About Me

My photo
I'm Shannon and I am applying for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD. I am an outgoing, self-motivated, funny girl who loves to travel. After graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in Theatre and English, I lived in Australia for one year. During that time I spent 6 months living in the Northern Territory; three months in the mining town of Nhulunbuy on the Gulf of Carpenteria, one month in Darwin and two months in Alice Springs. I did spend some time in Queensland, I LOVED Townsville and Rockhampton and Great Kepple Island. I had the opportunity to dive the Great Barrier Reef and I learned to surf. I sailed the Whitsunday Islands and am KEENLY aware of what I will be missing out on if I don't get to experience Hamilton Island for myself. On this blog I will be writing about me, my past travel experiences and hopefully showing everyone why I am the best candidate for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD! If you would like to email me you can reach me at shannontheislandgirl@rogers.com If it takes me some time to respond to your email, it's just because I'm busy packing my bags! See you on the island!

The Island Girl's Videos

Monday, June 1, 2009

For Fun

From THIS

We get THIS



Thanks for the material Stamperoo!

Read more...

Monday, March 2, 2009

This Phase is Over...On to the Next

So, it's official. I am not in the Top 50 Candidates for The Best Job in the World. I knew this a few days ago when I did not receive the email asking me to complete the online testing, but today the Top 50 were announced. You can see all of their videos HERE and vote for the candidate you like best.


There has been a lot of banter on the NING site about who would make the Top 50 and I have been shocked at some of the animosity that has come out. People were able to deduce, via NING silence and Twitter updates, who had received the email about testing. Everyone seemed very happy and supportive of the NING members who they thought may be a potential candidate, but they certainly lost no time turning on Tourism Queensland. There have been threats of class action law suits, anger that they seemed to be favouring candidates with media and journalistic experience, and outrage that all of the "potentials" were young and very attractive.

Although I have not had the chance to view all of the videos yet, I have seen some of them on the NING site. And, although I am not one who is choosing anger over this situation, (let's be honest when 34 000 people apply for a job your shots are always pretty slim), I believe that the people discussing the top 50 in the forums have a valid point. Tourism Queensland was slightly misleading on a number of fronts:

  • Did they want someone who is funny and can make them laugh or did they want someone with a well rounded knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef? None of the videos that I have watched on the short list have made me laugh, and none show a great understanding of the Great Barrier Reef, (unless listing facts you read on Wikipedia counts as a great understanding). Tourism Queensland seemed to put a very large emphasis on being charming and funny for most of the competition, then at the end they started focusing on the knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef. However none of the videos I have seen have either of those qualities.
  • There were many qualifications listed as necessary to land the job. Being able to swim, being able to clean the pool, speaking fluent English and, here's the tricky one, "one years relevant experience". What does that mean? One year cleaning pools? One year blogging? One year....one year doing what? There were many people who have more than one year doing exactly what Tourism Queensland is looking for the Island Caretaker to do, had better videos than some in the Top 50, and they did not even receive an invitation to do the online testing let alone be short listed.
  • Tourism Queensland has said many times that they are looking to fill an "actual job". Are they? There has been speculation that they are holding a beauty pageant. Look at the Top 50. What do you think?
I hope that I'm not sounding bitter or upset. I'm not. These things happen and now it's time to move on to other things. I am looking forward to watching this next phase of the competition to see who ends up in the Top 10. And I'm looking forward to doing new things myself. Joanne asked me if I would keep up the blog. My answer is yes. Last we spoke we were in South East Asia. I have many more stories to tell and tell them I will. Stay tuned. And let me know what you think about the rest of the Island Caretaker competition. I would love to hear what you think.

Read more...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where do we go from here? (Sung in the tune of Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Tourism Queensland has posted THIS information about the shortlisting process. Apparently potential Top 50 applicants will receive an email on Thursday February 26 Queensland time, to undergo some kind of psychometric testing. It's almost 1am here in Toronto. That makes it....4pm in Queensland. By the time I wake up it won't be Thursday in Queensland any more. If I haven't heard anything at that time does that mean that I'm out? I'm not ready for this to be done. I will wake up in less than 9 hours. If I only have 9 hours left on this journey what does that mean? Should I stay awake all night? What will I do with myself? As they sang in Buffy, "Where do we go from here"? I have two things that give me hope:

1. As far as I can tell, no one on NING has yet to receive an email either. There are no forum discussions yet about actually having to do the test. Maybe they are not allowed to disclose, however, so far so quiet on the NING front.
2. I was mentioned in another article! The same site that garnered me my first comment on this blog has quoted me in an article. You can see it HERE

But really, where do we go from here? If we don't get the email, or if we do get the email and then don't end up as one of the top 50, what now? What will you do from here? Have you been inspired to move in a different direction in your life?

Read more...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

South East Asia - Part One

A few years ago my friend Andrew was embarking on a ‘round the world’ trip for one year. Sadly, I didn’t have a year of my life to dedicate at the time but I did have 7 weeks. So, for 7 weeks Andrew and I travelled through South East Asia: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia. I was nervous, to say the least, before I left on this trip. Although I was happy to be travelling in that part of the world, I was still nervous; nervous about the language barrier, nervous about being someplace so different to what I was used to; nervous about safety; nervous about not ever wanting to come back home. Nerves aside, I packed my bags and off I went.

I flew out of Toronto on New Years Eve day. The first thing I learned on this trip I learned before I even left my house; leaving on a big, long trip that soon after Christmas is not a good idea. In fact, it’s pretty stressful. But being on a plane over New Years was kind of fun. The employees on Japan Airlines did their best to keep everything festive. It’s impossible to know what time zone you’re in while in the air so at one point they handed out boxes with candies, New Year’s hats and noisemakers and that was New Years. I am not a New Years person so not having to worry about what I would be doing on that day was just fine by me.

The first stop on the trip was Bangkok. Andrew’s flight arrived just before mine so we were able to meet at the airport and try to find the hotel together. I had been doing some reading on the plane and was instantly terrified about arriving in Bangkok in the middle of the night. In one of my guide books I read that one of the scams that is often pulled at the airport is that an English speaking traveler will approach you to share a cab because you’re both going to the same hotel but they are just waiting to rob you. Before I had a chance to tell Andrew about this, (at this point I had emailed him enough about my fears and insecurities that he wouldn’t have been shocked at all that I had found something new to freak out about), this man who spoke English with a slight French Canadian accent was talking to us in the taxi line and, wouldn’t you know it, we were staying at the same hotel. Andrew agreed to the car share before he could see the look of terror on my face. I remember purposely bitting my nails in the cab for potential DNA testing if we went missing. (I had been watching too much CSI while packing. I couldn’t help myself). It wasn’t a scam. This man was in fact staying at the same hotel as us. He was lucky, his room was available. They had us booked for the next night and we were out of luck. Seeing as it was 3am this was not the best news in the world. We then had to try to find another guest house on the block that had room for us. After waking up two very tired looking women at two other guest houses we found a room, although we didn’t stay in that room long. The first thing I did when I got up in the morning was to break the faucet in the bathroom and get covered in freezing cold water gushing out the gaping hole in the wall. We changed rooms and I refused to turn on the tap after that.

My first day in Bangkok was glorious. It was everything I wanted and nothing I expected. Of course, because it was my first day in this new country, most of what I noticed manifested as lists of differences between my home, Toronto, and this new temporary home. The first thing that struck me was the smell of the city. I don’t notice that Toronto has a smell. I’m sure it does but it is not something that I am aware of. Bangkok was filled with smells, and it added such character to the city. It was wonderful and sometimes pungent all at the same time. The place I where I was most aware of scent was in the temples. The temples were probably my favourite part of South East Asia. It didn’t seem to matter which country I was in, the temples just blew me away. I’m not a religious person and so haven’t spent a great deal of time in churches, but who wouldn’t want to spend time in the temples of South East Asia? Everything about them is vibrant and detailed. The gilded Buddha’s of Thailand, the offerings of fruit and money to the ancestors in Vietnam, each temple offered new and wonderful experiences. Every temple was perfumed with incense. It was sweet, fragrant, and memorable. After I returned home to Toronto I heard about this exhibit of Buddha relics that was touring the world. There was a temple in Toronto that was hosting the exhibit. I went to see it in an effort to recapture Asia in my home city. And I did exactly that. As soon as I stepped through the doors and I breathed in the incense, I was instantly returned to Thailand. Had I not known any better I would have believed that I had been teleported half way around the world. I had never had such strong associations with scent before and even now, years after the trip, I can be back in a night market in Thailand by simply lighting the right kind of incense.

Read more...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meeting the Girls

Paris was everything I could have asked for and more.  On the flight from Rome I met a man who I will never forget.  We actually met in line for the bus to the airport and my biggest regret of 2008 is that I have no way of contacting him.  His name is Justin and he works for Proctor and Gamble.  He was a complete stranger who I spent 6 hours chatting with from downtown Rome all the way to Beauvais airport.  Justin, if you’re reading this send me an email.  I would love to hear from you. 


Joanne had arrived in Paris first and she met me at the bus from the airport. My bus got in late but we were both starved so we had a late dinner.  While having dinner two fantastic things happened. 

1.  The restaurant, Le Select, had a cat.  On the bar.  His name was Mickey.  That is what made me fall instantly in love with Paris.  

2.  There was a regular at this restaurant who is, apparently, famous for pestering pretty much everyone who eats there.  Especially if they are women.  We were no exception. Francois-Xavier, (self proclaimed Obnoxious, Friendly and Talkative Parisian), sat himself at our table and didn’t leave for half an hour.  Our food arrived….Francois-Xavier just kept on talking.  His food arrived, at his table and still he talked and talked and talked.  If you’re in Paris and you meet him tell him Shannon and Joanne said Hi!

Laura joined us the next morning, after Joanne and I did a bike tour of the city.  And we then spent the next few days gallivanting like fools around Paris, and eating our way through the best bakeries!  We went to a Jason Mraz concert and I fell in love with his music all over again.  (That happens pretty much every time I go to a Jason Mraz concert).

 

We took the Eurostar to London, and even though they were still dealing with the aftermath of the fire that had happened in one of the tunnels a few weeks before, we made it across faster and earlier than planned.  London on day one was a whirlwind.  Joanne only had the one day in London before she left so we did a whistle stop tour so she could see the highlights.  Then we went to the theatre.  I have been a theatre lover my entire life.  As far back as I can remember I have loved to go to the theatre.  But never have I loved it as much as when we saw Noel Coward’s Brief Encounters in London.  Everything about this production was perfect.  The cast was a talented ensemble, who were fully committed to their roles and the chemistry between them was palpable.  The set was innovative, using both traditional theatre tricks with video, and the audience was part of the show.  To say I loved it would be an understatement.  I was captivated the entire time.  And at intermission they were selling Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in individual containers.  Life really doesn’t get any better than spending time with your best friends, seeing amazing theatre and eating ice cream.  I was in heaven, and everyone spoke with a British dialect.  It was perfect.


Read more...

Falling In Love With Rome

Rome was my last stop in Italy before flying off to Paris.  My stepfather, Dieter, had me more than a bit scared of Rome.  My guide book did not help to allay those fears.  Being a woman alone in Rome was starting to feel like the biggest mistake I had made since I decided to perm only my bangs in grade school.  (It’s true.  No other part of my hair was permed at the time.  Just my bangs.  Who knows what I was thinking).  But both the guide book and Dieter had me worried unnecessarily.  I wasn’t pestered by random Italian men on the subway.  For awhile I thought that it was because I seemed so Italian myself that they couldn’t tell I was a tourist.  Then I looked in the mirror.  My face was covered in mosquito bites that I had acquired in Venice on my last night that refused to disappear, (seriously, I had never been bitten by a bug on my face before, what’s with that?), and I was having issues with the shoes I had brought with me so I was forced to buy brand new runners, which were bright white.  So there I am walking around fashionable Rome covered in bug bites with bright white runners. 

Maybe that’s why everyone gave me a wide berth.

 

 After climbing to the top of the Duomo in Florence I wasn’t ready to haul myself up the hundreds of steps at St Paul’s so I took the elevator to the top of the Vittariano or “the typewriter” as Italians call it to check out the views at sunset.  In this case, my guide book didn’t lie.  The views of Rome at sunset were beautiful.  I had fallen in love with the Coliseum earlier that day and was very happy I could see it from above.  Much like David, I could stare at the Coliseum for hours.  I was totally taken by it.

 


Rome was a great city, but it posed a bit of a problem for me.  Although I know that I didn’t do everything that Florence and Venice had to offer, I did feel content when I left those cities that I had done everything I wanted to do.  After my first hour in Rome I knew that I would not feel the same when I got on the plane to Paris.  Everything in Rome is something.  At every corner there is a ruin or an amazing church, or something that requires your attention.  There is no way to do it all in one go.  And I really had to wrap my head around that.  Rome is a beautiful mixture of the ancient, very old, old and new.  I took a subway to the Coliseum and while looking at that amazingly ancient and well preserved building you I could hear cars on the highway.  It’s a wild juxtaposition.  I would go back to Rome tomorrow if I could.  


Read more...

On to Florence

Early in the morning of day three I was on a train to Florence.  Florence is many things, but quiet is not one of them.  After the peacefulness of Venice where there are no cars and every corner is a quiet little alley, Florence was a bit of a shock!  It is beautiful and the view from the top of my hotel was amazing...the Duomo was so close it seemed like you could reach out and touch it.  I had booked myself in to a B&B in Florence before I left.  It was a bit more than I probably should have spent on accommodations, but the experience of staying there was worth every penny.  When I arrived this extremely energetic woman who spoke as much English as I did Italian did her best using gestures and sign language to show me around the hotel, all the important stuff, where the roof top patio was, where breakfast was, how to use the 700 keys to get in to the building.  She then handed me a cork screw, a plastic glass, and a bottle of wine.  No translation required on that one.  I threw my bags in my room and made my way to the roof and toasted the city and the view.  Who cares if it was 10 in the morning!   


 

I preferred Florence from my roof top than from the streets below.  When you venture in to the city itself you instantly become aware that there seem to be more Americas in Florence than there are Italians.  To all of my American friends and readers, please do not take offence.  It’s just that I was in Italy.  I had hoped to meet some Italians.  That’s all.  Also, people who travel on cruise ships, (and many of them are American) are a nightmare scenario for me.  They travel in packs, never just one or two, ten seems to be the smallest number they will move in, they yell and throw fits when people don't speak English, (it never seems to occur to them that the world is not here to cater to them), and it rained while I was in Florence, so they were all in giant groups armed with umbrellas.  I almost lost an eye.  No joke.   

When you get away from the crazy packs of people swarming the Duomo, Florence is lovely.  I ate the most amazing food ever.  I had tiramisu at least once a day, (usually twice), and although I was turned away from the one restaurant I really wanted to eat at because I was by myself, I did have a great time.  There always seems to be a full band playing outside, no matter where in the city you are, and Florence is home to the David.  I hesitate to write about the David because really all I can do is gush.  I had seen pictures of the David and knew what it was but I had no idea how absolutely, unbelievably, beautiful it is.  I spent 45 minutes just looking at it and could have spent hours more.  The pictures do not do it justice.  If you are in Florence you must see the David.  And not just for the David.  Lining the hallway that leads you to David there are unfinished Michelangelo sculptures.  This is when I fell in love with Michelangelo and decided I want to have his babies.  (Too bad I’m far too late!).  These unfinished sculptures look like they will come alive and break free of the stone any second.  I’ve never seen anything so compelling, ever.  I bought post cards of both David and the unfinished works, but they just can’t capture the aliveness of the work.  It is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

Read more...

Next Stop - Venice

Italy marked a few firsts for me. It was the first time I had ever been in a European country and the first time I had ever traveled by myself in a country where I did not speak the language. While preparing for the trip and working at the film festival I kind of forgot that I don’t speak Italian. I work at an Italian restaurant so I knew all the words for food, but something told me that would not come in handy when I would, invariably, get lost. (I am the girl who got lost in the town of Coober Pedy, and it’s the size of a drive in movie theatre, and everyone lives underground so you always have a clear view of where you are going and where you have been). The day before I left I bought the Frommer's Pocket Italian Phrase book and I have never been happier to spend $9.99. From my first moments on Lido Island when I couldn’t find my hotel, to my last day in Rome when I was having trouble ordering dinner, that little book came in extremely handy.
Venice proved to be the perfect place for me. Lido was fantastic because there were very few tourists there, and I love that. I love being where the people actually live when I am travelling. I don’t just want to see the ‘sights’, I want to see it all. My first breakfast was in a coffee bar filled with Italian Nona’s who got a real kick out of me and my phrase book. I ordered exactly what the woman in front of me did, (it looked good!), and although I thought I was ordering a honey croissant, (my French ear tells me that mele is honey. My French ear was wrong. In Italian it means apple. It was the first of many times when my French would lead me astray in Italian. I like apples so it didn’t much matter), and I learned to say my first Italian sentence. “May I have the bill please.” The Nona’s were very proud of me.
After breakfast it was on to Venice proper. I live in Toronto and I never really noticed that it was a noisy place. But compared to the quite that is Venice, Toronto is an assault on the ears. I loved how there were no cars, only the taping of stilettos on the street. (I can’t walk in stilettos on normal pavement. How these women manage it on cobblestones is beyond me). As someone who gets lost vey easily I was initially afraid of the twist and turns of Venice. It occurred to me that it was entirely possible that I would never find my way back to Lido. But being lost in Venice was fantastic. I loved that the map in front of me bore absolutely no resemblance to what was unfolding beneath my feet. I did all the ‘must dos” of Venice. St Marco’s, the Doge’s Palace, the Ponte Rialto, they all had my attention for a few fleeting minutes, and then the cruise ship patrons drove me back in to the alleys, or on to a boat.
The islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello were must sees for me. On Torcello I was expecting a deserted island with the remains of the first settlement in Venice. What I got was a boring church and vendors selling the same tourist crap they were selling all over Venice. Not exactly what I was looking for. Burano and Murano did not disappoint. Burano was my favourite part of Venice. I have always wanted to live in a house painted in bright bubblegum colours and on Burano that is the only kind of house there is. Pink, purple, yellow, blue, you name it and it’s there. The brighter the better it seems. And I couldn’t agree more.

Read more...

Travel Stories - On My Way to Europe

My best friends and I recently celebrated a milestone birthday. In order to commemorate the occasion, three of us decided that we would go to Paris and London. What better way to spend a potentially terrifying birthday than by being in Paris and London? Nothing seems as scary when you have to use your second language skills. As often happens when planning events that involve more than just one person, the trip was slightly delayed but it did happen. This past September Joanne, Laura and I packed our bags and off we went! The plan was to spend just over a week with the girls, starting in Paris and then moving north to London on the Eurostar. I knew that a week would not be enough time for me; I had never been to Europe before, so I left a week earlier than the girls, and spent a week traipsing through Italy before meeting up with everyone in Paris to start the birthday extravaganza.

My departure for this trip was a bit hurried as I work for the Toronto Film Festival and I was scheduled to depart one day after the festival closed.

Not the best planning choice on my part. I was delivered to the airport courtesy of the Peggy-mobile, much nicer than trekking on the subway to the airport. I flew on Air Transat. It’s a Canadian charter airline that flies to Europe and also to the Caribbean. The last time I flew a charter it was when La and I went to Mexico, and it wasn’t nice. The seats were tiny and the food was…well it was stereotypical airplane food. Air Transat was none of that. The seats were not all cramped together, they were leather and plush, and the food was President’s Choice Blue Menu Indian entrees, not only good but good for you too! The only complaint I had, (other than my total inability to sleep, which is so not like me, I usually can sleep anywhere), was that the first film was the new Indiana Jones movie. Until this flight I had never seen an Indiana Jones film from start to finish, (I know, I’m a bit of a nut case that way), and this was NOT the one to start with. FOR THE LOVE OF FILM, why was this movie ever made? What a waste of…well, a waste of everything. But other than that the flight was easy and I arrived in London with 5 hours to kill. So I went to Brighton, looking for the beach and the memoires. And I found it. I have a love for all things retro and hokey, and that is exactly what Brighton is. Coney Island...with British dialects. It’s fabulously dingy in all the ways you want. And you can eat fish and chips on the beach. Amazing.

After a few hours on the beach it was back to the airport for my flight to Venice. By the time I checked in for my flight I had been awake for over 24 hours and was exhausted. I 100% fell asleep on a bench waiting for my flight information to be posted on the departure board. Fell asleep so deeply I had dreams. This is the bench.

Read more...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Random Adventure in Toronto

I had every intention of coming home after work to write a blog post about my most recent trip. It was snowing heavily and I am really not a fan of the snow. (That is something else you should know about me I guess, I may be Canadian but I am not a winter person). So the snow and the cold and the wet made it the perfect night to come home and write some posts. But that didn't happen. Instead I went and saw Doubt with my friends Lynne and Debbie. It was a good decision for two reasons:

1. Doubt is a great film. You should go and see it.

2. It turns out that not all things made of ice and snow are bad. Lynne, Debbie and I accidentally found an outdoor festival...and even though it was cold and snowy it was a lot of fun! All around Yorkville there are these AMAZING ice sculptures right now. It's really pretty. So detailed and elegant. All of the sculptures are famous sites from around the world. Since we didn't know that we were going to stumble upon this magical winter wonderland we were unprepared and didn't have a camera to catch all of the fun. But I did have my blackberry...not the best quality pics ever but I think it captured all of the fun we had!









Read more...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Travel Stories - The Introduction


I love to travel. If you know me already, you know that. If you have just met me...Hi. Nice to meet you. My name is Shannon and I love to travel. I'll go anywhere. Any time. Really. It's true. What do you like to do?

Although this is my first blog, while I was traveling I did write home often about my adventures. Blogging sans blog, really. My grandmother, bless her cotton socks, has saved all of my emails, letters and post cards from all of my travels. Over the next few days I will be using these to post my travel stories here for all to read...not just those people whose email address I already have. I believe that your world is not complete until you have read about being attacked by a camel and my time living in Arnhem Land.

I will start with the most recent trip, (a Birthday extravaganza in Italy, France and England), and work backwards through South East Asia and Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. So stay tuned and read on about my travels as Shannon - The Island Girl.

Read more...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ChannelWhitsunday.com

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet up with John Nayler from ChannelWhitsunday.com while he was in Toronto on a very short stop over.  John is traveling the world and, while having many adventures of his own, is interviewing applicants for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD.  (John is an applicant himself.  You can check out his application video HERE).


Here is my interview with John that we filmed in Union Station here in downtown Toronto before he jumped on a train and headed on his way. 



Thanks again for meeting with me John.  It was a a lot of fun!  

Read more...

Monday, February 16, 2009

National Geographic is Cool

"The Great Barrier Reef is the tropical rain forest of the ocean" I thought that was a great way to describe the amazing ecosystem that exists, not only in the Great Barrier Reef, but in all of the coral reef systems in the world. (Did you know that there are coral reefs in 190 different countries? The work of reef conservation really is a global affair)

I have been doing some research on the coral of the Great Barrier Reef. I knew that the reefs were amazing living creations that are home to thousands of kinds of fish and marine life, but wow! The relationships that exist to make the reef work are amazing. What I found the most fascinating were the number of symbiotic relationships that must work perfectly in order for the reef to continue to exist. If one tiny thing falls out of whack, everything spirals downwards very quickly.

One of these symbiotic relationships exists between polyps and zooxanthellae. The reefs are actually a colony of coral polyps who join together by external skeletons. The polyps have tentacles with which they catch and eat plankton, however their primary food source comes from their BFFs, zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae, (let's call them Zoo from here on in just to make it easier for me), live inside the polyps and use photosynthesis to convert the sunlight in to food. (That is why coral reefs are always in relatively shallow water, they need the sun to survive) The waste produced by the Zoo are the main food source for the polyps and the polyps provide shelter and protection for the Zoo. Neither could exist without the other. This perfect friendship between the coral polyps and the zoo demands the most ideal oceanic conditions. If the water gets to warm or the sea levels get to high and the Zoo can't get energy from the sun, the relationship goes sour and the polyps kick the zoo out of their warm safe homes leaving the coral to lose it's colour and eventually starve to death. This process is called coral bleaching and it affects almost every coral reef in the world.

The Australian government follows coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef Action Plan is a 5 year $8.9 million plan that has been put in place to try to reverse climate change and it's affect on the Great Barrier Reef. Many of us who are applying for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD do not live in Australia but that doesn't mean that we can't do our part to help the reef recover and maintain it's delicate ecosystem balance. Through making small changes to our every day life, and by practicing responsible tourism while visiting sensitive areas like the Great Barrier Reef we can keep our world healthy enough that the 1.9 million tourists a year who visit the reef can keep coming back, and another 1.9 million can see the beauty that exists under the sea!


Anyway, the reason I started writing this post is because I was on the National Geographic website and I found this great video of a photographer who has spent a lot of time diving the Great Barrier Reef. His name is David Doubilet and he describes the Great Barrier Reef as "One of the great pulses on the planet". I thought that was a great description. Be sure to check out his work HERE The shots are amazing.

And spread the word...Green is Sexy and important. Let's all do our part.

Read more...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Found A Web Cam That Works!

You may remember from my previous post that my webcam/computer doesn't have a microphone so I couldn't webcast! Problem solved! My stepfather has one on his computer that works PERFECTLY!! I had some time on my hands this weekend and so this is what I did!



I still think I had "lip to mouth syncing issues" but couldn't figure out how to make them go away. Oh well. Maybe next time!

Read more...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My New NING Community

Read more...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Please...Let it Rain.

I was watching Oprah today and one of her guests was Princess Fannie. If you watch Oprah you probably know who Princess Fannie is. If you don't, Princess Fannie is a favourite guest on Oprah's show. She lost her home during hurricane Katrina and for a time she lived in a van with 12 of her family members. She has appeared on Oprah numerous times over the last few years while we watch her struggle to finally recover from the devastation that the hurricane inflicted on New Orleans. On the episode that aired today Fannie finally moved back in to her home.

I started wondering how long it will take for the hundreds of families to reestablish themselves after the fires that are wreaking havoc in Victoria and New South Wales right now. My heart goes out to everyone in Australia who is dealing with this newest environmental devastation.

Please, please, let it rain. Let the winds stop.

I have read stories of men and women on their roof tops armed with only a few buckets of water while their children are inside, in a bath tub, covered with a blanket, hoping that they can hold the flames off for just a little bit longer. "Fighting Goliath, One Bucket at a Time" I heard of a man who had to jump in to his pool while flames jumped over his house, and a group of people who climbed in to a drain pipe and had to roll around in the stagnant water as flames licked at the entrance to the pipe. These are stories that should never be told. But they have been. So they should now be stories that we never forget.

The world has reached out. As we did after the tsunami and after Katrina the world has spoken up with donations and support. The Australian Red Cross has already received more than $15 million towards relief for families touched by this terrible tragedy. If you would like to donate you can do that HERE.

The people who have lost their homes and their families need our help and support. So does our planet. Some of these fires have been started by despicable people with no regard for human life, and those people should be punished, but they have been helped along by Mother Nature. The extreme drought and high winds have made these fires worse than anyone could imagine. Mother Nature needs some love. Let's think green, recycle, take the bus, ride a bike, turn off your lights...all these little things will add up to big change. Cheesy, I know, but it's true. If you need more ideas of what you can do to help our planet out try reducing your energy usage. HERE are some ideas. Find out what your carbon foot print is HERE and then reduce it. Let's all do our best. Reduce, reuse and recycle. It's cool. It's SEXY, and it is the best thing that you can do to help everyone around the world.

While we may be doing all we can, Australia still needs the rain. Please, let it rain.

Read more...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Attempt at a Video Blog

A few years ago while at a party for the Toronto International Film Festival I was given a SWAG bag that had a web cam in it. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow! That could be fun. I can't wait to try it out." I got it home, tried to use it, got annoyed because it wasn't working, and then didn't think about that camera again until very recently when I thought I may try my hand at making a video blog.

Fast forward to today when I brought it out of retirement, plugged it in to my laptop and was astounded when IT WORKED! A window opened and there I was, looking back at myself. "Why did I find this so hard before?" I asked. "This seems to be the easiest thing in the world".

From Drop Box
So then I start recording. I had a whole routine that was very amusing about how scared I was of this "video blogging" thing, and how easy it turned out to be. However, I was lulled in to a false sense of security.

From Drop Box
It turns out that I could get video, (a bit grainy, but actual video), but there was no audio. No problem! I'm a smart cookie. I can figure out how to get audio. And there it was, a button that said "capture audio". How easy was that?

"Fantastic!" I thought. "I'll just click on that and I should have video and audio and I will be on my way!"

But, alas, no. It didn't work that way. Apparently, neither my laptop or my camera have a microphone built in. Dang it.

From Drop Box
I tired, and I tired and I tried. But to no avail.

From Drop Box
And the longer I tried the more frustrated I got. I was seriously about to be beaten by a camera I can hold in my hand! This was not how my night was supposed to go.

From Drop Box
But then, there hiding in the corner I saw a button called "tool box".

"Oh, maybe there will be a hidden microphone somewhere in there".

That is not where the microphone was.

Would you like to know what there WAS in that tool box??? SPECIAL EFFECTS!!! Who needs a microphone when you can do things like this:

From Drop Box
and this:

From Drop Box
and this:

From Drop Box
I may still learn to video blog...but for now I'm just going to play in the snow!

Read more...

I just keep on Learning!

I am totally amazed by everyone who is applying for this amazing job. I have just learned about NING and joined their community made up of others looking to work as the Island Caretaker.

You can see my profile HERE.

I have also signed up for Twitter. I think that I'm going to have to look around this site a bit more. Do people really care what I am doing in short sentences? I'm not sure they do but I'm going to keep learning. The best part of this application process has been all the new skills I have learned.
Before this experience I had never written a blog, never edited a video, and I knew nothing about all of these incredible online communities.

Next I'm going to tackle the video blog!

Read more...

Friday, February 6, 2009

FINALLY!

My video had finally been accepted and published on the web site for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD! You can check it out HERE.

Once I am in the top 50 it will be an all hands on deck situation so that my video is the most seen on the site. For now, just check it out and give it a rating. Everything helps!

Read more...

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Have A Confession

I have to admit it. I'm not sure that I should, but in the interest of full disclosure I need to let the blog world know this one little secret about me; I don't like power boats. At one point in my life I didn't like any boat what so ever. But slowly and surely I learned that not all boats are bad.

I lived on a sailboat for three days while sailing in the Whitsunday Islands. I survived. I took the ferry to Staten Island and back on a recent trip to New York so that we could go past the Statue of Liberty. I also took the ferry from the South Island of New Zealand to the North Island (and that is a ROUGH ferry ride), I slept on the floor of a ferry while in Thailand. I am still here to blog about it. I canoed through Katherine Gorge while traveling from Darwin to Alice Springs. I've been on a catamaran and lived. So not all boats are bad. But power boats....I'm still not a fan.

The reason I am telling this dirty little secret to the world:

When I was a child my grandfather had a power boat, and we used to take family trips out on the boat for the day. This was not my favourite family time, that's for sure. But my grandfather was a steamship captain with Canadian Steam Ship Lines and he loved the water, my father has worked on steamships and he loves the water, so family day on the boat happened quite often. In order to distract myself from the boat I would write little songs to sing to myself. One day I wrote this song on the boat:

I think I'll buy an Island
When I'm 23 or 4
It will be big and great and all mine

No powerboats on shore

Why do I mention this in a blog about me trying to be the one for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD? As you can see, I predicted my move to Hamilton Island years ago. And although I did get my age wrong,
(as hard as it may be to admit, I am no longer 23 or 4),
I've been ready to live on an island for a very long time.

And maybe in the 6 months I will be on Hamilton Island, I can learn that power boats are just as much fun as the pedal boat I won in a raffle once.

Read more...

Friday, January 30, 2009

My First Comment!

So today I logged in to the blog and saw that I had my very first comment! I can't lie, I was pretty excited and then the comment was actually from the Best Job in the World! I have been linked to a site where they are posting links to all of the blogs that people are doing about their applications. There are surprisingly few linked there right now. More than just me...but that's ok. I can't wait to read what other people are saying about this process.

Check it out here:

http://www.reef-job.net

Read more...

Still learning....who knew you could do so much with pictures!





So, I'm sure that everyone is sick of my new found love of Picasa. I really can't get enough of it. I think it may be love. Seriously.

Anyway. This is a collage of the trip to London and Paris that Laura, Joanne and I took in September. I promise to try to curb my enthusiasm for collages. But it's hard. It's really really hard. But, I'll try.

Read more...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Still Playing With Picasa.


My friend Rob and I went to New York in December to see the original cast of The Who's Tommy live in a 15th anniversary reunion concert of the show. It was great. The show was great the trip was great, but it was too short. I had been to New York at pretty much every time of year but never at Christmas. The decorations were amazing! The windows at Macy's and Saks were ingenious. We took the bus to get there from Toronto and we couldn't have asked for a better trip. (Check out the MegaBus, I highly recommend it!)

Anyway, while playing with Picasa I learned that you can make photo collages, so here is the photo collage of our time in New York!


Posted by Picasa

Read more...

Learning about Picasa

I have just installed Google's Picasa photo software on my computer. For numerous reasons, but also because it makes it easier to upload photos to this Google hosted blog. I am quite impressed with the software. It's easy to use and you can click on a photo and they choose "blog this". I love it. Since I am playing around with the software, here is a photo of my favourite part of Vegas:



I just loved the fountains at The Bellagio. The creativity and attention to detail that goes in to making the fountains actually dance to all of those different songs, (from classical to rock), was just amazing. I seriously couldn't get enough. I have to admit, I did sneak out of dinner at Olives to catch the last "dance" of the night. Rude? Perhaps...But totally worth it!

Read more...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

VIVA LAS VEGAS???

This past May, over the Victoria Day Long Weekend, I went to Las Vegas for the first time with three women I work with.

(For those of you who aren't Canadian, the Victoria Day Long Weekend is the first long weekend of the summer. It is always the weekend closest to the 24th of May. It's supposed to celebrate the Queen's birthday...even though her birthday is in November. At least I think it's November. I know it is not in May...This long weekend is often seen as the unofficial start of summer. Because of that, many people will go camping. I think that is crazy talk. Let's remember that I live in Canada. It has been known to snow in May. Who wants to camp in that? The warm beautiful days of Vegas were a much better way to spend that weekend).

Vegas was quite the adventure. It really was crazy. Almost as crazy as camping in Canada in May. Although I had a great time, I'm in no hurry to get back. I just couldn't believe the extravagance of it. Lynne and I took a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, which was absolutely the highlight of the trip for me. We flew from Boulder City,a town in Nevada where they have never allowed gambling, over the Hoover Dam and Lake Meade right down in to the floor of the Grand Canyon. We had lunch INSIDE the Grand Canyon, complete with champagne, and then flew back to Boulder City.

The point of talking about the Grand Canyon is that as you are flying over Lake Meade you can see these white lines all along the shore. Las Vegas, along with other cities in Nevada and the surrounding states, pulls it's water from the lake and those white lines are where the water levels used to be. The waters were as high as these lines not all that long ago. The water levels are falling at an alarming rate.


And yet they continue to build massive hotels and condos in the middle of the desert. Where are they going to get the necessary water to hydrate the people who are staying in the hotels and living in the condos? Where are they going to get the water to run all those showers? Has anyone thought of that? Lake Meade and the Colorado River are not going to last all that much longer. Despite that, next to the Monte Carlo they are building another 8000 rooms, in the form of hotels and condos and who knows what else, in a complex called CityCentre. And that is only one building project that is happening in Las Vegas. They are building everywhere. Combine that with all of the natural resources it takes to run the lights of the strip 24 hours a day and the fact that there didn't seem to be any kind of recycling...It was all a bit much to think about.

That said, we did have a wonderful time. You can travel the world in Vegas. Paris, Venice, Egypt, New York...they are all right there at your finger tips. We saw "O", the most beautifully amazing piece of theatre ever. But, one has to ask, how are they going to keep the pool in that show full of water if Lake Meade dries up?

Want to go to Vegas? Go soon. It really is a fun time and you should see it once in your life. But, I'm not sure how much longer it is sustainable.

Or, you could watch this slide show I made of our trip. I'm sure that it will be just as much fun as actually going yourself :)


video

Read more...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Video - Final Edit

That's it! My video has been submitted and now all I can do is blog about myself and my time living in Australia and all my other travels, and wait to get short listed!

I played around with the video last night. I used Pinnacle Studio 12 to edit it and it was so incredibly easy. Having never used video editing software before I was nervous, and ready to get really annoyed trying to make it work. But this software was so easy to use, literally just point, click and drag. I feel like I did so much but I know I have hardly scratched the surface at what it can do. I'm very excited about the templates it has that can mix both video and photos in to little memory shows. And seeing how easy it was to use I'm sure that I will be making many more slide shows.

Here is my final video that I submitted today. When I get the link to view it on the website I will post it here.


video

Read more...

It's all Coming Together!

My video is now ready. Tomorrow I am going to submit it, and then it's time to get to work and write all about what it is about me that makes me the best candidate for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Please be sure to come back and read about how I lived in Arnhem Land, was attacked by a camel, learned to SCUBA Dive and then went diving on The Great Barrier Reef, and lived in Alice Springs for 2 months and soooo much more.

I can't wait to let everyone know why I should be the one to take over THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Read more...

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Submission Video!

Here it is, the first edit of my submission video. I learned to capture, edit and add text to video, all this afternoon! It turned out to be quite easy.

Let me know what you think:

video

Read more...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Filming Complete!

Thanks to my friend Jim, I have all the footage I should need to put together my video submission for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Jim was a trooper. He braved two days of the cold Toronto winter to be my camera man. Now all I have to do is figure out how to edit it all together. I have had offers of help, but I think that it could be fun to learn to do it myself.

There are a few problems I have had to deal with first:

1. My lap top does not have a fire wire port and the camera I used can only connect via fire wire. Luckily for me, Sarwar at Best Buy here in Toronto has shown me a few things I can do to make this work. I'm trusting him...and am about to install option number one...some converter thing that should give me fire wire capacity. Seeing as I know little to nothing about cameras or computers, Sarwar was very patient and understanding with me. If this works I am going to have to bake him some cookies.

2. I have never edited a movie. Ever. I have made picture slide shows with Window Move Maker but my experience ends there. But, once again Sarwar came to my rescue. He suggested a video edidting software that was not terribly expensive and, if it really is as easy as it seems, I should be editing today! This is all very exciting for me.

Once my movie is all edited and put together I can move on to writting about my travels and time in Australia....just a few more things that make me perfect for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Read more...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweet Home Springfield

One of the "jobs" of the Hamilton Island Caretaker is not only to write blogs about the island but also to create video and photo blogs. (I use the word job in quotations up there because this opportunity on Hamilton Island seems more like a fun time and a great reason to learn to do new things. For example, today I learned how to upload videos to my blog!)

I happen to love making photo movies. Here is one I made after I went to visit my best friend in her home town. She is from Springfield Ontario. "Small" is a generous term to use when describing Springfield. (Just so you get an idea about how small it really is...we had to go to Aylmer to find a traffic light).

I hope you enjoy the movie...and come back soon to see the one I made about my trip to Las Vegas, I'll be adding it soon, (now that I know how to put my videos on Blogger!)




I'm ready FOR THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD! video

Read more...

Filming Begins Today!

And baby it's cold outside. What better way to illustrate how much better life would be on an island than to show how FREEZING it is here in Toronto.

Don't get me wrong, life is good in Toronto, but it would be better if it had more of an island climate.

If you are here in Toronto, I know you would agree.

Filming begins today on my Island Girl video.
I'm ready for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Islands are better. They require less layers!

Read more...

Are You Ready Queensland?

Here I come!

Shannon - The Island Girl, is ready!

I am ready for THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Read On. Learn More. I'm the only one for the job.

Read more...