the importance of human connection, which I believe is a fundamental need and desire, but also a very basic re-telling of the story from beginning to end and, aside from tattooing the entire novel on myself, that’s the closest I think I am ever going to get.


This hilarious image is one of our recent attempts to get both our faces and respective tattoos to fit all in one photo. It sort of worked….


The Cinematic Genius That Was BAIT 3D

The Cinematic Genius That Was BAIT 3D

I haven’t yet decided if the night we ventured out to see Bait 3D was one of the best and worst nights of my life, but it was certainly one of the most memorable. We headed out for dinner before driving into the CBD to see Bait 3D. We had plenty of time so we decided to visit the Coca Cola sign. All was going smoothly until we needed to get back to the cinema. At this stage we still had about an hour before the movie started and this should have been more than enough time. Alas, it was not. We drove to where we needed to be, but roadworks and a lack of parking meant that we couldn’t stop where we needed to. Being from Melbourne, I thought ‘never mind, I’ll just go around the block’. Silly me. We ended up on one side of the city, then on the other side, then in the inner suburbs. I think I was even driving on the wrong side of the road at one point. At first, it was funny and we were laughing hysterically. Then I got stressed and annoyed and it became less funny for me, but still rather funny for Rachel. To top it off, my GPS didn’t like to work in the city and Rachel has…questionable nagivation skills. Plus, she was laughing so hard and recording me ranting that she wouldn’t have had the time to direct me anyway. If we ever figure out how to format the video, we will upload that little gem on here one day. Eventually we found our way back to the cinema and I parked somewhere that I probably shouldn’t have. We stopped at Subway to get some cookies and, despite me ranting about the terrible state of Sydney roads and town planning, the guy behind the counter gave us some freebies. Score!

We then proceed to watch the best movie of our entire lives. Now, some critic reviews may claim that Bait had bad acting, a terrible story line and that ‘calling Bait 3D a crap film would be a compliment’ but I disagree. I only have 2 bad words to say about Bait: Lincoln Lewis. Other than that, it was a film fraught with hilarity. The use of firearms under water, a meat tenderiser for a weapon and an inappropriate nap made for many, many laughs. However, possibly the funniest thing to happen was not a part of the movie at all. Now, if you’ve seen the movie, you will know that there is not 1 but 2 sharks trapped in a flooded supermarket. One in the store and one in the underground car park. I am embarrassed to admit that I actually thought that there was one highly intelligent shark that was able to get from one level to another. In my defense, there was no credibility to any other part of the movie, so this is not an entirely illogical conclusion to jump to. This is a photo of us (looking delightful, wearing our 3D glasses over our normal glasses) taken when the credits were rolling, rather flushed from laughing so hard.

– Annette


First Signage For Yass!

First Signage For Yass!

There are several factors that need to be taken into account in order to describe how epic this photo is;

1) I took this photo (because Rachel was busy driving) so there was a high chance of failure

2) I didn’t know we were fast approaching a sign so I didn’t have the camera ready

3) I was very fumbly trying to unlock my phone and get the camera ready.  This was coupled with extreme excitement which caused my fingers to malfunction

4) We were travelling 110kms down the freeway

5) A Ute drove past just as I was taking this photo, initially leaving me thinking that it had ruined the shot and I may or may not have cursed the driver

6) I have no idea how to work settings on my iphone camera, so the fact that the sign to Yass is clear and the Ute is blurry is a miracle.  I have no idea how that happened.

7) It’s freaking YASS!! Despite there being very few instances where anyone is actually in Yass, it is a very important location in the Taylor/Jonah history.

Needless to say, there were so many factors against the taking of this photo, yet, as you see above, it was actually quite successful.  Take that factors!

– Annette


Taking Photos Through The Car Window. Tralala.

So taking a photo through the car window turned better than expected.

Obviously, this is a photo of the sky taken through the car window. It’s sort of pretty and helps us to document the first day of our road trip. However, the reason I took it is because I have tinted windows in my car and polarised sunglasses. The combination of the two made it look like the sky was a water painting of purples, reds and blues. Basically, I thought I was tripping balls. But no…it was just science! … Maybe? Anyway, I couldn’t capture that on camera, so I just took this photo instead. And, as much as I love sharing our road trip with you all, I kind of like that I saw the sky in a way that is purely for me to remember.

– Annette