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My 2012 Travel Blog

Thank God for Grandpa’s.

I haven’t written in a LONG time. Mostly, because I have just had a same-old, work, sleep, work , sleep lifestyle. There aren’t too many updates right now but I miss having my blog as an outlet, so here goes.
 
Since the last time I wrote I spent a week in Fiji with Tarik, and then took three weeks off to travel up the east coast of Australia.Fiji was one of the most relaxing vacations I have ever had. Other than our drunken nights, most of our days, Tarik and I spent lounging on the most beautiful beaches. We only spent two days on the mainland in Nadi before we started our island hopping adventures. Our first stop was Mana Island. We stayed in a little cabin type villa right on the beach and met some awesome roommates. We originally were only supposed to spend 3 nights on Mana Island, but shortly turned into 5. One of the days Tar and I spent about two hours walking along the coastline of the island. We had a few hurdles along the way and good sunburn at the end of our trip, but it was one of the best excursions ever! Hands down the best part of my trip was spending time with my brother… but I think our favourite part of the week was learning how to dive together. Tarik has always been a little fish in the water, but I on the other hand, would never have thought to go diving. I would rather curl up with a book on the beach anyday. It was our roommate Chelsea who really convinced me to do it. We had gone snorkeling right off the shore of Mana and saw so many awesome fish and coral. The dive instructors said the snorkeling there was about 20 times worse than diving…. So it was a no-brainer. We spent the morning doing basic skills and simple exercises in the water right off the shore and then took a 20 minute boat ride out to Cast Away Island. If you didn’t get it by the name, it was the island Cast Away was filmed on. We got to do a 25 minute dive… and I even got to tip backwards off the boat like in the movies! I spent the first 20 minutes freaking out underwater. No one could tell, but I just spent 20 minutes telling myself it is alright, breathe, blah blah blah. Its so weird being down there, just you and the water. If, god forbid anything were to go wrong … good luck, Tara. Anyway, our instructor took us down on a rope, had us clear our ears and all that good stuff. Then we were free to roam the ocean. This was the best part. Tarik took off immediately, obviously. And I opted to stay close to the boat, searching for coral and giant fishies. Needless to say, we had such a great time and experience doing this together. I was not confident at all in my underwater abilities, and to be honest I don’t think I would have ever gone diving without Tarik there holding my hand. He even gave me warnings before the skills in the shallow water that I would hate it and just to calm down. Ahhh, seeing my brother was such a breathe of fresh air. If I could relive that vacation 1000 times over, I would. I just miss them so much!
 
I got back to Australia with a few days to work, unpack, and repack. About four days later, Kenny and I started our trip up the east coast! First, Kenny and I flew to Brisbane, where I got to spend some time with an old friend … Miss Lizbith Baugh. I had such a great time. It’s so nice to have friends that you don’t see for years and you are able to just pick up where you left off. From Brisbane we rented a campervan for 21 days and started to drive up the coast. We went about 2,000 km’s in total. Our first 10 days were pure rain and clouds. We didn’t see the sun once until about day 11. BUT, when the sun did come out it was like a whole new vacation. About two weeks into the vacation, Kenny and I went to Magnetic Island, just off the coast of Townsville Australia. The island was a different world than that of Australia. It had a western vibe, obviously, but was laid back and just so beautiful. We spent three days here, enjoyed the sun shining, and did some exploring.  Our last day though, Kenny and I were meant to return our rental car at 5pm. We were only 3 kilometers from the rental place, when we got into an accident. The roads on Magnetic were similar to the roads in Bermuda. It’s like driving on a mountaintop, with one side a cliff and the other a rock wall. Pretty exhilarating to drive down these winding roads. BUT… Kenny and I had the music blaring, my hands in the air, when an ambulance came shooting past us. We moved over, a bit too far, and ended up riding the railing right on the cliff of the road. Because we were so close to the edge the back end of our car caught some gravel, lifted off of the ground, and shot us right into oncoming traffic. I don’t know how it all happened but by some grace of God the oncoming car was just a little sedan. Both cars weren’t drivable in the end, but we all walked away with only a little bruising and some sore muscles. The next four hours after the crash were a blurr.. a blurr that ended up costing about $2000. Lucky for us, we only had a few days left of our vacation. We got right back out there, finished our trip and spent our last day on the Great Barrier Reef. Throughout our trip we went snorkeling three times and diving once. Our dive in Carins and the great barrier reef was the most amazing experience. A small boat took us about 50 feet from the yacht and we were able to just float and swim back with the current. We saw HUGE fish that came right up to our faces, really big turtles, and two sharks. Yep, sharks. We came to one really big reef … I figured this was where the turtles live, so I swam right up to it. Little did I know, a shark would come out of the reef and swim right underneath me. I think I was peeing my pants at the time, and trying so hard not to hold my breath. Either way, it was a big big biggggg step for me and such a great way to end our holiday.
 
Since we’ve been back we’ve  been working a LOT and have been focused on spending more time with friends in Melbourne and doing more Melbourne exploring. We realized when we were traveling that we haven’t done most of the “Must do” things in Melbourne and have just been working and living inside our little bubble too much. We have been on a roll until last week when both of us had the winter sickness. (yes, it is winter in Melbourne, yuck). We were both coughing, sneezing, fevering and nasty for about four days. I finally started to feel better and get over it and life hands me another smack in the face. I’m sure if you read my blog, you may have come across my facebook or some sort of social media – and already know. If not, this past week my grandpa went into heart surgery. The surgery went really well, according to the doctors, but when he was supposed to wake up about 4 hours later, he never did. It took another whole day to figure out what went wrong, was he going to wake up? When? Will he be okay if he does wake up? .. In the end of things, grandpa had suffered a massive stroke during or just after the surgery and if he did wake up, he would have severe brain damage and limited mobility. Obviously, with me being as far as you can get from Canada, I had to hear all of this via facebook, voicemails, the whole bit. My whole family gathered at the hospital and decided it was best to cut life support. It is all just happening really fast. One minute I have an email from his saying “see you at Christmas”, the next minute I am seeing articles about his legacy in the Windsor Star. (http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/08/23/terry-murphy-musician-and-firefighter-dead-at-78/)  It’s a lot to handle from 9237401703 km’s away, and I am dealing with it the best I can. My family probably won’t be happy I am posting my life story on the internet, but being so far away I don’t have many outlets. I just wish more than anything that I could be home. I looked up flights the moment I found out, and the shortest journey was 26 hours just one way. To be honest, I probably would have made it just in time for the funeral, but would have missed the showings, and traveling 26 hours in my state probably wouldn’t be the best idea. Despite my anger and confusion with the whole situation, I am overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that I have received. The Windsor community and people I have never met have sent me messages about my grandfather and what an inspiration he was. It is really an honour to be his granddaughter and I am really so proud of him. I just wish that I had some closure. It feels like we are planning a birthday party, or an anniversary party for grandma and grandpa. There is almost no part of me that thinks of what’s happening as grandpas funeral. Even when I write it or say it out loud, not one ounce of me believes that… Its so weird. Maybe one of these days I will wake up and realize he won’t be home when I get there… Maybe I won’t understand until I go home in December. Everyone has their own process, its just that most often the process is helped with the funeral, showings, and family by your side. Unfortunately, in my case I have to adjust and grieve in an unorthodox and unfamiliar way. If anything, I feel grateful that I have such a close-knit family and such a strong bond with so many people back home. I am going through the day to day motions here, but my head and heart are all back home. It will take time I’m sure, but I will be just fine. Thank you to everyone for supporting me and helping me through yet another one of life’s hurdles. I appreciate now more than ever the relationships I have and all of the people in my life. I only hope I can impact the world like my grandpa did. Here are some photos of us in the last year! They make me smile. .. 
Gma and gpa.
All the cousins!
These are just the best grandparents in the world.
 
Till Next Time … 

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About Tara Murphy

Hi! My name is Tara Murphy. I am a self-proclaimed Blogger, foodie, and travel fanatic. Yes, I am one of those people who takes pictures of their food. Why? Because it is delicious, end of story. I created my first blog in January, 2012 before I started my 11-month journey around the world. I am now settled back in Toronto, Canada and am started a little thing called REAL LIFE. What even is real life? Who knows. All I know is I love life and I love writing. So I write about life, all aspects of it. The good and the bad.

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Life is a Diving Chaos. Embrace it. Breathe. & Enjoy the Ride.

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