I find writing an ‘About Me’ page very, very strange indeed. What am I going to add, what am I going to leave out? And, most importantly, what pictures of myself are deemed nice enough to include?
There you go. I’ve chosen one of me almost seven years ago. This was just after I started this little blog, back when I was footloose and fancy free, and a bit more in shape. I wish I knew it then.
So that answers the first question, I suppose. How long have you been doing this? Well, my first post was published on Olympic Wanderings back on 1 February, 2007. I hardly recognise the Caitlyn from back then: she was just about to embark on a five-month solo trip at the tender age of twenty-one.
I promise, that’s the last time that I will refer to myself in the third person.
Although I blogged pretty regularly for the first half of 2007, my blog was simply a way to document my travels and posts were sporadic until the beginning of 2011. That was when my whole life changed.
I packed up my life and moved to the other side of the world, with only my backpack (whom I refer to as ‘the Beast’) filled to the brim with my worldly possessions. OK, it was filled with mainly earrings and handbags.
Before 2011, I lived in a great little apartment in Melbourne, which was walking distance to three wonderful things: the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the South Melbourne Market and the South Melbourne Beach. I worked long hours as a political adviser and I cheered on my footy team, Collingwood, every weekend. I drank a lot of gin and tonics and the food I usually consumed earnt me the label of ‘Honourary Asian’ among friends.
But I had fallen in love with a guy on the road. You know the drill.
Paul just happened to live on the other side of the world, in an historic town called Dordrecht in the Netherlands. We did the long-distance thing for a while, Paul became a Melburnian for a bit and then I made the big move. The party I worked for lost the election and I was made redundant; I moved out of my apartment and put all of my things in storage… and followed Paul to Dordrecht.
I’ve been living in Dordrecht for almost three years now. I have a little card in my purse that I treat like gold-dust; it allows me to live, work and study in the Netherlands until at least 2017. I’m (slowly) learning the language, I’ve (kind of) mastered the art of cycling and I even (perhaps) understand Zwarte Piet.
OK, yes, I really am lying about the last one.
So yes, my blog is a bit of a mess and I apologise for that. Sometimes I’m on about shopkeepers who refuse to address me in Dutch, other times I’m going on about pintxos in San Sebastian or gelati in Florence.
Then there’s the whole Olympic thing going on – I have a bit of an obsession with seeing run-down old stadiums, according to my mum. Hence the name for this blog; I’m trying to see all the (summer) Olympic sites in the world, and I’ve only got four more to go.
So hopefully I can make you laugh, get jealous or empathise. Hopefully I’ll get all three.
If you wish to contact me, you can do so at caitlyn [at] olympicwanderings [dot] com.
Caitlyn O’Dowd, November 2013